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Fish story family affair

Mielsch brothers take spotlight
Friday, July 23, 2004 By Andrew Canulette
Staff writer
GRAND ISLE -- Chris Mielsch was foiled twice Thursday on the first day of the 83rd annual International Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo.

When Mielsch's boat, Silver King Adventures No. 4, pulled up to the wharf at the Sand Dollar Marina, the crowd standing around the scales could see the Galveston, Texas, resident had a tarpon on board.


Mielsch was poised to win a trophy for being the first angler to bring a silver king to shore.

But less than five minutes after his tarpon was weighed in at 130 pounds, 3 ounces, Mielsch's brother, Robby, entered the harbor with a tarpon.

Chris Mielsch couldn't immediately produce his rodeo ticket and lost out on the award for entering the first tarpon. To double his misfortune, Robby Mielsch's fish weighed 162-10 and knocked his brother out of what would have been a brief stay atop the leaderboard in the rodeo's most-celebrated category.

Chris Mielsch said there were no hard feelings.

"I had to go to my truck to get the ticket," he said. "It's no big deal. He'll give me the trophy."

The real trophy, however, was Robby Mielsch's tarpon.

He caught the fish in the West Delta area using a Calcutta 400 rod with 30-pound test line and a Coast Pop lure. Following an hour's fight, he landed the fish just after 5 p.m. and headed for the scales. It took three men to carry the tarpon across the wharf.

For most of the year, Robby Mielsch runs charters for Texas anglers looking for speckled trout and redfish. But without fail, he said, he spends a large chunk of the summer in Louisiana waters looking for tarpon.

"At home, if you see 100 fish, that's a good day," he said. "Here, there are thousands."

Though Robby Mielsch's tarpon was considerably larger than his brother's, Chris struggled with his catch for nearly 90 minutes, he said. The fight exhausted him to the point he was unconscious for several minutes and had to be doused with water by his fishing partners.

"The fish died at the boat, and then I went down," he said.

Five tarpon were brought to the scales Thursday. Just before the scales closed at 8 p.m., Houma's Dane Domangue entered a tarpon that weighed 132-3 -- the second-largest fish of the day. Jody Bourg of Norco caught a 118-0 pound tarpon, and Mandeville's Susan Villere entered a 112-10 silver king.

Villere's husband, Pierre, entered one of three tarpons in the tag-and-release division. Hunter Tieken and Ben Marlborough, both fishing from the "Mr. Todd," entered the other two in that division.

In the shoreline division, the three largest speckled trout of the day were caught by three separate anglers aboard the "Hawg Tide." Fritz Enclade of St. Amant led with a 6-0 pound fish he caught on a live croaker at the mouth of the Mississippi River.

The top three spots in the tripletail category usually are not filled this early, but three fish that each weighed more than 6 pounds were entered. Port Allen's Richard Roe led the way with a fish that weighed 6-13.

Gretna's Gary Wilson held all three spots in the gafftop catfish category. His largest catch weighed 7 pounds. Allen Boudreaux held all three places in the bonito category.

The rodeo will continue today and conclude Saturday.

. . . . . . .

Lafayette angler lands 723-pound marlin

Gotreaux's catch is a rodeo record
Saturday, July 24, 2004 By Andrew Canulette
Staff writer
When Louis Gotreaux landed a 149-pound, 6-ounce yellowfin tuna Friday morning, he thought his hardest fight of the 83rd annual Grand Isle International Tarpon Rodeo was behind him.

He was wrong.


Fishing in the Green Canyon area near Block 562, Gotreaux hooked something he figured was another powerful tuna. But, when the fish broke the surface and danced on its tail across the Gulf of Mexico for nearly 50 yards, Gotreaux realized he had snared a deep-sea angler's dream -- a blue marlin.

He also knew he was in for a struggle few fishermen ever experience.

Shortly after Gotreaux's fellow anglers aboard the "C'est Tout Bon" came to his aid, the marlin began speeding away. Capt. Shannon Pecot threw the boat in reverse, and the chase was on.

The marlin emptied 3,000 feet of line from Gotreaux's spool three times, and at one point, as the boat traveled backward at 12 knots, water raced over the transom and almost spilled into the cabin. The boat's intake collected so much water that the air-conditioner and ice maker flooded.

"We were chasing her so hard, you could hear the engines kick into overdrive," Gotreaux said.

The fight ended after two hours, but catching the fish was only part of the struggle.

When the "C'est Tout Bon" reached the wharf at the Sand Dollar Marina, the seats on the boat's rear deck had to be dismantled so the marlin could be lifted to the scales. After nearly an hour, the fish was hoisted and weighed a rodeo-record 723 pounds, 3 ounces. The marlin measured an estimated 13 feet and was the first billfish entered into the rodeo in two years.

Gotreaux, who lives in Lafayette, was understandably fatigued after catching the fish.

"Even my toes hurt," Gotreaux said. "I've caught a marlin before, but this is by far the biggest fish I've ever landed."

Gotreaux's marlin, which was weighed just after 6 p.m., brought life to a crowd that witnessed few big-game fish. The marlin and Curtis Duet's three blackfin tuna were the exceptions.

Duet, who lives in Galliano, grabbed the top three spots in the blackfin tuna division. His 30-pound, 13-ounce entry was the ninth biggest blackfin caught in state history.

Five tarpon were brought to the scales on the opening day of fishing Thursday, but none were landed Friday.

Mandeville's Pierre Villere, who entered a tarpon in the catch-and-release category Thursday, said wind and water conditions weren't favorable Friday.

"There were 19 boats fishing at West Delta 58, and there were three releases," he said. "The wind was out of the southwest in the morning, and then it just went dead calm. Tarpon fishing went from red hot yesterday to ice cold today."

Capt. James Plaag, of Silver King Adventures No. 1, entered two of those tarpon in the tag-and-release division. Russ Theriot, who was fishing from the "C'est Tout Bon" with Gotreaux, earned 500 points for tagging and releasing another blue marlin, and Sean Purdy, riding aboard "Strike Zone," entered a white marlin in the tag-and-release.

A large number of shoreline fish were entered Friday. Among the most notable were a 7-pound, 6-ounce speckled trout caught by St. Amant's Charlie Lieux and a 23-pound, 10-ounce red snapper entered by Kenner's Harold Chedotal.
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