PORT FOURCHON — Saturday’s final hours of the 67th annual Golden Meadow-Fourchon Tarpon Rodeo were filled with loads of “oohs” and “aahs.”

The first “oohs” came when Zachary’s Gidion Roark hefted a yellowfin tuna onto the scales for weighmaster Marty Bourgeois, who boldly proclaimed the bluewater catch’s weight at 107 pounds, 2 ounces.

It touched off a celebration for Roark and his fishing companions. But that celebration was barely a minute old before Jamie Gaspard’s Baton Rouge area crew fishing aboard the “Pure Adrenalin” rolled in with a fish that brought the “aahs” — a giant, 153-5 yellowfin tuna that took New Roads fisherman Tyler Merrick three hours, spanning Friday night and the wee hours of Saturday morning, to get to the boat.

An hour later, just when the weighstation at Port Fourchon Marina was filling with more fishermen, fish and onlookers, Baton Rouge physician and veteran rodeo participant J.J. Tabor rolled in and left the crowd darned near speechless.

It took a team effort to get Tabor’s massive Warsaw grouper from the boat to the hoist scales and, when Bourgeois announced the weight — a whopping 206 pounds, 3 ounces — the place erupted.

Unlike Merrick’s hours-long struggle to claim the first-place yellowfin plaque, Tabor said it took him a mere 15 minutes to bring his giant up from 400 feet to the boat. It took almost that long to get the fish stored in the ice chest for the ride to the scales.

“Once you can get the fish off the bottom, the swim bladder in a grouper brings him up,” Tabor said.

It wasn’t his biggest-ever fish: It’s routine for him to haul show-stopping rodeo catches, and his 359-pound grouper wowed rodeo crowds three years ago. He added a first-place, 45-6 king mackerel to his catch and earned the Outstanding Fisherman award in the rodeo’s Shoreline Division.

Merrick’s beauty was among a box-filling catch of more yellowfins, a boatload of blackfin tuna and several snapper that the crew took from shallow rigs off the Louisiana coast on their return trip.

“The big tuna was the biggest thrill,” Merrick said. “The fish sounded three times, the first time diving to more than 600 feet (deep) and, when I got the fish to the boat, it straightened out the gaff, and it sounded again. Man, I was exhausted by the time we got that fish in the boat.”

Roark said his yellowfin came from the deep-water Mars platform and that his crew enjoyed through-the-night topwater action on blackfin tuna before deciding to chum for whatever yellowfins there were in the area. It paid off with three other yellowfins and more blackfins.

And it was blackfins that produced another banner catch for Baton Rouge area anglers. Denham Springs’ Philip Renfrow had his 28-pounder take first place over BR’s Nicholas Withers’ 25-12. Renfrow also claimed third place with a 24-7.


Saturday’s final results from the three-day, 67th annual Golden Meadow-Fourchon Tarpon Rodeo with anglers, their hometowns, weight of catch in pounds and ounces and divisional awards. Boats listed in quotation marks for Tag & Release and club name listed for winners in Scuba Division (total weight of catch determines tie-breaker for outstanding fishermen awards). Combination Stringer division standing determined by weight of five selected fish. The Cajun Slam combination of redfish, speckled trout & flounder:

Big Game Division

Dolphin: 1, Reggie Ledet, Larose, 27 pounds, 4 ounces. 2, Shannon Soudelier, Galliano, 26-0. 3, Jaclyn McCartney, Cut Off, 23-5.

Wahoo: 1, Lee Bouziga, Golden Meadow, 29-5 2, Caroline Guilbeau, Golden Meadow, 19-14. 3, Bo Bankston, Baton Rouge, 15-13.

Blackfin Tuna: 1, Philip Renfrow, Denham Springs, 28-0. 2, Nicholas Withers, Baton Rouge, 25-12. 3, Renfrow, 24-7.

Yellowfin Tuna: 1, Tyler Merrick, New Roads, 153-5. 2, Gidion Roark, Zachary, 107-2. 3, Lee Bouziga, Golden Meadow, 82-0.

Tarpon: No entries.

Outstanding Fisherman: Lee Bouziga, 4 points (tie broken by total weight)

Tag & Release

1, “Freedom,” 800 points (4 white marlin). 2, “Live Lucky,” 50 points (blue marlin). 3, “Dangeruse,” 500 points (blue marlin).

Shoreline Division

Bonito: 1, Hunter Andras, Choupic, 13-10. 2, Taylor Comeaux, Larose, 12-10. 3, Rustie Charpentier, Cut Off, 12-5.

Cobia: 1, Jake Charpentier, Cut Off, 47-6. 2, Zak Fillinich, Galliano, 35-8. 3, Miles Dixon, Baton Rouge, 33-1.

Grouper: 1, J.J. Tabor, Baton Rouge, 206-3 (Warsaw). 2, Jonathan Lindley, Thibodaux, 5-9 (scamp). 3, Hunter Andras, Choupic, 2-12 (scamp).

Jack Crevalle: 1, Britt Orgeron, Cut Off, 28-6. 2, Chuck Comeaux, Larose, 27-11. 3, Comeaux, 26-6.

King Mackerel: 1, J.J. Tabor, Baton Rouge, 45-6. 2, Stephanie Chenier, Baton Rouge, 37-12 3, “Spooky” Chenier, Baton Rouge, 36-1.

Spanish Mackerel: 1, Dominick Fillinich, Galliano, 6-5. 2, Fillinich, 4-4. 3, Priscilla Duet, Galliano, 2-4.

Mangrove Snapper: 1, Britton Comeaux, Larose, 11-11. 2, Taylor Comeaux, Larose, 11-1. 3, Rustie Charpentier, Cut Off, 10-14.

Outstanding Fisherman: J.J. Tabor, 6 points.

Inside Division

Gafftopsail Catfish: 1, Roy Autin, Cut Off, 6-10. 2, Autin, 6-2. 3, Autin, 6-1.

Drum: 1, Keith Hebert, Raceland, 48-3. 2, Coleman Fox, Baton Rouge, 34-0. 3, Kasey Fillinich, Galliano, 17-7.

Flounder: 1, Darrel Ledet, Cut Off, 5-8. 2, Tommy Bush, Kenner, 2-15. 3, Ledet, 2-13.

Rat Redfish (less than 27 inches long): 1, Jerry Larpenter, Houma, 8-14. 2, Larpenter, 8-1. 3, Larpenter, 7-13.

Bull Redfish (longer than 27 inches): 1, Kevin Terrebonne, Golden Meadow, 38-1. 2, Kim DeRouen, Lake Charler, 35-0. 3, Sig Simpson, Kenner, 32-6.

Sheepshead: 1, Lawrence Plaisance, Cut Off, 5-0. 2, Jeff Howell, Natchitoches, 4-14. 3, Lex Boucvalt, Austin, Texas, 4-1.

Speckled Trout: 1, Joey Guidry, Morgan City, 3-12. 2, Patrick O’Bryan, Lafayette, 3-9 3, Lex Boucvalt, Austin, Texas, 3-7.

Redfish Stringer (5 fish): 1, Jerry Larpenter, Houma, 36-6. 2, Robby Gilbert, Luling, 26-0. 3, Seth Rodriguez, Pearland, Texas, 20-3.

Outstanding Fisherman: Jerry Larpenter, 9 points.

Children’s Division

Drum: 1, Kooper Worley, Cut Off, 25-0. 2, Curtus Duet III, Galliano, 23-0. 3, Samantha Fillinich, Galliano, 19-15.

Flounder: 1, Trey Wanko, Raceland, 1-11. 2, Aliza Callais, Galliano, 1-7. 3, Kason Gilbert, Luling, 1-7.

Gafftopsail Catfish: 1, Cade Ougel, Galliano, 4-5. 2, Karleigh Atol, Baton Rouge, 4-4. 3, Jeremy, Compeaux, Cut Off, 4-0.

Rat Redfish: 1, Austin Danos, Cut Off, 7-1. 2, Trey Wanko, Raceland, 7-1. 3, Mason Bouzigard, Cut Off, 6-6.

Leopard Redfish: Mason Bouzigard, Cut Off, 22 spots.

Sheepshead: 1, Carter Callais, Galliano, 4-0. 2, Mason Bouzigard, Cut Off, 3-9. 3, Hadan Callais, Galliano, 3-9.

Speckled Trout: 1, Micah Kieffer, Thibodaux, 3-2. 2, Mason Bouzigard, Cut Off, 2-12. 3, William Bankston, Baton Rouge, 2-6.

Outstanding Fisherboy: Mason Bouzigard, Cut Off, 5 points.

Outstanding Fishergirl: Micah Kieffer, Thibodaux, 3 points.

Spearfish Division

Barracuda: 1, George Ansardi, Helldivers, 34-6. 2, Ansardi, 32-4. 3, Terry Migaud, Helldivers, 32-1

Cobia: 1, Rafe Antill, Helldivers, 50-4. 2, Wil DeMuth, Helldivers, 39-4. 3, George Ansardi, Helldivers, 32-4.

Grouper: 1, Wil DeMuth, Helldivers, 27-9. 2, Terry Migaud, Helldivers, 26-2. 3, Paul Cozie, Helldivers, 25-2.

Jack Crevalle: 1, David Hood, Helldivers, 25-12. 2, Rafe Antill, Helldivers, 25-7. 3, Troy Donaldson, Git ‘em, 25-2.

Sheepshead: 1, George Ansardi, Helldivers, 6-10. 2, Wil DeMuth, Helldivers, 6-0. 3, Robbie Smith, Helldivers, 5-6.

Mangrove Snapper: 1, Wil DeMuth, Helldivers, 11-13. 2, Don Scott, Frogmen, 9-6. 3, DeMuth, 8-15.

Triggerfish: 1, Refe Antill, Helldivers, 4-1. 2, George Ansardi, Helldivers, 4-0. 3, Troy Donaldson, Git ‘em, 3-15.

Miscellaneous: 1, Troy Donaldson, Git ‘em, 32-0 (black drum). 2, Donaldson, 26-6 (black drum). 3, James Richard, Helldivers, 23-11.

King Spearfisherman: George Ansardi, 11 points (tie broken by total weight).

Club Award: Helldivers, 39 points.

Kayak Division

Rat Redfish: 1, Seth Rodriguez, Pearland, Texas, 7-4. 2, Ryan Alleman, Broussard, 7-0. 3, Gairi Williamson, Kenner, 4-12.

Leopard Redfish: Gairi Williamson, Kenner, 8 spots.

Speckled Trout: Gairi Williamson, Kenner, 1-8. 2, Ryan Alleman, Broussard, 1-5. 3, Trent Winch, Kaplan, 1-0.

Cajun Slam: 1, Ryan Alleman, Broussard, 9-11. 2, Seth Rodriguez, Pearland, Texas, 5-13. 3, Harold Hellbach, Jefferson, 4-13.

Outstanding Angler: Ryan Alleman, 7 points.