Destin: Saddle Up - It's (Fishing) Rodeo Time
For more than seven decades, people have come from near and far to the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village” to compete in the longest running tradition in the area — the Destin Fishing Rodeo. If you've never participated, this might be the year to join in the fun!
Celebrating its 74th year, the Rodeo is not your ordinary fishing tournament. Anglers have the entire month of October to “giddy-up” and grab a rod and reel and try their hand at landing the big one. And not to fret, the only thing you might get bucked off in this Rodeo is the leaderboard.
With more than 35,000 anglers from all over the United States competing in more than 200 categories, the lead changes nearly every day. In addition to the Grand Prize winners, there are prizes given away daily. Anglers weigh in mackerel to Mako’s, amberjack to grouper, tuna to triggerfish and even redfish to speckled trout to name a few. The king mackerel and wahoo divisions always see big contenders at the weigh-in. Last year, a sailfish was brought to the scales on a paddle board.
The best thing about this Rodeo, it is free to all anglers fishing on a charter boat, aboard private boats, paddle boards and kayaks. If you want to stay closer to shore, you can also fish of the jetties or pier or stand in the surf. The Destin Charter Boat Association currently has more than 90 boats listed with more in the harbor for this month-long event.
Stroll from one end of the harbor to the other on Destin’s waterfront boardwalk for the opportunity to see each day’s catch firsthand.
Nothing compares to the smile on a child’s face when they come in with their first fish and get a free rod and reel along with a certificate.
But the Rodeo is more than a fishing tournament. It is a chance to meet up with old friends on the docks or a chance to mingle and make new ones. You can see some of the most beautiful sunsets imaginable every evening on the harbor as the boats come in to weigh their catches. Take time to taste great local cuisine right off the grill or listen to local artists playing on the docks.
Come on down and saddle-up for the Destin Rodeo — Fishing that is! For more information, visit DestinFishingRodeo.org.