Fishermen across coastal Louisiana have a holiday this week.

OK, so do the rest of folks living in our great country: Not that the Fourth of July celebration matters much anywhere else, not when you’re running between the mouth of the Mississippi River across the expanse of the most fish-rich waters along the Gulf Coast to Calcasieu Lake and seaward, does it matter that picnics, barbecues and fireworks dominate the landscape in the other 49 states.

The explosion of fireworks along our coast comes when somebody, sweating like they’ve been cutting an acre of grass with a push-mower, hauls in a giant fish with hopes of laying claim to a rodeo title.

The final telling of this tale will come Saturday at Moran’s Marina at Port Fourchon and Sunday at the S.W. Louisiana Fishing Club’s clubhouse in Lake Charles. That’s where the 66th annual Golden Meadow-Fourchon Tarpon Rodeo and 76th annual S.W. Louisiana Fishing Club’s Fishing Rodeo will end their respective three-day runs.

There are all the usual categories, some for giant fish like grouper, the billfishes, the occasional early-run tarpon and little fish like white trout and flounder and 30 species of all sizes in between. The promise of rodeo fishing kind of gets your blood up, doesn’t it?

Two years ago, the Golden Meadow-Fourchon Rodeo crew got their taste buds going, too, when they added their King of the Catch seafood cook-off to its final-day schedule.

If memory serves, last year’s cook-off had 10 entries, and you don’t want to miss this if you’re in the Fourchon-Grand Isle area next Saturday afternoon.

All the dishes must use Louisiana seafood. Rules allow some prep work, but all dishes must be cooked on site. For a $15 fee, you get a chance to sample dishes entered in the contest. Yes, there were gumbos, and fish, and crab, and shrimp and concocted combinations that blended any and every one of 2013’s preparations provided restaurant quality fare.

There are three cook-off winners who receive $500 each, and one of them comes from the folks who plop down the 15 bucks. Money raised goes to a scholarship fund for South Lafourche High School students.

Monday is the deadline to enter the cook-off: Go the the “events & entertainment” section of the rodeo’s website for more information.

Informal poll

Are you having trouble finding and catching speckled trout this season? What about the past 2-3 years?

After hearing from a handful of some of the top speckled trout catchers on the east and west sides of the Mississippi River and over into Central Coast waters, it’s apparent we’re on the downside of the trout-catching curve.

To share your concerns, email