Well it appears the boats are back in business. They’ve been blessed and folks are starting to show up in town.
Last Thursday more than 130 vessels in Destin participated in the annual Blessing of the Fleet. This event is something that the majority of the boat captains look forward to each year. There’s nothing better than getting blessed for a prosperous, bountiful and safe season.
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Right now I’m sure all the captains would agree they are ready for some of that "prosperous and bountiful" business to start rolling in. And for some it did start this past holiday weekend with several of the boats fishing.
To make things interesting this summer, The Boathouse Oyster Bar located on Destin harbor, just east of East Pass Marina, will be hosting a Summer Slam fishing tournament.
The tournament will begin June 1 and go through Aug. 9 with daily weigh ins from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m.
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Weighmaster for the event is former Miss Destin Amber Helton.
Last year was the inaugural Summer Slam and they had only 15 boats compete.
This year Helton said they are hoping for a better turnout.
"There are no summer tournaments outside of billfish tournaments," Helton said. "They are out there catching the fish anyways ... so why not?"
There will be daily and weekly big fish prize winners as well as big money overall winners.
This 10-week tournament will concentrate on three main species — red snapper, grouper and amberjack. Plus the boats will be separated by federal, state and private. In other words those boats that have a federal permit, which allows them to fish in federal waters, 9 nautical miles and out to 200 miles, will be competing against other federal permitted boats. State boats, which can only fish in state waters, from shore out to 9 nautical miles, will compete against one another.
Cost to enter is $150 per species. Plus there will be a junior division with a $50 entry as well as womens division for $100.
There will also be a "pounders division," where there will be a running tab on the poundage of fish caught throughout the month on a particular boat.
Aug. 1 is being tagged the "Garbo World Championships." This will require an extra $100 entry.
The captains meeting is slated for 6 p.m. May 28 at the Boathouse.
Boat captains can enter the tournament any day during the 10-week period. However, their fish will not be eligible for entry until the next calendar day.
Also, this is a day-trip tournament only. No overnight fish entries.
Fishing is starting to pick back up and just in time for snapper season, which begins June 1.
See you on the docks and be safe.