What's Biting: Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo
The Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo is the largest fishing tournament in the nation with more than 3,000 participants each year and around 75,000 spectators. This year's rodeo is set for July 15-17.
J&M Tackle in Orange Beach will again be the center of attention for Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo (ADSFR). This year's jackpot catergories include the Raymarine Big Game Jackpot, Pronto Pawn King Mackerel Jackpot and the Yamaha Motors Speckled Trout Jackpot. Other cash prizes are up for grabs in the catch and release category, master angler awards and other special category awards. For rules and regulations, mandatory captain's meetings and schedule of events visit the Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo website. For the diving community in Orange Beach and Gulf Shores, the rodeo has a brand new category just for you. The Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Lionfish Roundup is limited to spearfishing. Lionfish, an invasive species, is flourishing along the Gulf Coast and inhabits many of the reefs near the Alabama coast and the offshore artificial reef structure. Dauphin Island Sea Lab will award $500 in cash for the largest lionfish, followed by $300 gift card from Blue Water Ship Store for second. The third place fish will give the spearfisher the rights to name a public fishing reef courtesy of the Alabama Marine Resources Division. Last year's inaugural live weigh-in category was such a success at last year's rodeo officials decided to expand the category and lift restrictions for the 83rd rodeo, scheduled July 15-17 at the rodeo site on Dauphin Island. Last year, only speckled trout jackpot participants were allowed in the live weigh-in category. This year, the rodeo rules open the live weigh-in category to everyone with a rodeo ticket. It also will expand the category with the addition of the live weigh-in of redfish (red drum). The live speckled trout and redfish brought to the scales will be carefully weighed and released unharmed. As in the past, the Raymarine Big Game Jackpot is for anglers who catch yellowfin tuna, dolphin fish, wahoo and swordfish. Blue marlin is included in the Cash Prize Division, but a minimum size limit of 110 inches is in effect. The Pronto Pawn King Mackerel Jackpot and Yamaha Speckled Trout Jackpot will pay the top 10 finishers. Kayaks or other non-motorized platforms will have a separate speckled trout division. Red snapper stays on the rodeo category list this year because of the state season in Alabama state waters out to 9 miles. For anglers 15 years and younger, the 58th Annual Roy Martin Young Anglers Tournament, sponsored by Exxon-Mobil, will be held Saturday, July 9. The tournament begins at 5 a.m., and the weigh station will be open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. The young anglers will be competing in 31 fish categories. This year one lucky rodeo participant will go home with a 22-foot Contender boat with a 250-horsepower Yamaha outboard. A random drawing from all rodeo participants who weigh in a legal fish or submit a legal entry in the catch and release divisions during the event will determine the winner. Go online for ticket locations, rodeo rules and other details.