When Bebe McElroy and husband Victor set out from Cocodrie to fish the Desk and Derrick Club’s Diva Rodeo on July 13, they had two target fish in mind: bull reds and stingrays.
What McElroy had no way of knowing was that she would land the pending Louisiana state-record stingray.
The 185-pound ray will take the top position in the record books if accepted by the Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association, the official holder of the Louisiana State Fish Records.
“That fish has been a target for almost 30 years,” said McElroy, who has fished numerous rodeos with her husband. “It was so much fun. I get all excited. I get verklempt just talking about it. But, it was just a thrill of a lifetime.”
On July 15, Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association Fish Records Chairman Steve McNemar said McElroy’s catch was one of several stingrays entered recently.
“Evidently the stingrays have been eating well or nothing has been eating them,”McNemar said. “I just sent out a certificate for what was the new No. 2 stingray on July 10; it weighed 133 pounds.
“I then received another application for the new No. 1 that weighed 152 pounds. However, with the 30-day waiting period, it may become the new No. 2 if McElroy’s new application checks out.”
McElroy said she and her husband target stingrays because they want to qualify for largest miscellaneous category in fishing rodeos.
For the past 25 years, the McElroys have fished the Houma Oilman’s Rodeo. Several years ago, her husband won the miscellaneous fish category with a 90-pound stingray.
“For years, Vic and I have been catching these stingrays and bringing them to various rodeos for miscellaneous largest fish,” McElroy said. “People were scared to death of them; they wouldn’t get within 10 feet of a little bitty stingray. It’s not going to hurt you.
“I think that we’ve been to several rodeos, and people have figured out you can bring these things in and you don’t have to be afraid of them.”
McElroy said she used a piece of cut mullet to catch her potential record stingray.