CYPREMORT POINT — The 68-year-old New Iberia outdoorsman was feeling it, the various aches and pains associated with three days of preparation around Scotty’s Caboodle here before the unwanted arrival of Hurricane Ida.
Then there was the nerve-wracking weekend wait for the Category 4 storm to hit somewhere in Louisiana, which it did Aug. 29 around Port Fourchon. After that, starting Tuesday, there were a few more days cleaning up around his camp along the eastern shoreline of Vermilion Bay.
As a retiree and former owner of Overhead Door Co. in Lafayette, Perry Scott admittedly has more time to do that than others.
“I didn’t take the storm shutters down. I might leave them up for a few weeks,” Scott said Sept. 5 with a knowing smile exactly one week after the storm hit. He realizes, of course, it’s still the season.
Scott was talking about the storm and the camp he named after his father, the late Troy Scott, on the second day of the 61st annual Kay-Cee Saltwater Fishing Rodeo. Fish Karma, his 24-foot long Blue Wave, and its family crew weighed fish a few minutes earlier that day at Cypremort Point.
There was never any question of opting out of the fishing rodeo because his grandson, Hayden Amy, 12, had his heart set on fishing it. Scott and his son, Brooks Amy, and Hayden fished the first two days of the three-day event that started Sept. 4 and ended Labor Day Monday.
“He wanted to fish it. It makes it worth it when I’m on the water with my son and grandson. Next week it’s off to Texas for the deer season, getting the deer lease ready, the deer feeders going and all,” Scott said about plans to tend to his deer hunting lease near Tilden, Texas, south of San Antonio.
Finding fuel in the days leading up to the fishing rodeo was a challenge. Again, he was up to the task and managed to get gas for his boat and tow vehicle, etc.
“What I did, I went to St. Mary Dock, filled up cans, then went back and got 25 more gallons,” Scott said.
“We go all over. (But) we don’t burn a lot of gas. I think we burned 20 gallons over two days (of fishing). We do it for fun. It’s all about my son, man. He wants to fish, we let him fish,” Brooks Amy, who took over his dad’s business two years ago, said.
The results were lagniappe. Amy, the veteran skipper, and crew earned the Boat Captain’s Award and young Amy, a seventh-grader at Catholic High School, led wire-to-wire to win the Kids Division’s Best All-Around Fisherman title in his first-ever Kay-Cee event.
“The best thing is being with my family and having a good time together,” the elder Amy said.
Scott finished with a first-place flounder, a hefty 2.96-pounder, and third-place drum (2.68 pounds) and “slot” redfish (4.75 pounds).
Another fishing rodeo-goer this past weekend spent most of the day Aug. 29 huddled for protection from the storm in a closet with her brother, her mother and her mother’s boyfriend inside their home in Laplace. Hurricane Ida raged outside and when the storm passed, the roof was almost gone, windows blown out resulting in interior water damage and a tree resting on the crumpled windshield of a car.
A week later, Joleigh Ragusa, 3, was being spared the heat and related discomforts of digging out, cleaning up and moving forward by spending the three-day holiday weekend in the Teche Area and, especially, in and around Vermilion Bay. The girl and her mother, Amanda Ragusa, lived in Acadiana before moving recently to Laplace.
While living in this part of the state, Joleigh stayed at a daycare in Broussard. Nicole Romero of New Iberia worked there and developed a bond and trusting relationship with Joleigh and Amanda.
Post-Hurricane Ida, Romero and her husband, Brad Romero, took the 3-year-old in. Joleigh wanted to go on the boat and she did, happily, despite the heat while wrapped in a mermaid-themed life jacket start to finish. She was all smiles when the Romeros docked their 21 ½-foot long Blazer Bay to weigh fish Saturday.
“She had a blast,” Nicole Romero said, proud of the mutual trust between her, the girl’s mother and the girl.
“She’s my world,” she said before the fishing rodeo’s awards ceremony on a rainy third and final day.
Nicole Romero still remembers her frantic calls to the Ragusa family that went unanswered during the height of the storm Aug. 29. Joleigh’s “adopted” granny, as she called herself, was stressing out trying to find out how the Ragusas fared at Ground Zero.
She remembers thinking, “It wasn’t supposed to be that bad. They rode out the storm.”
The Romeros enjoyed taking their young guest fishing. Obviously, it took the weight of current events off their mind and more than likely the toddler’s.
“I love this little tournament,” said Brad Romero, who cashed in with a second-place speckled trout.