Big Bass Rodeo

big-bass-rodeoTo welcome springtime fishing, New Orleans City Park will host its Big Bass Rodeo and Fishtival, the oldest freshwater rodeo in the country. This 68-year-old event attracting over 600 participants affords an opportunity for anglers of all ages and backgrounds to catch those elusive lunkers for bragging rights and trophies. Unlike high caliber bass fishing tournaments, this non-professional rodeo encourages families and friends to enjoy a day in the park. This year’s Rodeo will be held on Saturday, March 28th with registration beginning at 6:00 a.m. at the Casino Building (presently Morning Call Café). Fishing begins at 6:30 a.m. and weigh-in ends at 11:00 a.m. by the Bandstand. The entry fee is only $10 for Adults (13 and older) and $5 for kids (12 years and under).

There are six fishing categories: Bass-Youth, Bass-Adult, Junior Anglers (12 and under for bream & cichlids), Cichlid and Bream Trim-team event for bream, cichlid and perch), Fly Fishing for bass or cichlid and Champions Challenge for past Bass winners to compete. There is also a bonus prize for anyone catching the heaviest gar or catfish. All fishing must be done from the bank-no watercraft allowed in this division.

The new Boats on the Bayou Division is just for kayaks, canoes and other non-motorized vessels on Bayou St. John only. Categories include largemouth bass, trout, redfish and other species for trophies. A special “Red Tag Special” bonus will offer prizes for the heaviest cumulative weight of tagged redfish! This new division has different rules & regulations, registration and fishing times from the traditional Big Bass Rodeo. Entry fee is $15 with online registration only.

Be sure to visit the Fishtival from 9 a.m. to noon. There will be music, a casting contest for kids, educational exhibits, unique vendors, family-friendly activities, raffles and more! Visit the Wish To Fish tent to buy new and used fishing tackle at great prices.

The Big Bass Rodeo is presented in part by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

The Big Bass Rodeo was founded in 1946 by Paul Kalman. Paul spent many hours of his childhood fishing the tree-framed waters of City Park. For Paul, it was an angler’s urban heaven. After serving in World War II, Paul conceived the idea of an annual fishing rodeo, planting the seeds of what would become City Park’s Big Bass Rodeo. Although he passed away in 1987, his legacy lives on today with the Paul Kalman award presented to the angler 12 years old or less who lands the largest bass. The Joe Courcelle award has since been added to rodeo to honor his 30 years plus serving as Weigh Master and is given to the angler 13 years and up landing the largest bass.

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Big Bass Flyer