As years go, 2014 has been a keeper for young Corin Knight of Slidell, and it’s the kind that can make a daddy very proud.
Just a few months after being named Student of the Year at Boyet Middle School and winning a science fair, the 13-year-old became the youngest women’s champion — at least the youngest anybody can remember — of the Mississippi Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo.
Knight took the lead on the opening day of the 66th Rodeo on July 3 and never looked back, and it didn’t come easy.
“We started at 1 a.m. on the opening day, and ran out to Breton Sound to fish the nearby rigs,” said her dad, Robert Knight. “A storm surprised us at 2 a.m., and it lasted until 5 a.m., and we were faced with 5-foot seas in our 24-foot Triton bay boat. We had seas coming in over the bow of the boat and had to tie off to a rig and ride it out.”
The conditions did not deter the youngster, who had convinced her dad to help her compete in the event.
“She decided she wanted to compete as an adult and then convinced me to support her,” Robert Knight said. “She is an over-achiever.”
At 5 a.m., the storm passed and the Knights spent the rest of the Independence Day weekend catching fish. From the start, the teenager took ownership of the women’s division.
“After the seas laid down, we ran down to Venice and started catching fish,” Robert Knight said. “She was able to land five Rodeo keepers and we headed in to go to Gulfport and submit her catch.
“For the next three days, we were awake by 2 a.m., running out into the Gulf and then racing back to Gulfport to the rodeo to beat the 6 p.m. closing of the scales to get her catch weighed. She fished for four days solid, non-stop, and was able to maintain her Rodeo Queen position.”
Rodeo officials use a complex points system based on daily winners and overall leaders to determine its King and Queen titles. The key to success is posting leaders daily and building points throughout the weekend.
The Knights fished from Hopedale to Southwest Pass in Venice and Corin was able to post leaders in speckled trout, sheepshead, flounder, red snapper, mangrove snapper, jack crevalle and redfish.
A nice touch for the Knights was a father/daughter sweep in the sheepshead division, with dad winning first and daughter second on the overall leaderboard.
Another nice touch, Robert Knight said, was that in addition to Corin’s Queen title, another Slidell angler, Don Reker, took the King title.
“A Slidell sweep,” Knight said. “Score another one for Louisiana anglers.”