Big Mac Classic at AJ's Seafood & Oyster Bar is scheduled for this weekend

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log

The 12th annual Big Mac Classic at AJ’s Seafood & Oyster Bar is set to roll this weekend, Sept. 17-19. 

“We just need more boats to enter,” said Jerry Andrews, fishing tournament's director. 

Andrews said he has had several people inquire about entering, but like most tournaments, boats wait until the last minute. 

Anglers aboard the Ray Marine/Strike with Capt. Rob Lupola took first place in last year's AJ's Big Mac Classic with a 47.4-pounder caught by Kelly Patton. The mackerel was worth $10,000 in prize money.

If the weather gets bad, the tournament will be moved to the following weekend. 

“We haven’t missed a year yet. … However, some are more difficult than others,” Andrews said. 

But as of Monday, everything was set to go. 

Blast from the past:RODEO RECORD: Capt. John Tenore and crew aboard the Dawn Patrol hold the record king mackerel

Boat captains can still register on Friday from 4:30-8 p.m. at AJ’s and enjoy a captains dinner at 6 p.m. Entry fee is $450. 

The tournament benefits the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Florida. Last year, the tournament was one of the only fundraisers for the Ronald McDonald House because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Andrews said they were able to raise $53,000 for Ronald McDonald House. 

The crew aboard the Sea J with Capt. Chad Parker show off this 43.6-pound king mackerel that took second place in last year's AJ's Big Mac Classic. The fish caught by Ray Short was worth $1,500 in prize money.

The captains meeting is mandatory and fishing can begin immediately after, if they so choose, Andrews said. 

The scales will be open from 3-7 p.m. Sept. 18 and noon to 5 p.m. on Sept. 19, with the awards to follow at 6 p.m. 

More:Ray Marine/Strike Two wins AJ's Big Mac Classic

This is strictly a king mackerel tournament, with cash awards for the three largest fish overall as well as three awards for a two-fish aggregate weight winner for both Saturday and Sunday, as well as an overall three fish aggregate total weight. 

Anglers can weigh a maximum two fish daily and declare on Saturday if they want one or both fish to count for their overall aggregate. 

Tournament director Jerry Andrews (left) presents a check to the third place finishers in the AJ's Big Mac Classic last year. Placing third was Goofy Golf with Capt. Chris Clements with a 36.8-pounder caught by Chris Herron. The catch was worth $500.

The first place king mackerel angler will take home $10,000. 

There will also be cash awards for second and third, as well as aggregate winners and Calcutta winners. 

For more information, contact Andrews at 850-259-3158.