The Krewe of Hercules experienced a different type of parade Sunday morning.
Instead of people lining the streets to catch Mardi Gras trinkets, the krewe saw a parade of people bringing redfish, speckled trout and bass to the scales on the final day of the 30th Annual Hercules Festival on the Bayou and Fishing Rodeo at the Houma Air Base.
With hundreds of anglers trying to beat the noon deadline, the rodeo ended with a bang as many impressive fish were weighed and made the rodeo’s final leaderboard.
Rodeo weighmaster Dan Davis said it was a good ending to the rodeo.
“We had unbelievable participation this year with more than 1,000 fishermen competing in it,” Davis said. “It was great to see that, especially in today’s economy. It was unbelievable to see the size of the fish coming in, especially at the end. We are very excited for the Krewe of Hercules and the Terrebonne Parish fishing industry.”
When the scales closed at noon, 14 of the rodeo’s 15 categories were filled with the top three winners. The only category that was not filled was for miscellaneous fish, as Timothy Falgout’s 100.32-pound stingray was the only catch on the board.
The rodeo also awarded $12,575 in cash prizes to the winners.
One local angler who helped the rodeo end with a bang was Shane Curole of Larose, as he took all three spots in the speckled trout category with the top fish weighing 4.78 pounds and also finished first in the five-fish speckled trout stringer category (15.70).
Curole said he was originally was going for redfish but switched to speckled trout after noticing that not many were caught in the rodeo’s first two days. It was a good move, as he took advantage of the weather conditions to sweep the category.
“I fished all day for one trout on Saturday, but things got better on Sunday as I caught four,” Curole said. “I like throwing top-water baits, so things improved with this overcast sky (on Sunday). In two hours, I was able to catch four specks to complete my stringer.”
Andrew Naquin of Dulac also beat the noon deadline by bringing in some impressive bass. He finished with the second-place bass (7.92) and the top five-bass stringer (30.64).
Naquin said he enjoys fishing the Hercules rodeo because it offers something for freshwater fishermen.
“I like that this rodeo offers something for freshwater fishermen because my fishing friends and I enjoy catching bass,” he said. “We all grew up saltwater fishing, but we like the challenge with catching bass.”
Although he did not place in the rodeo, Hunter Poiencot of Dularge said he knew his best chance to win some money was with the freshwater categories.
“Everybody and there mama are fishing redfish, so we figured our best chance was to go after some bass,” he said. “If we wanted to win a few dollars, we knew that bass would be our best option.”
John Davenport of Cut Off brought one of the largest bull reds on Sunday’s final day, as his 35.70-pound catch was good enough for third place in redfish over 27 inches category.
Davenport caught the redfish in Caminada Pass near Grand Isle on Saturday night and admits that he had a fight on his hands.
“It took it about 30 minutes to get into the boat,” he said. “It was a good fight, but I had a tough time bringing him in.”
Jude Songe of Bourg also had a good weekend, as he won the redfish under 27 inches (9.20) and five-fish redfish stringer (40.82) categories.
Songe said the weather conditions were ideal for the three-day rodeo, and that was evident by the quality of fish brought to the scales.
“It was great out there all weekend for redfish,” Songe said. “The weather has them fired up and we had some good tides. Last year was a good rodeo, but it seems like this year’s rodeo is even better.”