Visit Pensacola’s List of Top Saltwater Fishing Tournaments in the Pensacola Bay Area Aims to Grab You Hook, Line and Sinker

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The Pensacola Bay Area has long been known as an angler’s paradise. This summer, the destination’s world-class saltwater fishing will be showcased when fishermen from around the country test their angling skills at these popular tournaments from bay to Gulf.

The Pensacola Bay Area has long been known as an angler’s paradise.

Leading off the month for prized Gulf of Mexico saltwater catches is the second annual Flora-Bama Fishing Rodeo. The contest, held June 11-14 at the Flora-Bama Yacht Club across from the world-famous Flora-Bama Lounge and Package Store, is an everyman’s fishing rodeo and offers a kid’s division. The rodeo has anglers competing in 30 categories ranging from catfish to billfish and everything in between. Accompanying the tournament will be a three-day beach party and an awards ceremony that will include daily weigh-ins, live music and great food. A portion of the proceeds from the tournament will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Foundation.

More anglers will try their luck the following weekend for the 45th Annual Bill Hargreaves Fishing Rodeo. The four-day event, starting Thursday, June 18, and ending on Father’s Day Sunday with an awards ceremony and fish fry geared to youths, even has two separate divisions for young anglers. The Open Division allows adults to register and weigh in up to 27 species, including the area’s most prized inshore fish, the cobia. There are 32 fish categories in the Junior Division, awarding $50 cash in each. There’s also a youth Croaker Division that rewards a grand prize to the winner. Tournament headquarters is Grand Lagoon Yacht Club in Pensacola.

That same weekend, the Pensacola Big Game Fishing Club presents their 27th Annual Junior Angler Tournament in Perdido Key on June 19-20. Hosted at the WCI Lost Key Marina and Yacht Club by the Pensacola Big Game Fishing Club, the tournament event encourages young adults under 19 years of age to become responsible anglers.

One of the largest billfish tournaments in the country, the 44th Annual Pensacola International Billfish Tournament attracts local, regional and national anglers to Pensacola for the chance to win bragging rights and major cash prizes. The contest, held June 24-28 at Plaza DeLuna Park in Downtown Pensacola, ranks as one of the most prestigious in the nation among its category. Hosted by the Pensacola Big Game Fishing Club, the tournament is a qualifying event for the World Billfish Series and the IGFA World Qualifier. The stakes are high, as the overall winner receives an invitation to the IGFA Offshore World Championship.

The Pensacola Bud Light Fishing Rodeo kicks off from Pensacola Beach on June 27-28. One of the largest in the region, the tournament challenges anglers to catch the heaviest king mackerel, redfish, flounder, speckled trout and cobia. The tournament includes a youth division and special prizes for king mackerel and red snapper. Tournament headquarters is Flounder’s Chowder House. Entry fee is $25. Children 16 and under are free.

The stakes are high at the 36th Annual Pensacola Ladies Billfish Tournament happening August 7-9, which wraps up the month of saltwater fishing competitions in the Pensacola Bay Area. The two-day fishing rodeo hosted at WCI Lost Key Marina in Perdido Key is another great example of the Pensacola Big Game Fishing Club’s efforts to enhance recreational and sports fishing.

These tournaments are held at the peak of the saltwater fishing season in the Pensacola Bay Area. The destination’s variety of saltwater fishing is unlike anywhere else on the Gulf Coast. Estuaries from Perdido Bay to Pensacola Bay and East Bay provide a rich influx of nutrients and food to support one of the region’s most prolific recreational fisheries.

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To plan a trip or for a complete list of 2015 events in the Pensacola Bay area, including upcoming performances, art exhibits, festivals and sporting events, visit http://www.visitpensacola.com.

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About Visit Pensacola
Visit Pensacola leads the effort of economic development through tourism in Escambia County. Comprised of over 200 member businesses, Visit Pensacola’s mission is to position the Pensacola Bay Area as a premier year-round travel destination through tourism marketing, communications, meetings and conventions, reunions and group tour initiatives. For more information about Visit Pensacola, call 1-800-874-1234 (toll-free) or go to http://www.VisitPensacola.com.

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Brooke Fleming

Caron Sjoberg, APR, CPRC
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