The Fourth of July weekend on the Mississippi Gulf Coast means there will be lots of fun — and, fishing!
The 70th Annual Mississippi Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo is underway at Gulfport’s Jones Park, U.S. 49 and U.S. 90, through 4 p.m. Tuesday.
Scales are open from noon to 6 p.m. Friday through Monday and close 4 p.m. Tuesday.
Prizes will be awarded for the top three places.
A Kids Fishing Rodeo will be held Saturday from noon until 2 p.m., and the weigh-in also is from noon to 2 p.m. Children from age 4 to age 12 can compete in the kids contest but must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to the scales.
All contestants must furnish their own bait and equipment.
Prizes will be awarded for the top five fish in any category at the Kids’ ceremony at 6 p.m.
In all the tournaments, freshwater fish can be caught from any rivers, streams, lakes, bayous or ponds. Freshwater categories include bass, bream and catfish.
Saltwater fish can be caught anywhere in the Mississippi Sound or the Gulf of Mexico. Saltwater fish include speckled trout, redfish, white trout, croaker, ground mullet, flounder, sheephead and drum.
All anglers fishing on craft, yachts and charter boats must be registered except the hired hands of the crew.
The rodeo pageant and crowning of the queen will be at 6:15 p.m. Tuesday. A fireworks display takes place at 8:45 p.m. Tuesday, which is the Fourth of July.
The Mississippi Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo turns 70 this year and is a tradition on the Coast dating back to 1947.
Admission for all four days is $10 and daily admission is $5. Anglers fish for free.
For this year’s milestone rodeo, a pair of $20,000 prizes will be awarded if an angler catches a state record tiger shark and yellow fin tuna after those marks get certified.
The Tiger shark and bull shark marks were broken last year at the Rodeo by David Rogers of Theodore, Alabama. He caught a 390-pound Tiger Shark and a 203-pound bull shark.
Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo president Richard Valdez expects a high volume of anglers fishing in the five-day event.
“It’s a tournament where fisherman can fish for free,” Valdez said. “That’s unheard of these days. We see large crowds when sharks come into the scales. People aren’t used to seeing big sharks.”
Mississippi Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo
When: Friday - Tuesday
Where: Jones Park, U.S. 90 and U.S. 49, Gulfport
Admission: $10 for four days, $5 daily