GRAND ISLE -? Jan D’Constantino suffered the fate all rodeo anglers fear Friday.
Her rodeo entry, a hard-earned 1-pound, 9-ounce speckled trout was wiped off the leaderboard, not in a flurry of frantic fishing-rodeo action at weightstation scales, but during Friday’s quiet second day of the 89th annual Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo.
“It was the only trout we caught all day, the only one,” the Baton Rouge fisher said late Thursday. “I was happy to catch it. I wanted to bring it in to be weighed.”
What was a trophy for her, turned out to be a target for hundreds of rodeo fishermen frustrated by two days of rough conditions.
Thibodaux’s Randall Guidry knocked D’Constantino off the leaderboard with a 3-pound, 4-ounce trout, a catch that was Friday’s heaviest speckled trout.
“It was rough, but we stuck it out and caught a few fish,” Guidry said. “We started early and it wasn’t until lunchtime when the water changed and the fish started to bite.”
Guidry said conditions calmed enough to make a run to a platform off the Fourchon beach. He used a live croaker to catch the leaderboard trout.
“It still wasn’t pretty, and I’m hurt all over,” he said after fighting rough seas for more than eight hours Friday.
“I hope it blows 40 miles an hour tomorrow ‘cause I’m in third place and I’d like to stay there.”
That pretty much tells the story of all the names on the leaderboard going into Saturday’s final run of the country’s oldest fishing competition.
Celine McIlveene is in that number. Unlike D’Constantino, her Friday 3-pound, 5-ounce catch stands atop the flounder category. The Clinton woman was fishing with Gary Holmes and both admitted they were relative rookie rodeo fishermen.
“Two years ago, Gary brought a fish in in the last minutes of the rodeo and he knocked a 14-year-old off the board,” McIlveene said taking a jab at her fishing partner. “So, we know what happens in rodeos.
“I caught the flounder on a (live) cocaho minnow. It was a tough day and we caught a few other fish. We had to use minnows because it’s tough finding (live) shrimp right now,” she said. “I guess we made the best of a day’s fishing.”
Holmes said he’s trying to improve on his redfish catch, adding that he and McIlveene caught seven redfish, as many as 15 speckled trout, a handful of white trout and three flounder.
“It was that kind of a day. We had to scramble around to catch a few fish,” Holmes said. “We’re going back and will fish hard for a third straight day. We started fishing this rodeo only two years ago, then there was the oil spill and we came here for Island Aid last year. We love it.”
Friday’s prize catch was a 30-pound tripletail hauled to the scales Friday morning by Grand Isle’s Terry Vegas, the oldest brother of Bridge Side Marina owner “Buggy” Vegas.
“I was fishing around the (Caminada Pass) bridge up against the rocks,” Vegas said. “We were using live croaker and hoping to catch redfish on the (falling) tide. I thought it was a redfish. I knew it was big, and I was shocked when the fish came up. It’s the biggest tripletail I’ve ever seen.”
If accepted, Vegas’ fish will stand seventh in the state records.
“I tossed and turned all night thinking about getting that fish to the scales,” Vegas said.
And the dozens of anglers on the leaderboard will do the same, knowing that improving weather and sea conditions surely will launch an all-out attack on the scales at the Sand Dollar Marina weighstation until the scales close at 6 p.m. Saturday.
?Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo results
GRAND ISLE - Friday’s second-day results from the three-day 89th-annual Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo with categories, anglers, their hometowns (when available) and weight of catch in pounds and ounces (five places in Tarpon; three places for all other categories; the Redfish Stringer category is the total weight of five redfish measuring less than 27 inches long but longer than 16 inches). Boat names listed in Tag & Release Division.
BIG GAME DIVISION
Tarpon: 1, Ken Abney, New Orleans, 124 pounds, 6 ounces. 2, Patrick Cenac, Houma, 99-5. 3, Tommy Hebert, Houma, 69-4. First Tarpon: Patrick Cenac.
Dolphin: 1, Davie Breaux, Cut Off, 37-13. 2, David Richoux, Cut Off, 31-11.
Blackfin Tuna: 1, Kevin Melancon, Houma, 23-12. 2, Melancon, 22-13. 3, Rhyan LeBlanc, Plaquemine, 20-2.
No entries in Blue Marlin, Yellowfin Tuna, Wahoo, Big Game Tag & Release nor Tarpon Tag & Release.
Barracuda: 1, Kurt Boeding, Prairieville, 28-10. 2, Dylan McKey, Houma, 21-7.
Bluefish: 1, David Moran Jr., Baton Rouge, 3-5. 2, James O’Neal, Zachary, 2-11.
Bonito: 1, Jeffrey Cummings, Pearl River, 12-10. 2, James Cashiola, Port Allen, 10-15. 3, Andrew Vedros, Houma, 10-14.
Cobia: 1, Jimmy Plauche, Baton Rouge, 31-11. 2, Jeffrey Cummings, Pearl River, 24-5. 3, Browson Cashiola, Port Allen, 23-2.
Grouper: 1, Dustin Mule, Luling, 76-11.
Jack Crevalle: 1, Milton Bourgeois, Grand Isle, 24-3. 2, Samuel Bourque, Greenwell Springs, 23-12. 3, Taylor Normand, Metairie, 22-5.
King Mackerel: 1, Kevin Melancon, Houma, 31-3. 2, Christopher Kent, Prairieville, 30-0. 3, Melvin Richard, Metairie, 28-9.
Spanish Mackerel: 1, Panky Christen, Larose, 2-11. 2, Alan Langlois, Baton Rouge, 2-7. 3, David Johnson, Baton Rouge, 2-3.
Mangrove Snapper: 1, Royce Rispone, Baton Rouge, 9-10. 2, Gary Gautreaux Jr., Houma, 9-9. 3, Bennett Singletary, Baton Rouge, 9-9.
Tripletail: 1, Terry Vegas, Grand Isle, 30-1. 2, Jeff DeBlieux, Houma, 6-1. 3, Jude Guidry, Thibodaux, 5-13.
No entries in Spadefish.
Gafftopsail Catfish: 1, Malcolm Torres, New Orleans, 6-12. 2, Aaron Melancon, Houma, 6-12. 3, Terrell Swain, Harvey, 6-1.
Croaker: 1, Kenny Acosta, Donaldsonville, 2-12. 2, Acosta, 2-4. 3, Acosta, 2-1.
Black Drum: 1, James Farmer, Houma, 29-1. 2, Gary Voiron, Port Sulphur, 22-10. 3, Jean Louviere, Buras, 20-10.
Flounder: 1, Celine McIlveene, Clinton, 3-5. 2, Calvin Zeringue, Luling, 2-14. 3, Carl Schaff Jr., Thibodaux, 2-7.
Redfish: 1, Jonathan Liberto, Gretna, 36-0. 2, Jean Louviere, Buras, 32-6. 3, Clint McCurley, Woodville, Miss., 31-4.
Redfish Stringer: 1, Mark Neupauer, Tampa, Fla., 25-13.
Sheepshead: 1, Ron Adams, Lockport, 5-6. 2, Scott Settoon Jr., Pierre Part, 5-3. 3, Milton Kidd, Franklin, 5-1.
Speckled Trout: 1, Sean Bouzigard, Cut Off, 4-11. 2, Diette Massey, Baton Rouge, 3-14. 3, Randall Guidry, Thibodaux, 3-4.
White Trout: 1, Jay Lassere, Harvey, 3-3. 2, Steve Kent, Lottie, 2-6. 3, Kent, 2-3.