The last, but certainly not least of Mexico Beach’s exciting summer fishing tournaments is fast approaching and always proves to be a reel-y exciting event. This year’s much-anticipated 18th Annual MBARA Kingfish Tournament takes place on Saturday, August 23, and is the biggest fund-raiser of the year for the Mexico Beach Artificial Reef Association (MBARA), which is credited with building over a million dollars’ worth of artificial reefs in the Gulf of Mexico since 1997.

“Of all of Mexico Beach’s fishing tournaments, the Annual MBARA Kingfish is certainly among the most popular events of the year for sports fisherman and spectators alike,” said Kimberly Shoaf, president of the Mexico Beach Community Development Council. “Plus, although school has already started back in a lot of places, our little slice of paradise along the ‘Unforgettable Coast’ is still in summer mode with our beautiful sugar-white beaches, warm Gulf waters and plenty of fresh seafood and outdoor activities galore—so come on down!

Cash prizes will be awarded in the recreational division for the following categories:

  • King Mackerel: 1st place – $3,000; 2nd place – $2,000; 3rd place – $1,000
  • Wahoo: Best Overall – $1,000
  • Spanish Mackerel: Best Overall – $500

This year’s competition also includes a new category, king mackerel in the professional masters division, for which a 50-percent split of the entry fees—up to $3,000—will be awarded to the biggest king reeled in. Competitors may review the new rules and preregister at

Tournament director Ron Childs detailed a few other changes for 2014: “We have a new Miss Kingfish, a new T-shirt, a new tournament magazine with hundreds of pictures from last year’s competition, a new smoker for creating sausage perfection and new door prizes that will once again make this a premier tournament in the Florida Panhandle.”

The Kingfish Tournament Captains’ Party will be held on Friday, August 22, 5:00–9:00 p.m. CDT at Toucan’s on Mexico Beach. The tournament after-party will be held Saturday, August 23, from 1:00–5:00 p.m. at Mexico Beach Marina. Entry fees are $160 per boat (with no limit on the number of anglers aboard), plus a $5 online fee.

For more information on any of Mexico Beach’s upcoming summer fishing tournaments, call (850) 648-4900 or visit