GRAND ISLE – It took a well-known boat in the south Louisiana tarpon fleet to save an otherwise stormy first day of the 2014 International Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo.
And they did it for the second year in a row.
Kurt Cheramie, aboard the Rock-n-Roll, the boat owned by brothers John and Jeff DeBlieux, brought in the rodeo’s namesake fish, a 99-pound, 6-ounce tarpon, in the late afternoon to put a fish atop the leaderboard in the three-day annual event that began in 1927.
Thursday’s story began on the rodeo’s first day last year when Corey Cheramie, Kurt’s son, brought in the rodeo’s only tarpon in 2013.
“I was fishing in the front of the boat last year and had a fish hit then gave the rod to Corey and he won,” Kurt Cheramie said. “This time Corey had a fish hit him while he was casting and he gave the fish to me.”
Jeff DeBlieux said the fish jumped 10 times during the 15-minute battle and the fish came to the boat at 3:15 p.m.
Their enthusiasm later was matches by Thibodaux’s Travis Landry, who said he has fished for tarpon each day of the rodeo for the last three years.
Success was measured by his broad grin. Landry’s first tarpon weighed 87-14 and was second on the leaderboard.
“I ready to go back,” Landry said. “I have the (tarpon) fever now.”
A third tarpon was taken Thursday by Hunter Tieken, but the crew of their boat “Code 7” tagged and released the fish.
Despite heavy squalls that swept the island and surrounding waters throughout the day, there were entries in all but seven of 29 categories.
The two heaviest other fish on the leaderboard belonged to Donaldsonville’s Kenny Acosta, a 50-4 cobia, and Jefferson Parish sheriff Newell Normand, a 32-8 redfish.
GRAND ISLE -- Thursday’s first-day leaderboard from the three-day 94th-annual Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo with categories, anglers, their hometowns (when available; boat name in the Tag & Release divisions) and weight of catch in pounds and ounces (the Redfish Stringer category is the total weight of five redfish measuring less than 27 inch
es long but longer than 16 inches):
TARPON: 1, Kurt Cheramie, Houma, 99 pounds, 6 ounces. 2, Travis Landry, Thibodaux, 87-14.
TARPON TAG & RELEASE: 1, Hunter Tieken, “Code 7.”
BIG GAME DIVISION
Dolphin: 1, Edward Wheeler, Pride, 28-2.
Yellowfin Tuna: 1, Brandon Deshotel, DeQuincy, 78-4.
Blackfin Tuna: 1, Stephen Collins, New Roads, 23-4. 2, Dianna Braud, Prairieville, 4-4.
No entries in Blue Marlin, Wahoo nor Big Game Tag & Release.
Amberjack: Season closed.
Barracuda: 1, Jason Day, Denham Springs, 14-14.
Bluefish: 1, Chris Weilenman, Baton Rouge, 2-14. 2, Ben Doucet, Prairieville, 2-12. 3, Terry Masser, Houston, Texas, 2-10.
Bonito: 1, Hunter Andras, Chackbay, 13-6. 2, Jamie Clements, Prairieville, 11-6. 3, Brian Guidry, Cut Off, 10-6.
Cobia: 1, Kenny Acosta, Donaldsonville, 50-4.
Drum: 1, Kenny Acosta, Donaldsonville, 28-0. 2, Patterson Lee, Galliano, 25-0.
Gafftopsail Catfish: 1, Jerin Savoie, Galliano, 6-14. 2, Lane Fournier, Cut Off, 6-4. 3, Fournier, 6-0.
Jack Crevalle: 1, Ben Doucet, Prairieville, 27-0. 2, Keith Adams, Houma, 23-14. 3, Terrel Swain, Harvey, 23-2.
King Mackerel: 1, Bennett Singletary, Baton Rouge, 3-12.
Spanish Mackerel: 1, Scott Settoon Jr., Pierre Part, 3-4.
Mangrove Snapper: 1, Terry Masser, Houston, Texas, 10-6. 2, Brian Guidry, Cut Off, 8-10. 3, Brian Chellette, Gonzales, 8-10.
Red Snapper: 1, Tyler Thompson, Baton Rouge, 6-4. 2, Joel Massey, Baton Rouge, 6-0. 3, Chris Weilenman, Baton Rouge, 5-4.
Redfish: 1, Newell Normand, Jefferson Parish, 32-8. 2, Davie Breaux, Cut Off, 30-0. 3, Milo Young Sr., Grand Isle, 29-4.
Sheepshead: 1, Bob Breck, New Orleans, 5-4. 2, Davie Breaux, Cut Off, 4-4. 3, Breaux, 4-0.
Spadefish: 1, Scott Settoon Jr., Pierre Part, 3-8.
Speckled Trout: 1, Cade Fortenberry, Gonzales, 3-4. 2, Ann Taylor, Luling, 2-10. 3, David Jones Jr., Youngsville, 1-6.
Tripletail: 1, Hunter Andras, Chackbay, 2-8.
White Trout: 1, Vernon Smith, St. Gabriel, 1-12. 2, Tana Jones, Youngsville, 0-12. 3, Elliot Guidry, New Orleans, 0-6.
No entries in Croaker, Flounder, Grouper nor Redfish Stringer.