NO.tarponrodeo.072918.025

Anthony Galepie looks at his red snapper he caught as it is weighed during the 90th annual International Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo at the Sand Dollar Marina in Grand Isle, La., Saturday, July 28, 2018.

For the second consecutive season, Louisiana’s private recreational offshore fishermen will have a chance to catch red snapper during the four-day Memorial Day weekend.

But, Wednesday, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission approved a change from 2018’s full-week season to weekends-only openings.

The recreational season, which includes private anglers and the state’s non-federally permitted charterboats, will open Friday, May 24 through May 27 (the Memorial Day weekend), then Fridays through Sundays until state biologists determine anglers are nearing Louisiana’s new 816,439-pound red snapper quota. The 2018 quota was slightly more than 740,000 pounds during what turned out to be 2018's 60-day season.

Another exception to the weekend openings includes the four-day Fourth of July holiday from July 4-7.

Catch limits remain the same as 2018’s — two fish per day per fisherman, and the fish must measure a minimum of 16 inches long.

The LWFC vote mirrored the recommendations of the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries staff. LDWF biologist Jason Adriance said staff will be better able to track catch rates with the Monday through Thursday closures in the federally approved LA Creel system. The 2018 week-long periods posed problems in arriving at week-by-week catch-rate counts and season totals.

“This (season) will gives us a time gap we need by giving us four days when the season is closed to determine how close to the quota we are,” Adriance said.

LA Creel data showed only 20 percent of 2018’s quota was taken on weekdays, and allowed anglers to hit 99.2 percent of the quota.Adriance said surveys showed most anglers enrolled in the LDWF’s fee-free Recreational Offshore Landing Permit system preferred the weekends-only approach, and that a small number in the survey would like to have an increased daily limit and a shorter season.

With the increased quota, it’s likely the private recreational sector will be able to fish all weekends through the summer, but the season’s length will depend on LA Creel’s catch-rate data compared to this year's 816,000-pound quota.

The ‘Boomie’

With high water plaguing most of Louisiana, oxbow lakes appear to be taking the brunt of bass tournaments, and Tanner and “Brother” Pourciau had the secret on Lake Concordia for last weekend’s next installment of the Boomie Chustz Memorial series.

They hauled in 12.25 pounds to win with Kirk Allen and Ory Gulotta next at 11.78, and Wayne Tucker and John Scavona third at 11.34. Reports were there were lots of 2-pounders in the lake, but Justin Milazzo and Gaetano Passantino brought in a 6.12-pounder to take big-bass honors.

The kids

Wes Rollo and William Powell, the team from Natchitoches Central High, finished fourth in Saturday’s Mossy Oak Bassmaster High School Southern Open on Lake Guntersville in Alabama.

Their five-bass limit went 17 pounds, 12 ounces, about three pounds less than the winners, Whitwell High, Tennessee’s, Westin Moss and Josh Willis (20-11 total).

Three other Louisiana teams finished among the top 50 in the 296-boat field: the LA-46 Fishing Team of Forrest Lagarde and Bronson May was fifth at 17-10; Northlake Christian’s Christopher Capdeboscq and Sam Acosta came in ninth at 16-4; and, Zach Henderson and Nicholas Ward from John Curtis High placed 40th with 12-5.