NAVARRE BEACH — One of the favorite parts of the Navarre Fishing Rodeo for Mike Sandler is watching the Junior Division of anglers who are 12 and under bring in their fish for scoring and weigh-ins at Juana’s Pagodas.
Sandler, the Navarre Beach Area Chamber Foundation president, said the children love participating.
“It’s amazing to see them bring in their first fish in a competition,” Sandler said. “They’re grinning from ear to ear. It’s really something to watch.”
The seventh annual Navarre Fishing Rodeo starts Saturday and ends at 4 p.m. Sunday.
The family friendly event sponsored by the foundation and Okaloosa Gas District includes the Take a Kid Fishing clinic with about 300 youth fishing off the Navarre Beach Pier from 8-11 a.m. Saturday. Each child receives hands-on fishing instructions and a free fishing pole to keep.
Six divisions highlight the rodeo, including the Navarre Seafood Open Division and the Walmart Kayak Division. Additionally, there is the Windjammers Junior Division, and the Scooter’s Fish House Offshore Slam, Scooter’s Fish House Inshore Slam, the Sunrise Marine Super Slam and the Invasive Lion Fish Division, which requires no registration fee. The $48 registration fee allows participants to compete for trophies and cash prizes.
All the proceeds from the two-day event go to Take a Kid Fishing and the Marine Sanctuary, Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center, and the Navarre Beach Science Station, which are all part of the Navarre Beach Marine Park.
Weigh-ins occur each day at 1 and 4 p.m. at Juana’s Pagodas. The boundaries are from the Destin Pass to the Pensacola Pass and include all Florida waterways in between.
Attendees of the fishing rodeo also can buy one raffle ticket for $20 or three for $50 for the chance to win a Jackson Kayak Coosa FD, a $2,999 value presented by the Navarre Beach Leaseholders. The winner of the raffle will be announced at the awards ceremony scheduled for Sunday.
For more information about the Navarre Fishing Rodeo, visit navarrefishingrodeo.com, fishnavarreweekend.com and takeakidfishingnavarre.com or email email@example.com.