Lady Em was ‘last man standing’ on Day 25

Tina Harbuck

This week has been a rough one on the water for those fishing in the Destin Fishing Rodeo.

On Monday boat captains were fighting 6- to 8-foot seas. Well, Thursday didn’t appear to be much better.

As a matter of fact, Capt. Mike Eller and his crew on the Lady Em might have been the “last man standing” so to speak on the Gulf Thursday.

“It’s tough conditions,” Eller said while they were still out on the Gulf.

At times he said they encountered “solid 8-foot” waves.

“It was hard for them to stand up and hard to feel the bite. But they hung in there. They were troopers,” Eller said of his group of fishermen. “This was full contact fishing. They got them the hard way … they earned it.”

Eller and his crew weighed in a couple of fish that got on the daily board.

Andres Gil of Atlanta weighed in a 2.2-pound mingo and a 38-pound amberjack for spots on the daily leaderboard.

The daily board was looking pretty empty on Thursday.

The only other fish weighed in Thursday was a 2.6-pound redfish caught aboard the Destin Inshore Guides with Capt. Josh Calhoon.

Wednesday was pretty rough as well, but more boats ventured out and brought in some big catches. Some of them even made it on to the big leaderboard.

Michael Risko of Tennessee reeled in an 8.6-pound scamp for a second place spot in the Party Boat Division. He was fishing aboard the Sweet Jody with Capt. Cliff Cox.

Dave Brooks of Crestview on the Ms. Donna pulled in a 6.8-pound redfish for a spot in the Kayak Division.

The biggest fish of the day was a 71.6-pound amberjack caught aboard the Twilight with Capt. Robert Hill. Maura Fortune of Bloomfield, Indiana, was the angler who hauled in the big ’jack. Her catch put her in first place in the Ladies Division.

The Twilight, which backed in from a 12-hour trip, also got on the daily board with a 9.4-pound scamp.

The Bow’d Up with Capt. Brady Bowman also came in at the Rodeo scales in the last hour with some fish that found a spot on the daily board.

Ken Clark of Andalusia, Alabama, who was aboard the Bow’d Up, weighed in a 13-pound king mackerel for the largest of the day on a 25-foot and over boat.

Brian Sheridan of New Jersey, also on the Bow’d Up, weighed in a 35.6-pound grouper and Wade McKenzie of Fleming Isle got on the board with a 25-pound wahoo. John Hannel of Indiana weighed in a 9.2-pound red grouper.

Earlier in the day, a few of the smaller boats came in with some dailies as well.

Pay N Dues with Capt. Rob Hacker weighed in a 12.6-pound king and a 5.2-pound grouper for spots on the board.

Capt. Scott Whitehurst of On the Bite and Jonelle Bell of Destin brought in a 3-pound Almaco Jack.

Although it’s been a rough and tough week on the water, maybe the weekend will be better.

Remember the scales at the Destin Fishing Rodeo 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 at the docks.

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The Fishing Report with The Ships Chandler and Tina Harbuck