Blog: 2019 Destin Fishing Rodeo

This October, expect some monsters on the docks of Destin. It’s not zombies or even Frankenstein – it’s the 20- to 50-pound grouper, King Mackerel and tuna that will be pulled from the depths of the Gulf of Mexico. 

The 71st annual Destin Fishing Rodeo has kicked off with a bang as Celia Monnin of Columbus, Ohio took first-fish honors with her 6.4-pound redfish. The renowned fishing tournament runs the entire month of October, with daily weigh-ins on the docks at AJ’s Seafood and Oyster Bar from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. More than 30,000 anglers are expected to compete for over $100,000 in cash and prizes. 

It’s free to anglers fishing aboard a private or charter boat that is registered in the rodeo (read more on registering your vessel or finding a charter). No fishing boat? No problem! Kayak or paddleboard contestants can register for $50, while those on the land pay $25 for ages 15 and over. It’s free for anglers 14 years old and younger. In fact, every kid who enters a fish in the Rodeo weighing 1 pound or more gets a free rod and reel as well as a frame-worth certificate.

The Destin Fishing Rodeo offers daily, weekly and overall prizes, not to mention a photo op with Miss Destin, who is present at daily weigh-ins. There are multiple divisions such as junior, teen, ladies and senior, and virtually every gamefish is recognized with awards, whether you’re trolling inshore for King Mackerel, offshore for Marlin and Sailfish, or fishing the deep bottoms for Red Snapper and Grouper.

Don’t miss Shark Saturdays, where they “hang ‘em high” at weigh-ins. It’s not unusual to see a 200-pound whopper dangling from the scale. Other family friendly events include the Destin 5K Rodeo Run (October 6) and Halloween on the Harbor (October 31), when everyone is encouraged to wear their costumes for the Rodeo Fireworks Finale sponsored by A.J.’s. 

To register for the Rodeo or 5K, visit the Destin Fishing Rodeo website