First place catches of Yellowfin Tuna, King Mackerel headline Carl Legett Tournament

Barrett Van Cleave
Barrett Van Cleave

The final day of the 22nd Annual Carl Legett Fishing Tournament brought several changes to the leader board, including winners in the Yellowfin Tuna and King Mackerel. Derrick Saucier of Pascagoula caught a 48 pound, 2 ounce King Mackerel to capture first place on Sunday at the Point Cadet Marina.

Barrette Van Cleave of Woodville brought in a 123 pound, 8 ounce Yellowfin Tuna for first place in that category. Van Cleave caught the tuna after a violent thunder storm hit the area on Sunday morning.

“I always say I like catching tuna, especially the 40 to 50 pound ones on top water,” Van Cleave said. “This one resembled work. But it was a tournament fish.

“I fought him for about 54 minutes. It was 54 minutes of pure agonizing-back bustin pain.”

Saucier, who has fished in the Carl Leggett tournament for the past 11 years, caught the King Mackerel 65 miles southwest of Pascagoula. “It was the biggest one I’ve caught in two or three years,” said Saucier.

“We had caught some small fish, but the big one came up, actually jumped out of the water, grabbed the bait. We fought him for about 10 minutes.

First place awarded $2,500 in the Yellowfin and Cobia divisions as part of the $26,500 in total prize money. First place in the King Mackerel division paid $1,000.

“It was a great tournament this year. We had 480 fishermen enter, which represented about 100 to 120 bats,” said Carl Legett weighmaster Randall Broussard. “The weather cooperated great. We had a little kids tournament on Saturday where we gave away two hundred eighty rods and reels, life vests and sunglasses.”

The most notable catch at the Carl Legett is still a 124-pound amberjack caught in 2012 by Michael Jimerson of Ocean Springs, which set state and tournament records.

The tournament began as a Home Builders Association picnic in 1995 and eventually grew into a premier fishing event that supports the Gulf Coast Women’s Center for Non-Violence and provide scholarships.