Young event adds categories, considers more after season closes
When a handful of Catholic High alumni got together six years ago, the idea was to carry their allegiance to their school steps beyond their Baton Rouge campus, beyond the Men’s Club annual steak dinner, golf tournaments and big-ticket auction affairs.
And they wanted to do something outside of the school’s August through May calendar. That meant the summer. Fun was mentioned, too.
And because the ties that bound them were Catholic High and a love for angling along the Louisiana coast, the equation adding old grads, summer, fun and fishing could equal only one thing, the Catholic High Alumni Fishing Rodeo.
Friday and Saturday, Moran’s Marina at Port Fourchon is the stage for the fifth-annual rodeo.
Even Chris Moran, a Redemptorist High loyalist to his marrow, has been a witness to the growth of this annual gathering and wants other high schools alumni groups to get in on the action.
Such rodeos among a handful of New Orleans area high schools has served as models for a succession of alumni fishing events in other schools across south Louisiana, and Moran would like to have more, maybe even to the point where there would be a one-time, end-of-the-summer, winner-take-all fishing competition among the high-school alumni groups.
“We all know how competitive most of these guys were
in high school. Most of them made friends playing against each other when they were teenagers, and it would be great to get them together to compete in a fishing tournament,” Moran said.
Not just yet: The Catholic High guys crawled before they walked, and had to take 2010 off in the wake of the BP-Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, but have speeded up their pace for this week’s rodeo.
A youth division, for anglers ages 5-16, is new this year, and the youngsters will compete in the same categories in the Rodeo Division.
For the first time, there will be prizes for the heaviest fish in each category after Friday’s first weigh-in.
There is a problem, though. Months of preparation and meetings left the rodeo committee settling on 12 categories, triggerfish among them.
But earlier this month, in a startling pronouncement, the National Marine Fisheries Service yanked gray triggerfish from the recreational fishing list and closed the season on the species through the end of the year.
The committee will meet this week to determine if another species will be added to lists that include speckled trout, redfish (16 inches to less than 27 inches long), flounder, red snapper, cobia, mangrove snapper, yellowfin tuna, bull dolphin, wahoo, white trout and blackfin tuna.
It’s possible that king mackerel will be added.
Best is that there are more prizes than species categories. These include “master angler” rig, bluewater and inshore competitions. Points are awarded for the top six entries in each of these three divisions to determine the rodeo’s top angler.
Calcutta contests are offered in speckled trout, redfish, mangrove snapper and offshore grand slam categories. Teams can enter $50 or $100 Calcutta pots or both with teams (six anglers maximum) putting together their five heaviest speckled trout, five heaviest mangrove snapper, three heaviest redfish measuring at least 16 inches but less than 27 inches and the heaviest combined weight of tuna, wahoo and bull dolphin.
Entry deadline for the Calcuttas is midnight Thursday.
There’s a $60 rodeo entry fee that includes meals Friday and Saturday and liquid refreshments.
Registration will be at a “captain’s meeting” 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Catholic High Student Union on the Hearthstone Drive campus. Anglers also can register beginning at 6 p.m. Thursday at Moran’s Marina.
Weigh-in hours are 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.
Fishing begins at 5:30 a.m. Friday.