Grown men struggle when reeling in 180-plus pound tarpon, that’s why it’s so impressive that 14-year-old Ivy Robichaux brought in a 188.4 pound silver king all on her own. In doing so, she not only caught a monster, she broke a world record. That record will become official once it’s approved by the International Game Fish Association.
Robichaux’s amazing catch was all made possible by Capt. Lance ‘Coon’ Schouest, owner of Coon Pop Charters. Schouest took Robichaux, her mom Simone and her brother Roman out of Grand Isle along with his grandson Hunter to the Terrebonne Sportsman’s League Fishing Rodeo.
The group finally got out on the water and hooked up with the tarpon around 8 or 8:30 a.m. The rest is history.
“We weren’t the early birds, but we found the worm anyhow,” Schouest said. “We caught him 9 miles out of Grand Isle, right out of Barataria Pass. You could still see the island.”
Ivy’s age class had a current world record of a 128-pound tarpon that had been caught in Honduras in 2002. They knew they needed a big one to break it, and they got it. Working with two rods as Schouest trolled. When it finally bit, Schouest made sure everything was done by the book.
“Basically, the right size fish hit the right little girl’s line,” he said. “There was no doubt. I told everybody on the radio, ‘We hooked up with a good one. We’re going for the world record.’ And sure enough, it happened.
“When it came out the water on the first jump, I told them on the boat, ‘She’s over 180 pounds.’ And she was.”
Robichaux fought the tarpon for an hour and never gave up.
“Let me tell you, I’ve been doing this since 1973,” said Schouest. “I’m so proud of that little girl. She never cried. She never quite pumping.”
“She deserved that tarpon. She fought it like a grown up.”
More than that, she fought it like a seasoned pro.
“I’m telling you, this little girl fought that thing the way you’re supposed to fight a tarpon — like a grown person. She had a smile from ear to ear. She never quit.”
Celebration erupted from the boat once the fish was finally on-board the 31-foot Fountain. Schouest may have been the most excited, having known exactly what the teenager had just accomplished at such a young age.
Once weighed, the fish came in at 188.4 pounds, 90 inches long with a 41-inch girth. Needless to say, she won the tournament. Once the pending record is approved, she’ll have a world record too.
“She did an awesome job,” said Schouest. “You have to call it pending until you get all the paperwork, and that takes like two months.”
Robichaux is even getting a replica mount of the giant tarpon made.