PANAMA CITY BEACH — It has been a long time since Panama City Beach hosted a fishing rodeo, and this time it’s going to be fun for everyone — not just the anglers.
“Over the past few years, I have had the privilege of talking with several boat captains and first mates regarding fishing tournaments and lack thereof in our area,” said event director Joe Laymon. “Most people remembered the Billfish annual tournament and how much fun that tournament was. Over the course of several conversations, we quickly discovered a demand for a sizable fishing tournament for this area in a big way. Following all the chatter, we decided to get a little more serious and make it happen.”
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The inaugural Panama City Beach Fishing Rodeo, hosted by Capt. Anderson’s Marina, begins Friday with a giant kick-off party from 5-10 p.m. The evening’s festivities will include everything from vendors and games to a Cornhole Tournament sponsored by Beachy Beach Real Estate, and Axe Throwing sponsored by Hitchcock Real Estate.
Legendary Marine will have a few of its boats on display for you to view and if the time is right, make that purchase. Also, Florida Watersports will offer a selection of paddleboards and kayaks.
In addition, kids can enjoy a bouncy house and other activities. There will be food from Paparazzi Gourmet Deli and Finn’s Island Style Grub food truck and Dockside Market & Grill, and drinks from The Upper Deck at the marina. Attractions include live music by the Will Thompson Band and Anthony Peebles. And try Harley-Davidson of Panama City Beach’s “Jumpstart,” which is a simulated motorcycle ride.
“This year will include 11 species of fish and 7 divisions with species tailored for each division,” Laymon said. “The PC Beach Fishing Rodeo allows and encourages a variety of anglers to participate. Whether you’re fishing from the shore, on a kayak, paddleboard, personal boat, or you and your family decide to charter one of the many federal and state boats registered in this tournament, we made sure to keep you in mind.”
Participation in the rodeo is open to the public, with registrant’s own boat or a charter; register at PCBeachFishingRodeo.com. Contact charter boats directly to book a trip; all boats will book one to two trips per day. For additional details, contact Laymon at 850-258-4834.
“We’re the only part of the beach — the east end — that actually has the opportunity to host this type of an event and offer the boating life with quick access to the Gulf, which is one of the reasons many people come here,” Laymon said.
The tournament will have two weigh-ins every day throughout the entire rodeo: from noon to 2 p.m. and again from 4-7 p.m. For details on the event, or to register in the competition, visit PCBeachFishingRodeo.com/.
“From day one we’ll have weigh-ins,” Laymon said. “At 12:01 a.m. on Sept. 24, boats are taking off and fishing; they’ll be back by 10 a.m. for their first weigh-in. Leader boards will be filled with the different species of fish, the sizes in weight, and the different divisions.”
And that’s just the beginning. Each night of the event will feature an after-party, building up to the grand finale on Oct. 10, with live music, fireworks and prizes.
17 days of after-parties and fun
Laymon and Capt. Mike Sullivan, owner of Capt. Mike Charters at Capt. Anderson’s Marina, put their heads together and brainstormed a 17-day tournament. They looked at the 73-year-old Destin Fishing Rodeo to provide the template, according to a news release.
The fishing rodeo will keep wranglers and their crews (and the public, too) busy each night through Oct. 10. Check out these local spots for the after-parties following the second weigh-in through the end of September:
- Friday, Sept. 24: Kick-off Party at Anderson’s Marina, 5550 N. Lagoon Drive
- Saturday, Sept. 25: House of Bourbon, 2101 Beck Ave., St. Andrews
- Sunday, Sept. 26: Sisters of the Sea, 3901 Thomas Drive
- Monday, Sept. 27: Flip Flop’s at the Sheraton PCB Resort, 4114 Jan Cooley Drive
- Tuesday, Sept. 28: Hunts Oyster Bar, 1150 Beck Ave., Panama City
- Wednesday, Sept. 29: Buster’s Boardwalk, 5908 Thomas Drive
- Thursday, Sept. 30: Dreamers Restaurant & Bar, 1136 Thomas Drive
And the after-parties continue into the month of October:
- Oct. 1: Live Music at The Upper Deck, Capt. Anderson’s Marina
- Oct. 2: Nate Pennington live at Capt. Anderson’s Marina
- Oct. 3: Craft 850, 7715 Front Beach Road
- Oct. 4: Barracuda Beach Bar & Grill, 6628 Thomas Drive
- Oct. 5: Patches Pub, 4723 Thomas Drive
- Oct. 6: “Comedy + Community” at The Upper Deck, Capt. Anderson’s Marina
- Oct. 7: Angry Tuna Seafood Co., 701 S. Pier Park Drive
- Oct. 8: Axe Throwing Party at Capt. Anderson’s Marina
- Oct. 9: Reel Kid’s Fishing Rodeo at Capt. Anderson’s Marina during the day; After-party at Hammerhead Fred’s, 8752 Thomas Drive
- Oct. 10: Awards Ceremony and Pirate Party at Capt. Anderson’s Marina, with live entertainment and fireworks
Kids fishing rodeo will excite
The inaugural Reel Kids Fishing Rodeo, sponsored by The Reel Ladies of PCB, will be from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Oct. 9, at Capt. Anderson’s Marina. Designed as a way to get kids outdoors and connected to fishing, this event provides an opportunity for families to have fun with a rod and reel.
Support and planning for this event comes from donations of time and aid from more than 50 volunteers and more than 10 sponsors. The event offers fishing, prizes for participation and much more at no charge.
Registration is on the day of the event. All participants must register at least 30 minutes in advance (or by 10:30 a.m.). Every child who participates will receive a new kids combo rod and a Reel Kids T-shirt. Fishing assistance will be available, as well as loaner fishing rods. For more information, call 850-348-6307.
The Reel Ladies of Panama City Beach is a group of woman anglers who enjoy deep sea fishing, the outdoors and a variety of water sports. Check them out online at Facebook.com/reelladiespcb.