Bass and Gars highlight opening day of Mississippi Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo

Brodie Armes checks out a catfish on ice at the Mississippi Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo, Friday, June 30, 2017.
Brodie Armes checks out a catfish on ice at the Mississippi Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo, Friday, June 30, 2017. ttisbell@sunherald.com

Fish were entered in half of the categories for day one of the 70th Annual Mississippi Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo at Jones Park on Friday, the first day of this year’s five-day tournament.

Friday’s top bass, which weighed in at eight pounds, five ounces, was caught by Lee Johnson of Saucier. Brent Moran of Saucier registered a 6-pound, 15-ounce bass.

“For a Friday, a work day, it has actually gone great,” said Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo executive director Donnie Armes. “We have 28 categories, and 14 of them have fish in them on the first day. That is fabulous.

“We had an eight-pound, 5-ounce bass come in. It’s a good bass. Johnson will be tough to beat. We’ve had cobia brought in, a lemon fish, a red snapper. We’ve had some good fish brought in.”

The largest fish of the day was a 73-pound, 13-ounce gar caught by Curtis Adams of St. Martin. Joseph Spratley of St. Martin brought in a 55-pound, 2-ounce gar just before weighing closed at 6 p.m.

“It was pretty good,” said Spratley. “We caught live mullet last night. We came out early, about 10 a.m. and we fished all day. I caught one earlier, but I let it go because I thought the rodeo started tomorrow (Saturday). It was bigger, about five and a half feet.

Spratley caught his gar in Biloxi’s Back Bay. He plans to fish for gar in the same place on Saturday.

“I’ll be fishing all day tomorrow to see if we can get another big one,” said Spratley. “I wish I hadn’t let that other one go. He was a lot bigger than the 55-pounder. He was about five and a half maybe six feet. This one’s about five feet.”

Hunter Brooks of Gainesville, Ga. caught a 4-pound speckled trout in his second Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo. His trout was in first place until about 5:30 p.m. when Richard Hebden brought in one that weighed five-pound, 9-ounces.

“We were thinking about going offshore, but it was a little rough,” said Brooks. “We decided to go inshore, around the islands and catch some trout.”

The Fishing Rodeo ends on Tuesday, July 4.

First Day Leaders of 70th Mississippi Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo:

Black Drum: David McGill, Pass Christian, 41 pounds, 12 ounces

Gar : Curtis Adams, St. Martin, 73 pounds, 13 ounces

Jack Crevalle: Jeffery Waltman, Gulfport, 28 pounds, 4 ounces

Lemon Fish: Corin Knight, Slidell, 27 pounds, 1 ounce

Mangrove Snapper: Danny Rau, Long Beach, 1 pound, 6 ounces

Red Rish: Corin Knight, Slidell 18 pounds, 7 ounces

Red Snapper: Courtney Northud, Saucier, 17 pounds, 14 ounces

Sheepshead: Corin Knight, Slidell, 5 pounds, 10 ounces

Spanish Mackerel: Ryan Rockholt, Biloxi, 3 pounds, 1 ounce

Speckled Trout: Richard Hebden, St. Martin, 5 pounds, 9 ounces

Bream: Eddie Benezue, Vancleave, 1 pound, 4 ounces

Catfish: Amanda Dedeaux, Perkinston, 32 pounds, 15 ounces

Crappie: Zacharie Pack, Bay St. Louis, 11 ounces

Green Trout: Lee Johnson, Saucier, 8 pounds, 5 ounces