El Chapo is big money winner in Boathouse Oyster Bar Ding-A-Ling tournament

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log

With about 20 boats in the hunt, Capt. B.J. Teems and his crew aboard the El Chapo pulled in three cobia to take top honors and $19,807 in prize money in the Ding-A-Ling fishing tournament at the Boathouse Oyster Bar on Destin harbor last weekend. 

Destin’s Johnny King, fishing aboard the El Chapo, hauled in the first and the biggest cobia of the tournament.  

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On Friday, King weighed in a 55-pounder, the only cobia to hit the scales on Day 1. 

Then on Saturday, he reeled in a 68.6-pound cobia for first-place overall. 

The crew of the El Chapo show off their winning catch. Standing from left are Johnny King, Kevin Price, Capt. B.J. Teems and Jimmy Park. The 68.6-pound fish won the Ding-A-Ling fishing tournament at the Boathouse Oyster Bar.

Teems said they fished all three days of the tournament and basically caught every fish they saw, which was three. 

“The only day that it was nice (Sunday), we didn’t see anything,” Teems said. 

On Day 1, they fished west of Destin and had the first fish in the boat by 8:30 a.m. They continued to fish, but never saw another cobia. 

Although the weather wasn’t great Friday, Saturday was worse. 

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“It got dang near dangerous,” King said, noting they almost didn’t go out. 

But they braved the elements and managed to land two fish. 

“We found a pair right on the lip and we caught the small one out of it,” right outside the pass, Teems said. 

“They split up and we couldn’t find him again,” he said, noting the bigger one slipped away. 

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However, about 45 minutes later, Teems said they were fishing in the dead zone between the pass and the Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier, when they found a manta ray that had a big fish on it. 

“It was about the size of the one that was in that pair,” he said, noting it could have been the same fish. 

First, they threw an eel at the cobia. 

“It didn’t want anything to do with it,” King said. 

The crew aboard the El Chapo with Capt. B.J. Teems show off a pair of cobia they caught Saturday in the Ding-A-Ling fishinig tournament at the Boathouse Oyster Bar in Destin.

So, King climbed down out of the tower and went to get a ruby lip to use for bait, again the cobia wasn’t having it. 

He went back down again and got another fin bait, but the cobia didn’t want that, either. 

“We had gone from the bow to the stern three or four times trying to figure what she was wanting,” King said. 

They finally got the ling to eat a fin bait, but the cobia pulled off. 

King went back once more and came back with what he says was the “biggest chofer” he could find, “about a foot long.” 

“I got the bite and I went to jack him up and my drag wasn’t set,” he said. 

But King managed to make adjustments and keep the fish on the line. 

“I fought him for what seemed like an hour,” King said. 

The cobia stayed down on the bottom. 

He finally got the fish up but it was kicking away from the boat. Kevin Price and Jimmy Park stuck her at the same time and threw her in the boat. 

“We had a dang ball. It was fun. … It was exciting,” King said. 

Kevin Price and Jimmy Park each get a gaff in the cobia and get it aboard the El Chapo.

The crew had their two fish on board and headed back to the docks. 

“It was starting to get rough,” Teems said, so they headed back in and were back at the Boathouse by 11 a.m. eating crawfish. 

During the three-day tournament, six fish made the leaderboard. 

In the Big Ling category, King took first with his 68.6-pounder. Second went to Devin Parrish with a 61.8-pounder caught on the Nothin Matters with Capt. Tyler Brielmayer. In third was Chris Veach with a 60.6-pounder on the Into the Blue with Capt. Craig “Groovy” Davis and Capt. Nino Bright. 

Mollie Smith shows off her 59-pound cobia caught aboard the Nothin Matters with Capt. Tyler Brielmayer to take the Lady Ling award.

In the Big 3 Ling, which is an aggregate of the three largest caught, El Chapo took first with 174.6 pounds of cobia. Nothin Matters came in second at 120.8 pounds 

Mollie Smith won the Ladies Ling division with a 59-pounder caught on the Nothin Matters. 

Big money winner was the El Chapo, taking home almost $20,000. 

“I haven’t been on the angling side of it in a while,” King said. “It felt good to have my name up there (on the leaderboard). 

“We had fun, got to pick up some money and some trophies … pretty cool deal,” he added.