Outdoors

Threat of rain won’t dampen Mississippi Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo

Ice is spread over sharks in the bin during the 69th annual Mississippi Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo on July 3, 2016. The Mississippi Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo starts Friday.
Ice is spread over sharks in the bin during the 69th annual Mississippi Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo on July 3, 2016. The Mississippi Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo starts Friday. amccoy@sunherald.com

Mississippi Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo officials are used to the threat of rain during the tournament.

The fishing rodeo starts Friday and concludes on the Fourth of July at Jones Park in Gulfport. The tournament officially gets underway at 12:01 a.m. Friday at 12:01 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m. Tuesday. Scales are open from noon to 6 p.m. Friday through Monday and close at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

Mississippi Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo president Richard Valdez says the weather won’t affect the tournament, which started in 1947.

“Unless the conditions are dangerous, the scales will stay open,” Valdez said. “We’ve dealt with this kind of weather before. The rain may keep a lot of the spectators away, but the fishermen are used to it.”

Two $20,000 prizes will be awarded if an angler catches a state record tiger shark or yellow fin tuna after those marks get certified. The Tiger shark and bull shark records 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.

The Kids Fishing Rodeo, one of the tournament’s most popular events, starts Saturday from noon to 2 p.m., with the weigh-in around the same time. Children from 4 to 12 can fish. Contestants must be accompanied to the scales by a parent or guardian. All contestants must bring their own bait and equipment. Prizes will be awarded for the top five fish in any category at 6 p.m.

For the regular tournament, 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.

The rodeo pageant and crowning of the queen will be at 6:15 p.m. Tuesday, followed by a fireworks display at 8:45 p.m.

James Jones: 228-896-2320, @_jkjones

Mississippi Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo

When: Friday through Tuesday

Where: Barksdale Pavillion at Jones Park, Gulfport

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

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