Boathouse Oyster Bar and Marina looking to bring "past to present" with new weigh station

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log

In an effort to keep the old while still looking to the future, Boathouse Oyster Bar and Marina has added a weigh station that can accommodate the big fish yet to come. 

“We’re trying to bring the past to the present,” said Amber Helton, event coordinator and weighmaster for all the Boathouse fishing tournaments. 

Standing between the Boathouse Oyster Bar and the Marina is the old East Pass Marina weigh station. 

“We’re replicating what was weighed on in the '80s,” Helton said. 

Not just the '80s, but even before. 

The owners of the Boathouse Oyster Bar and Marina have built a new weigh station on the site of the old East Pass Marina weigh station. Pictured here, Amber Helton, weighmaster for the Summer Slam Fishing Tournament, gets ready to throw a rope to the deckhand aboard the Hard Charger. The Hard Charger weighed in a red snapper for the Slam on Thursday.

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Capt. Tommy Green, who fished with Capt. William Frank Davis on the Anastasia in the early 1970s, recalled weighing in a 561-pound blue marlin at the East Pass Marina weigh station. 

“At the time, it was the only certified scale in town,” Green said. 

Although there are other scales up and down the harbor now, from HarborWalk Marina to Destin Fishing Fleet, the Boathouse is looking to bring back a weigh station at the site of the original East Pass weigh site. Plus, grow along with all their tournaments. 

The frame work for the old East Pass Marina weigh station still stands tall between the Boathouse Oyster Bar and the marina.

Chris Schofield, who owns the Boathouse Oyster Bar and now Marina, along with his wife Missy, are looking to have a few more fishing tournaments. 

“We started out with this old wooden scale (made) out of 4-by-6s and Amber went to weigh a wahoo and an amberjack one day, and the fish was bigger than the weigh scales. So, we needed something bigger,” Chris said. 

Chris said that he wanted the weigh station to be big enough to “weigh a Gulf record blue marlin if one comes in.” 

A photo of Capt. David Rojas and his crew weighing in a big shark at the East Pass Marina in 1979 hangs on the wall of the Boathouse Marina.

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Helton said the scales are about a foot or more taller than the original East Pass scales. 

“We can weigh a fish that’s 18 feet long if we have too,” Chris said. 

“And we will,” added an optimistic Helton. 

Chris recalled his uncle, Capt. David Rojas, weighing in many shark at East Pass Marina. He even has a picture on the wall of the new marina of Rojas and a 365-pound bull shark caught in 1979. The plaque alongside the photo says the shark took third in the 14th annual Shark Tournament. 

Chris also has a picture of himself on the walls. 

“It’s me in my dad’s arms with a big warsaw on the (East Pass Marina) weigh scales,” Chris said. 

So, with the new weigh station at the Boathouse, Chris is hoping to expand and hold more tournaments.

The new weigh station at the Boathouse Oyster Bar and Marina stands in front of the old East Pass Marina weigh station.

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Currently, the Boathouse Summer Slam Fishing Tournament is in progress and will go through the first week of August. Plus, they also host a Ding-A-Ling Cobia Tournament at the Boathouse. 

“Hopefully we will expand … maybe some marlin tournaments. So, we wanted to build something definitely big enough,” Chris said. 

Chris and his wife Missy have a lot of ties to the Boathouse and old East Pass Marina. 

Chris said Rojas docked in the slip right next to East Pass weigh station. 

“I was always over here as a kid … and fishing off the docks,” he said. 

There is a drawing of the old East Pass Marina weigh station on the walls of the new Boathouse Marina.

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And his wife Missy worked for the original owners of the Boathouse and moved to the bookkeeping side of things before she and Chris bought the business. 

"We’re trying to bring everything back to the way it was … but still keep up (with how things are moving forward),” Chris said. 

“We’re trying to keep the aesthetic classic feel of the Boathouse,” Helton said. 

“Keep the local dive bar,” Chris added. 

Summer Slam weighmaster Amber Helton welcomes the crew of the ChampionShip to the newly erected weigh station at the Boathouse Marina.

The weigh station at the Boathouse is sandwiched in between the Boathouse bar and the marina and boats are able to back right up and weigh their catch. 

“We’re hoping it will hold a 1,200-pound marlin. We might need a bigger block and tackle, but as far as the height, we should be able to string it up there,” Chris said.