Selected Community Events
40th Annual Fishing Rodeo
Shoreline Park South in Gulf Breeze
Gulf Breeze Optimist Club reaches milestone: their 40th Annual Fishing Rodeo
Spear fishers and hook and line anglers can enter to win $1,000
Forty years ago, Gulf Breeze Optimist Club launched a fundraiser that not only taught children to fish, but also offered a multitude of categories in which nearly every fish could be a prize winning catch. The popularity of the event increased each year and it raised money for the youth programs of the Gulf Breeze area.
This year, on May 15-17, the GBOC Fishing Rodeo returns to Shoreline Park South in Gulf Breeze, filled with fun, fishing, food and the chance for each entrant to win $1,000 in prize money. The Gulf Breeze Optimist Fishing Rodeo is unique because it is open to both shore and pier anglers as well as those on board private and fishing vessels. This year, spear fishers get their own category, and they are especially encouraged to target the invasive Lionfish species. The boat that turns in the most lionfish will win an award valued at $500.
The spear fishing tournament starts at sunrise on Friday, May 15 and ends Sunday, May 17 at 5 p.m. to coincide with the Lionfish tournament sponsored by the Gulf Coast Lionfish Coalition and the FWC. This year, spear fishers can enter two tournaments with the same fish! The hook-and-line tournament starts on Saturday, May 16 at 6 a.m. and goes through Sunday, May 18 at 5 p.m. One day fishing constitutes a complete tournament. Weigh-in is on Saturday and Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m. Awards will be presented at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday. A free fish fry will be served by the Optimists to all participants and sponsors during the weigh-in periods. Entrants must select either the spear fishing or hook and line division.
The entry fee of $25 is waived for all children 9 and under who have an adult registered for the event. A silent auction will offer bidders a chance to win an original painting by local artist Steve Zieman, two half day charter fishing trips from Hot Spots, two wine dinners for 8 from Carrabba’s, a stainless steel prop from Yamaha, a premium cooler from Gander Mountain as well as an array of other items.
Anglers can purchase tickets at Gulf Breeze Bait & Tackle, Hot Spots Bait & Tackle, Dizzy Lizzy Bait & Tackle, Half Hitch Bait & Tackle in Navarre; Dive Pros, Scuba Shack, MBT Divers and Bay Breeze Aquatics & Dive Center or Gulf Breeze News. Ticket sales for the spear fishing division end Friday morning and ticket sales for the hook and line division end Saturday morning.
The grand prize to be awarded is $1,000 cash, which will be chosen from a drawing containing the top winners in each of the 21 categories of fish in the hook and line division and five in the spear fishing division. Each category will have $100, $50 and $25 gift certificates for First, Second and Third Place prizes.
In previous tournaments, nearly 400 anglers of all ages competed in the Gulf Breeze Optimist Fishing Rodeo, and prizes were awarded in 21 categories. For 2015, the 21 hook-and-line categories include Amberjack, Bluefish, Bonito, Croaker, Dolphin, Flounder, Grouper, King Mackerel, Lady Fish, Ling/Cobia, Mingo Snapper, other Legal Snapper, Pompano, Redfish, Sheepshead, Spanish Mackerel, Speckled Trout, Tuna, Wahoo, White Trout and Whiting. The five spear fishing categories are Amberjack, Flounder, Gray Snapper, Lionfish and Scamp.
The Gulf Breeze Optimist Club returns all proceeds from its fund raising events back into the community, specifically helping the youth. Potential members are welcome to attend breakfast each Friday at 6:45 a.m. at Gulf Breeze Hospital Cafeteria. Gulf Breeze Optimist Club is a 501(c)(3) organization and all donations are tax deductible.
For further information, please call Verne Rhodes at (850) 261-3731 or visit online at facebook/Gulf Breeze Optimist Club.