Great Return Show at Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo – The Atmore Advance
By DAVID RAINER
Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
The big show will return for the 88th Annual Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo (ADSFR), scheduled for July 15-18 at the Dauphin Island rodeo site.
Now that COVID-19 restrictions have been relaxed, a long weekend of fun, fishing and entertainment awaits those who venture to Alabama’s Barrier Island for the event that attracts more than 3,800 anglers to line in the fertile waters of the state and in the Gulf of Mexico.
“We are very excited to be there,” said Ryan Schumann, president of 2021 Rodeo. “That doesn’t mean I’m not proud of everything we accomplished last year. Being in the midst of COVID, we were still able to organize a fishing tournament and are entitled to 3,800 fishermen.
“But we can’t wait to get back to the max. This means a sponsorship tent with our suppliers to allow our sponsors to interact with the spectators. I can’t wait to get back to the entertainment, to have spectators and to have people at the event besides our fishermen.
Schumann said that one aspect of ADSFR that he truly appreciates is that it exemplifies what Dauphin Island is – community camaraderie, fun and entertainment.
“It’s an annual event that everyone looks forward to and comes together to participate,” he said. “People from out of town who have family on Dauphin Island always come to town for the rodeo. I have friends who grew up on Dauphin Island and have moved. But the Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo is a signature event they keep coming back to. The rodeo has always been a label for the community, a staple for the community.
“We are happy that people can see the culture on Dauphin Island. Glad we get to see people come out and have fun again. “
The rodeo festivities will kick off Thursday, July 15 with the Captain T-Bone’s Liars contest at 6 p.m., followed by music from Yellowhammer, featuring former Major League Baseball winner Cy Young, Jake Peavy. This year’s musical theme is “Reelin ‘in the Years” with 70s music on Thursdays, 80s music on Fridays and 90s music on Saturdays.
Fishing begins at 5 am on Friday July 16, with the traditional cannon shot. The weigh station will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The musical entertainment will begin at 7:30 p.m. with The Molly Ringwalds.
Mustache, The Band will be the entertainment on Saturday at 5 p.m. The weighing station will be open again from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
On Sunday, the last day of competition, the weighing station will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. At 6:30 p.m., any rodeo participant who has weighed a legal fish will be eligible for raffles for a Contender 25 Bay and Yamaha Boat SHO 250 hp Outboard Kit and Seakeeper Boat Stabilizer. The awards ceremony will take place Monday at 6 p.m. at the Grounds in Mobile.
Anglers will compete in 30 regular fish categories as well as the Yamaha Speckled Trout jackpot, the King Mackerel jackpot from Synergy Laboratories and the Raymarine Big Game jackpot. Cash prize categories are available for several species. Visit www.adsfr.com for details.
Schumann said the rodeo decided not to have red snapper as a regular category due to the uncertainty over the season’s end.
“As everyone knows, the most popular fish along the Gulf Coast of Alabama is the red snapper,” he said. “Currently, we don’t have it in the 30 open categories or as a jackpot. For the past few years, red snapper has not been available for fishing on rodeo weekends. The season for red snapper is based on a quota. Based on projections, we don’t see a red snapper this year for the rodeo. But, if it’s the season, we’ll add it back to the tournament as a jackpot category. “
Swordfish was added as a category for the 2021 rodeo with a minimum length of 50 inches measured from the lower jaw to the crotch in the tail.
The grouper category will include yellow grouper, gag and red grouper.
The speckled trout jackpot entries will be limited to fish within the 15-22 inch Alabama speckled trout slot limit, measured with a pinched tail. A silver prize lunker category is available in speckled trout with a minimum size of 26 inches, pinched tail.
In the Live Weigh category, the rodeo will have a “Race up to 18” for anglers who weigh up to the daily limit of six live speckled trout within the time slot limit. The first angler to weigh in on a total of three days of 18 live slot fish wins the prize.
Captain Richard Rutland, former rodeo president and co-chair of the rodeo rules committee, said a new method will be used to measure speckled trout and rockfish.
“We will be using a measuring device called the Check-It Stik on an inclined board with a Perfect Pincher which is a hands-free way to measure the fish,” Rutland said. “The Perfect Pincher will pinch the tail, then the fish will be called out by the judge. This way we will have consistency during the weighing process. This will be used for speckled trout and rockfish, the only two slot species. “
Last year’s restricted rodeo was a throwback to the rodeos of the past, when the only additional people on Dauphin Island were anglers. Despite the extra workload coming back to the contemporary rodeo, Schumann said the rodeo is ready to rock.
“Last year for the organization and the Mobile Jaycees who work at the rodeo, we had a blast,” he said. “It was a lot less work. We were able to breathe a little. We went back to our roots as a simple fishing tournament, which is our heart. And it was a huge success. Nearly 3,800 fishermen took part.
“But this year we’re going to be non-stop throughout the tournament. This is a good thing. We are happy to be able to provide the complete entertainment and spectator package. We have become fond of anything we do to attract people to the island. We are excited about it.
The weekend before the big rodeo, the Jaycees will host the annual Roy Martin Young Anglers tournament. The tournament starts at 5 a.m. on July 10 and the weigh station will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Roy Martin event is open to all anglers 15 and under. Young fishermen will compete in 31 categories of fish. All proceeds will go to the Mobile Jaycees Children’s Christmas Shopping Tour.