Twenty-two-year-old UL Lafayette student Chris Bishop is majoring in industrial technology, but Saturday morning about 80 miles south of Cypremort Point he got a serious lesson in physics.
Bishop reeled in a giant 257.4-pound Warsaw grouper shortly after 4 a.m. while participating in the St. Thomas More Catholic High School 4th Annual Fishing Rodeo.
“It really actually wasn’t too much of a fight,” Bishop said. “Just a lot of dead weight to pull straight up.
“But he gave up about halfway through.”
If the fish is accepted by the Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association, it will become the eighth-ranked Warsaw grouper taken in state waters.
Bishop was part of a six-man offshore crew on Jake Onebane’s 36-foot Yellowfin, Krunch Time, that took off from Cypremort Point about 5 a.m. Friday.
They were targeting grouper in 375-feet of water early Saturday morning fishing cut bait on the bottom, but Bishop had no idea how big the fish was until he reeled him up to the surface after about a 45-minute fight.
“I didn’t know what to expect size-wise,” he said. “But it took three of us to lug him onboard.”
Onebane said fishing had been relatively slow offshore, and he and his crew had worked hard to find the bite. Everyone was starting to wind down early Saturday morning when the big grouper got hooked up.
“Chris, being as young and energetic as he is, said he wasn’t going to sleep until he got the Warsaw bite because we knew we needed one for the tournament,” Onebane said.
The big grouper was landed with a Shimano Tiagra 50 reel spooled with 250-pound PowerPro braid on a J&M Premium Deep Drop Rod. Onebane said he used a 6-foot, 500-pound Jinkai leader with a 20/0 Mustad circle hook and a 1,000-pound barrel swivel.
And like lots of good fish stories, the big grouper almost became the proverbial one that got away.
“About ten minutes into the fight, he locked up and was hung in the rig,” Onebane said. “We honestly thought we had lost the fish. I was actually pulling out a new leader.”
But they eased the Krunch Time back up to the rig, then pulled away at a different angle and the big fish worked free.
“That was a blessing in disguise, because once we got him loose, he was about at half strength,” Onebane said. “He had worn himself out hung up in the rig.”
Buoyed by the rodeo-record grouper, as well as a white marlin and blue marlin caught earlier Friday afternoon, the group took first place in the the Offshore Division of the STM Rodeo.
It was a trip they won’t soon forget.
“We’ve caught some 110-and 120-pounders, but never one of the true giants,” Onebane said of the big grouper. “To see one up close and finally get that bite we’ve been waiting ten years for was pretty awesome.”
In addition to Onebane and Bishop, crew members included Nick Knight, Daniel James, Andre’ Hebert and Brennan Bishop.
As for the grouper itself, Chris Bishop said it was promptly cleaned and distributed amongst his buddies.
“I gave him away to a bunch of friends,” he said. “He’s already been eaten.”