Calm seas make for big changes on leaderboard

Janis Cannon of Atlanta pulled in a 20.8-pound red snapper Monday aboard the Sunrise with Capt. Kelly Windes. Her catch was good for a daily. Wishing her well is Miss Destin Caroline Oswalt.

As the seas calm down, the number of fish brought in at the 65th annual Destin Fishing Rodeo is going up.

With the rodeo nearing the half-way mark Monday, 920 fish entries were written up by close of day.

That's a lot of fish entries, but there are a lot of slots on the leaderboard this year, as well as double the number of possible daily categories that anglers can enter their catch.

Monday was a busy day, with a few folks breaking onto the big board.

Ross Hamilton of Fort Walton Beach pulled in an 11.6-pound red grouper aboard the Salty Fish. His catch took over first place in the 25 and Under Charter Boat Division.

Steve Thurman of Missouri on the In-To-Wishin, 25 and Under Charter, caught a 15.4-pound red snapper to take first place. Thurman's catch will stand as first place, because red snapper fishing has come to a close for boats holding a federal permit.

Recreational fishermen have until Oct. 21 to land red snapper in state waters, which is from shore out to nine nautical miles. However, the red snapper division on charter boats is now closed for the rodeo.

The party boat Swoop with Capt. Mark Tilden backed in Monday afternoon with a first place fish. Cindy Yarbrough of Knoxville, Tenn., weighed in a 17.8-pound red snapper. Yarbrough said she's fished out of Destin a half dozen times, but this was the most fun she's ever had. As a matter of fact, she came back by the rodeo about 30 minutes later to see if her catch was still holding. Well it lasted the day, and her snapper will stand as the winner.

The party boat Destin Princess with Capt. Reid Phillips at the helm came in with a 4.4-pound mingo for a first place spot. Deborah Hayes of Mary Esther was the angler who pulled in the fish. The Princess also got on the board in the Offshore Division with a 26.6-pound dolphin caught by rodeo-regular Tom Milliren of Pace.

Capt. Andy Vaughn and crew aboard the Special K came in with some special catches. Robert Bagby Sr. of Destin weighed in a 49-pound grouper for first place in the Senior Division. Bagby also landed a 31.8-pound snowy grouper for a first in the Reef Division.

Nothing stays the same on the leaderboard of the rodeo for long, so come watch the big ones get bumped by the bigger ones.

See you at the docks.