Long Beach expects to lure large crowds to Fishing Rodeo

LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - The beach pavilion by the Long Beach Harbor is a sea of activity this week.  Crews are running around, setting up for the 63rd annual Mississippi Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo.

"I think this will probably be the biggest event since Katrina, because we've been moving around and we've been scattered around more or less," said Aaron McGill, Fishing Rodeo Vice President and Director. "But in Long Beach, for some reason we seem to pull together this year."

The location is different this year and the scales will open a bit later, but expect the same thrill rides, entertainment, food, and plenty of fish on ice.  The mayor of Long Beach hopes the four-day event will reel-in at least 20,000 people a day.

"Businesses, I hope they'll be doing more business, and sales tax might help us somewhat," said Mayor Billy Skellie. "But I think more than that, it's actually to showcase us and what we have to offer to people."

"We've had so many people they haven't been to the rodeo in so long that are coming this year because we are in Long Beach," said McGill.

This time last year, the Fishing Rodeo was still feeling the effects of the BP oil spill. On the second day of the event, parts of the Mississippi Sound were closed to fishing. And by the fourth day, most of the Sound, as well as saltwater areas, were also shut down. But this year, it's a different story.

"The fish are out there. I don't know what the freshwater did coming out of Louisiana, but it seems it has drove all the fish over here. I think it's going to make up for last year," said McGill. "You should see a lot fish this year. A lot of fish. We're real excited."

Organizers of the Fishing Rodeo say they don't know yet if Long Beach will become the permanent home for the tournament.

The event starts Friday with rides and vendors. The scales open at 2:00 PM Saturday. The speckled trout shootout is scheduled for Sunday. The rodeo ends Monday, the Fourth of July, at 11:00 PM.  Parking will be at the old K-Mart property across the street. For more on all the rodeo's activities, visit www.mississippideepseafishingrodeo.com.

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