July 16, 2011

AL Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo

Big, Biggest & Best

Terry Knotts holds his 25.17-pound red snapper at the weigh station for the 78th annual Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo Friday in Dauphin Island, Ala. (JOHN DAVID MERCER/Staff Photographer)

The Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo is in full swing this weekend, hailed as the largest and oldest saltwater fishing tournament in the world according to the Mobile Jaycees. With Guinness Book of World Records judges on hand this year, they hope to prove it. For many of the 3,000-plus expected anglers, the weekend is a three-day competitive grind. The goal is to catch at least one big fish in any of the 31 categories that hits the leader-board, then survive the last-minute rush before the scales close at 5 p.m. Sunday.

Like any competitive sport, these angles fish for specific types of fish and their tackle is tuned to handle that certain fish when the bite happens. Rodeo scales open at 9 a.m. each day and close at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 5 p.m. Sunday. All participants are encouraged to weigh a legal fish to help the rodeo qualify as the world's largest fishing tournament as determined by judges from Guinness World Records, who will be on hand Sunday.

Rodeogoers gather to check out some of the catch Sunday July 19, 2009 on the final day of the 77th annual Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo on Dauphin Island.(CHIP ENGLISH/Correspondent)

Even if an angler doesn't catch a legal fish, rodeo officials want them to come to the weigh station and turn in their Contender drawing ticket stub. In so doing, those anglers will be entered into a random drawing for a $500 cash prize sponsored by the Dauphin Island Chamber of Commerce.

As for the fishing, Chris Vescey down at Sam's Stop and Shop in Orange Beach reports that Brandon Whitworth of Orange Beach caught a monster king mackerel on a drift bait while fishing bottom structure about 25 miles offshore last week. The big king weighed just under 65 pounds on a certified scale. Vescey fished offshore last weekend and found that the blue water has pushed pretty far out, but there was still a small pocket holding around the Ram-Powell, Marlin and Horn Mountain surface platforms.

He said there were plenty of yellowfin tuna around and also saw two blue marlin feeding on smaller tuna. His party covered a lot of water and caught tuna to 95 pounds, dolphin to 25 and released a white marlin. Rumors are that red snapper limits are still coming pretty quickly on close structure, but the bigger, rodeo-caliber fish are in 100 feet of water or more.

Also, reliable reports that some bigger specks have started showing up in Mobile River. Guys are catching them early on topwaters, then switching to live shrimp or menhaden under slip corks once the sun gets up. Some rodeo-size sheepshead are usually around Gaillard Island at this time of year. The biggest flounder of the year should also be migrating north along the island's rock-lined shores. Topwaters have taken big specks out there early and late at this time of year.

Source: AL.COM/ Jeff Dute

Note of interest: I came across this photo from 2002 of a whopper, a Warsaw Grouper, larger than the three men standing beside it, William E. Bemis, Peter Forey, and Lance Grande.


  1. Wow, that is one whopper of a Red Snapper! I love fishing rodeos and this looks like a really good one. Enjoy and have a great weekend!

  2. Wow impressove! What A fabulous catch!Fabulous Rodeo!

  3. Sounds like a fun event! I had no idea that grouper and red snapper could get anything like that big... Wow!

  4. What I want to know is: When are YOU entering the rodeo????

  5. Of wow that grouper is huge! What a fun event :)

  6. Just gorgeous! I love fish rodeo your pictures are really good...especially the one with the Fishing Rodeo.