Third annual 10-week Summer Slam at the Boathouse on Destin harbor starts June 1

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log

The third annual Summer Slam at the Boathouse Oyster Bar is scheduled to begin June 1 and go through Aug. 8. 

The 10-week tournament is open to all fishing vessels, from charter to private boats. 

“I’m excited to see how much participation we get this year,” said Amber Helton, weighmaster and event organizer of Summer Slam. 

The first year the Boathouse held the tournament 15 boats entered. 

Amber Helton hoists a red snapper onto the scales at the Summer Slam fishing tournament at the Boathouse Oyster Bar.

“We had 32 last year … more than doubled,” Helton said, even during the pandemic. 

The tournament has three divisions and three species. 

There is a division for federal boats, which are charter boats with a federal permit that allows them to fish in federal water, which begins 9 miles out. There also is a division for state boats, those charter boats that do not have a federal permit and have to stay within 9 miles of the beach. Then there is a private boat division. 

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In each division, there are three species that anglers can weigh: red snapper, grouper and amberjack. 

For federal boats, red snapper and grouper seasons run from June 1 through Aug. 2. The red snapper season for state boats runs from June 4 through July 28. 

Amberjack for all doesn’t begin until Aug. 1. Grouper is open across the board beginning June 1 for federal and state boats. 

The crew aboard Coastline Tree Service show off their 38-pound grouper that put them in first place in the private boat division for grouper in the Summer Slam during last years tournament.

In addition to the three big boat divisions, there is a Ladies Division and Junior Division for all three species as well. 

“There are a lot of ways to win in this tournament,” Helton said. 

There also will be a big fish of the day as well as big fish of the week winners. 

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The tournament also boasts a Pounders Division, broken down by federal, state and private boats. Each boat can enter its biggest of each species on each trip. Throughout the 10 weeks, the pounds accumulate to win the division.  

Helton said boats are going fishing during June and July, and the Summer Slam is just “an extra thing they can get excited about. And it helps to shine a little light on the fleet,” she said. 

Boats must register to participate. The cost for the snapper, grouper, amberjack and pounders divisions is $150 each. Cost for the Ladies Division is $100 and $50 for Juniors. 

Anglers aboard the Big John show off some of their fish brought to the scales at the Summer Slam at the Boathouse Oyster Bar last year.

The cost to enter all divisions across the board for 10 weeks in $750. 

Weigh-ins will be daily at the Boathouse from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Destin harbor. 

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Last year the largest red snapper was a 28.4 pounder caught aboard the Twilight. The Twilight also had the largest grouper at 54.4 pounds. Capt. Todd Allen on the Big John won the Pounders Division with 1,417.8 pounds of fish for the 10 weeks. 

A captains meeting is planned for May 30 at the Boathouse. 

For more information or to register early, email Helton at