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Mardi Gras meets fishing next weekend in Port Arthur

Special to The News

The Elite Redfish Series Classic Kickoff will rock your boat as a new edition to the 25th Mardi Gras of Southeast Texas.

Catch live weigh-ins with host Pat Malone on a professional stage from within festival grounds and be sure to catch the lead professional anglers and their decorated wrapped boats jazzing up the Saturday Majestic Krewe of Aurora Grand Parade.

This is a first as Mardi Gras celebrates “25 Years of Enchantment” in downtown Port Arthur. The tournament will be Feb. 24-26 with energy-charged weigh-ins daily at 4 p.m. in the grounds.

The Elite series draws professional anglers to Sabine Lake to catch the best of the lake’s famed redfish. Elite weigh-ins will be filmed to air on Destination America TV.

Malone brought the Elite Series to Pleasure Island in Port Arthur in April for #ChallengeontheCoast2016, when Charlie Barton of Port Lavaca earned a $50,000 prize package. The community was invited to the staging and filming area to watch anglers vie for top place and show off those huge redfish. Nashville recording artist Kevin Sport performed and sponsors set up amenity tents.

“What a great event and a fantastic time in Port Arthur. The community support for the event was phenomenal as the [southeast] Texas coast is quickly becoming a tour and angler favorite,” Malone reported on the Elite website.

The series returned in October and then chose Port Arthur for a first-ever Elite Kayak Series Open centered at Mid-County Ram.

Great fishing is something that residents and visitors love about Port Arthur. Tammy Kotzur, director of the Port Arthur Convention & Visitors Bureau, said Malone and the Elite Redfish Series have been valuable partners over the past year.

“They have helped to elevate our incredible fishing through their televised TV shows and social media,” she said. “We are proud they have chosen Mardi Gras for the classic.”

The Elite Series and their inclusion in the parade are some of many new attractions at this year’s 25th Anniversary Celebration, Laura Childress, president of Mardi Gras of Southeast Texas, said.

“Mardi Gras of Southeast Texas is so excited to partner with the Elite Redfish series to host the weigh-ins for three days at Mardi Gras in downtown Port Arthur. We welcome the fishermen and guests and look forward to a challenging tournament,” Childress said.

Malone said he encourages the community to show up for weigh-ins to all Elite events with their families to keep fishing a family activity.

For more information about the Elite Series or to learn how to become an Elite angler, visit theredfishseries.com.