There’s something about big fish and little boats that intrigues Danny Wray.
If Saturday morning you check Bridge Side Marina, you’ll find Wray has lots of friends.
“I think that’s why the Ride the Bull started. There’s something completely different about it,” Wray said, pausing, “an excitement because there just aren’t a lot of fishing rodeos like it.”
For Wray, the second Ride the Bull Extreme Kayak Fishing Rodeo should be the third. Last year’s BP-Deepwater Horizon oil disaster made Saturday’s venture a long-time-in-coming follow-up to 2009’s inaugural Ride the Bull success.
“All I can say is we’re ready,” Wray said. “We know the fish will be there.”
Proof positive came the last Friday in August, a couple of days before the IFA Kayak Tournament at Bridge Side: 10 kayakers showed up with assorted fishing tackle to tackle what proved to be heavy, hard-fighting bull reds swimming in Caminada Pass and within a mile’s paddle from the marina.
Bull reds gather in Caminada Pass from midsummer into early fall and provide the target.
That some spots in the pass are more than 30 feet deep — and the bull reds seldom venture into water shallower than 18 feet — puts kayak fishermen in a venue that challenges these mostly shallow-water anglers.
“That’s where the challenge is,” Wray said. “Catching a big fish from a paddle craft in deep water is what makes this extreme.”
Even for first-time kayakers, though experienced anglers like Renee Vegas and Leigh Ann DeRouen, the challenge exceeded expectations.
“It’s great,” Vegas squealed after hauling a 30-pound giant red over the gunwale of her 12-foot kayak. “This is an experience I’ll never forget. I never believed I could get a fish like this, not from a small boat.”
Ride the Bull is open to all paddle craft. There’s a $40 entry fee — “You get to fish for a day, get a great steak dinner the night before and have chance to win some great prizes,” Wray said — and folks can watch all the action from spots near the marina.
Winners will be determined by weight of their catch. Wray said three engine-powered boats will be stationed in the pass and will drive to the anglers.
“We’ll weigh the fish, put it in a holding tank to revive and release all the fish after the rodeo,” Wray said.
The top prizes are a Hobie Outback Kayak with peddle system value from The Backpacker, a Kajun Custom Kayak from KC Kayaks and tackle from CCA Louisiana, Calmwater Charters and Gus’ Nets and Tackle. Catchers of the 10 redfish will take home prizes, including a Temple Fork Outfitters fly rod and reel for heaviest redfish caught on a fly.
The local Flotilla 4-10 of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Kung Fu Restaurant, 1823 South Sherwood Blvd. in Baton Rouge.
This USCG auxiliary is an all-voluntary unit that runs recreational boating safety patrols, safety inspections and safe-boating classes in the Capital City area. The public is invited.
The first of the year’s hunters’ sight-in days is set to run Thursday through Saturday at the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office Training Center on Woodside Drive in Walker. Sponsors are Mayor Bobby Font, Livingston Parish Sheriff Willie Graves and the Pelican State Friends of the NRA.
There is no charge.
Hunters need to bring their hunting firearms, scopes and the ammunition they plan to use in those weapons during the upcoming hunting season.
Font said Friends of the NRA members will check weapons, mount scopes and perform minor repairs, and Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office Range staff and Special Operations Division will fire the weapons to get them “zeroed” for the season.
Font said all weapons brought to the site must have actions open, and only factory ammunition can be provided. All targets, ear protection, tools and cleaning equipment will be furnished.
For more information, call Font at (225) 665-4356 or the LPSO Training Center (225) 686-2241, ext. 701.