Big Mac Classic fishing tournament joins forces with Destin Fishing Rodeo
Not only did nearly 50 people join as members of the Destin Fishing Rodeo, but the Big Mac Classic has joined forces with the Rodeo as well.
During last week’s general membership meeting at AJ’s Seafood & Oyster Bar, there were about 50 people in attendance, with nearly as many becoming members. Amber Helton, Miss Destin 2005, was voted onto the board of directors. Voted back onto the board were past directors Tim Broom of Half Hitch Tackle and Capt. Allen Staples of the 100 Proof charter boat.
But the big news was the Big Mac Classic, a king mackerel tournament usually held a couple of weekends before the Rodeo. Now it will be incorporated into the Rodeo lineup.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for the community, the Rodeo and the Ronald McDonald House. I think it’s going to be good all the way around,” said Jerry Andrews, who heads up the Big Mac Classic.
The Big Mac Classic fishing tournament is all about supporting the Ronald McDonald House of Northwest Florida Charities, which provide a place for families with sick children to stay near the hospital when they are receiving medical care.
In the past, the tournament was just a two-day event. Now it will last throughout October as part of the Rodeo.
“We won't have to have the boats out in bad weather, because we’ve got 31 days to fish. It’s just a positive for everybody,” Andrews said.
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The Big Mac Classic will be open to all registered boats in the Rodeo, private and charter, for those who pay the Big Mac Classic entry fee of $300 per boat. All entry fees will be donated to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Florida.
All Destin Fishing Rodeo rules will apply.
It will be an all-king mackerel event with cash awards to the three largest fish entered overall. The boat with the largest king is guaranteed $10,000. Second place is $3,000 and third is $2,000.
“I think this is going to be good for the Rodeo, and I think it’s going to be fabulous for the Ronald McDonald House Charities,” said Helen Donaldson, executive director of the Rodeo.
With the prize money, “I think it will generate a lot more entries in the Rodeo itself,” Donaldson said.
The Rodeo registered about 300 boats last year with 1,093 fish making the leaderboard during the 31 days of October.
The two-day Big Mac Classic had 17 boats entered and 25 fish weighed, with the largest king weighing in at 48.8 pounds. The largest king mackerel during the Rodeo was a 59.4-pounder pulled in on a private boat.
In addition to the Big Mac Classic overall division, the Rodeo will still have the Big Mac Daily for the boat captains to enter. The entry fee is $100, and the captain with the largest mackerel each day wins $100.
So there will be plenty of money on the line for the king fish. But each has an individual entry fee.
Nevertheless, there is plenty of time to decide between now and Oct. 1 when the 74th annual Destin Fishing Rodeo kicks off.