Outdoors

Mississippi Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo celebrates its 70th year

Weigh master Mark Wright weighs a red fish during the 69th annual Mississippi Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo last year. This year’s rodeo starts June 30 and ends July 4.
Weigh master Mark Wright weighs a red fish during the 69th annual Mississippi Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo last year. This year’s rodeo starts June 30 and ends July 4. amccoy@sunherald.com

The Mississippi Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo turns 70 this year.

The event will be held Friday-July 4 at Jones Park in Gulfport. 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, Ala. 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.”

The Deep Sea Rodeo’s Fourth of July tradition goes back to 1947.

The tournament gets underway Friday at 12:01 a.m. and ends Tuesday at 4 p.m. Scales are open from noon to 6 p.m. Friday through Monday and close Tuesday at 4 p.m. Prizes are awarded for the top three places.

The Kids Fishing Rodeo will be held July 1 from noon until 2 p.m. The weigh-in is also from noon to 2 p.m. Children from 4 to 12 can fish. Contestants must be accompanied to the Scales by a parent or guardian. 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.

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. July 4. A fireworks display takes place at 8:45 p.m. July 4.

James Jones: 228-896-2320, @_jkjones

Mississippi Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo

When: June 30 - July 4.

Where: Jones Park, Gulfport

Admission: $10 for four days, $5 daily.

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