Destin High School fishing class goes fishing on three area charter boats

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log

While most students were calculating math problems or studying geography on Tuesday, members of the Destin High School fishing class were baiting up hooks and reeling in fish. 

As part of the fishing class, Florida’s first fishing class of its kind, 34 students along with a few adults, went on a six-hour fishing trip in the Gulf of Mexico Tuesday. The students were spread out across three Destin charter boats, the Relentless with Capt. Chris Michelson, the Destination with Capt. Stan Phillips and the DiscipleShip with Capt. Brandy Miles. Both the Relentless and Destination were built by the late Brant Kelly, who passed away recently. 

The Destin High School fishing class got to go out for a six-hour fishing trip this week to experience fishing first hand. They caught mingo, red snapper, grouper, scamp, bonito and more.

The fishing trips were “generously” donated by the captains/or owners of the boats, said Capt. Mike Parker who teaches the class at Destin High. 

Remembered:Capt. Brant Kelly was a husband, father, captain and friend to many in Destin

“They all support the Destin High School fishing class and these young students 100%,” Parker said. 

The students got to experience lessons in catching live bait, trolling, two hooking and slip leading. They also caught a variety of fish from mingo, grouper, red snapper and bonito to name a few. 

The Destin High School fishing class got to go out for a six-hour fishing trip this week to experience fishing first hand. The young anglers pictured here on the DiscipleShip are doing a little bait fishing before going after the big fish.

Laurie Kelly, wife of the late Brant Kelly, met the kids on the docks before they left with hot Krispy Kreme donuts and boxed sandwich lunches and drinks for the outing. 

And Kelly was back on the docks when the students came in at Heron Harbor. 

More from the fishing class:Destin High Sharks get a taste of Destin history and fishing at the museum

“It was super fun to come and watch,” Kelly said as the students walked around and pointed out the fish they caught. 

Ana Vizcarrondo, a ninth grader, caught the biggest red snapper on the DiscipleShip. 

Angelina Cooley fights with a red snapper. She later got the snapper to the boat and had the biggest of the fishing trip.

“I’ve been before, but this was fun,” she said. 

Deshawn Ford, a 10th grader, said it was his first time to go fishing in the Gulf. 

“It was good,” he said, noting he hooked an amberjack and some red snapper. The amberjack had to go back, due to the season ending at the end of October. 

“I’d go again, of course,” said Ford, who was on the Destination. 

Capt. AJ Neimeic of the charter boat Strike Zone Too dumps ice over some of the fish aboard the DiscipleShip. Neimeic went on the trip aboard the DiscipleShip to help out with the students.

After all the fish from the three boats were dumped on the dock it was apparent that the red snapper caught by sophomore Angelina Cooley was the largest, weighing in at 15-plus pounds. 

“It was my first time … it was fun,” Cooley said who was on the Destination. 

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As for catching the snapper, Cooley said it was hard to reel in, noting it took a couple of minutes. 

Matheus Barcelos, a sophomore, had the largest black snapper that weighed about 6 pounds. 

Jacob Benkosky, a ninth grader, shows off his mingo caught on the DiscipleShip. His mingo was the largest.

“It was a good time,” Barcelos said, noting he goes fishing a lot. “It was a cool experience to be with all my friends.”

Jacob Benkosky, a ninth grader and first-time Gulf fisherman, had the largest mingo. 

“It was really nice,” Benkosky said while showing off his bright red fish. 

A lot of the fish from the trip was fileted, bagged and donated to the Harvest House as part of Filet for Friends. 

Carsten Phillips tosses some of the live bait the students were catching into the live well on the back of the Destination.

So, not only was this part of a learning process for the students of the fishing class but a way for them to do community service as well, said Destin High Principal Christine Cruickshank, who was there to greet the boats as they came in. 

This is the first of many outings planned for the fishing class at Destin High.