Third annual fishing tournament is largest kayak fishing event in state, third-largest in country
Grand Isle joined the kayak fishing tournament history books on Saturday when the Third Annual Ride the Bull tournament hosted a record number of kayak anglers. In all, 261 ’yakers filled Caminada Pass and helped propel the event to the largest kayak fishing tournament in Louisiana and the third largest in the country.
If you were at Bridgeside Marina early Saturday morning, you might have thought it was opening day of deer season: Hundreds of people milled about in bright-orange safety vests waiting on the 7 a.m. shotgun start of “RTB3.”
With ominous weather looming, anglers eagerly awaited the mad rush to stake out a prime spot in the pass in anticipation of “Riding the Bull.”
The event is the brainchild of Grand Isle residents Captains Danny and Kristen Wray as a way to showcase Grand Isle as a premiere kayak-fishing destination and kayak-friendly community.
On Thursday, Danny Wray was somewhat amazed at the number of kayakers pouring onto the island days ahead of the event.
“This thing is really becoming a festival,” Wray said.
For the next few days, it was difficult to spot a vehicle that wasn’t carrying or towing at least one kayak around Grand Isle.
The event is unique in that it is a live-weigh, bull redfish-only tournament. Several “chase” boats mill around through the hundreds of kayakers anchored up in the confined tournament boundaries of Caminada Pass; when a big red is landed by a participant, the chase boat takes the fish and puts it into an onboard tank.
After recording the angler’s entry number and the time of the catch, the fish is taken to Bridgeside Marina where CCA volunteers weigh, measure and tag it before releasing it alive back into the Pass.
On Saturday, the chase boats could hardly keep up with the action. Multiple hook-ups were the norm, and seemingly endless yells of “fish on” passed from one ’yak to another to get the chase crews’ attention.
More than 60 bull reds were caught and released during the tournament, which had to be shortened by several hours due to dangerous weather that moved in.
When all was said and done, it took a redfish just over 24 pounds to even make it into the top 10.
Mark Page of Slidell was crowned the 2012 Champion Bull Rider for landing a beast that weighed in at 32.28 pounds. Page took home a new Hobie Outback kayak and $1,250 in cash as his first place winnings.
In addition to the scores of bull reds caught, many black drum, sharks, jack crevalle and a handful of giant stingrays were also landed.
Final leader board:
1. Mark Page — 32.28 pounds
2. Joshua Bourg — 30.96 pounds
3. Charles Landry — 29.40 pounds
4. Aaron Oberste — 25.48 pounds
5. Kevin Tippett — 24.78 pounds
6. Derek Cabanis — 24.54
7. Steven Ramirez — 24.54
8. Joshua Bourg — 24.54
9. Jody Pillaro — 24.28
10. Steve Lessard — 24.12
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