Just like we had a change in the weather on Monday, with welcomed rainfall, we saw several changes happen on the leaderboard of the 71st Destin Fishing Rodeo.
As a matter of fact, we had 56 fish entries that were written up and 23 that made it onto the “big board” as weighmaster Bruce Cheves likes to call it.
Early in the day, William Howell Sexton weighed in a 34.4-pound king mackerel for second place in the Junior Division. He was fishing with his day William Sexton on the SS Mullet. Young William also weighed in a 29.6-pound king for second in the Private Boat Division.
Not long after Capt. Kent Hardin on the What Doin? pulled in with an 18-pound king mackerel for a second place in the Senior Division.
Next to break onto the big board was Michael Gleson of Destin with a 32-pound barracuda caught aboard On the Bite with Capt. Scotty Whitehurst.
The Silver King with Capt. Alex Hare came in with four fish to get on the leaderboard. They had to Alamco Jack that weighed exactly the same, 4-pounds. Meghan Medley of Kentucky and Keith McBride also of Kentucky took over first and second on the board, respectively. Willie Wellinghurst weighed in a 2.6-pound mingo for first, and Jeremy Medley, a 2.2-pounder for second.
Evan Norris of Mary Esther came in with a 6.4-pound redfish caught aboard his kayak for a spot in the Kayak Division.
Around 4 o’clock Trenny Woodham and Katie Lankford walked up with some fish in a bag to get on the board in the Inshore Division. Woodham weighed in a 3.2-pound flounder for first and an 8.2-pound redfish for first. Lankford took second in flounder with a 2.2-pounder and second in redfish with a 7.4-pounder.
Right after they left, Capt. Steven Pixley aboard the Emerald Grande backed in from a three-day trip. Barrett Chamberlain of Chipley weighed in a 21.2 pound dolphin for second in the Extended Voyage Division.
Peter Bos, who was on the back deck, said it was a bit rough on Friday, but it got better the rest of the trip.
They also weighed in an Escobar, which Cheves put in the Odd Ball Division. Noah Lynch of Destin was the angler who reeled in the dark, oily-looking fish.
With the rain starting to fall, Capt. Mike Graef on the Huntress backed in with a couple of fish to weigh. Brenan Hodge, 11, of Tennessee, got on the board in second place in the Junior Division with a 53-pound amberjack.
At 6 p.m., with the rain continuing to fall, the crowd was starting to dwindle at the docks. However, there were a few that stuck around with umbrellas until the scales closed.
The Sea Bandit was the next to get on the big board in the Private Boat Division. Matthew Russell weighed in a 64.6-pound amberjack for second place. They also weighed in a 56.8-pound amberjack caught by Hannah Smith for a Ladies Daily.
Up next was Into the Blue with Capt. Nino Bright and Groovy Davis. When the boat backed in, Groovy’s dog, Sadie was there waiting draped in a plastic bag. At that point everybody was taking cover from the rain, and apparently even the dogs. Anyhow, Leslie Grigar of Texas, who was aboard the Into the Blue, weighed in a 27-pound king mackerel for a second place in the Ladies Division.
The 25-foot- and-under Private Boat Muscle Memories came in next with a big ‘jack to find a first place slot on the board. Milton Harris of Shalimar was the angler with a 42.4-pounder.
However, the biggest amberjack of the day came in about 6:30 p.m. aboard the Twilight with Capt. Robert Hill. Mark Solomon of Tennessee weighed in a 77.8-pounder for second in the Charter Boat Division and AJ’s Bonus Award. Twelve-year-old Hunt Solomon hauled in a 72.2-pound amberjack for a first in the Junior Division, and Ami Dettman of Arkansas weighed in a 67.8-pound amberjack for the Ladies Daily.
Capt. Darryl Carpenter on the Last Chance came in with a 34-pound grouper caught by Tyler Sansom for a second place in the Private Boat Division.
Before the scales closed we had a couple of more boats come in. The Poop Deck brought in a couple of swordfish to weigh, one at 91 pound and the other 48.2-pounds. Captain said the big one came in in about 9 minutes, while the second one, which got tail wrapped, took more than an hour. The swordfish were not big enough to knock off the 101.6-pound swordy brought in on the Bow’d Up on Sunday.
The last boat of the night was Capt. Brian Kelley on the Screamn Drag. His angler got on the daily board with a 12.2-pound Almaco Jack.
Folks, the Rodeo is rolling and rolling along strong with 699 fish entries after 14 days of fishing. Apparently, Rodeo fishermen are kind of like the postman — nothing seems to slow them down.
Don’t forget the scales are open daily from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. on the docks behind AJ’s Seafood and Oyster Bar.