After three years on the sideline, Kevin Burns returned to running the scales at the 72nd annual Fishin’ Fiesta and showed no signs of rust from his time away.
Also making a return appearance to the event was bad weather.
“We had a bad squall come through here this morning, but I heard of some power outages in Clute, Lake Jackson and Jones Creek,” Burns said. “There were some downpours where some got drenched pretty good. We had very little fish come in from the outshore category, so that is something where the seas are supposed to be laying down a bit and the winds getting calmer, which will make it nicer conditions for the offshore anglers.”
Competitors managed to bring in respectable-sized catches on Wednesday’s opening day despite any hardships the passing storms might have created, Burns said.
“We’ve had four gar come in along with some good snappers today,” he said. “The first fish that were weighed this morning were a father and daughter both with the leads in the drum category. One was 12.75 and the other was 12.48, which is a really nice size for first day for the dark drum category.”
Jeff and Christina Largent came to the weight station later in the day after spending about 10 hours fishing. They were aiming to win Wednesday’s mini-tournament.
“Flounder was what we were going after today and tomorrow is the redfish, so we will go after that,” Jeff Largent said. “We didn’t have much luck with redfish, but we weren’t exactly targeting those. I did catch a couple of small ones by accident, but tomorrow is a whole different thing. We may try to catch flounder again because it is better to eat.”
Both the rain and sun took a toll on the couple, Jeff Largent said. They got hit hard by lightning and thunderstorms and had to wait it out for about two hours at San Luis Pass.
“Then it just got hot and steamy. Then it got pretty breezy,” he said.
The Largents plan to stick it out for the whole tournament, which ends Sunday afternoon. Hot, sticky weather is expected the remaining four days, according to the forecast.
“We were out in Bastrop area and we are going to try to do all five days; it will depend on how wore out we get,” he said. “This first day was rough, and if it is anything, the weather is what got us today. So we are hoping the weather holds back the rest of the week, and hopefully everyone will have a good time better than what we had today.”
Christina Largent did have some luck in catching a crab, though it came up just short of making it onto the leader board.
“It was by pure accident because I was trying to catch flounder, but instead I got the crab,” she said.
Whatever they catch the rest of the way, Burns will be there to weigh it. It’s how the ranger at San Luis Pass County Park is spending his vacation time, taking on a task a past Fishin’ Fiesta leader found him well-suited to run.
“I’ve been gone for three years after running it for six years and being involved for seven years,” Burns said. “After that first year, Milan Miller was the tournament director, there were fish coming in that I was identifying that he didn’t even know, so after that he handed me the keys to drive and ran it for six years.”