Part folk festival, part kayak fishing tournament — but all fun, with a little bit of Woodstock peace, love and redfish thrown in — Ride the Bull VI is poised and ready for another record-breaking year out of Grand Isle's Bridge Side Marina on Aug. 15.
The one-day only bull redfish tournament featuring human-powered vessels including kayaks, canoes, paddle boards and pirogues has consistently topped itself each year, as hundreds and hundreds of anglers turn out — and then churn out — into Caminada Pass in pursuit of the winning fish.
“Registration is up and running and we’re moving,” Chris Holmes, event volunteer, said. “I think we’re over 200 registered already, and everybody kind of waits to the last minute.
“But we’re definitely expecting another big turnout. Registrations are coming in daily”
While the format of the tournament remains the same, organizers have instituted a couple of changes in anticipation of another record crowd for 2015.
“We are extending the fishing boundaries in Caminada Pass to give everyone a little more room,” Holmes said. “We’re going to go a couple of hundred yards further on the northeast side of the Highway 1 bridge to include an area known as ‘The Crack’ and open that up a little bit, which will all be explained at the safety meeting.
“And the other thing we’re doing to help with congestion is we are also going to allow participants to launch from Elmer’s Island this year right across the pass.”
The entry fee is $75, but online registration closes on Aug. 9. And entries received after Aug. 1 are not guaranteed a T-shirt size, Holmes said.
“After Aug. 9, the only way they can register is at the tournament on Friday the 14th, or at Bridge Side the morning of the 15th,” he said. “Onsite registration is $85.”
Five Wilderness Systems kayaks will be awarded for first through fifth place, along with a cash prize for first through 10th. In addition, sixth through 10th places also will get a prize pick.
But as always — despite the impressive list of prizes — the event is more about camaraderie as much as it is a friendly competition. Dash Rip Rock is scheduled to play in the pavilion at Bridge Side Marina Saturday night.
“Everybody gets that the tournament is as much about a fun festival as it is about a serious competition because there’s just not a whole lot you can do,” Holmes said. “I can’t make a redfish bite a chunk of mullet on my hook much better than you can if we’re fishing side by side.
“There’s no casting finesse or anything to it - its as much of a luck tournament as it is a fun tournament.”
Last year, 732 people from 16 states participated, along with a couple of international entrants. Holmes is hoping for similar numbers next month.
“Everybody’s excited about it again. I hear lots of new people saying they’re going, so we’re hoping for another good turnout, but no matter what it’s going to be a good fun time and everybody’s going to enjoy it,” he said. “We’re ready for them.
“Last year we told them to bring a friend and they did, and we were over 700. So we’re telling them to bring two friends this year.”
To register online for Ride the Bull VI, click here.