Choppy seas and a broken steering system couldn’t keep Mark Alan Ross and his fishing partners from taking all three spots in the red snapper category in 15th Ocean Springs Mini Mart Fishing Rodeo held June 1-3.
Triston Garriga had two entries on the leaderboard, winning the blackfish category with a catch of 12.35 pounds and taking second in the flounder category with a catch of 2.9 pounds, edging Allen LeTort, who also caught a 2.9 flounder by length. Garriga’s flounder was an inch longer at 19.24 inches than LeTort’s flounder.
Chaz Waltman caught the big fish of the tournament, a 32.30-pound redfish.
Rough water was the theme of the day. Chris Branson, who caught the largest cobia at 28.2 pounds, said the sea Saturday had waves 2 to 4 feet high. On Sunday, the waves reached 6 feet. Michael Suarez noted the waves were so choppy Saturday night the trio on the Geaux Fishing decided to spend the night on Horn Island.
Ross brought in the largest red snapper with a catch of 22 pounds, winning $1,500. Jarrod Davis brought home a 20-pound snapper, good for second, and Derek Saucier hauled in an 18.5-pound snapper for third place. Total prize money for the three snappers was $3,000.
Ross said fishing started a little slow, but picked up through the day. He said he got the first snapper around 25 miles offshore near the islands. After discussing moving further from land, he said his crew hooked the other snappers around 50 miles offshore.
All three of the prize-winning snapper were caught Saturday as Ross’ boat suffered a steering malfunction late in the day. However, with wind speeds expected to gust at 25 knots Sunday, Ross said he wasn’t unhappy they were unable to go back out.
“The steering wouldn’t allow us to turn to the left,” he said. “But, the water was very choppy and I wasn’t to unhappy that we couldn’t go out today.”
The choppy waters meant fishing was spotty, with many of the winners being underweight. While Ross said he thought his 22-pound snapper would finish in the top three, he was somewhat surprised the fish won and that all three of the snappers held up through Sunday.
“I was surprised that all three fish got something,” he said. “Normally (prize-winning) fish are a little bigger.”
Branson said he was also surprised that his cobia held up through the day Sunday. “It’s a large fish,” he said, adding that cobia in the 30-pound range usually win at tournaments.
Rodeo organizer Kenny DiNero said, aside from the wind, weather for the rodeo was good. He said there were 108 inshore anglers and 51 offshore anglers entered.
“We started the competition as an inexpensive tournament for people along the Coast,” DiNero said. The tournament charges $45 for inshore anglers and $75 for offshore anglers.
- 1. Chris Branson, 28.20 pounds
- 2. Shane Shephard, 23.10 pounds
- 3. Dominic McMahon, 12.65 pounds
- 1. Mark Alan Ross, 22 pounds
- 2. Jarrod Davis, 20 pounds
- 3. Derek Saucier, 18.50 pounds
- 1. Triston Garriga, 12.35 pounds
- 1. Michael Orman, 6 pounds
- 2. Tim Smith, 5.6 pounds
- 3. John Cuevas, 5.5 pounds
- 1. Chaz Waltman, 32.30 pounds
- 2. Michael Griffith. 31.95 pounds
- 3. Donnie Broussard, 30.85 pounds
- 1. Chris LeTort, 3.30 pounds
- 2. Triston Gariga, 2.90 pounds, 19.25 inches
- 3. Allen LeTort, 2.90 pounds, 18.25 inches