Big Mac Classic rolls out this weekend

Tina Harbuck
Jerry Andrews, aka Crazy Jerry, talks with a captain at the Destin Fishing Rodeo on Monday evening about the upcoming Big Mac Classic. [TINA HARBUCK/THE LOG]

Although the Destin Fishing Rodeo comes to a close on Thursday evening, fishing is not over.

The 10th annual AJ’s Big Mac Classic hits the water on Saturday.

Captains will get a chance to register from 4-9 p.m. Nov. 1 at AJ’s Seafood and Oyster Bar, with a captains meeting scheduled for 6 p.m.

“We’re probably going to have more boats than we’ve ever had before,” said tournament director Jerry Andrews.

In years past the Big Mac tournament was held the weekend before the Destin Fishing Rodeo, as a kind of kickoff to the Rodeo. But this year, due to bad weather and high seas, they postponed the event to this weekend.

The entry fee for the two-day tournament is $350 per boat with a payout of $5,000 for the largest king mackerel, based on a minimum of 20 boats being entered. The scales will be open from noon until 7 p.m. on the barge behind AJ’s on Saturday and from noon until 5 p.m. on Sunday. The awards ceremony will be held at AJ’s at 6 p.m.

“If everybody shows up that says they going to show up ... we’re going to have the largest king mackerel tournament we’ve ever had,” Andrews said. “It all depends on the weather.”

Right now the forecast for weekend is sunny skies and temperatures in the 60s.

“But I’ve got a good feeling in my heart that we’re going to have the largest king mackerel tournament we’ve ever had,” he said.

In recent days some good-sized mackerel have been weighed in at the Rodeo, in the 35-40 pound range.

“We’ve seen a lot of nice king mackerel ... and everybody says they’re plentiful out there. And with the weather changing, they should move in here a little closer,” he said. “I’m sure we may see a record broken.”

Last year, the winning king mackerel, caught by Capt. Chad Parker and crew, weighed in at 52 pounds.

But even if you don’t like fishing, Andrews encourages folks to come on down to AJ’s and support the Ronald McDonald House. Andrews is selling tickets for a chance to win an EZGO golf cart. The drawing will be at the awards ceremony.

In the last 10 years, the tournament has raised $575,000 for the Ronald McDonald House of Northwest Florida. Andrews is hoping to reach the $600,000 mark this year.