GRAND ISLE - Kurt Cheramie is a fishing rodeo veteran, and has a deep affecton for catching tarpon.
He proved that again Thursday morning.
For the second straight year, and the third time in the last five years, Cheramie has weighed the International Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo's first tarpon.
To boot, his son, Cory, brought in the rodeo's first tarpon in 2013.
All fish came aboard the John and Jeff DeBlieux's Rock 'n Roll.
The fish hit the sclaes at the Sand Dollar Marina at 9:15 a.m. and weighed out at 82 pounds, 2 ounces.
"It's not a big fish, but it's the first fish, and that's a fantastic feeling," Kurt Cheramie said. "It's always great, a great way to start the rodeo off right."
Jeff DeBlieux said the the Rock 'n Roll crew had a larger tarpon on earlier in the morning but that fish made one jump and got off.
"There were about 30 boats in the area, and we were the only one with fish. I guess we found the right pattern," John DeBlieux said, adding that the 1-2 foot seas off Grand Bayou made running to and from the fishing grounds a problem.
"Once we wee out there, it was OK, just getting there and back was a little bouncy," Jeff DeBlieux said.
The DeBlieux brothers made the IGITR a trifecta of sorts after catching tarpon in south Florida and off Orange Beach, Alabama this year.
"We know it's a small tarpon. The first one we weighed last year was pushed back to fifth on the leaderboard by the end of the rodeo, but this is a great start," John DeBlieux said. "We're going back and will try for a bigger fish, and we have Friday and Saturday. Jeff had the first tarpon a few years ago and we finsihed second and fifth that year. We want to do beter."
Baton Rouge angler Matthew Kippinger was minutes behind the Rock 'n Roll crew at the weighstation. His 29-2 bull redfish was the second fish of the day, but there's no prize, no award for the first redfish. Kippinger will have to wait until the rodeo's scales close at 6 p.m. Saturday to find out if his early hours catch is a winner among the rodeo's 29 specie categories.