Online Registration has ended

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But you can still enter!

Even though online registration has ended for the 2016 Great Optimist Fishout, you can still register kids on-site the day of the event from 8am-10am. We use the online registration to gauge how many kids we should expect each year so that we can prepare the free lunches and have enough free bait for everyone. We always get extra for the kids that arrive the day of event.

We look forward to seeing you at The Great Optimist Fishout at Port Canaveral Terminal 3.

(Location subject to change, follow the signs at the Port)

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Let’s Go Fishing!

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The Great Optimist Fishout Guidebook for 2016 is available now

You can find a printed copy all over Brevard County in locations you might find The Beachside Resident or at any of our 2016 Sponsors. Be sure to register online before April 15, 2016 to speed up your chances to catch the Great $10,000 Fish.



We would like to thank our sponsors this year for making this the most exciting fishout ever! Take look through this online version of our Guidebook, there’s lots of great information about the event…


Just 15 Days to go!

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Today is the last day for online registration


The Cocoa Beach Optimist Club is excited to begin the final steps of preparing this great event for kids and their families. We’ll be managing preparing check in registration for all the kids that entered. If you were one of the lucky ones to get a free fishing poll this year, you will receive an email notification and the pole will be ready after you check in at Terminal 3 at Port Canaveral (East of Victory Casino Cruises). Once you arrive collect your fishing ID at the counter, and then make your way to the dock, grab some free bait, and get fishing. Judges will be standing by to weigh each catch.

Don’t forget to read the rules for catching the Great Optimist $10,000 Fish, it will be waiting for you in the water and this year we know someone’s going to catch it.

Ready our GuideBook online for find it at a local shop or business near you.

Use Online Registration to Speed Up your Time in the Water

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Register Early to Avoid the Rush

Online Registration Ends on April 15

Kids have been fishing at the Port for the Cocoa Beach Optimist Club’s Fishout Contest for over 30 years, and a lot of the volunteers that organize the event were just kids catching fish back then too. Every year we strive to make the event better for the kids and their families. We are lucky enough to live in a community that will support events as novel as this one, which specific mission is to show kids a good time fishing with their families—what you get out of it is up to you.


This year we’ve added a few things we hope will make the experience even more fun. Since we have been at the Terminal 3 location a few times, we’ve decided to rent a large tent to put over the food, prizes and giveaway area. This should provide a little bit of shade for our contestants when they need to take a break from trying to catch the big one. There will also be lots of sunscreen available, water and other beverage choices on hand. No one knows if it will be hot and sunny, or wet and breezy in April, so we’ll be prepared for anything. We’ve learned over 30 years of organizing the event that the fish don’t mind whether the weather is whatever, just give them some bait, weigh them, and throw them back in.

Anna Lusk

Since every kid that signs up gets a free lunch, we’ve made it so that when the fishing officially ends at Noon, everyone can gather under the tent to grab a bite and listen to the sounds of singer songwriter Anna Lusk preforming hits from her new family friendly album, Friends in My Backyard. You may have seen Anna’s videos for Surfing Santas, or her performing with Honey Miller. We are happy to have her as our first musician at the Great Optimist Fishout.

While Anna is playing, we’ll be calculating the results so that we can give out the award to the first, second, and third biggest fish in 3 age categories. But if you didn’t get lucky in the water, you might get lucky in the fish bowl, as we are giving away hundreds of dollars worth of fishing gear and prizes to kids that love to fish. We really think this is the year some kid catches the Great $10,000 Fish. Maybe it’s going to be you, please come out and try.



Registration for the 2016 Great Optimist Fishout is Open

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The first 100 kids to register will receive a Free Fishing Pole when they arrive on Saturday, April 30th. Register on-line from Feb 15 to April 15, on-site registration begins at 8:00am with the contest starting at 9:00am to Noon. This year we will have an all new award show with fun, food and prizes under the big tent, with music by Anna Lusk.

Parents or Guardians can register multiple kids, and it’s always Free to enter. Each contestant will receive a free lunch, and are eligible for other great prizes. Since 1982, the Cocoa Beach Optimist Club has produced and hosted this event at Port Canaveral as a way to help kids and families spend a fun day fishing together. We know that kids from all over Central Florida look forward to this event every year, and we are proud to partner with Southeastern Honda, Port Canaveral, The Beachside Resident, as well as many other sponsors in our community to bring out the best in kids. This year’s poster features art from Rick Piper. We’ll see you on the dock at Terminal 3 on Saturday, April 30th.

The Great Optimist Fishout 2016 at Port Canaveral on Saturday, April 30

2016 Registration Begins February 15th

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The 2016 Great Optimist Fishout is gearing up for the greatest event in our history.

Online registration will begin on Presidents Day, February 15th. The Cocoa Beach Optimist Club will be kicking off registration at the Shreds President Day Skate Contest at the Cocoa Beach Skate Park.

This year we will be launching an all new Awards Show featuring music, food and prizes after the event at Noon. Featuring the music of Anna Lusk.

Stay tuned for more details….


The Greatest Catch Ever

The Greatest Catch Ever

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The 2015 Great Optimist Fishout was a record setting event and the Cocoa Beach Optimist Club would like to thank everyone that came out to the event, supported the program and volunteered to bring out the best in kids. We had a record number of big catches and a record number of contestants, but the greatest catch ever was the smiles on the kids faces spending the day with their family and friends, whether they caught a fish or not.
This year’s event had almost 500 kids registered and we gave away over 200 fishing poles courtesy of the Optimist Club and Fish Florida. Almost 150 fish were caught consisting of all shapes and sizes. The biggest fish caught was over 12 pounds! We had tons of kids from Brevard county as well as other parts of Florida. We even had kids participate from Missouri and Wisconsin. We had one participant all the way from Austria! It was really a great turn out.


Thanks for all the fish, we’ll see you next year!


Check out this years gallery page


Experience The Great Optimist Fishout

Experience The Great Optimist Fishout

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Presented by Southeastern Honda

Since 1983, The Great Optimist Fishout has given Space Coast kids and their parents or guardians an opportunity to spend a day fishing together at Port Canaveral.

Living so connected to the water as we do here, fishing is an activity kids love to engage in, and fishing with one’s family can offer priceless experiences that last a lifetime. The Cocoa Beach Optimist Club helps foster those experiences through events like The Great Optimist Fishout.

On Saturday, April 25, 2015, hundreds of kids and their families will come out to the Port to drop a line in the water and hope for the best. There will be $600 of prize money awarded in four age categories – 5-7, 8-10, 11-13, and 14-16 – which will be given to the catcher of the top-three biggest fish by weight in each age group. One lucky kid and his family could win the great $10,000 catch, a specially tagged fish insured by the Cocoa Beach Optimist Club (CBOC).


Presenting sponsor Southeastern Honda of Palm Bay and dozens of other local businesses have partnered together to make sure there is enough bait for everyone, so no need to bring a bucket of shrimp. Families bring chairs or blankets to sit on, sunscreen, fishing poles, and some tackle. It might also be a good idea to bring some snacks and something to drink, but each registered kid will get a free lunch provided by Sonny’s BBQ in Cocoa Beach. Lunch is also available for purchase throughout the day, as well as snow cones and additional drinks.

Optimist International’s mission is to provide hope and positive vision to bring out the best in kids. Fishing is a great way to teach kids how to be patient, persevere, and wait for the reward by putting in the time. The CBOC and the Fishout sponsors have made it as easy as possible for kids to go fishing by providing free bait, lunches, and some tackle to every kid that enters the contest. A limited number of children who register early online have the opportunity to receive a free fishing pole, thanks to fundraising by the CBOC and Fish Florida, a non-profit that helps both adults and children learn about fishing and Florida’s environment.

Optimist Fishout

On the day of the Fishout, registration starts promptly at 8 a.m. Contestants who have been coming for years know to get there early so you can get checked in, find a place to set up, and start fishing right at 9 a.m. Registration is open until 11 a.m. though, so if it takes a while to get the kids in the car‚ don’t worry. When you arrive, you’ll be directed by a friendly volunteer to get in line based on your last name to receive an ID that will be used to register each fish your child catches. You could be given a ticket for a free fishing pole if you’ve registered early enough to qualify on, and while some kids will use their new pole at the event, most come prepared with their own tackle and extra hooks and weights. They’re the ones who know that every minute with your hook in the water counts. Keep in mind, each contestant may use only one pole during the event.

Through the Terminal entrance families are directed out to the dock area. There is plenty of space to spread out and find a great spot, but only fish caught in the designated area will qualify. Sheepshead like to hang out near the pylons, and some fish like trout prefer to swim up top, others on the bottom like flounder. There will be plenty of volunteers walking around to assist families with tips and tricks for catching the big one, and hopefully this year (the Club is always optimistic), someone will catch the $10,000 fish.

When a contestant lands a fish they’ll bring it to the judging booth located in the middle of the dock area. The catch must be on the hook and alive to qualify. There’s nothing more exciting than watching a kid walk swiftly to the judging booth with their prize catch, and when that big fish gets paraded down the dock, everyone clamors to see the event.


One of the big rules to be aware of is that kids must be accompanied by an adult at all times, but a parent or guardian can assist the child fishing only when he or she cannot control their catch. Additionally, if this happens the child must still have at least one hand on the pole at all times. Also be aware that if a fish bites the line of a unmanned fishing pole, the contestant must be the one that gets it out of the water.

Once the contest is over, everyone is invited inside the Terminal to witness the final tally to determine the winners for each age group. There will be some prizes given out and raffled off before the winners are announced.

At the Fishout’s inception 32 years ago, there weren’t as many other fishing activities for kids to engage in. The Cocoa Beach Optimist Club began the Fishout with the intention of allowing children to catch the fishing bug all and spend time with their families all in one go. It has become an event teens look forward to competing in, and younger kids enjoy the chance to learn the tricks of the fishing trade, all while waiting on the great $10,000 fish to take their bait.

The Great Optimist Fishout takes place April 25 at Port Canaveral. Rules and conditions apply for catching the award-winning fish, and will be posted only at the event. Fish must be caught on a line with one barbed hook or lure (no multiple hooks) and no nets, traps, spears, or snagging are allowed. A landing net may be used. Be sure to register online at early to qualify for the free fishing pole to speed up your setup time the day of the event, however the Cocoa Beach Optimist Club will be happy to register anyone that shows up until 11 a.m. All decisions of the judges as to the weight and condition of the fish will be final and binding.

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