Rodeo fishing is off and reeling

Tina Harbuck | 315-4466 | @DestinLogTina |

Not once or even a couple of hundred times, but 287 times weighmaster Bruce Cheves called “time is” in the first three days of the 68th annual Destin Fishing Rodeo.

And as Cheves likes to tell the anglers when they bring up their fish, if you hear “time is” that means something good is about to happen.

The words “time is” signifies that the fish entry has made the leader board and the angler is in the running for a possible daily prize or an even bigger prize worth hundreds of dollars.

Monday, day three of the rodeo, saw 63 fish go up on the leader board, which is a great way to start the week.

And out of those 63 several took over first place spots on the leader board. Capt. Kent Hardin on the What Doin?, who is a rodeo regular, brought in a 5.6-pound black snapper for a first in the private boat category. Mayme Lunsford of Niceville was the angler who pulled in the fish. They also had a 4.2-pound black snapper, caught by Steve Harbin of Panama City Beach for second place.

About 5:20 p.m., Capt. Dean Cox on the Seahorse backed in with a 14.2-pound red grouper caught by Scott Hodson of Gulf Breeze for a first place spot, at least for a little while. Local angler Cindy Jones reeled in a 12-pound Almaco Jack for a second place spot on the board.

Right behind them was the Phoenix with Capt. Scott Robson who likes to go after those king mackerel. Anita Hughes of Texas took over second place in the ladies division with a 26.6-pound king mackerel and Chris Ferrell of Georgia pulled in a 32.6-pound to take over first place in the charter boat category.

Ferrell said it took him about 20 minutes to reel in the big king. “It stayed down for a while,” he said, before he could get it up to the boat.

Next up was the Capt. Allen Staples on the 100 Proof with three first place entries. An excited Sherry Taylor pulled in an 11.6-pound yellowedge grouper and a 3.6-pound mingo, while Snooky Taylor reeled in a 19.4-pound Almaco Jack for a first place spot.

“I thought I was going to be sick,” said Sherry, noting this was her first ever deep sea fishing trip. “But I loved it.”

About 6:15 p.m. the Huntress with Capt. Mike Graef at the helm came in with a 29.2-pound barracuda for a first place spot on the board. Bill Stach of Franklin, Tennessee, reeled in the sharp-tooth fish.

Eric Russell of Wisconsin pulled in a 24-pound cobia while fishing with Capt. Brady Bowman on the Bow’d Up for a first place spot. Berry Sanders weighed in a 4.6-pound black snapper for a first in the charter division.

About 6:30 p.m., Capt. Gary Jarvis and his group of Georgia anglers on the Backdown 2 brought in several first place fish. Seventy-year-old Charles Furr found a first place spot in the senior division with an 18.8-pound red grouper. Heath Furr pulled in an 18-pound red grouper for a first in the charter division, and Lennie Furr reeled in a 4.6-pound mingo for a first.

It was a red grouper kind of day at the rodeo. The Destin Princess with Capt. Reid Phillips came in with an 11.2 pounder caught by 12-year-old Brandon Cummins for a first in the junior division.

With the clock at 7 p.m., there were still boats waiting in line to weigh.

Tim Morgan of Alabama, who was fishing aboard the Destination with Capt. Stan Phillips, weighed in a 55.6-pound wahoo for a first in the charter boat division.

“It was our first fish of the day,” Capt. Phillips said, noting they were only about 7 miles out of Destin when they hooked the wahoo.

At 7:30, the Lady Em with Capt. Mike Eller and his group got on the board. Yubeiiri Bacon weighed in a 31-pound wahoo for second in the ladies division, while local angler David Boudreaux found a first place spot with a 5.6-pound bearded brotula.

"Time is" was called on the last fish of the day at 7:38 p.m. and was a 1.6-pound black snapper caught by Jeff King on the After Bite. His catch put him in second place in the under-25 private boat category.

Folks, the rodeo is just getting started and there are sure to be a lot more “time is” called in the next 26 days.

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.