Alabama angler scores on 35-pound brute; may be Louisiana’s No. 4
Tom Kallam of Huntsville, Ala., said it best after a recent fishing trip in Venice.
“All the stars and planets aligned to be able to land this great fish and have it witnessed,” he said.
How big of a fish?
What about a monster tripletail weighing 35 pounds — a fish quite likely to be entered as the new No. 4 in the Louisiana Gamefish Records?
“It was incredible,” said Capt. Louis ‘Rok’ Rossignol with Venice Guide Service. “When I first saw the fish surface, I knew it would be a record.”
How the day started
Kallam and his wife, Erin, met Rossignol (504-481-7529) early Sept. 4, and they headed out to one of the passes south of Venice. Kallam said the weather cooperated, as slight winds out of the northeast allowed for calm seas and glass-flat waters.
“We blasted out of the landing and headed out to a sand bar where I knew there were plenty of huge redfish,” said Rossignol, who found redfish, with several bulls taken by 9:30 on live shrimp under popping corks.
“Ms. Erin caught the largest bull,” Rossignol said. “It measured 33 inches. Altogether, we had 10 big daddies: two over 27 inches, and the rest in the upper length of the slot.”
Rossignol said the action was also furious, as several big reds grabbed both popping corks and hooks, stretching out some of his leaders.
When the Kallam’s limit of redfish was reached, Rossignol motored south through shallow water to a close, offshore rig.
“Rok said that we were going after tripletail,” Kallam said. “I didn’t expect to take such a good fish, because all I had ever seen were young tripletails.”
Once they arrived in the vicinity of the rig, they pulled off the popping corks and began a few casts in 15 feet of water toward the structure’s legs.
“Rok told us to be careful, as the big fish have a tendency to run to the structure and wrap around it in order to escape,” Kallam said. “We were into our first few casts, getting bites, and fish would cut our baits in half. We couldn’t see the fish as the waters were murky.”
Kallam remembers flipping a large shrimp straight to the structure and letting it fall.
“I let it drop and allowed the fish take it, and then set the hook,” he said.
The fish quickly began moving, and Kallam did exactly what Rossignol advised: reeling and pulling the fish away from the structure.
The fish responded by making a strong long run, leaving Kallam’s reel singing.
“We eventually landed the fish, but it took about an hour,” Rossignol said. “The big fish ran away from the rig, and I just stayed on it with the trolling motor. The fish took us about a mile from the rig. I was concerned with it stretching the hook.”
Kallam said after 20 minutes or so, he was able to get the fish closer to Rossignol’s boat.
“Rok almost had him in the net, but the fish ran off again, taking drag, for another 25 minutes or so,” the angler said.
Pulled to the side of the boat again, it tried to run under the vessel; Rossignol finally netted the fish and hoisted it aboard.
Once the fish was put on ice, the anglers spent just a little more time fishing the rig, and Rossignol ended up catching another tripletail weighing 10 pounds.
After giving up on catching a few sheepshead, the anglers finished their day.
“I told the Kallams we had a great day, and then we ran back to Venice Marina,” Rossignol said.
The fish was first measured and officially weighed on certified scales at the marina.
And about the stars and planets aligning?
Brett Hano, a biologist with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, happened to be in the vicinity to officially inspect the fish for species identification. Hano also signed the Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association’s gamefish record application and carried all documentation back to his office.
The fish officially weighed 35.0 pounds. Its length was 381/2 inches, with a girth of 31 inches. If approved by the records committee of the Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association, it will be the new No. 4 tripletail in Louisiana history.
Kallam caught his trophy tripletail on a live shrimp hooked to a 60-pound fluorocarbon leader attached with a double-uni knot to 40-pound braid spooled on a 3500 Penn spinning real attached to a 7-foot Temple Fork Outfitters medium-heavy spinning rod.
“I have to say Capt. Rossignol delivered what he said he would, all of my expectations, but I never expected such a great tripletail in the catch,” Kallam said.