The oldest fishing tournament in the United States is set to do it one more time this week, as the International Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo officially gets underway Thursday at daylight.
Anglers can once again compete in big game, shoreline and inside divisions, as well as a tag-and-release tarpon and a tag-and-release big game division, plus a five-fish redfish stringer, according to rodeo Pavilion Coordinator Tommy Ory.
Kids will also be able to participate in eight categories in the children’s division: hardhead catfish, gafftop catfish, croaker, channel mullet, flounder, redfish under 27 inches, speckled trout and white trout, he said.
Ticket sales have been brisk so far, Ory said.
“It seems to be a little above average. This is the first year we did online registration, so I don’t know if more people took advantage of that,” he said. “But I personally have been getting a lot of calls from out-of-state. Now we always have out-of-state people register for the rodeo, but my phone has been ringing off the wall, which is unusual.
“I hope that’s a good sign.”
All fish entered in the rodeo competition must be registered and weighed at rodeo headquarters, with legal fishing waters including all Louisiana inshore and offshore territorial waters and the Gulf of Mexico.
The official scales at Sand Dollar Marina will close at 8 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, and at 6 p.m. on Saturday. The pavilion, located next door, opens to the public each day at 11 a.m.
All registered participants are eligible to win the rodeo’s grand prize: A Model 2170 center console Blazer Bay boat, complete with a 150 Mercury motor, a Motorguide Great White trolling motor and trailer.
Mail-in and electronic registration is closed, but tickets are plentiful on Grand Isle, and Ory said registration can be completed each day at the pavilion.
“They can register every day up until 8 Saturday night,” he said. “Some people buy the $40 ticket just to have a chance on the boat, so we sell tickets up until 8 p.m. even though the scales close at 6 on Saturday. “
Basic tickets are once again $40 each and include a chance at the grand prize, a tarpon rodeo cap and a program, he said. Upgraded tickets also can be purchased for $100 and include a special cap, a fishing shirt, a koozie, a rodeo poster plus a second chance for the boat.
Musical entertainment over the three-day stretch will include Rockin’ Dopsie, the Top Cats and the Wiseguys.
For a complete listing of all fishing categories and rodeo rules, click here.