What Doin? is doing it up big

Tina Harbuck | 315-4466 | @DestinLogTina | tharbuck@thedestinlog.com

Not once, twice but four times this month, Capt. Kent Hardin of the What Doin? has placed at the top of the Big Mac Classic Daily Awards in the 68th annual Destin Fishing Rodeo.

And on Wednesday, he and his buddy George T. Edwards, hauled in a 42.4-pound king mackerel to take over the overall top spot. His king knocked off Mike Raim’s 42-pounder caught on Day 2 of the rodeo.

Hardin likes to mackerel fish during the rodeo. And when he catches a big one, in Hardin fashion, he likes to lift it high above his head and walk around the rodeo barge with it to show it off.

But in order to get your walk of fame in the Big Mac Daily, boats have to buy in, $100, for the entire month. The Big Mac is a daily award, and pays a $100 a day for the largest king mackerel of the day. Plus at the end of the rodeo, the remainder of the pot will be split 25 percent to the angler in the pot with the largest king mackerel and 75 percent will go to Ronald McDonald House Charities.

Thus far, Capt. Hardin on the What Doin? has won it four times this month with a 38-pounder, 18, 11 and his fourth a 42.4 pounder.

Capt. Brady Bowman of the Bow’d Up has won it three times with a 30.2-pounder, 27.6 and 31.6.

Capt. Scott Whitehurst aboard On The Bite has won it a couple of times with a 24.4-pounder and then Thursday with a 28.6-pounder.

The Barracuda with Capt. Jason Steele at the helm, Capt. Judah Barbee of the Stelluna, and Capt. William Sexton on the SS Mullett have each won it a couple of times.

As you see, it doesn’t always take a huge mackerel to win it. It just has to be the biggest of the day, and you have to be entered to win it. And there is still time to get in the pot, with a week left to fish in the rodeo.

However, king mackerel is not the only fish taking the spotlight at the scales the last few days.

On Thursday, some huge fish hit the docks for some shakeups on the overall leaderboard.

Capt. Tony Davis on the Anastasia came in with a pair of huge grouper.

Ronnie Russell of Niceville weighed in a 50-pounder which got on the daily board for a few minutes. At least until the next one was drug up to the scales.

Ray Hopkins of Destin weighed in a 58-pounder for the daily and second place on the overall board.

“It was like pulling up a bus,” Hopkins said.

“We didn’t realize how big it was until we got it in,” he said, noting it took about 20 minutes to reel it in.

His catch is second to a 59.2-pound grouper hauled in by Charles Ingraham of Indiana on Wednesday. He was fishing aboard the Special K with Capt. Kyle Lowe.

Tony Fabian of Mary Esther, who was also on the Anastasia, got on the overall board with a 9.2-pound black snapper for second place.

Capt. John Tenore of the Dawn Patrol and his angler Mike Zabelski of Fort Walton Beach brought in a 36.4-pound king mackerel for a second place on the overall board in the 25-and-under charter boat division.

Earlier in the week, Capt. Tenore and his angler Matt Johnson of Fort Walton Beach pulled in a 56.4-pound wahoo for a first place spot on the board. Captain said the wahoo made a couple of big runs on them before they were able to get it to the boat. And right as they were getting ready to put a gaff in the fish, a bull shark came up and snapped the tail of the wahoo. But it was still a good fish.

On Thursday, junior angler Blake Garland of Shalimar weighed in a 66.6-pound wahoo for first in the junior division of the rodeo.

One thing about rodeo fishing, things are always changing on the leaderboard. And if you want to get an up-close and personal look at the catches, 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 on the docks.