FREEPORT — Lloyd Langlinais saw the record just laying there.
Wrestling it into his boat and the Fishin’ Fiesta record book took a bit of work.
The Angleton angler brought in an 8.28-pound gigged flounder in the Inshore Adult category, shattering the 2008 record Charlie Pettey set with a 6.02-pounder. He caught it just after midnight Friday after seeing it about 50 yards from the bank laying on the bottom.
“It was so big that my gig heads are really stout and I couldn’t get them to go all the way through him,” Langlinais said. “I put all of my body weight to make it sink through him, because I didn’t want them to come off. We ended up dragging him all the way to the land to get him up and into the boat. Once in the boat, he barely fit in the ice chest that we had.”
Then the fish had a fit inside the cooler, Langlinais said.
“We went back to floundering, but there was a lot of noise behind us and it was that big old flounder that flopped the lid open and jumped out of the ice chest,” he said. “He didn’t want to be in there, so we got him back in there and bungee-cord that ice chest.”
The flounder also is a personal record for Langlinais, who has never won in the annual tournament that is in its 72nd year.
“It might be my year,” he said. “But, hey, you never know. It is the luck of the draw when you go fishing. They always said it was fishing, not catching.”
Langlinais has a specific method when floundering at night, he said.
“We have a boat that is set up with lights in the front of it, and our gig handles are 8-foot long, so we pull ourselves along the bank and just looking at the bottom, and once we find them they are mostly legal,” he said. “Last night, we passed on about 100 flounder that were in the 14- to 15-inch range. If there were any question, we weren’t even sticking them. We were looking for another big one. The only other flounder we caught was a 3-pounder, but it didn’t make the board.”
He is hoping his record catch will stick in the top spot until the end of the tournament, which is 3 p.m. Sunday.
Tanner White broke an even older record in the Juvenile Inshore division with a 6.56-pound flounder. Angleton’s Adam Parnell held the previous mark of 5.94 pounds, set in 1993.
Clute angler Robert Sholar found himself fishing on a short line, with only one day to get something on the board because of his work schedule, he said. Sholar made good use of his time by putting a couple catches atop the Adult Offshore leaderboard with a 17-pound red snapper and a 9-pound bonita.
“I went out with Adams Sports Fishing and it was pretty rough this morning, but we got on some snapper,” Sholar said. “They were very good snapper and they caught 12 of them and none of them were under 8 pounds. The biggest one was the one I brought in, which was 17 pounds.”
Sholar also brought in a 22 1/2-pound king mackerel that sat in the No. 2 spot on the leaderboard late Friday.
“I entered the Fishin’ Fiesta just for fun, and today was all about having fun,” Sholar said. “I had a cousin who took us to a rock that he hadn’t fished at this year, and we all got us some good snapper.”