FISH FLASH: Everybody is getting in on the Rodeo action

Tina Harbuck
tharbuck@thedestinlog.com

It might not have been the biggest catch of the day, but it was the largest of its kind.

Janis Cannon, a seasoned angler from Atlanta, Ga., reeled in a 5.2-pound mingo Thursday for a top spot on the leader board in the 67th annual Destin Fishing Rodeo.

Fishing aboard the Sunrise with Capt. Kelly Windes, Cannon also pulled in a 16-pound Almaco Jack for a spot on the daily board.

Her fish was just one of many that have found a place on the leader board in the last few days as the seas have calmed down and the fishermen have been getting after it.

On Wednesday, Jared Hesson of Tennessee came in on the Huntress with Capt. Mike Graef with a 26-pound Almaco Jack for a first-place spot on the board in the Charter Boat Division.

Although this wasn’t his first Gulf fishing trip, it was his first time to enter in the Rodeo.

And his fish put up quite the fight.

“I thought it was wrapped around the prop,” he said, noting it was pulling hard.

Not long after, the Sea Bandit backed in with a 5.2-pound black snapper caught by Craig Jones of Destin for a second place spot in the Private Boat Division.

About 6 o’clock, Capt. Scott Whitehurst and his group of guys aboard On the Bite came in with two or three fish that found a spot on the board. Rick Pope landed a 14.4-pound red grouper for a first place spot in the 25-and-under Charter Boat Division. Todd Wolf reeled in a 10.4-pound black snapper and a 2.2-pound scamp, both for top spots on the board.

Capt. Robert Hill and his crew on the Twilight came in from an extended trip with several fish that made it onto the leader board. Kathlene Hutchison weighed in a 23.8-pound grouper for first, and Jimmy Hutchison, a 22.4-pounder for second. Pat Lanni had a 14.2-pound scamp for first and Jimmy Hutchison, a 13.8-pound scamp for second. They also pulled in a couple of yellowfin tuna. Kerby Williams of Destin landed a 109.4-pound tuna for first, and Mike Sheff of Valparaiso placed second with a 76.6-pounder.

Thursday was also a good day on the Gulf with several catches coming in at the Rodeo.

The party boat New Florida Girl’s American Spirit with Capt. Jim Green at the helm came in with a leader board catch. Marlin Perry, who fishes the Rodeo every year, reeled in a 10.4-pound black snapper for a second place spot on the board.

Dustin Service of Navarre came walking up a little before 4 p.m. with a fish bag. He then dumped out a big king mackerel he caught aboard his kayak, Caddy Yak. His mackerel weighed in at 19.6-pound and took over first in the Kayak Division. He said it took him about 15 minutes to land the mackerel in the boat.

The junior anglers got in on the action as well. Kamron Hardesty, 9, of Kentucky pulled in a 26.6-pound king mackerel while fishing with Capt. Kyle Lowe on the Special K. His catch landed in second place in the Junior Division.

The party boat Swoop came in with an 18.4-pound grouper caught by Steve Morris of Tennessee for a second place spot on the board. Hayden Hill also reeled in a 4.2-pound mingo for a second place spot.

Around 6 o’clock the Mother Dog with Capt. Ken Creel came in with a couple of fish caught by senior angler Keith Rehder of Destin for top spots on the board. He landed a 22.8-pound grouper and a 23-pound king to get on the board.

About four more boats came in before the day was finished.

The Rodeo is seeing a lot of different species of fish come in and on all sizes of boats — from kayaks to the big party boats and everything in between — caught by youngsters to seniors.

The scales are open daily from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. on the docks behind AJ’s Seafood and Oyster Bar throughout October.

See you at the docks.