A big fish tale

David Prevost’s big day was October 15, 2015. Only two boats were fishing that day, his 31-foot Contender, the White Kap, and Coon Schouest on the Little Coon.

“We almost didn’t go,” chuckled Jeff DeBlieux, his fishing partner that day. “The weather didn’t look good. We made the decision in Houma at 5:30 a.m.”

“We knew there was a cold front coming and it might be the last chance of the year for a trip,” said Prevost.

Prevost and DeBlieux fished all morning to catch one tarpon. Schouest packed it in about 2:30 p.m. The pair decided to stay because it was likely the last tarpon fishing day of the year.

Between 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., lightning struck. They hooked 11 tarpon and caught 7. Three they estimated at 180 pounds and one taped at 202 pounds. All were released.

Then the big one hit.

“When he got close to the boat, I told Jeff to get the tape,” remembered Prevost, with a glimmer in his eye. “He was 46 by 95 (inches). I told Jeff to put him in the boat.”

“I had already decided to put him in,” said DeBlieux. “It was 10 minutes to 6 p.m.”

“I called Jimmy, the dock master,” said Prevost. “I asked him to stay and keep the scale out. They normally close at 6 p.m.

“He agreed. I kept thinking 225 or 230. When it went to 246 pounds, I couldn’t talk. I was speechless and in shock.”

“We had a biologist there within 20 minutes to certify it,” added DeBlieux

“And then the phone started ringing,” recalled Prevost with a big smile. I saw articles written in Japanese and Italian.”

Both men are in love with silver kings, but are aware that a lot less people chase them now than in the past. They estimated that over 100 boats fished tarpon seriously 30 years ago.

“My theory,” volunteered DeBlieux, “is that the old inboard boats back then were slow, so people fished closer to shore. Now we have fast modern boats that can easily be used to run out to blue water to catch tuna.

“I don’t know what’s the reason,” pondered Prevost. “There are just a lot less people doing it now.”

“They are missing that feeling with the tarpon jumps on the end of the line,” said DeBlieux.

“It’s a hard feeling to describe,” agreed Prevost. “It’s exciting.

“They are a hard fish to catch.”

About Jerald Horst 959 Articles
Jerald Horst is a retired Louisiana State University professor of fisheries. He is an active writer, book author and outdoorsman.

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