Big, Biggest & Best
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.
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.