In the case of Destin’s claim as “The World’s Luckiest Fishing Village,” there’s a fascinating story behind this title. From Destin’s early days contributing to Pensacola’s fish markets to its booming commercial fishing industry in the 20th century and now, Destin still boasts the widest variety of fish in the area. Furthermore, it contains the nation’s largest commercial fishing fleet with direct access to the Gulf of Mexico. Thus, giving way to the deepest areas of the Gulf. It’s a great fishing trip destination for every aspiring or experienced angler. But that being said, here are eight reasons why Destin, Florida should be your next fishing destination.
1. Florida’s Best Fish Selection
Over 20 species of game fish are available across the many ports around Destin. These include redfish, king mackerel, tarpon, speckled trout, grouper, tuna, dolphinfish, marlin, and many more. One of the most popular is snapper, including the gray, lane, mutton, and red snapper variations. Did you know in Destin, the largest red snapper ever was caught in Florida and weighed over 46 pounds? Yes, this is true, and it’s also the present state record. Another fish frequently caught near the water’s surface is dolphinfish. More so, with varying depths found off the coast of Destin, you can bottom fish, troll, kite fish, or fish in the surf with very successful results.
2. Many Deep Sea Charters Available
Nevertheless, there is no shortage of charters available in Destin. With these many professional angling services, a full day out on the water will get you that big, brawny fish at the end of your line. Professional charters come with a wealth of local knowledge and can help you make the most of your fishing trip. Even with the goal of reeling in big game.
3. Many Fishing Spots Available
Whether you are fishing alone or in a group, it helps to know where to go. Destin is full of incredible fishing spots wherever you look, from the shore or out on the water. The following are some of the best inshore and offshore fishing spots around Destin:
- The Island Pier, formerly known as the Okaloosa Island Pier, is a much-loved fishing pier found near Destin. Stretching out 1,200 feet into the Gulf, anglers have a chance to land some prized fish like tuna and king mackerel.
- Found west of Destin, the Navarre Beach Pier offers anglers an opportunity to fish 30 feet above the water. Over 1,500 feet in length, there’s no shortage of fishing space with bait and rentals available on site.
- The East Pass Jetty is a beloved location among locals to fish from the shore. Just be cautious of the drops in the rocks as you retrieve your line.
- 100-Fathom Curve is only 10–12 miles offshore. Yet, you’ll find that the water drops a drastic 600 feet. Warm up your arms and wrists before catching monster grouper, snapper, dolphinfish, and cobia to name a few.
4. Fishing Available All Year Round
While Destin is the go-to place for your next fishing adventure, choosing the right time to visit can depend on the weather you prefer or the species you desire. Warm weather is available year-round, with the harbor full of boats to whisk you out to sea. Summer is peak season, with some of the most sought-after varieties of fish around. Not one for the crowds? Consider the spring and fall, with many species transitioning on migratory routes. Beware of hurricane season, though, from June through November.
5. Destin Fishing Festivals and Tournaments
With legendary fishing tournaments, there are many competitive and enjoyable fishing events throughout the year. Those of you with a competitive streak can test your skills in the world-famous Destin Fishing Rodeo. Every October, over 30,000 anglers descend upon Destin, determined to get their name in the record books. When spring comes around, so does the month-long Destin Cobia Tournament, which draws many from all over Florida. But the tournaments don’t stop there. With November signaling the start of the “Flounder Pounder” competition. Perhaps, you’ll want to take your chances are something larger. Consider the Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic in June.
6. Destin Fishing Regulations are Easy
Thankfully, when fishing in Destin, you can take advantage of the incredible fishing without needing a license in some cases. Whether you’re a tourist, out of state, or a local, the rules could vary. Generally, fishing licenses are covered onboard a Destin fishing charter, as well as on some fishing piers. By paying the entrance fee to any of the fishing locations or services, you are covered for licenses. However, if you fish from shore or from your own boat, anglers between the ages of 16 and 65 will need a Florida fishing license. So, be sure to remember this when choosing Destin as your next fishing destination.
7. Many Types of Fishing
With many ports, Destin has the closest and fastest access to deep-sea fishing in the entire Gulf of Mexico. DeSoto Canyon is one option. It’s a 3,000-foot-deep fishing hot spot that is home to dozens of trophy species like swordfish, blue marlin, and yellowfin tuna.
A location of interest to anglers is Choctawhatchee Bay, which provides a bounty of fishing options. Amid Choctawhatchee Bay’s flats and grassy marshes are redfish, speckled trout, black drum, flounder, and more.
With seven piers in easy reach from downtown, these are the preferred choice of land-accessed fishing spots. Whichever pier you decide to fish from, you’re likely to catch redfish, speckled trout, and more. However, if you time your visit just right, hit up one of the piers stretching out into the Gulf. Thus, dragging in mackerel, snappers, and multiple other species on your line.
Along the Emerald Coast, crystal clear green waters offer incredible and productive fishing from the beach for everyone. With a seemingly endless amount of shoreline, you have plenty of space to fish all day. There’s also the option of family-friendly activities like sunbathing, swimming, and building sandcastles, while you catch your target. Popular surf fishing species include; pompano, redfish, whitefish, bluefish, ladyfish, and rays.
This ever-growing trend has increased the fun of Destin fishing, while growing worldwide over the past few years. The calm inshore waters are great for beginners, while adventurous anglers can challenge the Gulf. Rent a kayak or follow an experienced guide to catch any of Destin’s desirable species. Alas, with a kayak’s shallow range, you can also try popular scalloping and spearfishing trips.
Without a boat, Destin still offers incredible fishing from the comforts of its sandy shores with “sight-casting.” The water is clear enough to see the fish; simply cast right near them and reel them in. Simply bring your fishing gear to any of the 13 public beaches and cast directly from the beach. Or, just twist that rod in the sand and chill. With easy sight and calm waters, it’s a relaxing and easy day to wait for the fish to come to you.
8. Gulf-To-Table Restaurants For Your Catch
Uniquely offered across Destin are many local restaurants that offer fresh catch menus. It should be noted that some restaurants may clean and cook a fish you’ve caught yourself! From Dewey Destin’s to Floyd’s Shrimp House and about a dozen more, Gulf-to-table restaurants are an iconic experience for your Destin fishing trip. Arrive at the shore with your catch, and take the fresh filets to your choice of participating Gulf-to-table restaurants.
With such unique and incredible fishing features, Destin should be your go-to choice for your next fishing destination. A fun and beautiful vacation for the entire family, you have the choice of an adventurous or relaxing fishing trip as you see fit. Come and catch a trophy or enticing eater and have it cooked for you at the end of the day. The only thing that is missing is you and your rod in the water. And when you do visit, you’ll be left questioning, why didn’t you take a fishing trip to Destin, Florida sooner?