FISH FLASH: Small boats have big day at Rodeo

Tina Harbuck

It was smooth sailing on the Gulf of Mexico Monday, making it a great day for Rodeo fishing.

As a matter of fact, boat captain after boat captain said it was “slick calm” on the gulf Monday. And with calm seas came a lot of fish and a lot of movement on the leaderboard of the 71st Destin Fishing Rodeo.

Twenty-three fish made it on to the overall leaderboard, with 13 of those caught aboard a 25-foot and under boat. But that’s not to take away from the big boats that brought in some whoppers as well.

Around 3:30 p.m., the Huntress with Capt. Mike Graef backed in with a 23.6-pound blackfin tuna caught by Susan Dohner of Destin. Her catch is in first place in the Ladies Division.

Capt. Alex Hare on the Silver King backed in next with a couple of fish for the board. Hannah Myers weighed in a 5.4-pound Almaco Jack for first in the 25-foot-and-under Charter Boat Division. Brad Myers weighed in a 4.2 pound Almaco for second. Hannah also weighed in a 2.4-pound mingo for second place on the board.

Capt. Josh Glidden on the Just Reel came in with an 8.6-pound grouper caught by Eric Wood for a first place spot in the 25-foot-and-under Charter Boat Division.

Local angler William Sexton came in with a 33.8-pound king mackerel caught aboard his dad’s boat, the SS Mullett. His king took first in the Private Boat Division.

Capt. Kevin Price of the Cheshire took his mom out fishing on Monday. She pulled in a 2-pound scamp for first in the 25-foot-and-under Charter Boat Division.

Capt. Scotty Whitehurst of On the Bite backed in with a couple of leaderboard fish. James Vogt weighed in a 37.6-pound amberjack for first and Dave Bromley weighed in a 37-pound amberjack for second. Both are in the 25-foot-and-under Charter Boat category.

A little after 5 p.m., the Sea Bandit, a private boat, backed in with some good fish. They had a 61.4-pound amberjack and an 89.6-pound amberjack. The biggest one was caught by 67-year-old Mike Mannel of Kentucky for a first place in the Senior Division. Plus he’s second place in the AJ’s Bonus Award.

Up next, Capt. Josh Calhoon on Destin Inshore Guides came in with an 8.8-pound grouper caught by Jacob Castle for a first place spot on the board.

Not long after, the Muscle Memories crew came in with a couple of nice fish. They weighed in the Rodeo’s first yellowfin tuna, an 87 pounder caught by Derrick Dover. They also weighed in a 23-pound blackfin tuna for second in the 25-foot-and-under Private Boat Division.

Several other boats weighed in for dailies, but then the Sweet Jody crew walked up with a tub of fish to weigh. Capt. Cliff Cox said Monday was probably the best day of the whole month.

Anyhow, Howard Hicks weighed in a 11.6-pound scamp and Lynn Hicks a 11 pounder for first and second in the Party Boat Division.

Capt. John Tenore came in just before 7 p.m. with a 39-pound king mackerel on the Dawn Patrol. Martin Manley of Miramar Beach was the angler that took over first place in the 25-foot-and-under Charter Boat Division.

Warren Galloway got on the board with a 23.2-pound Almaco Jack caught aboard the Full Draw with Capt. Brantley Galloway. His catch moved in to second place on the leaderboard.

Capt. Darryl Carpenter on the Last Chance came in with an amberjack to weigh. After putting it on the scales and realizing it wasn’t big enough to go anywhere on the board, the unthinkable happened. Somehow in the transfer of the fish back to the boat, it went in the water.

At that point, Rodeo photographer Jake Brashears jumped into action.

“I saw the bubbles ... so I knew where it went down,” Brashears said.

With a flashlight in one hand and a long gaff in the other, Brashears stretched out across the barge on his stomach to try and gaff the amberjack.

After about five minutes or so, he was able to get the gaff in the amberjack’s stomach cavity and get it to the top.

Not done yet, the Bow’d Up with Capt. Brady Bowman backed in with a couple of big king mackerel. Brandon Deeb weighed in a 37.6 pounder to top the leaderboard in the Charter Boat Division.

Folks the Rodeo is winding down, with Oct. 31 just a day away. The last day is always a fun day with costumes and big catches.

See you at the scales.