Simon Guidry was underweight, overmatched and outmanned when he picked a fight with a 305-pound Warsaw grouper Friday afternoon, but the Cutoff angler still managed to come out on top.
Guidry, all 5-foot-11-inches and 180 pounds of him, managed to reel in the giant 6-foot, 10-inch fish that could be the new No. 5-ranked Warsaw grouper in the state if certified by the Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association.
“I felt like I was in a wrestling match,” Guidry said. “It felt like he was on the bottom the whole way. I’d make a little headway and then he would take it all back. It was a fight. It took every bit I had.
“But I wasn’t giving up. I said, ‘Y’all better tie a jug to my ankles in case he pulls me in.”
Guidry was fishing on board the Trigger, a 60-foot Bertram, with Capt. Albert Ballard and Master Plan Fishing Charters during the Fourchon Oilman’s Fishing Tournament when he got hooked up about 2 p.m. that afternoon in 450- to 500-feet of water.
He was fishing with a bull croaker when the grouper bit, he said.
“I wasn’t on the bottom for maybe five minutes and I started getting a tug,” he said. “When I started reeling, I fought for about 15 to 20 minutes and my arms were getting numb and I was sweating. I was trying to straighten up.”
At that point, Ballard slipped a vest on him and clipped it to the reel, and the fight continued.
“He said, ‘You’re almost halfway done.’ I’m thinking there’s now way I’m going to get this fish up,” Guidry said. “But we just kept on and kept on and I would take turns between my arms and my back, and after about 45 minutes, he came up. It looked like a big buoy just popped up”
Predictably, the massive fish drew a crowd at weigh-in later that afternoon, especially when there was some difficulty getting him out of the boat.
“It kind of took a little while, so people started gathering,” Guidry said. “When they finally got that thing hung, everybody wanted to take a picture with it. It was crazy.”
Guidry, who was fishing with a team from Joe’s Septic Contractors, placed first in the rodeo’s grouper division, and said plans are in the works to get a replica made of the giant.
“The fish is already filleted,” he said. “We fed a bunch of people with that fish.”