GRAND ISLE - Sometimes you just never know, and Saturday evening, when the curtain fell on the 89th annual Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo, the accent was on “never.”
Like Celine McInveene’s “never,” Diette Massey’s “never,” Moe Rome’s sometimes “never,” Royce Rispone’s “never” and there was a speckled trout “never.”
When all those seeming negatives were added, it came up positives for Capital City area anglers in the country’s oldest competitive fishing event.
McInveene had never finished on a leaderboard in any rodeo, but came up big with a 3-pound, 5-ounce flounder, one of nine first-place trophies riding up La. 1 to the Baton Rouge area after Saturday night’s award ceremony.
“It was a rough three days, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world,” McInveene, of Clinton, said. “We had a great time. We struggled to catch fish, but we caught enough since the first day (Thursday) to make it fun.”
The catch was one of three showing on the final leaderboard for women’s anglers: The other two were from Baton Rouge as Kerry Michael Jones was the last to weigh a fish and her 3-2 spadefish took home the top plaque in that category and Massey waited two days to find her 3-14 speckled trout was good enough for second place.
McIlveene’s first place earned her three points and was three ounces heavier than Jones’ fish to give the Clinton woman the rodeo’s Best All-Around Female Angler award.
McIlveene beat out Luling’s Calvin Zeringue (2-14) and Paulina’s Trey Harrison (2-12) in the flounder category.
That Massey’s name showed up in the usually highly competitive speckled trout category was a first for women. Nowhere in Grand Isle Rodeo history has a women’s name graced the final leaderboard.
Rispone earned the Best All-Around Male Angler award for first places in cobia (53-2) and mangrove snapper (9-10). He put the snapper on the board Thursday.
“It was a very rough day and we gutted it out to catch those fish,” Rispone said. He weighed the cobia Saturday when conditions improved on lighter winds and seas and without the threat of heavy thunderstorms that plagued the state’s Central Coast for the rodeo’s first two days.
Rome, of Brittany, was party of a solid mostly all Ascension Parish fishing team put together by “Smokey” Scanlan.
Rome’s 98-11 yellowfin tuna ruled the roost and he tagged and released three more yellowfins for enough points to finish second in the Big Game Tag & Release division, a feat that earned him the Big Game Division’s Best All-Around Angler.
The rodeo also marked a third generation of Lafayette’s St. Cyr family fishermen to hit the board when Blake St. Cyr won the redfish division with a 36-11 giant, and launched an inquiry into the speckled trout “never,” because the youngster’s grandfather, Terry St. Cyr, didn’t take at least one of the spots in that category.
Fact was, 15-year-old Sean Bouzigard of Cut Off won the speckled trout category with a 4-11, followed by Massey and 11-year-old Luke Richard (3-13) of Lafayette.
Other Capital City area winners were Gonzales’ Ted Fontenot in wahoo (13-5); Kurt Boeding of Prairieville in barracuda (28-10); and, Baton Rougeans David Moran Jr. in bluefish (3-5); Hammond’s Louis McKinney’s extra-large croaker (4-8); and, Luling’s Dustin Mule in grouper (76-11).
Baton Rouge area and Acadian area anglers second places included Bennett Singletary (9-9 mangrove snapper), Jake Philippe (65-12 yellowfin tuna), Scott Settoon Jr. (2-15 bluefish and 5-3 sheepshead), Robert Champagne (14-1 bonito and a third-place 13-13 in the same category), Louis Hutchinson (4-7 croaker), Samuel Bourque (23-12 jack crevalle), Paul Rougeau (9-5 tripletail) and Charles Agent (2-15 white trout).
Area anglers in third place included Jason Scanlan (33-8 dolphin), Wade McCants (56-4 yellowfin), Agent (16-4 barracuda), James O’Neal (2-11 bluefish), McKinney (3-15 croaker), Christopher Kent (30-0 king mackerel) and Steve Kent (2-6 white trout).