Fish are coming in XL

Joseph Reppucci shows off a 10.2-pound triggerfish he caught fishing aboard the party boat Swoop with Capt. Mark Tilden.

If fish wore size tags like small, medium or large, the fish hitting the docks this week at the 65th annual Destin Fishing Rodeo would be tagged XL.

After the Gulf calmed down the last couple of days, some of the boats have brought in some mighty big catches.

On Wednesday, Capt. Mike Graef on the Huntress backed in with a king mackerel that broke onto the leader board in a big way. Jennifer Medlin weighed in a 42.6-pound king mackerel to take the top spot in the Ladies Division.

Earlier in the day, junior angler Colton Guthrie drug up a 15.6-pound king he caught off the Okaloosa Island Pier. He’s first in the Pier, Bridge, Jetty and Surf Division for juniors.

Trey Brown on the private boat Loose Hook’r weighed in a 35-pound king mackerel about 6 p.m. Wednesday, just to get knocked down to second place when Michael Byars of Tennessee weighed in a 37-pounder for first place. Byars was fishing aboard the What Doin? with Capt. Kent Hardin.

At almost close of day on Wednesday, Capt. Todd Allen and crew on the Big John backed in with a 50.8-pound grouper for a second place spot on the leader board. The angler who hauled in the XL grouper was Kirk Oldenburg of Fort Walton Beach.

Thursday was more of the same with big catches coming in left and right.

Anglers fishing aboard the Silver King with Capt. Mike Parker got on the board in the Under-25 Charter Boat Category with a few fish. Brad Myers reeled in a 30.8-pound amberjack for a first place spot, and Jason Thompson took second with a 25.4-pounder. Hannah Myers pulled in a 14-pound red snapper for a second place spot.

One of the biggest catches of the day on Thursday was a 10.2-pound triggerfish reeled in by Joseph Reppucci of Lakeland. He was fishing on the party boat Swoop with Capt. Mark Tilden. Later in the day, Joshua Martin of Mary Esther came in with an 8.8-pounder, for second place, caught on the Sweet Jody with Capt. Cliff Cox.

In the final hour Thursday, Capt. Robert Hill and crew aboard the Twilight came in with a 38.4-pound amberjack and an 8.2-pound triggerfish.

Capt. Scott Whitehurst on the Don’t Hate pulled in with a whopper of a king mackerel that tilted the scales at 23.8-pounds for second place in the Under-25 Charter Boat Division. Chris Schlafke was the angler on the rod.

About 10 minutes before close of the scales, Capt. Brad Biggers and a group of local anglers on the Mother Lode came in with a nice daily, a 46-pound grouper caught by Kerry Veach. Kenneth Veach, 79, weighed in a 14.4-pound grouper for first place in the Senior Division.

One of the last to go on the scales was a 15-pound dolphin caught by Richard Vogel aboard the First Light with Capt. Steve Haeusler. His catch is holding second place in the Offshore Division.

Fishing is good and just seems to get better each day in the Destin Fishing Rodeo. Don’t forget the scales are open daily throughout October from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. on the docks behind AJ’s Seafood and Oyster Bar.

See you on the docks.