SLWA Fishing Club's 76th annual Fishing Rodeo

The Southwest Louisiana Fishing Club's 76th annual Fourth of July Fishing Rodeo begins Friday and runs through Sunday.

Tickets can be purchased at Ship to Shore, Cormie's Grocery, Cajun Fast Mart, Lake Charles Tackle, West Marine, Calcasieu Landing Point and Cajun Tackle.

Tournament director Louis Vallee said the forecast for this weekend is one of the best he has seen in years. It is in stark contrast to what happened last year, when the club had to postpone the event due to the threat of severe weather.

"It looks great for the weekend," Vallee said. "The weather looks excellent -- 5 to 10 mph winds and zero to 2-foot seas."

Vallee said that the club added a division for kayak fishing this year and dropped the SCUBA division due to lack of interest.

Vallee also said the weigh-in station will be at Southwest Louisiana Fishing Club's headquarters despite the closure of the LaFleur Beach/Prien Lake exit. Drivers can get to the headquarters by taking Nelson Road to West Prien Lake Road and West Prien to Kiwanis Lane.

Anglers will compete for top prizes and awards in numerous divisions. In the junior division, there will be first-, second- and third-place trophies for five offshore and five inland fish. The top junior fisherman will win the Dr. Roger Grimball Jr. Award and a new rod and reel.

Another addition for this year is the Red Kohnke Memorial Award, which will go the angler who catches the redfish with the most spots. Vallee said there will be also be awards for outstanding inland angler, outstanding offshore angler, outstanding offshore boat, outstanding kayak fisherman, outstanding tag and release fisherman and outstanding tag and release boat.

The following is a list of the fishing divisions and the fish categories for each division:

•Tag & Release Group:

Blue marlin, white marlin, sailfish and tarpon.

•Offshore Fishing Group:

Yellowfin tuna, wahoo, dolphin, barracuda, cobia (Ling), red snapper, mangrove snapper, grouper, blackfin tuna, jackfish, tripletail, bonito, bluefish, spade, king mackerel and Spanish mackerel.

•Inland Fishing Group:

Speckled trout, redfish, black drum, flounder, sheepshead, gafftop catfish, gar and croaker.

•Kayak Division:

Speckled trout, redfish and flounder.

•Junior Angler Division:

Red snapper, king mackerel, drum, spadefish, Spanish mackerel, bonito, sheepshead, gafftop catfish, speckled trout, redfish, croaker and flounder.

"Well we've been doing it for years now, and it's about comradery, and going out and catching big fish, or at least being out there you know. Just seeing the incredible things we see is worth it. We don't even have to catch a fish, really," said Jeff Aguillard, who caught the biggest fish.

"It's a good event for family to get out, we have so many fish that you can weigh in, that everybody has an opportunity to catch a fish. And you don't have to target a specific species. It's good for the whole family, kids involved and wives too," said Cody Vidrine.

The biggest fishwas caughtt by Jeff Aguillard. It was a Yellowfin Tuna weighing in at just over 171 lbs. For all the results go