PORT FOURCHON – A tarpon and a big blue marlin made for the big news at the 2018 Golden Meadow-Fourchon International Tarpon Rodeo on Friday, the second day of fishing and the first day of weighing catches at the 70th installment of the event. 

Tonya Schouest of Franklin brought in a 124-pound, 11-ounce tarpon to the scales at Moran's Marina on Friday, which is not always a given for the rodeo.

Schouest’s fish was the first tarpon brought in over the last two years. 

“This is my very first tarpon. I’ve never caught one before,” Schouest said. “I hooked one last year but I couldn’t land it. This year I got it.” 

Schouest caught her fish, “in the rain and sick”, and said the tarpon lived up it to its reputation as a fierce fighter. 

“It was about a 25-minute fight, but we brought it in,” she said. 

Craig Blanchard of Larose had a longer fight with a larger fish.

Blanchard brought in a 397-pound, 4-ounce blue marlin that he intended to catch and release. 

“We hit some mahi-mahi first,” Blanchard said. “And then this big one hooked on. It took about four hours to land, and about four of us an hour-and-a-half to get her on the boat. It’s a 32-foot boat. We had a pretty good fight. I didn’t plan on keeping her, but she died while we were bringing her in, so that’s why we decided to get her weighed.” 

Weigh Master Martin Bourgeois said the big fish were not expected. 

“We had a tarpon, which is somewhat surprising,” Bourgeois said. “We haven’t had one in two years. We hear a big group of fish is coming in (today), so maybe we’ll see another one. And we had a blue marlin. This is not a rodeo known for big-game fish. This particular group managed to get a hit. They wanted to release it, but it died.”

Bourgeois added the action at the weigh station was off and on Friday, but overall it was a successful day.

“We had some lulls once in a while in the afternoon, but as predicted, we had a good showing of mangrove snapper,” he said. “Lots of mangroves. We got a good number of cobia and speckled trout too.”

The rodeo concludes today.

Scales for the Children’s Division close at 4 p.m. and scales for all other divisions close at 5 p.m.