Destin Fishing Rodeo comes to a close a midst rain and cooler temps

After a wet and wild Wednesday, the Destin Fishing Fishing Rodeo came to a close Thursday with temps dipping down into the 50s.

With seas kicking up not many boats ventured out on that last day. But a couple of the boats that did brought in a good showing of fish.

A little after 4 o’clock the Sea Fix, which had been out on the water since Monday, came in with some big fish. Capt. Jason Hallmark said they hauled in 10 yellowfin tuna.

As a matter of fact Derick Nielsen of Fort Walton Beach weighed in an 118.2 pound yellowfin to fall into second place in the Extended Voyage Division.

They also turned in the paperwork for two catch and releases on blue marlin. Hallmark estimated one to be about 275 pounds and the other 200.

Hallmark said they had an even larger blue marlin on the line, noting it was probably around 500 pounds, but it was able to pull off the hook somehow.

Hallmark said it didn’t really get that rough until they got within about 7 to 8 miles of Destin, then waves started breaking over the bow.

Neilsen, who caught the big yellowfin, also snagged one of the blues. And it was his first marlin.

Tradition has it, when a fishermen catches their first billfish they get tossed in the water. With the temps already in the high 50s, Neilsen got tossed.

They also weighed in a huge amberjack in the 70-pound range, but it wasn’t big enough to break onto the leaderboard.

About 5:30 p.m., the Twilight with Capt. Robert Hill and his crew came in from an overnighter with two fish to weigh.

Kerry Brewer of Pensacola weighed in a 149.2-pound yellowfin for first place on the leaderboard in the Extended Voyage.

Brewer said it took her about two hours to get the fish to the boat.

"My arms were like Jello," she said when it was all said and done.

"But these guys were fantastic," Brewer added of the deckhands.

The Twilight also weighed in a 172.8-pound bigeye tuna to take second on the board. Tony Thomas was the angler on the rod.

The group also had a catch and release on a 175-pound blue marlin. And of course it was a first, which meant another dip in the water.

The last fish to weigh in of the 71st Destin Fishing Rodeo was a 2.2-pound mingo brought in on the Last Chance by Tyler Sansom with Capt. Darryl Carpenter. The mingo got on the leaderboard as a daily.

"We were trying to catch a king," Carpenter said. "And we finally got a bite on the way in while we were dragging lures ... but it was a bonito."

Carpenter said it was rough on the water Thursday, noting he encountered 10 and 12 foot waves.

As for Wednesday, some of the boats that had planned on staying out until Thursday cut their trips short.

The Bow’d Up with Capt. Brady Bowman was one of those that came in earlier than planned.

"I ran from lightning all night," Bowman said at the docks Wednesday evening, even as their were threats of water spouts and tornadoes.

Three or four times during the afternoon and early evening, emergency alarms could be heard going off on smart phones along the docks.

Capt. Bowman and his crew did manage to weigh in a 26.8-pound grouper that took over first in the Extended Voyage Division.

Capt. Mike Graef of the Huntress and his group of locals that were just out on a day trip saw plenty of action as well.

"I saw two water spouts," Graef said.

He said one was at a distance and he lost the other in a rain storm.

But his group did get on the board with a couple of blackfin tuna. They took second in the Senior Division with a 23.6 pounder and first in charter with a 25.6 pounder caught by Daryll Rippeon.

Capt. Cliff Cox of the Sweet Jody came in from a trip Wednesday with a couple of dailies, one being a 31.4-pound wahoo caught by Lynn Mathes.

Cox said, "it was pretty sporty out there today."

On their way in, he said they spotted a big water spout just off Fort Walton Beach.

Even with the wet and wild Wednesday and rough, cool Thursday, the Rodeo wrapped up in Destin style with ghouls and gobblins showing up in the bleachers and even on the boats.

Don’t forget the Rodeo awards banquet is Sunday at 4 p.m. at AJ’s.

See you there.