Kevin Maurin was just going to help out. He thought it would be interesting to assist with the Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo (ADSFR), so when a good friend asked him to be part of the annual event, he agreed.
“I joined a couple of days after I turned 21,” Maurin, president of this year’s ADSFR, said. “I thought it would be fun just to volunteer and help out and when I got here there were a bunch of people I knew who were already in it and I’ve just never left.”
The 82nd annual ADSFR, sponsored by the Mobile Jaycees, gets underway Friday, July 17, with the official cannon blast at 5 a.m. signaling the start of the three-day event. It was designated in 2011 as the world’s largest fishing tournament.
More than 3,000 anglers will compete in 30 categories, with prizes awarded for first, second and third place in each category. The competition will include the top catches for barracuda, tuna, cobia, swordfish, king mackerel, wahoo, tarpon, speckled trout and shark.
More than 75,000 spectators are expected to attend this year’s tournament, watching the weigh-ins and taking part in the many other activities surrounding the tournament. A variety of vendors will have booths set up at the tournament’s main area. Maurin said fans enjoy spending all day at the event, cooking out and taking part in the other activities, many of which are geared to kids.
The University of South Alabama will also offer an educational program for children during the rodeo that will include a display of various varieties of fish.
“There’s a real carnival atmosphere at the rodeo site,” Maurin said. “There’s plenty to do and it’s an all-day event. People start filing in at around 7 or 8 in the morning and don’t leave until 8 or 9 at night.”
The rodeo started last weekend with the Roy Martin tournament, exclusively for the kids.
“That’s my favorite memory of any of the [ADSFR] tournaments I’ve ever been a part of — the Roy Martin, every year,” Maurin said. “The kids having fun — I don’t have kids myself, but hopefully one day I will — and I see all the parents taking their kids out. It’s enjoyable to see them do the same thing that my father did with me, taking me fishing, and hopefully I’ll be able to do that with my kids in the future.”
The “big tournament” begins Thursday, July 16, with a captain’s meeting at both the ADSFR site on Dauphin Island and at J&M Tackle in Orange Beach, both at 5 p.m. The annual Liar’s Contest begins at 6:30 p.m., and Friday at 5 a.m. the cannon blast officially gets things started.
“This is what we work for all year long,’’ Maurin said of preparation for the ADSFR. “We have been working 20-hour days and now that it’s here, we’ll work 24-hour days, but it’s what we love doing.” For further information visit the ADSFR web site at www.adsfr.com.