Everything You Need to Know About Deep Sea Fishing in Destin, Florida
Do you live in the sunny city of Destin, Florida? Or are you planning to visit the World’s Luckiest Fishing Village any time soon?
The town has been famous for its fishing since before it was so named in October of 1956.
Destin is home to renowned fishing locations, some of which cover the depths of the sea. With some of the most accessible deep water in the Gulf, it’s a prime location for fishing charters. Its harbor has the largest fleet of charter boats in the state of Florida!
With over a hundred charter options, residents and tourists won’t be at a loss for deep sea fishing.
Planning your first, or next, excursion? Here’s everything you need to know about this exciting sport.
A Brief History of Deep Sea Fishing
A discovery within the last decade has proved the human affinity with deep sea fishing.
In an Australian cave, researchers found 42,000-year-old tuna and shark bones. These got brought there by human hand after first being fished from the deep sea. How did they know these fish came from the deep sea?
Both tuna and shark are fast-swimming species that live in the deep. Fishermen would have had to pass shallow waters before finding these types of big game fish.
Scientists believe that these maritime skills contributed to the colonization of many lands. The ability to navigate the sea in such a way allowed them to settle in many different territories. This included islands and shores.
In time, one of the colonies to flourish was Destin, Florida. A Connecticut resident, Leonard Destin, once capsized near The Keys on a business trip to Key West. As he made his way back up, he settled in the Florida panhandle near an area called East Pass.
By the late 1870s, he had built a thriving fishing community, rife with red snapper and more. Now it’s proud to boast the title of “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village.”
What to Expect on a Charter Boat Trip in Destin, FL
Charter trips are great for those who can’t, or don’t want to, buy the things needed to make for a smooth operation.
All you need is a sense of adventure and determination – and a positive attitude doesn’t hurt! (Make friends with your captain and crew!) Most trips will come with all the necessary equipment required for a great time.
What should you bring on a trip? We recommend the following:
- Any snacks, meals, and drinks you’d like (don’t forget lots of water!)
- Sunscreen! The Florida sun is brutal
- Sunglasses, hats, and any outerwear such as jackets or rain gear. (FL weather can be unpredictable)
- A spare pair of dry clothes, because you never know
- Some brews, if you’d like. Most charters will not permit hard liquor
- Service dogs, if necessary
It’s as easy as that!
The charter will supply the necessities for a great trip, such as bait and a reliable GPS. Here’s what you can expect from your crew:
- A fishing license
- Dead bait (with the option to buy live bait)
- Fish bags
- Fishing tackle, such as hooks, lines, rods, lures, etc.
- A boat ready to hold the crew, your group up to 6, and any fish you catch!
Depending on the location of your charter site, many will offer the option to “hook and cook” for an extra charge. This allows the opportunity to take the fish you caught to a local restaurant where it can get prepared for you!
Another great thing about charter trips?
Your ability to customize them to you and your group’s wishes. Many charter trips offer a variety of timing options. Boggy Bayou’s trips can last anywhere from 4-10 hours!
Most charters will offer different types of fishing, too. We’ll cover those next.
Bottom Fishing vs. Trolling
On a shorter trip, such as 4-5 hours, your fishing will be limited to one type of fishing. This is either bottom fishing or trolling. While this is still a fun option, you get a little less variety of fish and location.
Longer trips, 6-10 hours, allow you to change spots and catch different things.
Bottom fishing is what it sounds like! A lead weight helps lower the bait and hook to the sea floor. Your captain angles the boat so the current moves the bait in an appetizing way, attracting the big guys.
Bottom fishing usually involves hanging out in one designated area. This is a great way to catch fish that hang by reefs, wrecks, and the seafloor.
Don’t underestimate what you can find on the bottom. There are a bunch of tasty bottom dwellers!
Trolling involves slow movement by the boat while lines move through the water behind it. Fishing lines can be cast from the back of the boat or with outriggers off to the sides (or both). The boat’s movement gives the illusion that your bait or lure is swimming, attracting nearby fish.
Trolling targets fast-paced predator fish. Because the lines are moving, it attracts those speedy guys looking for prey. This means that careful thought must go into the depth of the bait and lure.
Trolling involves a little more calculation. When trolling, it’s good to consider the following:
- The speed of the boat. Different speeds attract different kinds of fish
- The depth of the lures. Fish don’t like to swim too far up or down to get your bait
- Movement of your lure or bait
- Movement of the boat
- Placement of the poles
All these factors will vary based on conditions of the water, type of fish, fishing area, and so on.
What Kind of Fish Can You Expect to Catch?
Let’s talk the fun stuff! (Wait – we already were!) Okay, let’s continue talking fun stuff.
What kind of fish can you expect to catch when deep sea fishing in Destin, Florida?
As we’ve mentioned, the amount and variety of fish will depend on your location and timing. The longer the trip, the bigger the fish haul. The more locations you charter, the more variety of species!
Our offshore trips target a huge diversity. You can expect to catch any of the following:
- King and Spanish Mackerels
- Red Snapper (like our buddy Leonard Destin used to catch!)
- Black Snapper
- Mingo Snapper
- Blackfin Tuna
- Sail Fish
And more! Check out our fishing gallery for photos of the many different species we have caught.
One of our favorite ways to top off the day is with a nice challenge. An exciting way to finish off a long trip is with a big pull from a shark. This is only one of many reasons to consider a longer excursion.
Of course, this is all based on your preference. Trolling will catch different species than bottom fishing.
One of the questions we hear the most is, “Are the fish any good to eat?”
The answer is, “Most definitely!”
There are over twenty species of edible fish in our waterways. Many of the fish caught on our offshore trips are “very tasty and are delicious grilled or fried.” (And blackened, of course.)
Many charters will offer to filet, clean, or cut your fish for you. If you wish to have a separate bag for the fish you want to eat, let your captain and crew know. You can then take your bag to a local restaurant and have it prepared for you that evening.
Doesn’t get much fresher than that!
What You Can Expect from a Quality Charter
Make sure to do thorough research before making your decision to book. A fishing charter can take a wrong turn (in both ways) if you go with an inexperienced crew.
Find a charter that has a solid amount of trips under their belt. As an example, Boggy Bayou’s resume boasts:
- 1,000+ trips
- 20,000 fish caught, and
- 20,000 hours on the water
The deep sea can be scary if your crew doesn’t know what they’re doing. Wherever you go, make sure the captain has navigated the waters before. You want an expert, not a novice, to lead this adventure.
Fishing: A Reel Good Time!
The statistics say it all. Recreational fishing is one of the most popular outdoor sports in the United States. Last year, over 49 million Americans participated in some type of fishing.
Think fishing is a sport enjoyed only by people like your dad? Think again. More than 60% of participants are under 45 years old!
Are you ready for your next big adventure? Do you think deep sea fishing is the thing for you? Then check out our fishing rates and get to booking! We’re proud to accommodate anyone from the novice to the expert.