LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - In its first year in Long Beach, the Mississippi Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo drew quite the crowd, and organizers say the turnout exceeded their expectations.
After four days out on the water, participants went for a final weigh in Monday. at just 16, Jacob Moss, wowed the crowd with a 102 pound sting ray.
"We went out there to try to catch some red fish and we ended up hooking up on this one," Moss said. "We fought it for about ten of fifteen minutes. It was a pretty good fight."
Moss has been fishing the rodeo since he was five, and said he loves getting together with anglers of all ages.
"I think it's a pretty great experience for children and adults to go out there and just have fun fishing and just live life out on the water," Moss explained.
Clint Jones and friends headed out to the festivities just to enjoy the atmosphere, proving that even folks who didn't catch anything felt the rodeo was a hit.
"If feels great to have the rodeo here, instead of Gulfport," Jones said. "I'm from Long Beach, so I like to see Long Beach doing well. And this does bring a lot of money, a lot of tourists, so it's good stuff."
Paula Wright has been working with the fishing rodeo for twenty years. She says this year is one of the best she's seen in a long time.
"The rodeo this year in Long Beach has just been outstanding. They have made us feel at home, the crowds are large. It's just non stop," Wright said. "It's a lot like pre-Katrina. It really is. And my husband is no longer here, but he was a weigh master [George Wight]. Now my son is, and my husband would really be proud of this. It's a great rodeo."
No word yet on whether or not the fishing rodeo will return to Long Beach next year.