Sunday was one of Rodeo's busiest

Tina Harbuck

It may have been the last Sunday of the Destin Fishing Rodeo, but it was almost like it was the first day.

On Day 1, the Rodeo weighed in 88 fish entries. On Sunday, Day 28, it was an unbelievable day with 66 fish entries being written up, with 60 of those coming between 2 p.m. and close.

But you know what that means. There was a lot of shifting on the leaderboard Sunday.

One of the first big fish to come in Sunday was aboard the Huntress with Capt. Mike Graef. They had some blackfin tuna and such to weigh in, and then they hauled out the yellowfin. Eugene McGowan of New York weighed in a 69.6-pound yellowfin for a first place spot on the leaderboard in the Offshore Division.

The Rodeo has had a few yellowfin weighed in, but in the Extended Voyage Division. This was the first in the Offshore Division.

Not long after, Capt. Nick “Slay Daddy” Price aboard the Swoop II backed in with a huge grouper. Todd Davis of Franklin, Tennessee, weighed in the 35.4-pound grouper for a first place spot on the board in the Party Boat Division.

Dylan Duplechain of Niceville got on the leaderboard in the Billfish Division with a 49.8-pound white marlin caught aboard the Champion Ship with Capt. Matt Champion. This was the second billfish to be entered this year. The first was a 145.2-pound swordfish the Lady Em brought in on Day 4.

The Private Boat Division also saw some big changes Sunday.

The 50/50 came in with two board changers. Don Hearn of Destin weighed in a 10.4-pound scamp for first and Ken Brown of Destin weighed in a 17.4-pound red grouper for first.

Lambert Electric with Capt. Douglas Lambert had two fish to go on the board. Jacob Thibodeaux of Destin weighed in a 45.2-pound king mackerel for first and Robert Barnes of Fort Walton Beach had a 40 pounder for second.

Capt. Darryl Carpenter on the Second Chance came in with two grouper for spots on the board. Lee Trice weighed in a 52.8 pounder for first and Jina Willis a 33 pounder for second.

Around 5:30 p.m. the Anastasia with Capt. Tony Davis backed in with a couple of fish to go on the board. Junior angler Cade Nick weighed in a couple of fish but his biggest was a 57.6-pound amberjack, which his daddy, Trey Nick, had him kiss for the photo.

Capt. Trey Windes of the Outta Line came in from an Extended Voyage with a couple of board changers. Mark Gardner of Niceville weighed in a 15.2-pound red grouper for first, and Dave Miller of Destin weighed in a 75.8 pound amberjack for second place.

Capt. Robert Hill on the Twilight got on the board with a grouper weighed in by his son Easton. His scamp weighed 16.8 pounds and was good for a first place spot in the Charter Boat Division.

Capt. Reid Phillips on the Rewind was next up. They had two or three fish get on the board. Doug Haskell of Michigan weighed in a 5.6-pound Kitty Mitchell for a first in the Deep Drop Division, but his biggest fish was an 81.6-pound amberjack. Haskell’s ’jack is first in the Charter Boat Division and second in the AJ’s Bonus Award.

Up next was the Dawn Patrol with Capt. John Tenore. He and his group of anglers got on the board in a big way in the 25-foot and Under Charter Boat Division. Matt Johnson weighed in a 14.8-pound grouper for second place. Bert Savior weighed in a 17.2-pound grouper first. Savior also had a 13.4-pound Almaco Jack for a second, but his biggest and most impressive catch was a 64.2-pound king mackerel that set a new Rodeo record, knocking off the old 59.8-pound record held by Henry Hinkel in 1977.

At 7:20 there were still four boats in line to weigh in.

Capt. Chip Dibble aboard the Chips Ahoy was one of the last to weigh in fish. They had a first and second place king mackerel in the 25-foot and Under Private Boat Division. Jason Snyder’s 39.8 pounder took first and Dibble came in second with a 19.2 pounder.

This is just a sampling of some of the fish that hit the scales on Sunday.

Don’t forget Wednesday is the last day for the 70th annual Rodeo. Scales will be open from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. on the docks behind AJ’s.

See you at the docks.