SAFC Pro Staff - Dan February 18th, 2016
Known as the world’s luckiest fishing village, Destin, Florida is one of the premier fishing destinations around and offers stellar fishing every month of the year. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for inshore action, offshore, bay, trolling or bottom fishing, you’ll have no trouble getting out on the water and into fish.
Lucky for all of us, Destin is known for its fishing – the town started off as a fishing village after all – and when it comes to how, where and what you want to fish for, the options are limitless. Besides the world class fishing, Destin has some of the most beautiful beaches around. They’re known for their white sand and emerald waters and are a huge draw for people from around the country, helping bring in roughly 4.5 million tourists a year.
There’s certainly no shortage of places to stay while you’re in Destin. Take a bit of time to figure out what your needs are—maybe you like hotels, maybe you like the idea of an Airbnb rental, a bed & breakfast, or something from Vacation Rentals by Owner – then book as soon as you’ve got your dates figured out. As mentioned, Destin gets about 4.5 million annual tourists and with numbers like that, there’s going to be a lot of people trying to book your ideal place. You might get lucky with a last minute rental, but why take the risk?
Whichever style of fishing you’d prefer to experience, Destin has you covered. Bay fishing for redfish, sea trout or flounder is a great way to get out and spend a few hours, especially if you like fishing but don’t care much for being too far from shore—if you did manage to land a redfish, sea trout and a flounder, you’ve got inshore grand slam bragging rights. These fish are especially fun on light tackle, making it a great family outing that’ll keep kids hooked.
If you’re looking to really get out there and do some serious fishing, you can bottom fish for red snapper (during June and July only if you’re looking to keep them), grouper or amberjack—these fish are a fantastic fight and can turn even a great fishing trip into one that you’ll remember on your deathbed.
There’s nothing quite like the thrill of hooking into a trophy while you’re trolling. Both inshore and offshore trolling opportunities are numerous here and provide a chance to hook into some beautiful blue marlin, sailfish, mahi mahi and king mackerel. The kind of fish that make you strap yourself into a deck chair to keep yourself from going swimming (or getting the rod ripped out of your hands…).
If there’s a specific fish you’re hoping to land, spend a bit of time studying local bite charts and make sure you book during a time that the fishing is hot. If you pick the wrong time, you’ll still have amazing fishing, but you won’t necessarily hook the fish you’re looking for or be able to use the techniques you wanted to – which is kind of like getting the wrong toy for Christmas, you’ll still play with it…but it’s just not the same.
Depending on how far out you’re fishing in Destin, you’re subject to either state or federal laws, which doesn’t exactly make learning all the rules and regulations easy. Fortunately, there are many readily available and easy to understand “cheat sheets” that you can use to help keep track of what you can keep, when you can keep it and how much you’re allowed to have. State rules apply up to 9 nautical miles from shore in the Gulf of Mexico and, beyond that, you’re in Federal Waters until you’re 200 nautical miles out. If you’re going to fishing state waters, you can find cheat sheets for what you can and can’t keep here, when you cross the line into Federal Water, you’ll want to have a look through this guide here. Your captain should be extremely familiar with these regulations—his job depends on it, after all—but it never hurts to at least familiarize yourself with the fish you plan on targeting. All anglers must have the appropriate license. Your charter should provide this for you, but always ask just in case (see below).
You can charter everything from a four person boat for fishing the bays to huge, 90 foot party boats in Destin, depending on what you’re looking to do. Prices range from around $120 to $200 per hour per boat (usually blocked out in 4, 6, and 8 hour sessions, unless you’re doing a multi-day fishing trip) depending on what kind of fishing experience you’re looking for. These prices usually include bait, gear, ice and licenses, but be sure to ask just in case. Some things may be covered by one charter, but not another. You don’t want to be caught off guard when you suddenly discover something essential to your trip isn’t provided. If you’re wondering exactly what to ask and expect when you book a charter, see our previous post on the topic here.
Most importantly, come expecting to have a good time. Look at it this way, you’re going to be out on the water all day, you’re more than likely going to be catching fish and, even better, there’s a good chance you’ll hook into something that you’ll continue to talk about long after everyone you know has heard the story a dozen times.
© 2015 ShareAFishingCharter All Rights Reserved.