Destin Fishing Charters & Guides

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Charters Near Destin
First Shot Charters
Destin, FL
(4.9, 49 Reviews)
Crystal Beach Charters- Au-Sum
Destin, FL
(5.0, 11 Reviews)
Popular in Destin
Lone Star Fishing Charters
Destin, FL
(5.0, 1 Review)
About Fishing in Destin

Destin Fishing Charters

Destin, FL on the Florida Panhandle offers some of the best fishing experiences you can find in the Sunshine State. Its access to everything from shallow water fishing in a kayak to deep-sea angling for billfish and other pelagic species ensure that a Destin fishing charter can put you on the fish you want. Sitting with the Gulf of Mexico on one side and Choctawhatchee Bay on the other, anglers can find plenty of fishing experiences to keep bringing them back. Charters range from fly fishing the shallows to deep water bottom fishing. No matter what your preferred technique is, you can likely use it to catch fish in Destin. For the family members who don’t fish, Destin offers pristine beaches, excellent shopping and some of the best seafood restaurants you can ever hope to find. Since Destin is right on the water, you can expect the Catch of the Day was probably swimming that morning.

Destin Inshore Fishing

What interests you most? Trying to land a giant redfish on a fly over an oyster bed or heading out into the Gulf to wrestle with a monster grouper over a natural reef or one of the artificial reefs? A Destin fishing charter can tell you what’s biting and put you on those fish. Destin’s mainstays for inshore fish are whiting, reds and speckled (or spotted) trout. These fish spend their entire lives in these waters, moving only to find seasonal prey. If you are after plenty of fillets, think whiting. They are caught in shallows from boats and from the shore. Small hooks tipped with cut bait, shrimp or squid are ideal. Whiting are abundant, which makes them a perfect species to target when you are teaching kids to fish. Reds and trout are aggressive fish responding to just about anything you throw at them. Soft body grub baits and lipless crankbaits like the Mirrolure are the top choices for the rod and reel crowd for reds and trout. Exactly what color works best is going to depend on the fish, the weather and the water. Pack an assortment with speckled greens, yellow body with a red-orange tail and white body with a pink tail being primary choices. Talk with local anglers and bait shops to find out what they are hitting best and stock up. Reds and trout shred soft body lures. Flyfishing for reds is becoming increasingly popular as well. “This fish is looking for a meal, and it will eat just about anything it thinks it can fit in its mouth. I bump up to a 5- to 6-inch mostly synthetic yet very puffy white fly for the big bull reds. I know it works because the guides keep all my leftovers. The fly doesn’t really resemble anything specific, but it catches fish,” says Pat Ford in Sport Fishing Magazine.

Destin Offshore Fishing

The top-year round targets nearshore and offshore are amberjack, jack crevalle and barracuda. The big amberjacks prefer deeper water which means bottom fishing or downrigger trolling. Bottom fishing is best with live bait or monster jigging spoons. Drop both all the way to the sea floor. Jig the spoon up all the way to the surface. The Online Fisherman says amberjack are like reds, they love to eat. Good baits are “blue runner, cigar minnows, mullet, Spanish or scaled sardines, threadfin herrings, pinfish, and countless others. For frozen bait, cigar minnows, mullet, and squid are perhaps the best available and effective frozen baits” Live bait is better. Going offshore means finding honey holes or things floating on the surface that attract fish like the dolphin (mahi mahi). The dolphin are constantly on the move so finding floating debris is critical. Grouper, as the name suggests, like to hang out with their cousins on all kinds of cover at the bottom. Grouper fishing out of Destin is good year-round while others like the mahi mahi can be more seasonal. If you want mackerel, troll baits like ballyhoo or cigarfish behind the boat. If you can find a commercial shrimper hauling in his nets, that is a bonanza for mackerel fishing. Tie on a big bucktail and tip it with bait. Cast into the water where the bycatch is shoveled and hang on. Chumming is also very effective as it creates a fish oil slick that attracts the mackerel.

Destin Fishing Calendar

January

There’s no post-holiday letdown for the bite here. Redfish, speckled trout and vermillion snapper are on. Pompano, sheepshead, flounder and triggerfish are also biting. 

February

Typically this is a cold month in these parts, but that doesn’t stop fishing from being good. Bottom fishing can bring in a good catch of grouper, amberjack and snapper. The shallower fishing is great for flounder, black drum, redfish and sheepshead. Sheepshead provide lots of fast action. Winter bonita also provide some great action, although not much in the way of the dinner table. The big speckled trout are found in deeper water, and really like live bait this time of year.

March

Grouper fishing is excellent this month and the good thing is when you find one, you’ll usually find a whole bunch. Cobia are biting, and you may get lucky and stumble onto a school of them, although they often travel solitary or in pairs. Some huge cobia are caught this time of year.  Speckled trout and redfish are on the move, but a good guide can keep you on them inshore or offshore. The first good groups of king and Spanish mackerel are showing up, and the Jack Crevalle are running large. Bottom fishing for vermillion snapper and triggerifsh is good. Sheepshead are still around, and can commonly be caught on the rocks along seawalls.

April

Snapper are starting to gang up on the structure, and provide some really fast action with a great result for the table. You can add Sheepshead to that mix as well. And don’t forget cobia, redfish and speckled trout. If you want to battle a shark, things are picking up here, too. And this time of year is big shark season. Sharks can also be good to eat if you prepare them correctly. Your charter captain can help you with that.

May

Snapper fishing is good, and bottom fishing the wrecks or reefs is really picking up. They are on the move this time of year, but when you find them, it’s worth it. King and Spanish mackerel fishing continues to give anglers a great fight. Don’t forget black and red drum, and the speckled trout fishing is great. Shark fishing is good, too.

June

If you hear fishermen saying “wahoo”, it may be because they are happy, but more than likely they are touting the heating up of the wahoo bite. This month, things start to pick up for multiple species. Included on that list are some big targets like tarpon and shark. And you can also count on amberjack, pompano, redfish, snapper, and grouper. 

July

It’s time to bring out the big guns — or should we say fishing rods. Tarpon fishing is here, and while you won’t usually catch many on a trip, hooking up with one big one is a dream come true. The big blackfin and yellowfin tuna are also running, and you can load the boat with mackerel, sheepshead, flounder, grouper, amberjack and more. 

August

It’s still time to get your rod bent big time. You can hook up with blackfin and yellowfin tuna, tarpon, marlin and sailfish this month. Snapper and grouper fishing is still tops. You can add in mahi mahi, black and red drum and wahoo to your target list.  There are many other species like bluefish and mackerel to catch this month.

September

Sheepsheads, specks, Jack Crevalle and barracuda are hot all along the coast this month. While some folks go watch football, you can be hooking up with Spanish and king mackerel, pompano and triggerfish. Or you can go after big targets like sharks, sailfish, tuna and tarpon.  There are many great options.

October

Options for what to catch become less plentiful, but the bite is still on for several popular species. Take on speckled trout and redfish. Or stick with the always popular Spanish and king mackerel. Flounder, sheepshead and triggerfish are also plentiful.

November

It’s hard to pass up a day on the water looking for snapper this month. Your captain can put you on red and vermillion snapper for some fast action and great eating (ensure you are familiar with local regulations before harvesting any fish). Redfish and specks are still good and there are still a few areas producing some quality mahi mahi.

December

Fish don’t take off for Christmas, but it isn’t as good this month as some others. However, if you like a more peaceful fishing trip with less competition, big triggerfish, snapper, huge specked trout and reds and flounder can all be caught.

Book A Destin Fishing Charter

Destin fishing charters are one of the most popular options for an adventurous day out on the water. There is nothing better than cruising around these waters and enjoying the beautiful view. Luckily, FishAnywhere has a wide choice of Destin professional fishing guides and you can book your next fishing trip online in a matter of minutes. Start your adventure today and book a Destin fishing charter now!

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