EASL Members Challenged by Weather at this year’s Saltwater Challenge

For the second consecutive year, foul weather proved to be the most challenging part of the “Terry Melancon Saltwater Challenge”.

EASL hosted this popular annual event for the tenth time, July 17 through 20 in Grand Isle. Turnout was a little lower than usual, probably due to the 70% chance of severe thunderstorms that was forecasted. But most of the regulars were not deterred, and even when that 70% turned into 100, they certainly didn’t let it spoil their fun.

The festivities didn’t officially kick off until Friday evening, but many folks extended their weekend by arriving a day early for some extra fishing and crabbing. EASL reserved three nights at two brand new camps, located adjacent to each other and right on Caminada Bay. Twenty-five members spent the weekend there, and the camps also served as the perfect headquarters for event activities.

The Friday night registration supper featured a full 18-gallon pot of delicious jambalaya cooked by Charlie Moore. It was as good as it gets, but it almost didn’t happen! At about 3 that afternoon, just as Charlie and his help were getting started, a terrible thunderstorm blew through for about an hour with heavy rain, lightening, and gale force winds – everyone was soaked. But after the storm finally passed through, it calmed down nicely and Charlie was able to do his thing – just a little later than planned. At the registration, thirteen teams, a total of 40 people, signed-up for the Challenge.

At around 3 a.m. Saturday morning, anxious fishermen were awakened by the distant rumble of approaching thunder. The storm was returning, and well before daylight the entire island would be slammed with high winds, heavy rain, frequent lightening and thunder so loud it rattled the dishes in the camp kitchen. It would have had to get better to be called a hurricane, and this went on all morning. But to everyone’s surprise, at around noon the storms finally cleared out, the wind calmed, and the sun even came out a little. There wasn’t much time before the 3 p.m. deadline so most people left the boats on the trailers, grabbed their tackle and headed up Hwy. 1 for some side-of-the-road tailgate fishing. The strategy didn’t work for everyone, but enough fish were caught to fill out every category, and more importantly, provide supper that evening.

And a fine evening it was; a beautiful island sunset, great food, good friends, and even some live entertainment. Good times, for sure.

-by Keith Saucier

SWC Neuts Raiders

“Newt’s Raiders”  Vince Diez Sr. and Thelma Diez; Frank King and Beverly Cook captured 1st place in 3 categories; 5 Largest Trout; Largest Redfish; & Other Fish

SW Bama Toad Stranglers

Team “Bama Toad Stranglers” Torey & Joe Hayden, James Mason, & Len Higginbothom took 2nd place in the category “2 Largest Reds under 27”.


SWC Team Optomism

Team “Optomism”; Vince Diez Jr (pictured), Valerie & Brad Hymel (not pictured) placed 1st in the “Largest Trout” category; and 2nd place in the “5 Largest Trout” category. At right is Krissie Deshautelles of Team “Fishy Business”. Krissie was the award presenter for the evening.

SWC Team Chasin Tail

Team “Chasin’ Tail”; members Steve Peltier, Keith Tassin, Jim Scott, Steve Shesser, & Rick Store, were the big money winners this year. They took 1st in the “2 Largest Reds Under 27”, Flounder, and Cajun Slam

SWC Barney & Dominic

Barney Callahan & grandson Dominic , part of Team “Red Runners”.

SWC Charlie Moore big trout

Charlie Moore caught the undisputed biggest trout of the weekend (one day too early). Charlie cooked an awesome jambalaya for everybody Friday night.

SWC Vince Jr frying fish

Vince Diez Jr. was the head chef Saturday night. Fresh caught fried fish & french fries.

SWC Fish cleaning

Fish cleaning experts Barney Callahan, Vince’s Sr. & Jr. gave a fish cleaning clinic.

SWC Friday night supper

Good friends enjoying the Friday night supper; Jambalaya & white beans by Charlie Moore. Good as it gets!