Destin Fishing Rodeo: Your Guide to all the Fun

Weighing in with Miss Destin at the Fishing Rodeo

All images used in this post either belong to Pelican Adventures or are courtesy of the Destin Fishing Rodeo Facebook Page.

The Destin Fishing Rodeo takes place every day in October on the docks in front of AJ’s Seafood and Oyster House on Destin Harbor.

This guide gives you all the information you need to enjoy the weigh-ins as a spectator or go fishing and weigh in your big catch at the scales.

A fish being weighed in on the docks at Ajs Seafood and Oyster House

About the Destin Fishing Rodeo

Established in 1948, The Destin Fishing Rodeo is the ultimate fishing tournament for saltwater anglers of all ages.

Over 30,000 anglers will compete for bragging rights and over $100,000 in cash and prizes during the entire month of October.

A Marlin at the fishing scales

Virtually every gamefish is recognized with awards during the Fishing Rodeo. Whether you’re trolling inshore for King Mackerel, offshore for Marlin and Sailfish, or deep sea fishing for Grouper, you are in the running for prizes.

Ways to Fish in the Destin Fishing Rodeo

  • Fish aboard a registered Charter boat
  • Fish aboard a registered Private boat
  • Kayak fishing
  • Paddle Board fishing
  • Pier, Bridge, Jetty fishing 
  • Surf and Shoreline fishing 

Private boats and Charter boats must register to enter the Rodeo at least 24 hours prior to weighing a fish.

Registration is free to angler’s fishing aboard a registered boat in the Rodeo.

All of our charter boats at Pelican Adventures are registered for the Destin Fishing Rodeo. This means you are automatically eligible to weigh-in and win prizes for a winning catch if you go fishing with us anytime in October.

Weighing in with Miss Destin at the Fishing Rodeo

Fishing on the pier, bridge and jetties is free for anglers 14 years and younger. A $25 fee is required for anglers 15 and over.

Registration for a private boat is $200-$300 depending on the size. Kayak and Paddle Board Fishing is a $50 registration fee.

Paddle boarder arriving at the rodeo scales on Destin Harbor

The Destin Fishing Rodeo recognizes 29 divisions including juniors, teens, ladies and seniors.

An excited child weighing in a fish at the Destin Fishing Rodeo

Fishing with Pelican Adventures during the 2022 Destin Fishing Rodeo

Book a fishing charter with us at Pelican Adventures during the month of October and you are automatically qualified to weigh-in at the rodeo if you catch a big fish.

There is no additional charge for Fishing Rodeo Registration when you fish with us in October.

Pelican Adventures Fishing Boats available for Charters in October 2022

Vera Marie Party/Walk-on Boat

The Vera Marie is a 70′ walk-around boat with space for up to 65 anglers on each fishing trip. She has a sun deck, large air-conditioned salon, restroom and a full service sports bar with multiple satellite TV’s.

Fishing trips on the Vera Marie start at just $79 per person so it’s a great opportunity to get out on a deep sea fishing trip without breaking the bank.

The Vera Marie boat is also available for private fishing charters. This can include corporate parties, holiday events, family reunions, weddings, bachelor/bachelorette parties and more. 

Good Times Boat

Our Good Times boat is a 40′ Sea Harvester available for up to 20 anglers at a time.  She has a large walk-around air conditioned cabin and restroom onboard.

Good Times Boat

The Good Times Boat is also available for both shared and private fishing charters.

Where to Watch the Destin Fishing Rodeo Weigh-Ins

Everyone can share in the fun and excitement as anglers show off their winning catch of the day.

A women weighing in a Mahi at the Destin Fishing Rodeo

Weigh-ins for the Destin Fishing Rodeo will take place every day on the docks at AJ’s Seafood & Oyster Bar from 10 am until 7 pm.

Bruce Cheves has been at the Destin Rodeo for over 36 years and will be back on the docks this October of 2021.

Bruce Cheves the weigh master at the Destin Fishing Rodeo

In 2020 he was given a badge by the City of Destin that reads “Destin Fishing Rodeo Weighmaster, Bruce Cheves, since 1984.”

UPDATE: Bruce is out sick at the start of the 2021 Rodeo. Former Miss Destin Amber Helton is filling in as weigh master until his return.

Special Events at the Destin Fishing Rodeo

There are several events that take place on the AJ’s docks during the Destin Fishing Rodeo in addition to daily weigh-ins.

Shark Saturdays

A shark being weighed in at the Destin Fishing Rodeo

Book your shark excursion now because every Saturday in October is “Shark Saturdays.”  The largest shark brought in every Saturday wins a cash prize!

Destin 5K Rodeo Run – Sunday October 2, 2022

The annual Destin Fishing Rodeo 5k starts at Clement Taylor Park on Choctawhatchee Bay. The run meanders through historic Destin neighborhoods and ends back at the park. Proceeds from the Rodeo Run benefit the Miss Destin Scholarship Fund.

Kids Fall Movie Festival – Monday October 10, 2022

A.J.’s will be showing a free movie on their big JumboTron TV.  Kids will be treated to hot dogs, popcorn and snow cones during the movie. 

Kid’s Wagon Boat Parade – Friday September 30, 2022

The popular Kid’s Wagon Boat Parade will roll at 6:00 p.m. at A.J.’s Seafood and Oyster Bar. This is a free family -friendly event on Destin Harbor open to all elementary school-aged children.

Kids in the Wagon Boat Parade at the Destin Fishing Rodeo

In the Fishing Rodeo wagon parade, kids decorate their wagon to look like a sailing ship, charter boat, pirate ship or whatever other watercraft inspired creation they dream up. Other activities at this event will include face painting, arts & crafts, and a cook-out.

Bruce Cheves Day – Sunday October 16, 2022

October 16th is the official “Bruce Cheves Day” celebrated down on the Ajs docks.

Bruce Cheves telling stories to the kids on the fishing docks

During this event, the longtime rodeo weigh master is honored with celebratory events such as storytelling and the traditional “ringing of the bell” at 5pm to celebrate the lives and legends of those we lost that year.

Larry Hatchett Fishing Foundation Day – Saturday October 22, 2022

Each October The Larry Hatchett Fishing Foundation brings in children from foster situations to fish and learn about marine habitats and environmental awareness.

Halloween on the Harbor – Monday October 31, 2022

Wear your costume and join Rodeo Captains, Anglers, Rodeo Judges, Miss Destin and staff at the largest Halloween Party in Destin.

73rd Annual Destin Fishing Rodeo Awards – Friday November 5, 2022

The lucky anglers, captains, and mates will be given their prizes at a fun, casual gathering downstairs at A.J.’s.

We look forward to taking you out fishing in October for a chance to enter your catch in the Destin Fishing Rodeo! Book online on our website or give us a call at 850-650-3825. We will see you soon!

Kids weighing in fish at the Destin Fishing Rodeo

For more information about the Destin Fishing Rodeo, check out their website:

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