If it hasn’t hit already, fishing rodeo fever will start spiraling at Tuesday evening’s free anglers supper and spike on Friday, the first day of the 67th annual Iberia Rod & Gun Club Saltwater Fishing Rodeo.
IR&GC officials and anglers, like chairman Josh St. Germain, can’t wait for the three-day holiday weekend event to get underway at Cypremort Point. The Sorrell outdoorsman is soooo ready for the supper, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at the VFW Hall in Lydia, and the fishing rodeo that starts three days later.
Fourteen IR&GC board members met this past Tuesday at the home of former fishing rodeo chairman Chad LeBlanc of New Iberia. Final preparations were made as they went over the details for each day.
Over the past three months they have met via Zoom video conference calls because of restrictions put in place in response to COVID-19.
“We just finalized our anglers supper. Everyone can come out, get your tickets, hang out and eat some crawfish fettuccini,” St. Germain said Thursday afternoon.
“And,” he said, “that will be the only time Calcutta tickets are sold.”
The most glaring difference this year is money won’t be paid for the top three places in each category of the Inside Division and Offshore Division. First-, second- and third-place fish in those divisions have earned a check, something started several years ago and appreciated by fishing rodeo anglers.
This coming weekend it will be trophies-only for the Junior Division, as always, the Inside Division and the Offshore Division.
St. Germain believes the absence of a possible payback that helps on fuel and other fishing rodeo-related expenses won’t be a deterrent.
“I don’t think it’ll any different than normal. Most of the people who fish, they fished before money was involved. It’s almost like one big family,” he said.
The only other major change for the upcoming holiday weekend event is the elimination of the Kayak Division. It has been part of the fishing rodeo for several years, an opportunity for kayakers to get involved.
Meanwhile, IR&GC officials are working hard to let people know the fishing rodeo is on.
“We’re hoping to have a good turnout. We still have a lot of people who didn’t realize we’ll have the tournament. We’re constantly trying to get the word out,” St. Germain said.
He emphasized there will be a free supper served Saturday and that Brittany Pool and the RugaRouxs will play from 6-10 p.m. Saturday, the Fourth of July. Also, the Bad Boys are scheduled to play from 3-6 p.m. on Sunday.
A pamphlet, scheduled to hit the streets this past week, will take the place of the standard and familiar fishing rodeo brochure this year, St. Germain said.
Fishing rodeo ticket are $5 for the Junior Division, $25 for the Inside Division and $55 for the Offshore Division. To be eligible for the Junior Division, boys and girls cannot have reached their 16th birthday before June 30, 2020. Proof of age is required.
Tickets and books are available at Dago’s Mobil & Grocery, Hebert’s Mini Mart, Prop Shop, Cajun Guns and Tackle and Buckfins-N-Feathers.
IR&GC officials plan to start setting up the site Wednesday afternoon under and around the pavilion that serves as fishing rodeo headquarters along Quintana Canal. It will be rockin’ next weekend, especially when the live music plays Saturday and Sunday.
What will Offshore Division participation be like for the Fourth of July Weekend? The big boats traditionally go out Friday or Saturday and return Sunday.
“I know of a few, for sure,” the first-year fishing rodeo chairman said.
Will Sea Mistress, the 36-foot Lafco hull skippered by Jacques Hebert, fish?
“I’m almost positive he’s going to be one of them fishing. I’m hoping we have our normal,” he said.
Sea Mistress was unseated as the most dominating boat in fishing rodeo history last year by Aorta B Fishin’, skippered by Ryan Dearman of Denver, whose 36-foot Contender pulled off the upset and took home the Offshore Division’s Boat Captain’s Award. Dearman’s boat also boasted the Offshore Division’s Best All-Around Fisherman, Jordan Duhon.
Other 2019 champions were Faith Landry, Best All-Around Fisher(wo)man in the Junior Division and Kyle LeBlanc, the Inside Division’s Best All-Around Fisherman. The Inside Division’s Boat Captain’s Award went to Hunter Romero on Miss Communication, a 24-foot Nautic Star.