Fish Flash: Rodeo coming to a close on Oct. 31, but the big ones are still hitting the big board

Cliff Burton of Warner Robins, Ga., shows off his 38-pound dolphin caught on the Lady Em with Capt. Mike Eller. The dolphin was caught near an oil rig about 154-miles out.

The closer it gets to the end of the Destin Fishing Rodeo, the harder it gets to break on to the leaderboard.

However, we have had about a half dozen make a break-through in the last couple of days.

Jill Fisher of California got on the leaderboard Wednesday with a 23.8-pound blackfin tuna caught aboard the Huntress with Capt. Mike Graef. Her catch put her in second place for blackfin tuna in the Ladies Division.

The crew aboard the Huntress got into the tuna on Wednesday and they were all about the same size. They had another 23.8-pounder, a 23.4-pounder and a 22.6-pounder. Not a bad haul, but the lady reeled in the winner.

Thursday was the day that saw five fish make it onto the big leaderboard.

The first to make it on the board was a 22.4-pound blackfin tuna caught by Tim Tarpley of Crestview aboard the Intracoastal Experience with Capt. L.W. Burroughs. Tarpley’s catch was the exact same weight as the blackfin caught by Gavin Grant on the Dawn Patrol Too on Day 4 of the rodeo. And when there is a tie, the first in stays No. 1 and the other moves into second. So Tarpley is holding down second place in the 25-foot and under charter boat division.

Not done yet, Tarpley also pulled in a 6-pound bonito for a second place spot in the bonito category. The leader in the bonito category is an 8.8-pounder caught by Ricky Rickard about a week ago.

A little before 4 o’clock the Lady Em with Capt. Mike Eller at the helm backed in from a two-day trip. They had tubs and tubs of fish.

The big fish on that boat was a 38-pound dolphin pulled in by Cliff Burton of Georgia.

Capt. Eller said they were fishing 154 miles out in about 5,000-feet of water.

“We were trolling lures past the rig, then as soon as we got to it, we got that fish,” Eller said.

The dolphin is holding down a top spot in the Extended Voyage Division.

Geoff Dreyer of Pennsylvania, also aboard the Lady Em, got on the board with a 14.4-pound scamp.

The last fish of the day to make it onto the leaderboard was a walk up from the One of a Kind. Danny Fugate of Nashville came walking up about 6 o’clock with a 13.4-pound bonito for a first place slot in the Offshore Division.

A lot of the time, a 12– to 14-pound bonito or a 3- to 4-pound mingo doesn’t get a big reaction from the crowd like a 60-pound grouper, but they are still big for their particular species — and deserving of a spot on the leaderboard.

There are still a few days left to try and break on to that big board, so hop on a boat and drop a line. The scales will be open from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. daily through Oct. 31 behind AJ’s Seafood and Oyster Bar.

See you there.