Oh boy, fireworks, food and fishing. Does the Fourth of July holiday get any better combining these three Fs?
Not hardly, and the 71st annual Golden Meadow-Fourchon Tarpon Rodeo stands as this week’s headliner.
With the recreational red snapper season limited to Friday-through-Sunday openings, this week affords offshore anglers their second four-day shot at these Gulf of Mexico red beauties, and the GMFTR will take advantage of the only “Thursday” red snapper season with a Thursday-through-Saturday run. The headquarters and weigh station are at Moran’s Marina on Fourchon Road off La. 1 at Port Fourchon.
Tickets are $35 for all divisions. Rodeo organizer Eddie Callais said this year’s new single ticket price was because more and more youngsters are accompanying their parents and other family members on offshore trips.
“We didn’t want the kids to be limited to entering the Children’s Division only, so we opened up the whole leaderboard to them,” Callais said. “This will give them a shot at the bigger prizes, too.”
Callais said a rodeo “buff,” a boiled shrimp dinner and music Friday and Saturday are included in the ticket price, and the first 75 youngsters checking in at registration will receive a rod and reel donated by CCA Louisiana.
Marty Bourgeois is scheduled in for another turn as weighmaster. Although fishing competition begins at safe daylight Thursday, the weighstation won’t open until 1 p.m. Friday at Moran’s. Scales will close at 7 p.m. Friday. Saturday’s hours are 1-4 p.m. in the Children’s Division, and 1-5 p.m. for all other divisions. This is one of the few rodeos open to skin and SCUBA divers.
Friday’s festivities also include the annual King of the Catch cooking competition. Judging will commence at 5 p.m. and patrons can pay $10 to taste any and all of the dishes prepared for the contest.
For more, including rules and categories, go to the GMFTR’s website: fourchontarpon.com.
Anglers take note
Monday begins another licensing year in our state. You must have a new 2019-2020 fishing license to be legal for any Fourth of July fishing adventure.
And don’t forget to add $1 or more to the Hunters for the Hungry checkoff when you get that new license.
If you’re heading to the coast, you’ll need basic and saltwater licenses, and if you’re heading offshore you need a no-fee Recreational Offshore Landing Permit. It’s available on the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ website: wlf.louisiana.gov.
LDWF’s Marine Fisheries June 28 release indicated recreational fishermen had taken 294,236 pounds — 37 percent of Louisiana’s allocation — through June 16. This year’s quota is 816,439 during this final year of a federal Exempted Fishing Permit plan, and the catch reported comes from the state’s federally accredited LA Creel data collection system.
Free Fishing Weekend came earlier this month and the LDWF’s Get Out and Fish! Program stocked 10 community fishing ponds with adult-size channel catfish, some of which were caught, and some of which remain in those ponds.
Each pond had a specially tagged fish, and eight of them were caught. The young fishermen received prizes from Louisiana Fish Fry Products and Berkley Fishing.
If you want to know more about those 10 ponds, go to the LDWF’s website and search for theGet Out and Fish! community fishing site webpage.
A sad note
Charles Moton, a 22-year-old from Marrero, is the latest boating fatality, and is a reminder to properly wear a life jacket when on the water.
The LDWF’s report indicated Moton’s body was found Tuesday in Lake Salvador, and witness said he had a life jacket on “when he was in the boat, but it came off when he entered the water.”