Destin Fishing Rodeo Owns Proud Past Oct 1 1975
PLAYGROUND DAILY NEWS, Wednesday Morning, October 1,1975-Page3B ^^^ / , , r , : Destin Fishing Rodeo Owns Proud Past B E M ^^ ByEMMAGOGGIN ....,, J Destin's 27th annual Gulf Coasl ,, iodeolo continue until lhe closing gun "is taken .--.... ...jk and fired on October 31, aÂ» S~"l? cr Â°v nin , g ct the Rodeo ^ ueen Tuesda y "W* at ihe Sandpiper Cove Yacht Club officially kicked off the month- long event wish Miss Angle DeSpaln reigning over the activities. The rodeo was first slaged in the summer of 1948 and lhe popularity of the tournament was steadily increased both as to local and oul-of-state anglers. In its early years, lhe rodeo was held during the month of July, hen August. There was a dance each Saturday night and several fish fries during lhe rodeo month. Prizes offered lo top anglers ranged from boat motors, rods and reels to butane gas stoves and beer. Then in 1952 when the staging of lhe annual fishing rodeo in October was first contemplated, Iherewas much skepticism as to whether or not vacationing anglers could be attracted to this area in sizable numbers after the children were back in school. Such fears have proven to be unfounded, however, wilh (he rodeo developing into a nationally known event offering opportunities for anglers unmatched anywhere. The October attraction is the area's efforl lo extend the vacationists season beyond Labor Day. Anglers have found that in October, fishing conditions in the Playground area are al Iheir best. The migratory fish are still in area waters in slrenglh, and lhe bottom feeders are as eager as any time durmg the year. rk-r.L A , ,,. , _ . , _ 27th Annual Event Kicks Off Today ' ' Over 30 varieties of fish may be caught on lhe "banks" out In the Gulf, ranging from near shore to what skippers call the "edge." Boats are skippered by competent captains. The term "deep- sea boat" is exactly wnat it denotes. II takes the fisherman from. 20 to 25 miles into the Gulf to angle for the "big ones" in 15 lo 20 fathoms of water. With the help of science which gave them the fathomelcr.'thcse "Men of the Sea" guide anglers directly to Ihe favorite haunts of lhe snapper, grouper, Warsaw, and approximately 25 other varieties common in Gulf waters. These men know exactly what type of sea floor produces the favorite food of the fish they seek. With the fathometers working on the principle of radar, they can maneuver the boat into position within a few minutes where they'll guarantee you will drop your bail into a waiting mouth. The rest is up to you. The boat captains, through years of experience, know the Gulf waters as well as most people know their own neighborhood. Many of Ihem are descendants of men who discovered the lush fishing grounds lying off-shore in the Gulf - and founded "The Luckiest Fishing Village" of Destin. Captains and skippers of charter boats are responsible for "The Luckiest Little Fishing Village in lhe World" tag. Deslin was founded and setlled by a New England seafarer, Captain Leonard Destin, and from his derives "its unique and distinctive name. The original name given to the village was "East Pass." Captain Destin arrived in the fishing village just before the Civil War. Shortly after the Civil War, Elisha Marler and his bride arrived from Georgia, and combining Iheir resources with those of their neighbors, began lo build the skiffs, seines, and nets that gave commercial fishing its start. Among Destin's early settlers also were the Melvins the Brunsons, the Williams boys, and others. Some45 years ago, Destin was a little world unto itself. The first bridge, linking the village into U.S. Highway 98 and the mighly network of highways, crossing and recrossing the United Slales was not constructed until 1932. Prior lo lhat time, mail, supplies, and visitors were brought in by boat. There were no roads, no telephones, no electricity As in pioneer days, the people were dependent on their own industry and resources for their every need. Fishing was the life-blood of Deslin. At first the fishermen conserved Iheir fish in salt-water pens until there were cargoes large enough to sail or row to 60-mile distant Pensacola Gradually power-driven boats replaced Ihe sail and oar and commercial fishing gave way In party fishing. Because of the . abundance of fish and the unique advania?e of being able to reach NWFTC Makes Top Showing In Jackson Marathon Meet the deep banks, it was inevitable lhat Destin should become a magnet for fishermen everywhere. The same bridge lhat brought Ihe world to Destin, brought Deslin to the world. Many tourists who had vacationed in South Florida for years, came to explore and discover the northwest coasl. Here they enchanled with the milder climate, the unbelievably white sand beaches, and Ihe freedom from elbowing crowds found in more fashionable resorts. Many returned to build their homes and businesses, and lo aid in the growth of the once-tiny village. The years have brought Destin an increasing number of cottages, motels, and now condominiums to accommodate visitors, as well as community center, shopping centers, restaurants, and many other evidences of growth bolh internally and externally. More and more activities were added from year to year On Ascension Day, 40 days after Easter, Ihe Blessing of the Fleet conducled annually in Deslin. All boat captains from Destin's . fishing fleet form a procession which moves from St. Andrews- Ey-The-Sea Episcopal Church to Destin and (he dock designated as the benediction point. A processional hymn is sung by a choir while lhe officiating priest makes the sign of the Cross and pronounces the benediclion upon each boat and its crew. Time has changed many things in Deslin, even though it has never been incorporated. Despite lhe progress, Destin has not lost that certain charm of a fishing village which has always been its birthright. And today, as in years past, fishing is Ihe backbone of Destin's economy. That is Ihe reason that each year the people of Deslin extend vacationists and fishermen an invitation to come and take part in the Destin-Gulf Coast Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo -- and help Ihem pay homage to the lowly fish, who, in his own way been one of the "founding fathers" of this seaside resort. The Northwest Florida Track wilh a 2:54.