Rodeo record: Tournament hits highest fish count in its 65 year history

Kaleb Blackburn was just one of many Destin youth that went fishing on the No Alibi Monday. He weighed in a 3.2-pound mingo for a free rod and reel and certificate.

Not only are the number of fish entries off the chart, but the size of some of the fish hitting the docks at the 65th annual Destin Fishing Rodeo are pretty incredible.

When the scales closed Monday evening, the last fish hoisted up was a 25.8-pound wahoo caught by Jared Gamache, fish entry No. 1,270, of Wisconsin aboard the Al-Lin with Capt. Harold Staples.

On Sunday, the Rodeo shattered the 2008 record of 1,182 fish entries when a king mackerel was brought to the docks marking 1,183 catch written up thus far.

I'm thinking when it's all said and done on Oct. 31 the Rodeo will have recorded more than 1,500 fish.


To find out what's biting each day of the Rodeo, check out the Rodeo Rap, sponsored by Aj's Seafood & Oyster Bar. Click here to see what's biting.


Anyhow, some of the big fish hitting the docks lately include a 93-pound amberjack caught by Destin's C. Douglas Anderson aboard the Only Way last Friday, as well as a 52.2-pound grouper pulled in by John Ellisonn of Georgia aboard the Al-Lin with Capt. Staples.

Sunday was a bit slow, but things picked up Monday with 48 fish being recorded.

One of the biggest of the day was brought in by a kid. Reece Nixon, 10, reeled in a 44-pound amberjack while fishing aboard the Vengeance with Capt. Jason Hallmark. Nixon's catch is tops in the Junior Angler Division.

A few minutes after the Vengeance pulled out, the Phoenix backed in with a couple of nice catches by lady anglers. Majorie Fulcher of Kentucky got on the big board with a 24.4-pound blackfin tuna. She is now in second place. The other catch was a 19-pound king mackerel caught by Emily Phail. The mackerel was on the daily board for a little while.

Kevin Price aboard his boat Sea Level weighed in a 9.8-pound black snapper for first place spot in the 25-and-Under Private Boat Division.

The Salty Fish pulled in with a couple of grouper that took first and second place in the 25-and-Under Charter Boat Division. Enorian Rac weighed in a 14.6-pounder for second place, then Claudiu Rac weighed in a 20.8-pounder for first. Both guys were excited to be on the board.

Another small charter boat came in with a fish for the big board. Dwayne Hofstetter of Navarre weighed in a 12-pound bonito he caught on the One Shot with Capt. Adam Peeples.

The No Alibi came in with a bunch of junior anglers who were out of school for the day. They weighed in everything from mingo, amberjack to cobia.

The last two boats to weigh in fish Monday were the party boat Sweet Jody, then the Al-Lin with their wahoo. Capt. Cliff Cox and his group on the Sweet Jody had a couple of fish good for dailies, a 9.8-pound almaco jack and a 6.2-scamp.

The boats and the fish just keep coming — so don't you stop coming to the Rodeo. The scales are open daily from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. through Oct. 31 on the docks behind AJ's Seafood and Oyster Bar.

See you on the docks.