Mikey Williams of Crestview lands winning fish in Sheepshead Shootout at The Ships Chandler
With more than 55 boats and three times as many lines in the water, Mikey Williams of Crestview landed the winning fish in this year’s Sheepshead Shootout at The Ships Chandler in Destin on Saturday.
Williams hauled in a 9.9-pounder to take home close to $1,500 in prize money.
Williams was fishing with Michael Ngo of Gulf Breeze and Dawson Dinnes of Navarre.
The three were on the water by 7 a.m. and found a hot spot under the Destin bridge and by 7:30 a.m. they were already hooked up.
“We doubled up,” Williams said, noting he and Dinnes both had a fish on.
Dinnes' sheepshead was the bigger of the two and wound up placing second overall in the tournament at 9.5 pounds.
As for the winning sheepshead, Williams said he caught it about 10:30 a.m. He landed the massive fish on a 45 Penn Slammer with 30-pound braid.
“They were knocking us out,” Williams said.
“They were hitting so hard we had to upgrade our tackle,” Ngo said, noting they were using oysters and fiddler crabs for bait.
After that first big fish, “We did not move,” Williams said.
When it was all said and done, they had about 22 sheepshead in the cooler.
The tournament wasn’t their first time to fish together. The three guys said they fish together two or three times a week.
“We had been scouting out … and we got lucky today,” Ngo said. He pulled in an 8.2-pounder that was holding third until right before the scales closed at 3 p.m.
Jordan Whiteman came in with an 8.6-pounder for third place. Whiteman, who was fishing with Brett Posey, said they fished down near the Navarre bridge.
“We wanted to get away from the crowd,” Whiteman said, noting the Destin bridge and jetties usually get loaded up with folks.
One of the first fish weighed in Saturday was brought in by local angler Joe Bettinger. Bettinger was in the books with an 8-pounder he caught while fishing aboard the Hat Trick.
Bettinger was fishing near the west jetties at Destin’s East Pass using shrimp for bait.
“There were hundreds of them … they just weren’t biting,” Bettinger said.
However, they did manage to put about 10 fish in the boat.
The youth with the biggest fish was 11-year-old David Williams of Chipley. He reeled in a 5.4-pounder. He won a rod and reel, T-shirt and cap for his efforts.
The majority of the fish weighed in Saturday were in the 6- to 8-pound range.
And the number of boats was down from a year ago when more than 100 boats entered.
“I think the weather forecast scared people off,” said Pete Wright of The Ships Chandler, noting there was talk of a front coming through with rain.
But the weather turned out just fine.
“The water was clean and people could see the fish,” Wright said. “It was just a matter of getting them to bite,” he added.