‘Choppy but fishable’ - Rodeo anglers wrestle with Karen to bring in the big ones

Sharon Hicks of Niceville was proud of her 1.6-pound sheepshead she caught aboard her kayak, Ms. Stomper, Monday afternoon. Her catch was good for a spot on the daily leaderboard.

Tropical Storm Karen may have fizzled, but it did put a chop on the Gulf of Mexico.

"It was rough today," said Capt. Robert Hill of the Twilight as he stood on the back of his boat Monday evening at the rodeo weigh-in scales behind AJ's Seafood & Oyster Bar. "It was 6-footers out there."

However, it didn't stop his crew from Alabama from hauling in some big fish. Daniel Bogan came in with a 41.6-pound amberjack for a daily and Brett Weathers hauled in a 15.8-pound almaco jack for a daily as well.


To see more catches of the day, click here for The Rodeo Rap, The Log's daily look at what's biting in the 65th annual Destin Fishing Rodeo!


More than 35 fish were brought to the scales Monday with the final count rising to 379 after seven days of rodeo fishing.

Capt. Allen Staples on the Al-Lin came in earlier in the day with a few fish to weigh. He said they stayed in close.

"We were just two miles off the beach all day," he said. His group weighed in king mackerel, red snapper and lane snapper. "We haven't missed a day yet," Staples said, even with the threat of the storm.

A lot of red snapper hit the dock as well on Monday. The count started with an 11-pounder caught by 9-year-old Hagen Ross on the Silver Lining and finished up with 22.8-pounder pulled in by Craig Seelman aboard the First Light with Capt. Steve Haeusler. Seelman's snapper moved him into second place on the leaderboard.

Capt. Steve Lathi on the Lucky Lina backed in around 3:30 p.m. with a few fish to weigh. Mason Bowen of Kentucky pulled in a 14.2-pound red snapper.

"It never let up out there today," Capt. Lathi said as he wiped salt off the rails on his tower. "It was about a 4- to 5-foot chop. We were still taking spray seven miles out."

Capt. Jim Green and his crew on the party boat New Florida Girl's American Spirit fared well on the water and found a couple of spots on the daily board. Geoff May caught an 8.8-pound grouper and Elizabeth Payne pulled in a 2.2-pound mingo for spots on the board. Capt. Green had a couple of others on the board, but they didn't last until 7 p.m.

Capt. Brant Kelly on the Relentless backed in with a 12-pound red grouper caught by Kevin Gilbert from Kentucky for a daily award.

Next in was the Huntress with Capt. Mike Graef. "We were expecting it to calm down by noon … I think it just caught it's breath around noon," he said, noting the waves didn't let up. They had a 5.2-pound almaco jack that was later knocked off by the Twilight.

Although Capt. Steve Haeusler on the First Light said it was "pretty rolly" he said he didn't notice a difference in the bite after the storm. As a matter of fact, one of his anglers, David Masoner got on the board with a 22-pound blackfin tuna. Plus, Seelman had the 22.8-pound red snapper.

Capt. Cliff Cox on the party boat Sweet Jody came in a little after 6 p.m. with some big triggerfish. Wayne Swann pulled in an 8.4-pounder and Ashley Macal had two triggers, 7.6 and 7.4 pounds. "It was a little choppy but fishable," Cox said.

The Phoenix with Capt. Scott Robson at the helm backed in at 6:30 with a couple of dailies. Mike Cotton weighed in a 10.6-pound king mackerel and William Head a 2.2-pound Spanish mackerel.

Boats were backing in and anglers were walking up to the scales right up until 7 p.m. The last fish to go on the scales was a 2.8-pound black snapper caught by Jeff King.

The fishing should get better as the week goes on. Remember the scales are open daily through October from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. on the docks behind AJ's Seafood and Oyster Bar.

See you on the docks.