A 65-year-old Iberia Rod & Gun Club member steps out of the background and onto the stage, the weigh-in stage, for this year’s Iberia Rod & Gun Club Saltwater Fishing Rodeo at Cypremort Point.
Jimmy Peltier of New Iberia, who will be the fishing rodeo chairman, said he has been helping out at the Fourth of July weekend fishing rodeos for about a decade but “I was kind of in the background just working. I wasn’t on stage or anything like that. Somebody had to do it. We’re running out of people to work. It’s getting hectic but we’re getting it done.”
Peltier, an electrician since 1970 and owner of Peltier’s Electric since 1983, said the fishing rodeo will be held July 1-3, Friday through Sunday at fishing rodeo headquarters along Quintana Canal. Everyone can enjoy Independence Day on Monday.
He and other fishing rodeo committee members are looking forward to the holiday weekend event, the first major saltwater fishing rodeo of the year.
“It’s a good outing. It’s good for the kids. We’re trying to get more younger kids involved in it. We’re trying to get younger members,” he said.
An estimated 150 fishing rodeo brochures are being printed along with hundreds of fishing rodeo tickets for the Junior, Inside, Runabout and Offshore divisions.
The boat captain’s supper is scheduled to be held at 7:30 p.m. June 29 at either City Park or Roland Romero’s camp along Darnall Road, Peltier said.
The only change to fishing rodeo rules this year is that everyone in the boat must have a fishing rodeo ticket, Peltier said.
Hopefully, more than a handful of Runabout Division boats will compete for the individual and team titles July 1-3. That was becoming one of the most exciting and competitive divisions before gas prices started spiraling upward, so it remains to be seen how those boaters react to gas higher than $3.60 a gallon.
One Runabout Division boat putting a fish on one of the scales four weekends from now would be the first in two years. Last year, for the first time in history, no fish were weighed in in the Runabout Division as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill prompted closures of popular areas in this part of the Gulf of Mexico.
“I’m hoping we get more Runabout this year. Hopefully, the weather will will be good and cool off a little bit ... but I doubt it,” he said.
Two boats competed last year in the Offshore Division, a division that has seen fewer and fewer boats in the mid-2000s. There has been little, if any, talk of local boats competing for the individual and team titles this year, Peltier said.
“We hope that will change as folks with big boats contemplate their holiday weekend plans. The IR&GC is attempting to stir up some interest here and outside the Teche Area.
“We are trying to get some offshore boats out of Lafayette. Hopefully, we can get a few of those in,” Peltier said.
DON SHOOPMAN is outdoors editor of The Daily Iberian.