RODEO RECORD: Capt. John Tenore and crew aboard the Dawn Patrol hold the record king mackerel

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log

Editor's Note: The Destin Fishing Rodeo, Destin's longest running tradition, will be celebrating 73 years this October. In the next few weeks, The Log will be taking a look back at some of the fish that hold down Rodeo Records, and the fish to beat for this year's fishing tournament.

Rodeo record — King mackerel, 64.2 pounds

When it comes to big fish, fishermen always remember.

It was the last Sunday of the Destin Fishing Rodeo in 2018, and the crew aboard the Dawn Patrol with Capt. John Tenore were in search of mackerel.

"It was an absolutely gorgeous day," Tenore said.

Fishing with Tenore was Capt. Alex Hare, Bert Savoir and Matt Johnson.

Showing off that 64.2-pound king mackerel that set a Destin Fishing Rodeo record in 2018 are Capt. Alex Hare, Capt. John Tenore, Matt Johnson and angler Bert Savior.

"We got out there and trolled around and we caught a few kings," Tenore said.

Then about 11:30 a.m., they hooked the big one.

"That one skyrocketed about 8 to 10 feet in the air. ... He ate about a 3-pound mullet," Tenore said. "We had no idea. ... we knew it was a big one, but we had no idea it was a Rodeo record."

The original story:Holy mackerel!: Record king caught at Destin Rodeo

The week prior, Tenore had caught and weighed in a 44-pounder and a 52.6-pounder at the Rodeo.

"When we pulled it over the side, I told the guys, that's bigger than the 52.6-pounder," he said. However, none of them thought it was a record.

Savoir, of Fort Walton Beach, was the angler on the rod who fought the fish for about 30 minutes. Savior couldn't be reached for comment.

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Before Savior's catch, the mackerel holding down the rodeo record was a 59.8-pounder logged by Henry Hinkel in 1977 aboard the Finest Kind with Capt. Tommy Browning.

Even after the guys got the mackerel aboard the 22-foot Dawn Patrol, "we had no idea we had a Rodeo record. We just thought we had one in the 50s and we'd probably be in first place with that one," Tenore said.

Not only were they in first place in the king mackerel division for small charters, but they were king of the Rodeo as weighmaster Bruce Cheves called time and announced the weight of 64.2 pounds.

"We were stoked. ... we didn't realize how big it was," Hare said. "When we were holding it up for pictures ... we thought it was 50 pounds. But it shocked us all. ... It was pretty cool.

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"It's definitely the biggest I've been a part of," Hare added.

After they caught the huge mackerel that Sunday, Tenore said they trolled a little more, but didn't get any bites, so they decided to go bottom fishing.

They ended up catching some scamp and grouper.

"It was just an awesome day of fishing," he said.

It was not Tenore's first Rodeo. He's been fishing the tournament for almost three decades. 

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He has gotten on the Rodeo leaderboard in the speckled trout, red snapper and grouper division as well as mackerel in the past.

"I've won quite a few times in the speckled trout," he said.

But he does like to target the king mackerel.

"We'd love nothing better than to catch one over 70 pounds. ... That would definitely be a feat," he said.