It's not a bad idea, but Destinís charter captains probably wouldn't participate en masse.
The community of Navarre, Destin's distant neighbor to the west, is looking to have its first-ever Navarre Fishing Rodeo on June 1 and 2. The weigh-ins will take place at Juana's Pagodas on Navarre Beach.
"I think it's great," said Destin Fishing Rodeo executive director Helen Donaldson. This October, Destin will be celebrating its 65th rodeo, a month-long fishing tournament that draws more than 35,000 anglers to the area. Fishermen have the chance to compete for thousands of dollars in prizes and pull in everything from mingos to makos.
The Navarre rodeo is planning to have different types of prizes that will be awarded for 20 different species of fish as well as a division for junior anglers. Anglers will be able to fish off the Navarre Pier, in the surf, the sound, or from a boat. Fishermen will also have access to the bay and rivers.
This week the Santa Rosa County commission earmarked $10,000 for the event. The money would go toward everything from coozies to T-shirts to the leaderboard. Prizes would come out of the captainsí fees and from donations.
"They've got some opportunities that we don't have, such as fresh water," said Donaldson. "And they have a great pier."
But without their own pass, gulf fishing and weigh-ins will be a logistical headache, and some of Destinís charter boat captains say they arenít likely to participate.
"It's 18 miles from here," said Capt. Tony Davis of the Anastasia.
And with all the no-wake zones between here and there, ďit would take forever,Ē he said.
"It sounds more like a small boat tournament," Davis added.
Capt. Mike Graef of the Huntress said he understands that Navarre is just trying to promote its piece of paradise. He said their beaches are beautiful, but "we're not going to drive 20 miles at the end of the day to weigh in a fish ... unfortunately."
In addition to the drawback of it being about a two-hour boat ride from Destin to Navarre, June 1 is also slated to be the start of red snapper season. Destin charter boats will be busy running one and two trips daily in the hunt for the signature fish of the Gulf Coast.
Nevertheless, the idea of fishing event to promote Navarre is a good idea.
"Everybody has got to start somewhere," Donaldson said. "I hope it's successful. The more fishing opportunities was have on the Gulf Coast the better for everybody."