Last weekend, we converged on Bridgeside Marina in Grand Isle, Louisiana for the 8th annual Ride the Bull Kayak Fishing Tournament as Hurricane Harvey loomed in the Gulf of Mexico. As luck would have it, Grand Isle had gorgeous weather all weekend. Aside from choppy waters in the Gulf of Mexico, the Caminada Bay waters were as calm as I have ever seen them.
This was our groups 4th year participating in the tournament. Despite numerous efforts, we can never quite find ourselves in the right spot at the right moment to land an enormous redfish. In fact, we have not to date caught a single redfish during the tournament. Nonetheless, we persist!
For our group of friends, this tournament has become an event that we look forward to with or without fish. We usually round up a group of fisherman and non-fisherman who head down to far south Louisiana for a weekend of camaraderie, fishing and fun. The tradition has been to finish the weekend with a Saturday night shrimp boil after the tournament compliments of our lead non-fisherman – Mimi.
Over the years, we feel like we are beginning to get the hang of things. After the first year, we learned that hangovers (no matter how much fun the party was) do not mix well with canoe or kayak fishing in the whitecaps of Caminada Bay. This year, we only had two fisherman, but after learning that the winner was a petite lady on a paddleboard – I was inspired! We celebrated with a Saturday night shrimp boil that has since become legendary.
During the second year, the 5 fisherman (including 2 girls!) had a good night’s rest before the tournament and were determined to wait for that fish. We fished until about 15 minutes before the end of the tournament. As we were pulling the boats out of the water, we heard that a lady fishing near where we had been ALL afternoon had just caught a monster fish. She ended up winning the tournament that year. If only we had waited another 15 minutes!! But, we did get interviewed by a local sportsman’s television show. (Our moment of fame only to end up on the cutting room floor.) Licking our wounds, we gathered with our group of friends for another epic Saturday night shrimp boil.
Unfortunately, our third year was preceded by the massive flooding in Baton Rouge. Attendance was lower than usual in 2016, and I had sprained my ankle severely the week prior to the tournament. Crutches and canoes are not a good combination. Even without me, we had 5 fisherman including 2 girls…until Gwen go so seasick that she had to call SOS. The wind was so strong that year that Greg had to get towed in by a chase boat since he was starting to drift out to the Gulf!! This was our first year to have the entire group gathered in one extra large camp. We had the perfect screened in porch to enjoy our traditional Saturday night shrimp boil. As usual, these were the best shrimp ever!
Leading up to this year’s tournament, we thought that this was OUR year. That is until Hurricane Harvey came into the mix. This year, our group was much smaller (2 fisherman and 3 girls staying at the posh Hurricane Hole Hotel). We didn’t know if we were going to even be able to fish due to the uncertain weather conditions. I think subconsciously, we really thought the tournament would be cancelled, and we simply didn’t prepare. As it turns out, Harvey cooperated and the tournament went on as planned. As is our tradition, we didn’t catch a single redfish once again. I think the problem was that we skipped the traditional Saturday night shrimp boil.
We are not quitters! In fact, we already have a plan for next year! RTB9 will definitely be OUR year! And, we need to make sure that Mimi can boil those famous Grand Isle shrimp too! Besides, the dogs have so much fun in Grand Isle…how could we deny them their vacation? Stay tuned!!