4th annual Boathouse Summer Slam Fishing Tournament kicks off June 1 with red snapper

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log

The fourth annual Boathouse Summer Slam Fishing Tournament at the Boathouse Oyster Bar in Destin is just a few weeks away. 

The 10-week tournament, which kicks off June 1 and runs through Aug. 7, features three main species, red snapper, gag grouper and greater amberjack. 

Local angler Tom Milliren shows off a big red snapper he caught aboard the Kitchen Pass during the Summer Slam in 2021.

“This is a boat tournament,” said Amber Helton, weighmaster and event planner for the Boathouse. 

The boats will be divided by federal, state and private.  

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Federally permitted boats will be able to catch red snapper beginning June 1, while the snapper season for state boats and other recreational boats begins June 17 in state waters. State waters is from shore out to nine nautical miles. 

“I’m already excited about the tournament,” Helton said. “I love immersing myself into everything that celebrates Destin and fishing.”

Amber Helton, weighmaster for the Summer Slam, hoist a red snapper up on to the scales during the tournament last year.

Last year the tournament boasted 33 boats, this year she’s hoping for 40 boats, but will be happy with at least 34, she said. 

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In addition to the three featured fish, the tournament also offers a “Pounders Division” where registered boats can weigh in their one-person bag limit per trip, keeping a running tally of weight throughout the tournament.  

Last year, Capt. Robert Hill on the Twilight won the Pounders Division for federal boats with 2,453 pounds of fish. 

The tournament will also have Ladies and Juniors divisions. 

The Twilight came in on the Fourth of July last year with a 58.6-pound gag grouper to take over first in the federal boat category of the Gag Grouper Division of the Summer Slam.

This year the tournament will be adding a little something extra for the week of July 4th – Wahoo Week. Starting Monday, July 4 and going through July 10, the boat that brings in the largest and the most wahoo will be taking home a little something extra. 

Weigh in for the Summer Slam will be daily from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. at the Boathouse. 

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The Boathouse is looking to put some kind of platform between the Boathouse Oyster Bar and the Boathouse Marina, where anglers can weigh their fish. 

“It will not be in the parking lot,” Helton said of a weigh station. 

If the platform is not ready in time, the fish will be weighed at the Boathouse Marina at the fuel docks. 

Entry fee is $150 for each division, red snapper, gag grouper, amberjack and pounders, while the cost for the Ladies Division is $100 and $50 for the Juniors. 

Capt. Phillip Blackburn and his angler won the Red Snapper Division of the Boathouse Summer Slam last year with this 28.6-pound snapper in the federal boat division.

Boats can enter the tournament anytime throughout the 10-week event. However, they must be registered the day before they fish and plan to weigh in. 

A captain's party for the 10-week tournament will be held at the Boathouse on May 29 at 6 p.m. 

For more information about fishing the Summer Slam or to enter, contact Helton at  amber@boathouseoysterbardestin.com.