(Sept. 27, 2011)- This year marked the first annual Yellowfin Tuna Fall Shootout, hosted by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, as part of its Louisiana Saltwater Series.
The Louisiana Saltwater Series tournaments have helped to create awareness and increase participation in tag-and-release fishing by offering a competitive outlet for conservation-minded anglers and captains.
The Department is committed to increasing the number of tagged yellowfin tuna in the Gulf of Mexico. The new tuna tagging program will provide baseline information for the population models used to assess the health of the stock of this valuable fishery.
“There is no fishing experience like catching a yellowfin tuna,” said LDWF Assistant Secretary Randy Pausina. “We wanted to combine this experience with some fun competition between anglers who understand and enjoy the fishery, but are also interested in supporting the Department in our conservation-based efforts.”
A total of six tags were deployed at this weekend’s tournament. The tags will be used to provide information about their movements, migrations, stock structure, growth, population size, mortality, schooling behavior, and physiology.
The tournament offered three competitive categories: a tagging division, chartered boat division and weighed fish division.
The total number of tagged fish determined the winner of the tagging division, going to the charted boat Pale Horse, with a winning total of two tagged yellowfin. Team members included Captain Kevin Beech, Jordan Ellis, Ryan Ducote, Josh Cain, Jody Bondurat, Jacob Gauthier, Hevitt Gauthier and Bronson Giroward. Pale Horse also took swept the chartered boat division, earning them an overall cash prize of $8,000.
The boat Hooked Up showed up to the scales with a 145-pound yellowfin, earning them first prize in the weighed fish division. Team members include Captain Dane Mitchell, Ryan Parham, Patrick Fitzmorris, John Lane and Jeff Barger. The team took home an offshore tackle package valued at $3,000.
LDWF would like to thank its many partners and sponsors for making this tournament a great success, including Venice Marina, which served as host site for the tournament and provided food to all participating anglers.
Information about the 2012 Louisiana Saltwater Series will soon be available at www.lasaltwaterseries.com .
If you are a recreational fishermen, please consider signing up for the Louisiana Cooperative Marine Sport Fish Tagging Program. The program is open to all species, with some of the more common being redfish and speckled trout. Through this program, volunteer anglers provide information that is difficult, often impossible, and expensive to obtain by other means. For additional information, interested anglers can contact firstname.lastname@example.org .
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us at www.wlf.louisiana.gov  on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb  or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.
For more information, contact Ashley Wethey at email@example.com  (225) 765-5113.