The Mexico Beach Artificial Reef Association has finalized all plans for the 17th Annual MBARA Kingfish Tournament to be held this Saturday, Aug. 24.
The tournament is the organization’s biggest fund raiser and has helped the group of volunteers build more than $1 million of marine habitat in the Gulf of Mexico. The MBARA has built approximately 200 new artificial reefs off of Mexico Beach and Port St. Joe since beginning building in l997.
The tournament is set up as a one-day event on Saturday, with fishing beginning at 5 a.m. CST and ending at 5 p.m. Boats will have to weigh the fish at the Mexico Beach Marina in Mexico Beach before the 5 p.m. deadline. The entry fee is $160 per boat and you can put as many people on the boat as desired.
Anglers can preregister on line anytime on the organization’s website at www.mbara.org or in person at Bluewater Outrigger in Port St. Joe and at Half Hitch Tackle in Port St. Joe. Registration is also at the Mexico Beach Marina.
This year there are two divisions of anglers. There is a Recreational/Amateur division and a Professional/Masters division. A complete list of rules and requirements are available on- line on the organization’s website.
A party for captains and crew will be held on Friday night before the tournament at the Beacon Hill Veterans Memorial Park on U.S. Highway 98 between Port St. Joe and Mexico Beach. Anglers can also register on Friday night at the Captains’ Party. Cash prizes will be awarded to the anglers for King mackerel, Spanish mackerel and Wahoo in the Recreational/Amateur division. Attendance at the Captains’ Party is not mandatory.
There will be amazing door prizes and raffle items from Bluewater Outrigger like a Browning over-under premium grade 12 gauge shotgun, a $1,000 dollar gift certificate, and a PENN 30 wide International reel and Star rod all rigged out to fish. Half Hitch Tackle and Mexico Beach Marina have also donated lots of door prizes for the anglers.
“The new Miss Kingfish is Taylor Gallagher from Pensacola, and she is an amazingly beautiful lady,” said Ron Childs, tournament director. She will be at the weigh-in on Saturday afternoon from 1-5 p.m. CST for pictures with the anglers and their fish. The public is invited to come to the Mexico Beach Marina for the weigh-in.
There will be a breakfast for captains and their crew at Sharon’s Restaurant in Mexico Beach at 5 a.m. and a dance on Saturday night at Toucan’s Bar and Grill.