Well, all of the build-up and publicity paid off this year as Ride The Bull, in Grand Isle, earned the title, “Largest Kayak Fishing Rodeo in the World”, with 488 on-the-water participants. Two of those participants were Andrew and I.
We got to the island around 4pm on Friday, after checking in our hotel and wandering around Leeville looking for live crabs or cut mullet. There was already a small crowd when we arrived at Bridgeside Marina. We got our captains bags and hung out around the area while waiting. There were a few guys out in Caminada Pass prefishing. The weather was pretty nice and the water looked pretty calm for the area.
The dinner was fixed by the Friends of Grand Isle and was awesome! Barbecued chicken and baked beans (w/ chili mixed in) were the highlight of the meal. There was welcoming and sponsor shoutouts. The Backpacker provided a Hobie PA for the angler weighing in the heaviest red. GoPro was providing prize cameras for those who would compete in the film festival and a second contest on tournament day. Heroes On The Water were raffling off a K-2 Cooler, and BCKFC were raffling off a Hobie Outback.
We stayed for the first part of the film festival. There were a few great entries (which you can watch here). We did not stay to vote, though. We decided to head back to our hotel in Galliano.
We woke up in the morning around 5 and started back to the island. Lightning in the distance told us the weather would be the opposite of the day before. The marina was again packed by the time we got there. It was great to see the many different kayaks and rigging ideas. That’s been one of my favorite things about tourneys so far.
We didn’t get on the water until after the start, and many of the others did likewise, waiting for a break in the weather. The current was not horrible once out in the pass. We anchored and started fishing. My rods got tangled on a drifters rods, then once cleared, on their rudder. They were nice and got it untangled. As I was getting that rig cleaned up, my other rod started moving. I started pulling it up with not a lot of resistance and found a small hard-head catfish on the other end. He had somehow gotten one of is fins hooked.
Soon, the water stopped moving and the only thing determining our direction was the wind. Then the tide started falling. That was the story of the day. At the same moment, the rain came, heavy. I paddled under the bridge and had to continue paddling to keep from being pushed back by tide and wind. Somewhere in the madness I managed to upgrade my catfish weight… stupid catfish.
By the time the rain had stopped, I decided I didn’t want to put up with the tide anymore and headed in. Andrew, as well as many others, were making the same decision. In short, that was it for us as far as participating went. After eating and loading up our gear, we walked out to the end of the fishing pier to watch the action. The tide was moving even harder it seemed. Several anglers had tied up to the pier to anchor themselves. We watched as paddles and bait wells were lost, and one poor guy lost control and flipped his boat. Luckily, he was not alone and several anglers helped him out. We later found out that it was a common occurrence. The chase boats were turned into rescue boats as well as towing vessels. Many participants were towed back in.
When the after party started, we learned that bull reds were actually caught. First place went to Jeff Gleason with a 32lb red. And there were MANY prizes in the prize-pool for the top-ten and later the raffle winners to choose from.
All-in-all, it was a very well put on event. Bridgeside handled the crowds very well and Danny & Kristen Wray did a great job organizing the tournament. It was not “my style” of fishing, but fun nonetheless! It will no doubt be interesting to see how many participate in Ride The Bull V.