Outdoor Corner: LFACC Garfish and EASL Kids Fishing Rodeo

Lyle Johnson

I’m sure lots of folks who read, this including me, are fans of the Jurassic Park movies series. Not all the sequels are as good as the original, but the concept is pretty cool. The cloning of dinosaurs using their blood sucked from them by mosquitos frozen in time might really happen, couldn’t it?

Just two of the names of the animals in the movie bring shudders to viewers, well at least me. The spoken words Tyrannosaurus Rex (or T-Rex for short) and Velociraptor reveal visions of flesh-eating, blood draining carnage to my mind. But that’s all way back in time during the prehistoric ages. Or is it?

You just might get to see one of the Jurassic monsters at the Garfish Rodeo weigh in.

You just might get the chance to find out by visiting the weigh-in of the LFACC annual Garfish Rodeo that benefits St Jude. it is July 24 and 25 at Manny’s Bar in Head of Island. The entry fee is $75 a boat, and anglers are allowed to set 50 jugs and weigh in 10 fish. There will also be a big trash fish for a $10 a boat side pot.

In case you don’t know, this type of fishing is not for the faint of heart or those who don’t like hard work. “Jugging” is the technique that nearly all of the anglers use. The “Jug” is a big float of some kind, usually a plastic gallon container. The big floats are painted so they are easily seen and act as resistance to tire the fish trying to swim with it underwater.

A short steel leader with a large hook is attached to the jug, and mullet is the prized bait used to catch the garfish. Most of the mullet are caught using a cast net. That’s where some of the heavy work takes place before the tournament. The 50 jugs are then baited and set for 24 hours.

Then comes the adrenaline pumping activity. The anglers travel back to the area where the jugs were set to start picking up the ones that don’t have a fish on them. The ones they don’t find are the ones that have a fish on them.

When a jug is found with a fish on it, all heck breaks loose. Although the fish might have been pulling around the float for many hours, they still have plenty of life. After getting a big fish alongside the boat, it’s usually dispatched in some form and brought aboard.

The weigh-in will include a jambalaya sale, a silent auction and a raffle for door prizes. For those who were a little more adventurous, one could watch the skills of the folks who were cleaning the beasts, then partake in a plate of fried garfish. Either take part in the fishing or just come out and enjoy the festivities. For all the information, give David Stevens a call at 225 324-5695.

Well it’s that time of year again as the East Ascension Sportsman's League is making preparations for their annual Kids Fishing Rodeo. This nationally known organization is putting on their premier event that might well wrap up a great summer vacation for lots of kids from all around our area.

This scene will be repeated many times over July 31 at the East Ascension Sportsman’s League Kid’s Rodeo at Twin Lakes in Dutchtown.

The Kids Fishing Rodeo is July 31 at Twin Lakes Mobile Estates located on Hwy. 74 and will be the site these kids and their parents or an adult guardian gather for a great time. As soon as the kids get out of school, talk of the Kid’s Rodeo begins amongst the Sportsman’s League and the participants as well.

And that’s what it’s about; the kids and the memories that are created in their minds that they never forget. The celebratory screams of kids that are catching their first fish will be heard many times over as well. I never quite get over this phenomenon.

On my trips around the pond, some of the buckets that hold the catch range from one or two to sometimes over 100 fish. The number really doesn’t matter. Every kid will show off their catch to anyone who’ll look and listen. The excitement level is the same for all of them.

The rules are pretty simple. Kids must bring their own rod and reel or cane pole and must use live bait (crickets, worms, etc.) No artificial lures are allowed. Bring a bucket for the fish and a couple of chairs. Keep fish that are caught, no matter how small (sorry, no turtles or eels).

Kids must fish with only one rod and reel or cane pole. Parents may help bait the hook and cast but the kids must land the fish. Parents do not have to be EASL members for their kids to fish. And please remember that children must never be left unattended.

Registration for the rodeo begins at 6:30 a.m., and the fishing takes place from 7 to 9 a.m.

There are five age groups that make up the 2- through 14-year-old boy and girl divisions, and plenty of trophies to go around.

While the kids are fishing, volunteers will go around the ponds with donuts to eat. Nothing tastes better than donuts early in the morning with a worm dirt topping all over them. There’s probably a little fish slime mixed in as well.

When the fishing stops at 9, the weigh-in begins. The buckets are dumped, fish are counted and the big one of the stringer is weighed as well to determine the winners.

During this time jambalaya, hot dogs and Kool-Aid will be available for the participants. There’s always enough to go around for the adults as well. Trophies are given for the most fish and biggest fish for each age group.

Two bikes are given away by a drawing; one for the boys and one for the girls. Plenty of door prizes and ditty bags full of goodies will be given away as well. All the festivities are over about 11 a.m. or so, depending on the size of the crowd. The cost; absolutely nothing! You don’t even have to be a member of the East Ascension Sportsman's League. Contact chairmen Betty Lambert at 225 571-4588.

Lots to do in the outdoors! So until next time, remember to keep the slack out and set the hook hard. Have fun in the outdoors, be safe and may God truly bless you!

Outdoor Calendar

  • Tuesday Evening Bass Tournaments, St James Boat Club. Fishers of men tournament trail will be hosting through August, with a Classic. 5 p.m. until dark. All info on Facebook Tuesday evening Blind River bass.
  • Red snapper season: Friday-through-Sunday seasons.
  • CCA Statewide Anglers’ Rodeo: Through Sept. 6. CCA Louisiana saltwater rodeo with divisions & numerous categories. Must be CCA member. Website: www.ccalouisiana.com
  • Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo: July 22—24 at the Pavilion at the end of Tarpon Rodeo Drive. All info at tarponrodeo.org, email to info@tarponrodeo.org or call Heather Martin at 985-306-0535.
  • LFACC annual Garfish Rodeo; July 24-25 hosted at Manny’s Bar on Hwy 22 in Head of Island. $75 a boat, $1,000 for big Garfish — 10-fish limit that must be fresh and edible. For all info contact David Stevens @ 225 324-5695
  • East Ascension Sportsman’s League Kid’s Fishing Rodeo; July 31 a Twin Lakes Park in Dutchtown. Registration from 6 to 7 a.m.; fishing from 7 to 9 a.m.. Awards, prizes and food after fishing. For more information, contact Bettye Lambert (225) 571-4588.

Need an event publicized? Contact Lyle at reelman@eatel.net