Peace, love and redfish will be in the air in exactly one month when Ride the Bull 8 kicks off and the world’s largest kayak tournament churns into Caminada Pass off Grand Isle.
The one-day tournament slated for Saturday, Aug. 26 — which focuses on catching the biggest bull red from a paddlecraft in about a seven-hour window — has developed almost a mystical reputation revolving much more around camaraderie, friendship, food and music than fishing prowess.
“It’s much more of a festival than a regular fishing tournament,” said tournament director Rad Trascher, with Coastal Conservation Association-Louisiana. “It’s an opportunity for kayak enthusiasts, and people who just love the outdoors, to get together in one place and have a good time.
“Typical kayak tournaments are more of a solitary sport, but this is 700 of your closest friends within about a quarter-mile of each other.”
All the action takes place within Caminada Pass near Bridge Side Marina, which makes for quite a spectacle as participants head out bright and early at the 7:30 a.m. shotgun start.
“Everybody has their own tactics, but I would definitely say heavy Carolina rigs fished on the bottom — and just hoping to get lucky — are big keys,” Trascher said. “The real trick is knowing what to do with it once you have a bite, like making sure you stay upright and don’t flip over.”
The entry fee is $75 per person, and $65 for kids 17 and under, which includes dinner Friday night, lunch on Saturday plus a high performance Aftco shirt and ditty bag.
After August 11, the price bumps up to $85 per person and $75 for kids 17 and under, and you aren’t guaranteed your size shirt.
You can register the day of the event at Bridge Side, and the price remains the same as after Aug. 11, but you aren’t guaranteed a shirt or ditty bag — so Trascher said to register now.
“We want to know who’s coming, and hopefully we’ll break the attendance record set two years ago,” he said. “We lost a few people last year, mainly from the flooding, but still had over 600 participants, so we’d like to get as many as possible.”
While luck definitely plays a part in who wins, the prizes are definitely no joke: More than $10,000 in cash will be awarded (based on a minimum field of 600 anglers), plus numerous kayaks and other prizes will be given away as well.
“The prizes given to us by our sponsors, including Aftco, Wilderness Systems, Academy Sports and Outdoors, The Backpacker, BullBuster, Lowrance and Shimano, are really staggering for one event,” Trascher said. “We’re talking about giving away a ton of prizes. It’s pretty lucrative.”
Online registration closes Tuesday, Aug. 22 — to register, click here.
Trascher reminded anglers to visit Ride the Bull’s social media pages for helpful hints and clues on how to land a winning red next month.
Organizers do their best to set anglers up for success by picking a day with good tidal movement, he said.
“What we do when we pick the day is obviously try to time it with the end of August because that’s when the bulls come into that area,” he said. “But Capt. Danny Wray and I sat down and looked at the tide charts and thought this was the most ideal scenario.”