DESTIN — The 69th Annual Destin Fishing Rodeo ended Tuesday night with more than 1,000 weigh-ins, a couple storms and one, big blue marlin that claimed the top prize.

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"We had over a 1,000 fished weighed throughout the rodeo," said Helen Donaldson, the rodeo board director. "With the rough weather we didn't think that would happen."

October was extremely active for storms that churned up rough water for anglers. When Hurricane Nate was making its way to the Gulf Coast during the first week of the rodeo, it was decided to close the scales early on Saturday until the following Monday. It was the first time the rodeo had closed in 20 years. The last time was for Hurricane Opal, Donaldson said.

John Brashears, the board's president-elect, said it was a "super slow start" because of the weather, but picked up in time for some good catches to get on the leader board.

"After the first nine days we only had 150 weigh-ins," he said. "At the end, we came out about average. And we had some nice fish come in Tuesday. We had a 200-pound yellowfin tuna. I'd never seen one that big."

Brashears got a chance to fish on the rodeo's last day. And as part of of a 13-year tradition, his group wore their Halloween costumes when they got off the boat.

"It was a slow day of fishing, but a beautiful day on the water," he said. "We were fortunate enough to get some fish on the big board."

The biggest catch during the rodeo was a blue marlin weighing in at 345.4-pounds. Among the most common catches were king mackerels, almaco jacks, groupers and scamps.

New to the rodeo this year was the "oddball division" for rare fish brought to the scales.

"Someone brought in a stargazer, which is an unusual fish," Brashears said. "I had not seen one before."

Some rodeo traditions never change. There's the rod and reels that are handed out to kids under 12 who bring their catches to the scales — about 1,500 of which were handed out this year — and the fireworks show put on by AJ's Seafood & Oyster Bar on the last day. One tradition that Brashears enjoys is dunking anglers who catch their first billfish.

"We had a couple catch their first billfish and agreed to get dunked in the water," he said. "The rule is if you don't get dunked you're supposed to be cursed."

As festivities come to a close, there's only a short time before volunteers start planning for the following year. In the 20 years she's worked with the rodeo, Donaldson said it never gets old.

"I love every minute," she said. "I love meeting meeting people from all over. ... It's a real community event."