With or without favorable water conditions, good times are ahead at Cypremort Point starting on the Fourth of July, the first day of the three-day Iberia Rod & Gun Club Saltwater Fishing Rodeo.
The 66th edition of the storied fishing rodeo still just might have the best of both worlds — improved saltwater fishing in and around Vermilion Bay and tons of fun, food and music onshore when the big day rolls around at fishing rodeo headquarters under the pavilion along Quintana Canal. Why? With the Atchafalaya River stage dropping ever so slowly and occasional westerly winds recently bringing salty water as far as Tee Butte, there may be more fishable water for dozens of saltwater anglers to cover.
“The water’s actually getting better toward Tee Butte. I’m hoping it stays good to get the fish coming in there,” veteran fishing rodeo chairman Brock Pellerin of Jeanerette said Thursday afternoon while on his way to Grand Isle.
Pellerin, a member of the Southcentral Fishing Association, which has been fishing its “slot” redfish tournaments since late March, knows as well as anyone the challenges of the past few months in inside waters, which have been mostly muddy and fresh because of the Atchafalaya River discharge at Morgan City and at the mouth of the Wax Lake Outlet. The latter keeps the eastern side of the bay in a continual flux.
There were other reports this past week, after a few days of west or northwest winds, of speckled trout being caught west of Marsh Island, specifically around Tee Butte. Those reports were music to the ears of long-suffering saltwater fishermen who want to stick first-, second- and or third-place fish on the leaderboard in the Inside Division.
The fishing rodeo gets underway at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, July 4, and ends when the scales close at 1 p.m. Saturday, July 6.
Pellerin, 37, can’t wait. Neither can co-fishing rodeo chairman Josh Pellerin, weighmasters Mackie Boudreaux and T.J. Bonin, and the rest of the hard-working board at IR&GC. They have another meeting set up for Monday at the home of board member and former fishing rodeo chairman Chad LeBlanc.
“We’re going to finalize everything, tighten all the screws, sew up all the loose ends and make sure we know who does what,” Pellerin said before his weekend of R&R at Grand Isle. “You know, we’ve got a good group of people who work hard and it pays off in the end.”
The 56-page fishing rodeo brochure, chock full of fishing rodeo information and ads from people and businesses supporting the local event, is out on the street. Tickets are available at Cajun Guns & Tackle in New Iberia, Dago’s Mobil and Grocery and Hebert’s Mini-Mart, both in Lydia, Buck Fins & Feathers in Broussard, and Pack and Paddle and The Prop Shop, both in Lafayette.
The brochure was printed by Sir Speedy, Pellerin said, praising the local print company.
“Sir Speedy does an excellent job for us. They really help us our a lot. Those guys are great over there,” Pellerin said about owners Nick and Paula Pellerin.
Ticket prices are $5 for the Junior Division, $25 for the Inside Division or Kayak Division and $55 for the Offshore Division. To qualify for the Junior Division, a boy or girl cannot have reached his or her 16th birthday before June 30, 2019. Proof of age is required.
Eligible fish in the Inside Division are redfish, speckled trout, flounder, white trout, sheepshead, drum, croaker, garfish and “slot” redfish (16 inches to 26 inches). Those same fish are eligible in the Junior Division.
The Offshore Division’s eligible fish are yellowfin tuna, blackfin tuna, wahoo, bonita, tripletail, barracuda, mangrove snapper, lemonfish, dolphin, grouper, king mackerel and red snapper.
Pellerin plans to “give a heads up and spread the word” at Wednesday night’s Iberia Parish Council meeting, he said, noting he will emphasize you don’t have to be a fisherman or fisherwoman to enjoy a good time alongside Quintana Canal.
He’s proud to announce the lineup of bands scheduled to play live music under the pavilion each day, starting with the Brittany Pool Band from 6-9 p.m. Thursday. On Saturday, from 1-6 p.m. Friday, anglers and visitors will be entertained by Cajun Company. Closing out the holiday event will be The Bad Boys Band, which is scheduled to play from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday.
Food will be prepared for Tuesday night’s Captain’s Supper by Murphy Meyers, a candidate for Iberia Parish Sheriff. The free supper will be served during the meeting, which is held for participating anglers to go over rules and regulations as well as an opportunity to enter the Calcutta.
On Friday, Gerrit “T-Blu” Landry of Patoutville, an IR&GC board member and charter boat captain who owns Gotta Have Faith Charters, is scheduled to prepare a meal for the masses.
On Saturday, Iberia Parish sheriff candidate Roberta Boudreaux is scheduled to cook lunch for the crowd on the third and final day.