Did you know that Destin, Florida's harbor is home to the largest fleet of charter boats in the entire state? There's a reason for that! Destin has some of the most accessible deep sea fishing in the Gulf!
Within miles of the shore, anglers find themselves in water that is anything but shallow. (And anything but sparse!). For these reasons, there are hundreds of charters to choose from.
Are you considering deep sea fishing in Destin? Then get ready for an abundance of fun - and fish. As the World's Luckiest Fishing Village, the water is teeming with marine life.
If you want to make your weekend truly count, you've got to do a little prep on your part. By the end, the anticipation will be palpable.
Ready to dive in deep? Let's do it!
1. How to Plan the Best Destin Fishing Charter
Charters aren't exactly cheap, but for good reason. There's the preparation, the hours of fishing, the cleaning afterward. Not including all the behind-the-scenes action that the captain and crew do.
It's important you find an offshore charter that's worth every dollar you spend. How do you do this? A little bit of research and a dash of curiosity should do the trick.
You'll want to find an experienced crew that has run their fair share of charters. This information is usually noted right on a charter's website or homepage. For example, Boggy Bayou Guide Service has:
- Run over 1,000 charters
- Caught over 20,000 fish
- Spent over 20,000 hours on the water
Taking a trip with an unseasoned charter could leave you hundreds of dollars in the hole, in potential danger, and empty-handed! In other words, the opposite of what you're expecting to experience.
Be sure to check out your potential charter's reviews online. You want to choose a charter service that truly cares about their clients! After all, you'll be making memories together!
Once you've chosen the perfect charter, ask yourself (and your group) what you're looking for. Here's a great list of questions to help aid in your decision:
- How long do you want your trip to be?
- What type of fish do you want to catch?
- What type of fishing would you prefer to do?
Charter trips can run anywhere from a few hours to all day! The longer the trip, the greater the flexibility. But, if you have a young family or novice fishers in your group, you may prefer the shorter option.
The length of your trip will also determine how you fish and what type of fish you will catch. Many charters offer both inshore and offshore excursions. Each one will provide a different experience.
2. What Do You Need to Bring on Destin Fishing Trips?
Besides a sense of adventure and determination? - not much else! It's actually very easy to prep for a fishing trip, especially when you're hiring a charter. Most charters will handle the big stuff!
Here's a general list of what to bring on your adventure:
- Sea-sickness medication, if you're worried about sickness or are prone to it
- Plenty of water, as well as some snacks or lunch
- An ice chest to take home any fish you're keeping
- Your fishing license (if you don't have one already, they're easy and quick to get!)
- Cash, for tipping your captain, buying live bait, buying souvenirs, etc.
- A fish bag, sometimes called a gunny sack, for storing your catches
- An extra set of clothes (essential for inclement weather, getting wet, a chilly breeze)
- Towels - both large and small
- A camera
- A waterproof bag to keep your valuables and phone in
Of course, make adjustments as you see fit! Your list will depend on who is in your group, the season of your trip, and so on.
3. Wear This, Not That
You're going on a deep sea fishing trip! It's nice and sunny outside. So you should wear shorts, a tank top, and flip flops, right?
The land heats up much faster than the sea. So, while you may be warm inland, the temperature is sure to drop once you venture out on the water.
In Florida, we're blessed with warm temperatures. But it's still important to prepare for that unpredictable weather. A sudden rainfall could leave you regretting leaving that sweater in your trunk!
Flip flops are unsafe for many reasons. First, for the protection of your feet. You've got hooks, rods, and people all over the place. If you can keep them covered with a pair of no-slip boat shoes, that's best.
Second, they're slippery. If you do want to wear sandals, make sure they are non-slip. But boat shoes, deck boots, and rain boots are best for the boat.
And as we covered in tip 2, extra clothing is essential. Once your clothes are wet, there's no getting them dry. Come prepared for anything!
4. What Fish Do You Hope to Catch?
In Destin, there's no lack of fish species for your catching pleasure. Even better news than that? Over twenty of those species are delicious and edible (Red Snapper, yum!).
Destin's waterways are home to creatures large and small. Different fishing trips offer different varieties. Shallow waters are home to various species that the deep may not offer and vice-versa.
So, what fish can you expect to catch on an inshore fishing trip?
- Speckled Trout
- King and Spanish Mackerel
- Black Drum
There's even the possibility to hook a shark on inshore fishing trips!
Offshore, deep sea trips target different species, such as:
- Red and Black Snapper
This list is anything but all-inclusive! And remember, shark fishing charters are also an option included in offshore trips.
When booking a charter, let your captain know the species of fish you hope to catch. This will help him determine how long you should be on the water, and where you should go.
It will also help him know what type of fishing to do. For example, bottom fishing and trolling target different species.
Let your captain know your preferences, and you should be good to go! After all, charters are all about catering to the wishes of the clients. That's one of the many benefits of taking one.
5. Let's Tackle the Subject of Tackle
Speaking of benefits! Many charters also provide the necessary tackle for your fishing excursion. This means you can show up and catch stuff without having to worry about lugging around a ton of equipment.
For example, Boggy Bayou Fishing Charters provides bait, fishing licenses, ice, and fish bags. They also provide the tackle you'll need to catch your fish. This includes rod, reel, line, leader, hooks.
And of course, the boat that takes you where you need to be (while also accommodating up to six people!).
You don't have to think too hard about the tackle - unless you want to! An experienced angler is more than welcome to bring their own tackle. If you already own a prized rig, bring it along.
What's some good starting gear when fishing in Destin?
Having a rod and reel that rates for 20-40 pounds, as well as braided or monofilament line rated for 25-30 pounds, is a great place to start. If you're aiming for only the big guys - such as sharks - you can move up from there.
Braided and mono line is great for catching most of the species out there in Destin's waterways. But some fish, such as snapper, are a little more skeptical of line.
Depending on your species, you may want to consider a fluorocarbon leader. This attaches to the end of your line. Fluorocarbon is almost invisible underwater, making those wary species more likely to bite.
And of course, you'll also need hooks.
Are you opting to catch your own bait? Then you'll need a supply of bait hooks. If not, circle hooks should do the trick for the bigger species you'll target.
Are you shark fishing? Your captain will bring along items such as de-hookers and/or release sticks. This allows you to remove hooks from a shark's mouth from a safe distance.
6. Bait: To Catch or to Buy?
We mentioned, you or the captain bringing bait hooks or bait rigs. This is in the situation where you may hope to catch your own bait.
This is a fun experience, but it will take extra time. If you're hoping to catch your own, opt for a longer charter duration. This way, you can use the bait you just spent time catching!
Plan for at least an extra hour if you're want to catch your own. Depending on the success, it may take more or less time.
Live bait is a great way to catch most of the fish off the shore of Destin. It makes sense that your big game fish would prefer the sight and smell of a live guy! Dead bait is effective, but much less so than live.
If you want to skip this part, you can buy live bait at most (if not, all) charters. $20 worth of bait should last for at least a four-hour fishing trip. Buying live bait is the "best and fastest way to get out to the fishing ground," guaranteed! Boggy Bayou offers a great selection of live bait for your convenience.
Of course, if you're planning to do a ten-hour day, then spending an hour catching bait fish is no biggie!
7. Enjoy Even More of Destin
As long as you're in Destin for a fishing trip, you may as well enjoy the rest - and best - of what the city has to offer.
Check out our article on top (FUN) things to do in Destin, or just keep reading!
Being located in the Florida panhandle means you're surrounded by fun outdoor activities. There are 24 miles of beach with thirteen different access points. Henderson Beach State Park is a great place to settle for the day with a group of family and friends.
Got a golfer in your crew? Then they'll be at no loss for golf courses. Destin is home to many, including the Regatta Bay Golf Course, Indian Bayou Golf Club, and much more.
If you've got shoppers in your group, they'll need to allow a few hours to shop in the Destin Commons. It has at least 90 different shops and restaurants, making it the "Best Place to Shop."
Depending on when you're visiting, you may be able to enjoy the historical Ascension Day. This is the day when pastors come together to bless those that make a living on the water. They pray for safe passage and bountiful catches.
Ascension Day, also known as the Blessing of the Fleet, is a tradition dating back to May of 1957. This free event has brought together locals and tourists for over sixty years! It's safe to say that the annual event has helped the Destin community weather many storms.
Regardless of the variety of interests in your group, Destin can satisfy them all. Young and old, male and female, residents or tourists - Destin has you covered!
Are You Fishing for a Good Time?
Then it's time to see what these acclaimed Destin fishing trips have to offer!
Charter fishing tours are a stress-free, fun-filled way to enjoy a great weekend (or longer) on the Florida water. The Gulf is home to many species of fish that are swimming in wait, ready to get challenged and hooked by you.
And don't forget, you can "hook and cook" your catch! Take it to a local restaurant to get prepared for you the same evening.
Talk about fresh fish! Are you hungry yet?
One last bonus tip to help you truly enjoy your adventure? Get a good night's sleep before you get out on the water. The better rested you are, the better your results will be.
For the best fishing charter in Destin, Florida, give us a call and get your charter booked! We're ready to take you and your family out on the water -- a place we know and love!