Notebook: Dad watches teenage daughter land first blue marlin, win Junior Angler award; rodeo director sees Swollfest swell _lowres

Photo provided by TOBY BERTHLEOT The flurry of the crew's activity aboard the Addis-registered 'Rising Sons' is because this blue marlin is being tagged for release after 13-year-old Jaselyn Berthelot, second from the top in the aquamine-colored shirt, battled the bluewater giant to the boat during last weekend's Cajun Canyons Billfish Classic. The 13-year-old lass won the Classic's Junior Angler title after taking on the catch-and-rlease blue marlin along with a yellowfin tuna and a bull dolphin in what her father, Toby Berthlot, termed "heavy seas." Jaselyn is

Toby Berthelot and Nick Rauber have lots in common, and, on this Father’s Day, it’s more than their ever-strengthening desire to be on the water with a rod and reel in their hands.

Both men got their Dad’s Day gifts early this year.

Berthelot’s came from his 13-year-old daughter Jaselyn in the Cajun Canyon Billfish Classic. It was the second year she’s fished the state’s biggest bluewater event.

“She won the Junior Angler (award) after catching and releasing her first blue marlin, a tuna and a Mahi Mahi (bull dolphin). This was her very first blue marlin, which is pretty rare for anyone much less a 13-year-old,” the elder Berthelot wrote.

Berthelot’s adulation continued: “She preformed like a seasoned pro as we fought this fish, the waves were 6-8 feet, and we had to back down on the fish with waves crashing in the boat. At one point, a wave crashed over her head in the fighting chair completely drenching her, but she stayed calm and keep the line tight.”

So this year’s Cajun Canyon “Proudest Papa I” Award goes to Toby Berthelot.

Rauber gets that award’s version II for his nearly two decades nurturing the Swollfest Rodeo through birth, infancy, those teenage growth-spurt years, and now into young adulthood.

Last weekend’s Swollfest had slightly more than 700 entrants, a solid number for what’s becoming the Central Coast’s biggest early summer coastal fishing event.

By last Saturday’s end, Swollfest had weighed its first swordfish (most swords are taken by anglers docking at Venice rather than Grand Isle) and record yellowfin tuna and cobia.

And there’s more: Next year makes Swollfest No. 20. It’s set for June 7-10 at Sand Dollar Marina in Grand Isle.

“We are looking to do it big,” Rauber said. “Also next year, Swollfest will begin donating to the new (Our Lady of the Lake) Children’s Hospital here in Baton Rouge and will be working closely with them in the future.”

A sad day

Don’t know if Ernest Hebert of New Iberia was someone’s dad. If he is, then there’s more sadness in his family after he died when his boat sank Thursday in Vermilion Bay.

The state Wildlife and Fisheries’ report stated another aboard the sunken boat was rescued by a passing boater around noon Thursday, and reported Hebert was missing.

Wildlife and Fisheries and Coast Guard teams found Hebert’s body near 5 p.m.

Hebert was not wearing a life jacket.

A celebration

Past state Ducks Unlimited chairman Jay Owen of Lafayette is now a member of DU’s national board of directors after elections during the organization’s 79th annual national convention recently in Anchorage, Alaska.

Owen has been a DU advocate for most of his adult life, was state chairman in 2015, a state trustee and national delegate and currently is on DU’s national Development Committee.

Next year’s May 30-June 4 convention is set for San Antonio.

Lake Bistineau meeting

Many south Louisiana bass fishermen like to make a tour of north Louisiana lakes. If you’re planning to take a day or two on Toledo Bend, the nation’s top bass lake according to B.A.S.S., Cross Lake, Caddo Lake and Lake Bistineau, note Wildlife and Fisheries has scheduled what the Inland Fisheries staff is calling an “informational meeting” about Lake Bistineau at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

It’s set for the Jonathan Glasscock Memorial Classroom in the LDWF’s field office, 9961 U.S. 80 in Minden.

Lake Bistineau has had problems with giant salvinia, and the staff reportedly will update anglers on the current status of the lake and the work to control the invasive salvinia.

For more information, call LDWF biologist/manager Jeff Sibley at (318) 371-3066 or email: jsibley@wlf.la.gov.