Louisiana Tarpon Record Challenged by 246-pound Beast


After more than 22 years, Louisiana’s legendary tarpon record may finally have met its match. David Prevost of Houma caught a 246.1-pound tarpon while fishing off Grand Isle last Thursday, possibly making it not only the heaviest tarpon landed in Louisiana waters, but in the entire United States.

“It took everything we had to get it over the edge (of the boat),” Jeff DeBlieux, who gaffed the fish, told Louisiana Sportsman. “We just couldn’t get it over at first. And then, when we got it coming into the boat, I was afraid it was going to land on David.”

The waters off Grand Isle, known to anglers as the Grand Bayou, is famous for tarpon fishing opportunists. Before they caught the record-sized fish, DeBlieux and Prevost landed eight tarpon ranging from 180 pounds to just over the 200 mark. Fishing nearby were Joe Schouest and his brother, the famous Lance “Coon” Schouest, who instantly recognized the tarpon as a potential record.

“What a fish,” Lance Schouest remarked on Facebook. “It’s a fish of a lifetime.”

Schouest would know, as he holds the state’s No. 3 tarpon with a 228.81-pound fish he caught in 2013. Prevost even caught the record tarpon with Schouest’s own Coon Pop lure design. The battle took about 40 minutes before Prevost was able to bring the fish to the boat and haul it back to Grand Isle for the weigh-in.

A state fisheries biologist who happened to be there at the time measured and certified the fish. Now Prevost just has to wait for the state to make it official.

The icing on the proverbial cake is that his fish has a chance to snap up the US record as well. According to the International Game Fish Association, the largest tarpon caught in US waters is a 243-pound fish from Key West. If Prevost’s weight is correct, his fish should be a shoe-in for the national record.

“I thought the fish was in the high 220s, but didn’t think it’d be 246 pounds,” the angler told The Advocate. I had one in the 220 range last year and let it go, but this one was a fish I wanted to get mounted.”

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