Emerald Coast Open Lionfish Tournament ~ Cottages by the Bay
Are you staying in our Cottages by the Bay in Destin this weekend? Whether you’re here for a wedding weekend or fun with family, you’ll want to get out and explore Destin. Fortunately, there is something going on every weekend in Destin, and this coming weekend is no exception! The Emerald Coast Open Lionfish Tournament is coming up this weekend, from May 16-19. Destin is home to many great fishing tournaments, so it’s easy to see why it’s known as the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village!” Make your way down to AJ’s Seafood & Oyster Bar each afternoon during the tournament for weigh-ins and to find out who won the incredible cash and raffle prizes. Registration is open until 7 PM on May 16th, so don’t wait!
Each day is guaranteed to be action-packed as anglers compete to see who can catch the most and the largest lionfish. Harvesting begins each day at first light and ends at last light. Weigh stations are open from 3-6 PM on Friday and Saturday, so you have plenty of time to weigh your fish. Sunday is the final day of the tournament, with weigh stations open from 7-11 AM. Cash prizes are awarded to those who catch the most lionfish as well as those who catch the largest lionfish. You’ll also have the chance to win gear prizes and raffles!
In addition, it’s also restaurant week during the Emerald Coast Open Lionfish Tournament! Until May 16th, local restaurants in Destin are serving up some unique and delicious ways to try lionfish. You may be surprised to know that lionfish tastes just like snapper or grouper! As long as the venomous spines are removed, this fish is delicious and can be prepared in a variety of ways, from fried to blackened or even grilled.
Lionfish are a beautiful but invasive species that are actually harmful to our waters! Since lionfish prey on native fish, they end up reducing the population on some reefs by over 90%! They also eat over 30 different species of fish found in the Gulf of Mexico. The lionfish population grows quickly, as one female lionfish can spawn around 27,000 eggs every 2.5 days. By removing lionfish from our waters, we help protect our native fish and keep our waters clean and beautiful.