On Friday, July 20th, anglers from all across the nation will gather in Mobile at 5:00am for the opening cannon blast of the Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo.
Now in its 79th year, the ADSFR is a three-day multi-species fishing tournament that covers both inshore and offshore species. The Guinness Book of World Records designated the ADSFR as the “World’s Largest Fishing Tournament” in 2011, and organizers are anticipating another big year.
“The ADSFR is one of the largest yearly attractions along the Alabama Coast,” said Gene Fox, Vice President of Media Relations for the ADSFR. “The economic effect is felt far inland, [with anglers] booking lodging as far away as Downtown Mobile and Orange Beach.”
More than 3,000 anglers gather for the tournament on a yearly basis, and more than 75,000 spectators flock to Dauphin Island for the final weigh in. Anglers are permitted to fish from a pre-approved list of inshore and offshore fish species, and will compete for various prizes from an awards package valued at over $400,000. While the tournament itself is a steady draw for locals, the rules and regulations vary every year.
According to Fox, the 2012 ADSFR will mark several rules changes, including the consolidation of two separate King Mackerel Jackpots into one streamlined division.
Additionally, Triggerfish and Amberjack will not be on the list of approved species this year. But perhaps the most notable absence is that of the Red Snapper, which will no longer be available to recreational fisherman as of July 18th. Lane Snapper, Gag Grouper and Swordfish have all been added to the approved species list, which includes a total of 30 inshore and offshore species.
While the species list varies from year to year, one thing stays consistent with the ADFSR: its significant impact on Alabama’s seafood industry.
“The Rodeo as a whole promotes recreational fishing,” said Fox, “which improves consumer confidence in Gulf Seafood.”
The ADSFR will come to a close at 5:00pm on Sunday, July 22nd, when all catches must be brought to the weigh in station. Prizes will be awarded for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in all categories, along with cash prizes for King Mackerel, Speckled Trout and Big Game Jackpots and the designation of Master Angler for the weekend’s top winner.