DAUPHIN ISLAND, Ala. (WALA) – The 81st Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo began with an eye-opening cannon blast right before sunrise Friday.
About the only people on the grounds then were Mobile Jaycees, who run the rodeo.
But after daybreak, activity started picking up, and so did the excitement.
WEIGH IN RULES
There are 30 categories fishermen can enter, and they can weigh in as many times a day as they want.
Rodeo President Gene Fox said, “You can come and go. There’s no start and stop time. It’s 5 am on Friday until 5 pm on Sunday. You can weigh once or you can weigh 20 times.”
Money from tickets and entry fees go to community projects sponsored by the Jaycees.
Fox said, “We fund a lot of marine science scholarships with the University of South Alabama, as well as contribute to several Jaycee projects, the children’s shopping tour in December.
ECONOMIC BOOST FOR ISLAND
The rodeo is also one of the biggest events of the year for the economy of Dauphin Island.
Dauphin Island Mayor Jeff Collier said, “We get folks to come down, they spend the whole weekend with us, so, we have help with our lodging, and then, of course, that translates into the local businesses being recipients, whether it’s restaurants, the local bars, the souvenir shops.”
THE FIRST CATCHES
Right at 10 am, the weigh stations opened, and fishermen started coming back to shore.
One of the first big hauls included two hammerhead sharks.
But, it was a speckled trout that really turned heads.
Trenny Woodham of Mobile said he caught the trout, and it weighed in at more than eight pounds.
When asked if he thought the fish would win him the category, Woodham said, “I knew he was going to have a chance to win. Something that big, when you get an eight pounder of any kind of speckled trout, you know up in the ‘sevens’ usually wins this thing.”
And, the trout may put an end to a personal drought for Woodham in this rodeo.
Woodham said, “I just know I’ve never done anything in this tournament. I’ve been fishing in this thing for 15 years, so it’s about time for me to finally catch a fish.”
The rodeo continues through Sunday.