Boathouse Summer Slam Fishing Tournament off to slamming start

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log

The fourth annual Boathouse Summer Slam Fishing Tournament got off to a great start on June 1 with 25 boats entered and fish coming in daily. 

“So far, so fun,” said Amber Helton, event planner and weighmaster for the Boathouse Summer Slam. “I’ve been weighing in nice snappers and grouper each day. And registering boats each day … growing participation.”

Maxie Rambin of Louisiana shows off her 21.2-pound red snapper she caught aboard the Full Draw with Capt. Brantley Galloway. Her catch topped the leaderboard on Day 1 of the Summer Slam.

The Summer Slam is a 10-week tournament, which kicked off June 1 and runs through Aug. 7, that features three main species, red snapper, gag grouper and greater amberjack.  

This is a boat tournament and is divided by federal, state and private. 

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Federally permitted boats started catching red snapper on 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. 

Jackie Sheeren of Texas landed this 21.8-pound red snapper while fishing aboard the Maximilian with Capt. Chris Fulford. Her snapper caught on Day 1 of the Summer Slam landed in first in the Ladies Division.

Helton feels certain more boats will register as the snapper season opens for state and recreational fishermen on June 17. 

“Celebrating with anglers and boats on their catch is the most rewarding part of my job description as weighmaster,” Helton said. “I’m one happy Destin girl continuing our lucky little fishing village heritage.”

Helton, who comes from a long line of fishermen, is a former Miss Destin who served over the Destin Fishing Rodeo. 

Weston Duck of Louisiana pulled in a 15.2-pounder aboard the Backdown 2 with Capt. Phillip Blackburn for a spot in the Junior Division of the Summer Slam.

On Day 1 of the Summer Slam, she already had some big snapper come in to set the bar high.  

Maxie Rambin of Louisiana, who was fishing aboard the Full Draw with Capt. Brantley Galloway, pulled in a 21.2-pound red snapper to lead the Federal Boat Division. 

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Jackie Sheeren of Texas hauled in a 21.8-pounder aboard the Maximilian with Capt. Chris Fulford for first in the Ladies Division. 

In the Junior Division, Weston Duck of Louisiana topped the board in red snapper with a 15.2-pounder on the Backdown 2 with Capt. Phillip Blackburn on Day 2. 

Daniel Donolchuk of Georgia caught an 8.8-pound gag grouper on June 1 aboard the Hard Charger with Capt. Tim Baxter for a first in the Juniors. 

Steve Ford landed a 26.4-pound gag grouper for a spot on the board in the Summer Slam. He was fishing aboard Nothin' Matters with Capt. Tyler Brielmayer.

Sitting on top after Day 2 in the Gag Grouper for federal boats was Steve Ford of Colorado with a 26.4-pounder aboard the Nothing Matters with Capt. Tyler Brielmayer. 

The scales for the Summer Slam are open daily from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. at the Boathouse.