Louisiana is certainly no stranger when it comes to record-breaking fishing rodeos -dating back to 1928, the Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo is the oldest tournament in the country.
But now, Grand Isle may become the holder of yet another title: Ride the Bull IV is poised to become the world’s largest kayak fishing rodeo.
Set for this Saturday, August 17, Ride the Bull needs only a handful of additional entrants to surpass the JAX Kayak Fishing Classic that has claimed the title since 2005.
This is no easy feat considering Jacksonville is the largest city by contiguous area in the U.S., and the largest city by population in the state of Florida.
Comparing head-to-head statistics, Grand Isle comes in as a mighty underdog. The inhabited barrier island is about only eight square miles and has a full-time residential population of around 1,300.
On the other hand, Jacksonville has nearly 840,000 residents and covers 840 square miles. The JAX Classic’s top attendance was 435 kayaks in 2012, a testament to the tournament’s growth and organization that started with 100 kayakers at its inaugural event.
JAX has claimed the title of being the largest kayak fishing tournament in the world for the last nine years, but hat may all change Saturday in tiny Grand Isle.
It must be the fishing.
“We’re already over 400 and our history has shown an average of 10-20 contestants sign up each day in the last week before the tournament,” said tournament founder, Capt. Danny Wray. “Preparations are being made at Bridgeside Marina to handle the record-breaking crowds.”
World record or not, Ride the Bull IV will definitely shatter the record for the largest kayak fishing tournament ever held in Louisiana. That record was set in March by the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club’s Paddle Palooza tournament, which had 272 participants.
Ride the Bull is a unique format: the kayakers will head out on a shotgun start into a defined area of Caminada Pass. Live bull redfish will be retrieved from the ‘yakers by powerboats and taken to the dock for weighing, tagging and releasing.
More than just a kayak fishing tournament, Ride the Bull has truly evolved into Wray’s dream of a festival celebrating everything that kayak fishing has to offer... a true “Yakstock” if you will.