Hurricane Nate is gone, and it’s time to go fish.
As a matter of fact about a half dozen boats went out Monday and brought in some fine catches to weigh for at the 69th annual Destin Fishing Rodeo.
The Rodeo, however, had a little hiccup over the weekend with Nate blowing through. The barge that is used as a weigh-station had to be pulled away from the docks, so the Rodeo shut down about 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, but was back up and running Monday at 10 a.m. and weighmaster Bruce Cheves had already called “time is” on a catch before 10:30 a.m.
A little after lunch on Monday things started to pick up. The private boat Sadie Pearl backed in with a 3.4-pound Spanish mackerel caught by 13-year-old Bryant Jones. His catch was good for a daily award.
Up next, Capt. Brady Bowman of the Bow’d Up came walking up the docks with his angler Joseph Davis of Tupelo, Mississippi, with a mingo in hand. The mingo weighed in at 1.6-pounds and held on the daily board for about four hours until getting knocked off right before close by a catch off the Sweet Jody.
Nevertheless, Capt. Bowman said the fish were biting.
“We had a bunch of triggerfish and snapper,” he said, noting of course that they had to be released.
But the Gulf is starting to lie down somewhat.
“We had some 5-footers this morning, but it was mostly 3s this afternoon,” Bowman said, noting he’s booked the rest of the week.
Right before 4 o’clock, Capt. Josh Calhoon of Destin Inshore Guides came in with a couple of big redfish to weigh. Melinda Stafford of Alabama weighed in a 7.2-pounder for first place in the Inshore Division. The other redfish, caught by Madeline Kate Stafford, weighed in at 7 pounds for the largest caught by a junior for the day.
“This was the prettiest day we’ve had in three weeks,” Calhoon said.
Not long after, local angler Luke Bilger came walking up with a flounder he caught off the docks in the harbor. His flounder weighed in at 1.2-pounds and is on the board in the Pier, Bridge, Jetty and Surf Division.
A little after 5 p.m., Capt. Brant Kelly on the Relentless came in four mingo to weigh, but they all came up short of making the daily board.
About 6:30 p.m., Capt. Cliff Cox and crew aboard the party boat Sweet Jody pulled in from a 10-hour trip with several fish to weigh.
Out of the eight or more fish weighed, six made the overall leader board, or as Bruce likes to call it the “big board.”
Eric Dover of South Carolina weighed in an 8-pound Almaco Jack, and Mitchell Wiley of South Carolina a 7.4-pounder for first and second in the Almaco Jack category.
Cameron Hudson of Kentucky weighed in a 3.4-pound mingo for the daily board and first place on the big board.
John Jones of Kentucky took second in the Mingo Category with a 2.8-pounder.
Gregory Day of Alabama took over second in the Bonito Category in the Offshore Division with a 7-pouder.
The other “big board” catch was a 3.2-pound amberine caught by Greg Tocchio of Kentucky, which took over second in the Odd Ball Division.
Capt. Cox said the Sweet Jody was headed back out Tuesday and so were several other boats.
As the Gulf continues to calm down the number of fish caught should go up.
Just remember the scales at the Rodeo, located behind AJ’s Seafood and Oyster Bar, are open daily from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. throughout the month of October.
See you at the docks.