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Tim Champagne’s massive mangrove snapper could set state, world marks

Photo provided by TIM CHAMPAGNEAvid Lafayette fishermen Tim Champagne holds what could become the new state record mangrove snapper, and possibly a new world record after he caught the giant in the Ship Shoal blocks July 22 on a trip with charter skipepr Andre Boudreaux. The fish was weighed and positively identified by a state marine fisheries biologist and measured just an eighth of an inch short of 32 inches and weighed 18.63 pounds. The existing State Top 10 Fish Records top mangrove is a 14.36 pounder caught by Micahel Lorio Sr. in June 2008, and the International Game fish Association lists the world record at 7.71 kilograms (17 pounds) taken by Steve Maddox near Port Canaveral, Florida June 14, 1992. Campagne submitted his catch to the State Fish Records Committee of the Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association last week.

It’s a week since Tim Champagne said was his best-ever day on the water, and the 47-year-old from Lafayette still has a tough time believing it. It was the day before the Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo began, and while hundreds of boats were readying for the rodeo, Champagne was taking the only option he had, heading out… Continue reading →

Macaluso: Another chance for red snapper fishermen

Next week, Monday, Aug. 10 through Thursday, Aug. 13, will mark another chapter in the long history of the Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council meetings. This one is scheduled for the Jefferson Ballroom inside the Hilton Riverside in downtown New Orleans. Tuesday’s agenda is devoted to the council’s Reef… Continue reading →

Outdoors calendar

TUESDAY ACADIANA FLY RODDERS PROGRAM: 6:30 p.m., first Tuesday monthly, Grace Presbyterian Church Hall, 415 Roselawn, Lafayette. Call Richard Latiolais (337) 354-8957. WEDNESDAY PONTCHARTRAIN BASIN FLY FISHERS MEETING: 6:30 p.m., Beach House Grill, 124 Girod St., Mandeville. Call Corey Tohme (985) 624-9331. Website:pbasinflyfishers.blogspot.com. THURSDAY LOUISIANA WILDLIFE & FISHERIES COMMISSION MEETING: 9:30 a.m., Louisiana Room, Wildlife & Fisheries headquarters, Quail… Continue reading →

Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo Final Results

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- 2015  Rodeo President John Georges, right, gives the first place trophy for a 6 pound gafftop catfish to Riley Fortier, left, in the Children's Division during the third and final day of the 2015 International Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo.

GRAND ISLE — Saturday’s final results from the three-day 87th annual International Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo with anglers, their hometowns (when available; captain & boat names listed in Tarpon Tag & Release; angler and boat names in Big Game Tag & Release) and weight of their catch in pounds and ounces. The Redfish Stringer category… Continue reading →

Tim Champagne’s mangrove snapper could break not only state mark but international

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Blake Rymer, left, holds a 4-pound speckled trout as Tommy Vidrine holds a 4-pound, 4-ounce speckled trout  Friday at theGrand Isle International Tarpon Rodeo. The pair are part of the "Beatin Bangin" team.

The news hit like a bolt from the blue, and Tim Champagne’s story about catching gigantic mangrove snapper Wednesday off the Louisiana coast will echo across the Deep South and possibly around the world. Facebook brought the first word: Champagne was with veteran charter skipper Andre Boudreaux, the former owner of Boudreaux’s Marina in Cocodrie. They were using live… Continue reading →

Calendar for Sunday, July 26

MONDAY RED STICK FLY FISHERS FLY-TYING SESSION: 7 p.m., Cabela’s, Gonzales. Call Pete Bongiovanni (225) 313-3813 . Website: www.rsff.org. FIN-ADDICT FLY FISHERS MEETING: 6:30 p.m., Spahr’s Seafood Restaurant, 1400 W. Tunnel Blvd., Houma. Stephen Robert (985) 850-0082. finaddictflyfishers.blogspot.com. THURSDAY NEW ORLEANS FLY FISHERS MEETING: 7 p.m., Whitney Bank, 1441 Metairie Rd., New Orleans. Call Sean Gilthorpe (504) 259-2329. FRIDAY… Continue reading →

State’s fishing glass still half full

GRAND ISLE To say it’s hot on our state’s only inhabited island at the end of July is akin to saying the sun rises in the east. It’s a given, a fact we brace against every year much like our northern brothers and sisters bear up to in the… Continue reading →

Late storms, power outage can’t dampen fishing fanatics’ fun during final day of the International Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Holding their 46 pounds, 8 ounces Black Drum are, from left, Jacob Babin, Lance Babin, Ted Babin and Jonathan Babin who caught the fish during the third and final day of the 2015 International Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo.

GRAND ISLE — The three-day run of the 87th annual International Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo proved once again that neither west wind, nor rough seas, nor a power outage can keep south Louisiana anglers from their appointments with catching fish. And the brave souls who competed for three days in topsy-turvy seas caught… Continue reading →

Livingston team wins high school Bassmaster nationals

McKENZIE, Tenn. — From start to finish, Alex Heintze and Justin Watts of Denham Springs held the lead at the Costa Bassmaster High School National Championship. Saturday, the tournament’s final day, the Livingston Parish Bassmasters team added a third consecutive 20-plus-pound catch and made their win official. After three days on Kentucky Lake, the teenagers caught 66 pounds… Continue reading →

Chad Matherne beats the buzzer with his 51-pound, 2-ounce wahoo to cap the second day of the International Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Chad Matherne, right, of Bayou Gauche, carries his 51 pound, 2 ounce wahoo with some help from Brittany Dufrene Breaux, left, and his wife Crystal Matherne, center, during the second day of the 2015 International Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo. Checking into the weigh station in the last half hour, the wahoo weight is good for first place at this time. All are part of team "Freakin Weekend".

GRAND ISLE — There’s nothing like beating a deadline, and Chad Matherne beat one Friday to claim the top spot in wahoo going into Saturday’s third and final day of the 87th International Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo. Matherne’s 51-pound, 2-ounce bluewater catch hit the scales at the Sand Dollar Marina just two minutes before weighmaster… Continue reading →

Grand Isle Rodeo results

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Tessa Gates, from Metairie, holds her 9 pound, 14 ounce and 9 pound, 6 ounce mangrove snappers good for first at the time during the second day of the 2015 International Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo.

GRAND ISLE — Friday’s second-day results from the three-day 87th-annual International Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo with anglers, their hometowns (boats listed in Tag & Release divisions) and weight of their catch in pounds and ounces. The Redfish Stringer category is the weight of five redfish measuring a minimum of 16 inches by less than 27 inches. Points awarded… Continue reading →

Kurt Cheramie lands rodeo’s first tarpon

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- With the first tarpon caught by Kurt Cheramie, second from left, aboard the Rock & Roll are, from left, John DeBlieux, Kurt Cheramie, Cory Cheramie and Jeff DeBlieux, from Houma,. The fish weighed in at 82 pounds, 2 ounces during the first day of the 2015 International Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo.

GRAND ISLE — Kurt Cheramie was all smiles at 9:15 Thursday morning. Why? For the third straight year, either he or his son Cory, rang the bell for the International Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo with the rodeo’s first tarpon. As Thursday’s first day of the 87th annual rodeo played out, Cheramie wasn’t the… Continue reading →

Louisiana fall inshore shrimp season will begin Aug. 17

Louisiana’s fall inshore shrimp season will begin at 6 a.m., Monday, Aug. 17 after the Louisiana Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission voted in a special meeting Thursday afternoon in Baton Rouge. Tthe commission heard suggestions about the season from state marine biologists and from shrimpers, who appeared to be divided about opening on the state-law-mandated opening no… Continue reading →

John Georges takes Grand Isle rodeo reins

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Gary Krouse, left, videos 2015  Rodeo President John Georges, right, driving the Coast Guard Search and Rescue Boat during the President's Harbor Tour prior to the 2015 International Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo.

GRAND ISLE — John Georges wasn’t around in 1928 when a group of adventuresome south Louisianans came up with the idea of gathering on the state’s only inhabited barrier island for a weekend of fishing and fun — and competition only the most devoted saltwater fishermen know and understand. Yet the history of what’s now the International Grand Isle… Continue reading →

Coast still battling west winds

A midsummer high pressure system sitting over south Louisiana usually is a good omen for freshwater and coastal action. Sure it’s hot, but these systems often bring variable breezes and extra-light seas. This is one of those “often” times: Look for the Friday through Sunday run of 5-15 knot west winds and mostly… Continue reading →

Outdoor calendar for Thursday, July 23

THURSDAY-SATURDAY INTERNATIONAL GRAND ISLE TARPON RODEO: Sand Dollar Marina & Rodeo Pavilion, Grand Isle. Call Tommy Ory (504) 439-1779. LOUISIANA DUCKS UNLIMITED STATE CONVENTION: Double Tree Hotel, 1521 W. Pinhook Road, Lafayette. Includes July 24 Roadkill Cookoff & July 25 annual banquet. Call Kurt Cazayoux (337) 739-4505 or Derrick Davis (337) 534-7999. FRIDAY FRIDAY NIGHT COOKIE JAR BASS TOURNAMENT:… Continue reading →

Younger anglers proving themselves in fishing rodeos

Advocate owner/publisher John Georges

It’s become noticeable this year, and for the past three fishing rodeo summers, that the torch has been passed to the next generation of adventuresome Louisiana fishermen. Gone are the days when charterboat trips captained by long-remembered men like Doc Kennedy and Charlie Hardison, among others, arrived at rodeos spread from Golden Meadow to Grand Isle with… Continue reading →

Macaluso: Representative finds way to break red snapper inertia

ORLANDO, Fla. — Work through any basic physics class, and among the first lessons learned is how difficult it is to break inertia. This part of Newton’s first law became evident last week at ICAST in Orlando, Florida, the giant fishing trade show, when applied to fishing and fishing legislation. It’s been more than two years since the… Continue reading →

Outdoors calendar

THURSDAY-SATURDAY LOUISIANA DUCKS UNLIMITED STATE CONVENTION: Double Tree Hotel, 1521 W. Pinhook Road, Lafayette. Includes July 24 Roadkill Cookoff & July 25 annual banquet. Call Kurt Cazayoux (337) 739-4505 or Derrick Davis (337) 534-7999. FRIDAY FRIDAY NIGHT COOKIE JAR BASS TOURNAMENT: 7 p.m.-midnight, La. Express Landing, False River (south end), Jarreau. Fee $30/boat plus launch fee (maximum 2… Continue reading →

Tarpon Rodeo information, schedule

Advocate staff photo by John Ballance  --  Children's Crab Races are a big-time afternoon daily event for the annual International Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo. Children need to bring their own crab to the races. In 2014, Hayes Pitre of Larose checks on his crab just before the race. The backet is turned over in the middle of the ring and the first crab to touch the edge of the circle is the winner.

What: International Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo. First held in 1928 and makes it the longest-standing fishing competition in the country. When: Thursday through Saturday. Fishing begins at sunrise Thursday and ends when scales close at 6 p.m. Saturday. Where: Grand Isle, Sand Dollar Marina weighstation. Headquarters at the air-conditioned Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo Pavilion near the weighstation on the… Continue reading →

Fishing rodeo season about to hit high gear

Advocate staff photo by JOHN BALLANCEJamie Gaspard of Pure Adrenalin Fishing Charters, left, and Brandon Rochner of League City, Texas, pose with a 204.55-pound Warsaw Groupe on Saturday, July 11. Rochner said it only took him about 15 minutes to land the fish. Rochner was fishing on the Danos fishing team in the Fourchon Oilman's association fishing tournament. The grouper was the first place fish. Money raised in the tournament help local schools and charitable organizations.

Louisiana’s most competitive three days of summertime fishing begin in seven days with the 87th annual International Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo at, naturally, Grand Isle, and the 17th annual Faux Pax Lodge Rodeo in Venice. There’s a lot more on the GITR coming Sunday. It’s a more expansive lineup than the Faux Pas Rodeo offers anglers, but competition… Continue reading →

Macaluso: Heat big trouble for you and fish

It’s not breaking news that it’s hot: This is south Louisiana. It’s July. It’s humid. That would almost be enough said, except for the forecast for even hotter afternoons — try 97 degrees hot — means we have to avoid becoming a statistic. Going fishing this weekend? Start drinking more water Friday, and remember to drink water… Continue reading →

Outdoors calendar

THURSDAY WESTSIDE CHAPTER-CCA BANQUET: 5:30 p.m., Carl F. Grant Civic Center, 24700 J. Gerald Berret Blvd., Plaquemine. Tickets $65, $35 spouses, $25 youths, $500 tables. Call CCA Louisiana (225) 952-9200. LAFAYETTE KAYAK FISHING CLUB MEETING: 6 p.m., Pack and Paddle, 601 E. Pinhook Road, Lafayette. Website: www.lafayettekayakfishing.com. FRIDAY FRIDAY NIGHT COOKIE JAR BASS TOURNAMENT: 7 p.m.-midnight, La. Express… Continue reading →

As Louisiana’s typical angler ages, Wildlife and Fisheries sees younger fishermen as key to future mission

Advocate staff file photo by JOE MACALUSO -- After Baton Rouge physican and fishing rodeo veteran J.J. Tabor hefted this giant Warsaw grouper to the scales at the Port Fourchon Marina for the final day of the 2015 Golden Meadow-Fourchon Tarpon Rodeo, young Alayna Lefort from Lake Charles took the dare to lie down next to the 206-pound rodeo winner. The 7-year-old Our Lady Queen of Heaven Elementary second grader fished in the rodeo's Chidlren's Division.

SHREVEPORT (AP) — Fishing license numbers continue to increase overall in Louisiana, although figures show the fishing population may be aging. Without young anglers on Louisiana lakes and bayous, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is concerned that projects that rely on license fees for funding could one day be at risk. The number of anglers… Continue reading →

Nicholls team falls short in collegiate bass tourney

STEVENS POINT, Wis. — When Lake DuBay veterans said fishing would get tough for Saturday’s final day of the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship, Nicholls State’s team of Tyler Rivet and Allyson Marcel couldn’t know how tough “tough” could be. Rivet and Marcel had the lead on the 81-team field after Friday’s second round,… Continue reading →

Macaluso: Hunting days never far away

No matter how far we get into our state’s usually spectacular summer fishing season, hunting seasons are never far away, not here. We’re six weeks removed from the end of the spring squirrel season and seven weeks away from the Sept. 5 opening of the dove season. After that, with only a few nonhunting days mixed… Continue reading →

Kids enjoy day at Southern Sportsman’s Festival and Expo

Advocate staff photo by SHERRI MILLER -- Ethan Kueck, 10, enjoys the GyroGym at the Sportsman Show at Alario Center in Westwego on Friday, July 10, 2015.

Sporting her brand new pink “Scream Queens” backpack and with a bit of leftover ice cream still on her chin, Breanna Muller, 7, of Ama was cruising around the Alario Center on Friday afternoon looking for a good time. Muller’s parents had taken her and her sister, Rochelle, 6, to the second annual Southern Sportsman’s Festival and… Continue reading →

Outdoors calendar

SUNDAY SOUTHERN SPORTMAN’S FESTIVAL & EXPO: Final day, Alario Center, Westwego. Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tickets $10 adults, $5 under 16, free 5-under, special Ducks Unlimited Day. Fishing/hunting seminars, vendors, retriever demos. Kendall Jones Safari Club celebrity guest. Website: southernsportsmansfestival.com. MONDAY RED STICK FLY FISHERS PROGRAM: 7 p.m., Louisiana Room, Wildlife and Fisheries headquarters, Quail Drive,… Continue reading →

Fishing guides offer tips during tough conditions

Advocate staff file photo by JOE MACALUSO -- After Baton Rouge physican and fishing rodeo veteran J.J. Tabor hefted this giant Warsaw grouper to the scales at the Port Fourchon Marina for the final day of the 2015 Golden Meadow-Fourchon Tarpon Rodeo, young Alayna Lefort from Lake Charles took the dare to lie down next to the 206-pound rodeo winner. The 7-year-old Our Lady Queen of Heaven Elementary second grader fished in the rodeo's Chidlren's Division.

After exploring the waters east of Timbalier Bay last week, it’s time to turn to the waters to the western side of the state for a mid-summer report on catches and the folks who pursue speckled trout. From Bill Lake south of Houma at Theriot and Steve Smith, who calls Cypremort Point his home (he also fishes… Continue reading →

Tarpon Rodeo ‘poster’ party set for Thursday

The festivities surrounding the 87th annual International Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo begin 7 p.m. Thursday with the unveiling of the rodeo’s official artwork and poster. Rodeo officials will welcome guests inside Boomers at Boomtown Casino on Peters Road in Harvey. The rodeo will be held July 23-25 on Grand Isle.… Continue reading →

Outdoors calendar

THURSDAY JUNIOR SOUTHWEST BASSMASTERS-DENHAM SPRINGS BASS MEETING: 7 p.m., Bass Pro Shops, Denham Springs. Call Jim Breaux (225) 262-0929/(225) 772-3026. THURSDAY-SATURDAY YELLOWFIN ELITE SERIES-REDFISH/LAFOURCHE OPEN: Topwater Marina, 24015 La. 1, Golden Meadow. Single angler per boat, 5-redfish daily limit (4 less than 27-inches long & 1 redfish up to 30 inches long). 40-angler field competes first two days,… Continue reading →

Fishing results

SW Louisiana Club Rodeo LAKE CHARLES — Sunday’s final Open, Junior & Kayak divisions’ category winners from the 68th annual Southwest Louisiana Fishing Club’s Fourth of July Rodeo with anglers and their catch weights in pounds. Junior winners are listed if different from Open Division: OPEN-INLAND DIVISION Black Drum: Kevin Natali, 37.2 pounds. Croaker: Zack Paul, .9. Flounder: Deklan… Continue reading →

Macaluso: Find clear water for best fishing action

The midweek winds that prevented trips to speckled trout-rich spots like The Pickets, the Sandy Point rigs and Breton Sound are predicted to lay and give the coastal guys a shot at trout in the coming days. The key this weekend will be to find clear enough water to find trout and for the bait to bunch. That will… Continue reading →

J.J. Tabor’s massive grouper — 206 pounds, 3 ounces — steals the show at Golden Meadow-Fourchon Tarpon Rodeo

PORT FOURCHON — Saturday’s final hours of the 67th annual Golden Meadow-Fourchon Tarpon Rodeo were filled with loads of “oohs” and “aahs.” The first “oohs” came when Zachary’s Gidion Roark hefted a yellowfin tuna onto the scales for weighmaster Marty Bourgeois, who boldly proclaimed the bluewater catch’s weight at 107 pounds, 2 ounces. It… Continue reading →

Strong survey means another liberal season for waterfowlers

Advocate file photo by JOE MACALUSOAmidst a flock of blackbirds are as many as 20 teal taking flight from a pond in the Cameron Parish marshes during a past special September teal season. Louisiana hunters will get another in a long line of 16-day teal season this year running statewide from Sept. 12-27.

Coincidence, maybe, but the stars aligned for ducks hunters Thursday, especially those who can’t wait for September’s special teal season, and for the remainder of the more than 100,000 of Louisiana’s wild waterfowlers. Almost at the same time Thursday morning, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission approved the 16-day September dates — Sept. 12-27 — and the U.S. Fish… Continue reading →

Outdoors calendar

TUESDAY ACADIANA FLY RODDERS PROGRAM: 6:30 p.m., first Tuesday monthly, Grace Presbyterian Church Hall, 415 Roselawn, Lafayette. Call Richard Latiolais (337) 354-8957. THURSDAY JUNIOR SOUTHWEST BASSMASTERS-DENHAM SPRINGS BASS MEETING: 7 p.m., Bass Pro Shops, Denham Springs. Call Jim Breaux (225) 262-0929/(225) 772-3026. FRIDAY FRIDAY NIGHT COOKIE JAR BASS TOURNAMENT: 7 p.m.-midnight, La. Express Landing, False River (south end),… Continue reading →

Macaluso: Settlement is just the beginning

Happy Fourth! We Louisianians can celebrate even more now that billions will come from the settlement of the BP-Deepwater Horizon oil disaster. Don’t mistake Thursday’s announcement to mean this is the end of the tragic consequences from the months when that well gushed millions of gallons of crude oil into… Continue reading →

Not much change for fall wing shooters

The good news for Louisiana wing shooters is there will be no changes, other than calendar adjustments, for the upcoming special September teal season and dove-hunting dates and bag limits. During Thursday’s meeting, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission approved another in a long line of 16-day September teal seasons, and, for the second year, a 90-day dove… Continue reading →

Wildlife and Fisheries sets Louisiana teal, dove seasons

Louisiana hunters will have another 16-day special September teal season and, for the second year, a 90-day dove season this year after the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission approved dates and bag limits at its meeting Thursday in Baton Rouge.
With continental teal numbers estimated to be more than 4.7 million, the floor for a "liberal" 16-day special teal… Continue reading →

A sneak peek into July’s action: Specks thin out; redfish everywhere

Old-timers think of the Fourth of July holiday as the early break in Louisiana’s summer. Ask young families about our nation’s grandest celebration and you find out it’s summer’s midway point, about halfway between the end of one school term and the start of another. It’s also a time when the state’s coastal charter skippers start… Continue reading →