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Get Hooked on the Destin Fishing Rodeo
Anglers can compete in a variety of categories and prizes are awarded on a daily and weekly basis, and overall awards are announced at the end of the Rodeo. Weigh ins are held daily, from 10am-7pm behind AJ’s Seafood and Oyster bar, right on Destin’s Historic Harbor.

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By Susan Moody
Posted Wednesday, September 14, 2011

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Established in 1948, The Destin Fishing Rodeo allows locals and visitors alike to experience ‘the world’s luckiest fishing village” in all her emerald hued glory. Kicking off October 1 and running through October 31, the Destin Fishing Rodeo will host more than 30,000 participants as they compete for $200,000 in cash prizes. Anglers can compete in a variety of categories and prizes are awarded on a daily and weekly basis, and overall awards are announced at the end of the Rodeo. Weigh ins are held daily, from 10am-7pm behind AJ’s Seafood and Oyster bar, right on Destin’s Historic Harbor.

This year, the rodeo is free to anglers fishing aboard a registered charter fishing or party boat. Private boats can register for between $100-$300.00, depending on size. Fishing from the beach, a pier or jetty is also permitted. Registration for this event is free for kids 14 and younger and just $25.00 for everyone else. ‘The Destin Fishing Rodeo brings together all walks of life to enjoy the fun and the competition of the sport of fishing,” said Shaun Eubanks, President of Community Bank in Destin FL, and an avid angler. =

Most participants recommend booking a trip with an experienced captain, and Shaun agrees. “It adds another level of excitement to the trip, knowing that you might catch THE winning fish at any time. It’s fun to see the captains and mates get excited and run around if they think their client has a chance of winning.” Even if you don’t fish, there’s a lot of excitement to be had during the Rodeo “Everybody should go down to the docks during weigh in. It’s great to see a big fish come in and see the smiles on the kid’s faces when they are standing by their fish with everybody watching. Last year, my daughter Erin brought in a red snapper weighing 12.5 pounds, and half of it had been eaten by a shark while she was pulling it in. Bruce, the weigh master, put it on the scales and announced that this is what happens when you can’t reel it in fast enough.

The organizers of the Fishing Rodeo understand that getting kids involved in fishing early will ‘hook ‘em” on the sport for life, so they have designed the atmosphere around the rodeo to be kid and family friendly and they encourage kids to “take the bait” and get involved in their own special events.

In addition to having a junior division, which competes throughout the tournament, AJ’s host a Kids Kickoff at 2:00 on Saturday, October 1st, with a carnival, games and a wagon parade. October 15th is the Root’n Toot’n Rodeo Round Up on the Okaloosa Island Pier. Beginning at 9am, kids 12 and under can fish all morning. The $10.00 entry fee covers admission to the pier, a t-shirt, rod, reel, bait and lunch.
So be sure to check out the weigh ins behind AJ’s and, if you’re feeling adventurous, get you, or your family out with an experienced boat captain.

More information about the Destin Fishing Rodeo and registration forms can be accessed online at The Okaloosa County Tourist Development Council sponsors the Destin Fishing Rodeo, in part. For more information about where to stay, play, and eat while in town, log on to


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