Outdoors

Final day of Mississippi Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo turns into battle of the tiger sharks

Miss 71st Mississippi Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo contestants were crowned on Wednesday, from left, Brittney LaFontaine, Emily LaFontaine, Karringten Perkins, Anna Catherine Kendricks, Shelby Furr, Brittany Todd and Bailie Roberts. Not pictured is Madison Havard.
Miss 71st Mississippi Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo contestants were crowned on Wednesday, from left, Brittney LaFontaine, Emily LaFontaine, Karringten Perkins, Anna Catherine Kendricks, Shelby Furr, Brittany Todd and Bailie Roberts. Not pictured is Madison Havard. Special to the Sun Herald

Michael Garrett's 675-pound tiger shark held on by a 100-pound margin as the second place tiger shark weighed in at 575 pounds 10 minutes before the scales closed on Wednesday, the final day of the 71st Mississippi Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo at Jones Park.

Garrett's pending state record will earn him $25,000 upon certification by the Department of Marine Resources.

Hundreds of spectators gathered in the marina as Brett Rutledge and David Rogers of Mobile docked beside the events pavilion at Jones Park on Wednesday afternoon. Roars went out as the female shark was raised by backhoe out of the boat.

"It's bigger than the others we caught. I wasn't sure if it was in the 670 range," said Rutledge of the fish he fought for an hour and a half. "It's hard to judge in the water and the boat."

Rogers is the reigning state tiger shark record holder. He set the record at the 2016 MDSFR with a 390-pound shark.

There was not a record set in the $25,000 Stingray Bounty, but a 100 pound and 1 ounce stingray was brought in by Mark Fairley of Lizana around 2:15 p.m. Wednesday. Boat captain Bryan Epperson said the stingray was caught in 26-foot-deep water off of the Louisiana marsh.

Fairley said the stingray put up a fight that lasted about an hour.

"It was hard," said Fairley, "because they go down to the bottom and suck down on the bottom, and you've got to fight 'em to get 'em off the bottom.

"We tried," said Fairley of his team's attempt of capturing the state record stingray. "We caught one at the beginning of the rodeo — 81 pounds, 7 ounces — but somebody turned one in that weighed 98 pounds, 4 ounces."

This was Fairley's first time to participate in the Mississippi Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo. He credited his "buddy," Epperson, for getting into the rodeo. "We love to fish stingray," said Fairley, "and he always fishes the rodeo."

"Catfish Charlie" Yarberry of Moss Point was on the leaderboard with a 47-pound, 12-ounce catfish that he caught on the Mobile River on Friday. If this fish holds on to the win, this will be the 11th consecutive year that he or his team has won the catfish division.

"It was tough," said Yarberry. "We were coming off of a full moon, and a full moon and catfishing don't mix. I was really worried this year. We had a 40 (pounder) but there was a 45-pounder on the board already.

"Night before last that pressure dropped, when that low come in strong on us, that was just enough for that biggest one to bite," said Yarberry.

"I'm just trying to beat the record," Yarberry said of his continuous participation in the MDSFR. "I'm going to fish until I beat the record or die one."

Rodeo Results

SALT WATER DIVISION

Barracuda

Jordan Mathews, Biloxi, 16 lbs. 9 oz.

Jordan Mathews, Biloxi, 11 lbs. 14 oz.

Black Drum

Dallas Malley, Kiln, 43 lbs. 7 oz.

Mason Page, Pass Christian, 42 lbs.

Black Fish

Ricky Tamer, Biloxi, 20 lbs. 10 oz.

Nicky Nazaretian, Long Beach, 15 lbs. 3 oz.

Blue Fish

Trace Sith, Pass Christian, 2 lbs. 6 oz.

Shane Hicks, Long Beach , 1 lb. 15 oz.

Bonita

Pete Barhonovich, Gulfport, 16 lbs. 13 oz.

Jordan Mathews, Biloxi, 15 lbs. 8 oz.

Dolphin

Corin Knight, Slidell, 2 lbs. 11 oz.

Corbin Knight, Slidell, 1 lb. 8 oz.

Flounder

John Norton, Gulfport, 6 lbs. 5 oz.

John Norton, Gulfport, 5 lbs. 5 oz.

Gar

Dennis Adams, D’Iberville, 129 lbs. 11 oz.

Preston Cuevas, Kiln, 77 lbs. 2 oz.

Grouper

Aubree Harris, League City, TX, 25 lbs. 4 oz.

Jack Crevalle

Brian Garriga, Pass Christian, 29 lbs. 8 oz.

Ryan Rockholt, Biloxi, 26 lbs. 10 oz.

King Mackerel

Kelly O'Brien, Pascagoula, 39 lbs. 11 oz.

Susan Brooks, Gainsville, GA, 33 lbs. 3 oz.

Lemon Fish

Aubree Harris, League City, TX, 43 lbs. 12 oz.

Brayden Jenner, Ocean Springs, 33 lbs. 15 oz.

Mangrove Snapper

Donnie Bosarge, Gautier, 9 lbs. 13 oz.

Matt Glenn, Pascagoula, 9 lbs. 6 oz.

Pompano

Michael Fournier, Biloxi, 1 lb. 15 oz.

Michael Fournier, Biloxi, 1 lb. 11 oz.

Red Fish

Jamie Dearman, Saucier, 38 lbs. 15 oz.

David Saucier, Gulfport, 36 lbs. 9 oz.

Red Snapper

Donnie Bosarge, Gautier, 24 lbs. 15 oz.

Matt Glenn, Pascagoula, 23 lbs. 10 oz.

Sheepshead

Will Rawlins, Charleston, SC, 4lbs. 13oz.

Tabatha Hatcher, Mobile, 4 lbs. 9 oz.

Shark

Mike Garrett, Ocean Springs, 675 lbs.

Brett Rutledge, Mobile, 575 lbs.

Spanish Mackerel

Tommy Fournier, Biloxi, 3 lbs. 15 oz.

Michael Fournier, Biloxi, 3 lbs. 13 oz.

Speckled Trout

Doug Borries, Ocean Springs, 7 lbs. 10 oz.

Joey Lee, Ocean Springs, 4 lbs. 12 oz.

Stingray

Mark Fairley, Lizana, 100 lbs. 1 oz.

David Saucier, Gulfport, 98 lbs. 4 oz.

Tuna

Ethan Smith, Pass Christian, 42 lbs. 15 oz.

Wahoo

Ethan Smith, Pass Christian, 21 lbs. 13 oz.

Ethan Smith, Pass Christian, 12 lbs. 7 oz.

FRESHWATER DIVISION

Bream

Brandon Breland, Saucier, 1 lb. 10 oz.

AL Simm, Vancleave, 1 lb. 7 oz.

Catfish

Catfish Charlie Yarberry, Moss Point, 47 lbs. 12 oz.

Anthony Foto, Mobile, 45 lbs. 13 oz.

Crappie

Ray Morgan, Wiggins, 2 lbs. 2 oz.

Ray Morgan, Wiggins, 2 lbs. 2 oz.

Green Trout

Joyce Johnson, Gulfport, 9 lbs. 7 oz.

Betty Shirley, Wade, 8 lbs. 11 oz.

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