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Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo kicks off Fourth of July holiday

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GULFPORT, Mississippi — State records are always hard to break at the Mississippi Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo.

The 67th annual tournament begins today at Jones Park's Gulfport Harbor. Admission to the four-day event is $10, $5 daily. Anglers fish free.

Here are some of the notable Fishing rodeo and state records:

— A 62-pound sailfish caught by Eddie Jones of Biloxi in 1963 remains both the state and fishing rodeo record.

— A 23-pound bonita caught by C.J. Saucier of Biloxi in 1950 is the oldest Rodeo record. The current state record from the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources is Little Tunny (Bonito) at 29 pounds, 8.8 ounces, caught by Jean A. Thornton in 1994.

— Billy Barnett of Gulfport holds the Fishing Rodeo freshwater catfish record of 81 pounds, 12 ounces, caught in 1966.

— Spanish Mackerel — caught at 7 pounds, 6 ounces — was set by Jim McGovern of New Orleans in 1972. The DMR lists the state record for Spanish Mackerel as slightly above the MDSFR record — 8 pounds — set in 1984 by Ron Dillistone.

— Speckled trout — at 10 pounds, 6 ounces — was set by Francis Creel of Biloxi in 1973.

Here are the five Rodeo records set since 2005:

—Taylor Butterworth caught a 109-pound tarpon in 2001, tying a record set in 1972.

— Donnie Simmons of Pass Christian caught a 99-pound, 8-ounce amberjack in 2006.

— Walter Crapps of Pass Christian caught a 2-pound, 15-ounce white perch in 2008.

— Tommy Williams of Slidell set a rodeo record at the gray snapper division at 12 pounds, 13 ounces in 2011.

— James Creech of D'Iberville established the new rodeo standard for pompano with his catch at two pounds, 12 ounces last year.

Fishing starts at 12:01 a.m. Thursday and ends Sunday at 4 p.m. Scales are open from noon to 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and closes Sunday at 4 p.m.

The Kids Fishing Rodeo will be held on the Fourth of July from 6 a.m. until 4 p.m. The weigh-in will take place from noon to 4 p.m. Kids between the ages of four and 12 can fish in the rodeo.

The Fishing Rodeo will also have speckled trout and flounder shootouts. The speckled trout tournament has an entry fee of $125 per boat. The flounder shootout has an entry fee of $115 per boat.

The speckled trout shootout weigh-in will be Saturday from noon to 6 p.m. Speckled Trout must be at least 13 inches in minimum length.

The flounder shootout weigh-in will be Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. Flounder must be at least 12 inches in length. Flounder may be caught hook and line or gigged.

The Rodeo Pageant and Crowning of the Rodeo Queen will be held on Sunday at 6:15 p.m.


Information from: The Sun Herald, http://www.sunherald.com

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