As a kid growing up in Fort Walton Beach, fishing was life. It still is, even though I now live on the other side of the country. My dad used to take us to the weigh-ins to see all the fish being brought in. I would look at the boat captains like they were super heroes. My childhood best friend, Brady Bowman and I spent every waking moment building fishing rods and exploring every square inch of water within bike riding distance. Sometimes we would sneak his dad’s ski boat out and take it into the gulf to go fish for Kings. One of our highlights was Brady catching a huge sailfish in the pass one day as we were coming in. Brady stayed in the area and is now one of the most respected captains in Destin. I moved away to pursue my dream of being a photographer.
This project is close to my heart. Corey Cooper came up with the idea of shooting the history of the Destin Fishing Rodeo and I jumped at it along with my good friend Shane Reynolds. It kind of took on a life of it’s own as we navigated through all the people that made the rodeo and Destin what it is today. Here are some of my favorite photos from this year’s rodeo.
Thank you to all the amazing people who helped make this project so special.
The sailfish we caught on Brady's dad's ski boat. I believe we were fifteen when this was taken.
Ground Zero.... Looking back at Aj's from Noriega Point at 4 a.m.
The bar is emptying out as the Rodeo folks walk down the hill with coolers and dreams of a killer day on the water.
Clockwise from top- Kathy Marler Blue (Historian at the Destin Fishing Museum) Tommy Browning (local fishing legend) Bruce Cheves (Weigh Master) Amber Hill (1996 Miss Destin)
My boy Harley Van Hyning making some fish rubbings (Gyotaku) on the docks as the boats come in.