On July 22, thousands of anglers set their course for Dauphin Island after spending an entire weekend reeling in enormous fish along Alabama’s Gulf Coast.
But only a few were fortunate enough to be crowned champions of the Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo (ADSFR).
The ADSFR, hosted by the Mobile Jaycees, is one of the Alabama Gulf Coast’s biggest tourism draws—not just for anglers, but for spectators and beach-goers alike. 2012 marked another great year in the storied history of the world’s oldest and largest fishing tournament.
In fact, three tournament records fell in the Rodeo’s 84th year. James Wink’s 182-pound yellowfin tuna and Brycen Ball’s 197.6-pound swordfish broke the previous tournament records for each fish, and Jonathan Russell’s 2.46-pound lane snapper set the tournament record in the fish’s first year as a category.
The title of Master Angler went to Bennie Goldman Jr., who earned big points for his 48.84-pound king mackerel and 30.12-pound barracuda, and David Silcox won the Most Unusual category for reeling in a rare sharpnose sevengill shark.
But things didn’t slow down once the fish were weighed in. As ADSFR V.P. of Marketing Relations Gene Fox points out, the ADSFR marks one of the largest gatherings of marine biologists every year.
Once the anglers bring their prize catches to shore, the fish are then donated to on-site scientists from the Alabama Marine Resources Division, Dauphin Island Sea Lab and the FDA so that they may continue to conduct research. And with roughly a thousand different samples every day, the ADSFR presents an invaluable opportunity for studying the Gulf Coast’s wide variety of marine life.
With multiple broken or established records, several unique and impressive aquatic finds and thousands of specimens for marine biology studies, the 2012 ADSFR was a huge success for the State of Alabama and Alabama Gulf Seafood.