HOUMA — Grand Isle is all a buzz with the upcoming Memorial Day weekend.
Not only does the weekend mark the beginning of summer, but it's also the return of the fishing rodeo season on the island.
After last year's rodeo schedule was put on hold due to the BP oil spill, Grand Isle is ready to welcome back visitors to its beaches and waterways.
The island's rodeo season begins on Friday with the 15th Annual Grand Isle Speckled Trout Rodeo at Bridge Side Marina.
Buggie Vegas, owner of the marina, said he is starting to see familiar faces again and that the island residents are excited that the summer is here.
"We've seen people that we haven't seen in over a year. It was people that we used to see all the time. We are excited and my wife, Dodie, and I talked about it all time. Here we go and we are ready to go," Vegas said. "I think everyone is getting on the phone and a lot of camping spots are all booked. Everyone is excited and people kept asking are we going to have a rodeo because they want to get back on the island."
The rodeo goes through Sunday and Vegas said that there will be food and entertainment for the visitors. Vegas said that he expects ticket sales to pick up on Friday once people start arriving on the island. He also said that he was glad to see the number of sponsorships sold, even though it took some time for sponsors to jump on board.
"We were worried a little bit. The sponsors were slow at the first meetings. In the last month, they have been coming in like crazy with the support," Vegas said. "I guess they were hesitant and wanted to see what was up. But we are getting sponsorships like never before. People want to give us support and kick off the summer."
An approaching weather front today should make for a great weekend and Vegas said that if the wind dies down, anglers will do well in a number of spots.
"That is the ticket. It looks like when that front comes through, that Saturday and Sunday look real good," Vegas said. "The fish are there. Right now, we have 4-5 foot seas, and some guys at the camp still caught some nice (speckled) trout off the beach."
Vegas said that anglers are doing well catching white trout at night on a white grubs and live shrimp.
Best spots: North of Four Bayou near the islands and the oyster reefs in Caminada Bay.
Best baits: Live shrimp and minnows.
Gail Serigny of Gail's Bait Shop in Leeville said that windy conditions make it tough for anglers to get out to open waters, but they are still catching fish.
"We do have people fishing and they are catching fish, but it is tough with the wind," Serigny said. "We are supposed to have a good weekend and if that is the case, they will catch going towards the island."
One thing that Serigny said that is disappointing is the lack of crabs in the Leeville area.
Best spots: The surrounding marsh and dead end canals for redfish. If the wind dies, head to the bays behind Grand Isle for speckled trout.
Best baits: Live shrimp and minnows. Also some artificial baits with a piece of shrimp attached to it.
Melissa Fanguy of Capt Allen's Bait and Tackle said that anglers should head south for speckled trout.
"They are catching fish. The problem is to get where the fish are because it is mighty rough," Fanguy said. "They are still catching redfish and drum on the inside. But they have to go out to the islands to catch some trout."
Best spots: The islands offshore and marsh near Cocodrie and Lake Boudreaux.
Best baits: Live shrimp, minnows and Chicken on a Chain.
Contrary to rumors Bob's Bayou Black Marina is open and people are catching sac-a-lait and bream in the area.
"I do have a few people going out. They are catching a decent amount of sac-a-lait and some bream and a few bass," Bobby Breaux, owner of the marina, said. "They are going to Copasaw and Turtle Bayou, but you have to find some clear water. Our water level is perfect, it hasn't risen or gone down. I don't think we are going to get the water they were anticipating."
Best spots: Copasaw and Turtle Bayou
Best baits: Tube jigs, chartreuse, white and black.