Beach Conditions

Teaching Kids Life Lessons + Developing Grit with Deep-Sea Fishing

“Fish on!” There are not too many things more exciting than feeling the pull of a fish on the end of your line. The anticipation of the catch is enough to get your heart pumping and your toes tingling!

Excitement leads to questions, such as “Will I land it? What kind of fish will it be? Is it going to be a big one?” And the questions lead to action. REEL! Anticipation spreads like wildfire through the boat, and pretty soon, everyone is smiling hard and holding their breath.

Two kids fish from boat in Gulf of Mexico

In today’s fast-paced instant-gratification-filled world, the simple joys of fishing can take you back in time. Fishing is an activity that not only gets kids off their screens and outside, but it builds character, as it demands patience, persistence, determination, strength, and resilience. It’s an activity that helps kids develop grit through adventure, while also teaching them about the world around them and developing a lifelong appreciation for nature.

While fishing anywhere can be exciting, if you want to take your fishing experience to the next level and create lifelong memories for your kids, deep-sea fishing is an incredible experience for the whole family!

In the Destin-Fort Walton Beach area access to deep water is closer than you may think (just ten miles from 100-foot depths), and hundreds of charter fishing boats are available to take your family fishing. And while you can certainly fish from the shore or plan your own outing, hiring a chartered fishing boat with an experienced captain will give you a lot of advantages.

Kid holding fishing rod

We recently got out on the water with Captain Brandy of the Discipleship in Destin, with three kids in tow. Here are a few key takeaways and tips we learned from our amazing experience.

  • While fishing is great for kids of all ages, there are different options available for kids of different ages. Most charters offer half or full-day trips; we recommend starting out with a half-day trip if you have kids younger than 10. Also, most deep sea charters also offer inshore fishing for younger kids, which can be more action-packed with calmer seas. Older kids will enjoy going way off-shore for the chance to catch a whopper!
  • An experienced captain is an invaluable asset. Not only will a good captain get you on the fish, but they make the whole experience enjoyable, easy, and educational. You don’t need any previous experience or gear. Your captain will outfit you with all the right bait, poles, lures, and other necessities (as well as fishing licenses), set you up in the right spot for success, and coach you on how to catch and land some massive fish!
  • Deep sea fishing is an educational experience! I was not prepared for how much we learned about the sea, the types of fish we caught, the bait we used, and the nature all around us. It was a real-life science and ecology lesson where we learned about the ecosystem and where our food comes from. It was also a hands-on way to learn valuable life lessons; from the “circle of life” lesson that comes with using live bait to the “leave no trace” principle of cleaning up after people. Fishing also teaches kids respect for wildlife and the environment, through respecting the fish you catch (and keeping only what you’ll eat) to respecting the fish’s habitat and keeping it clean.

With a reputation as “The World’s Luckiest Fishing Village,” you need to add a deep sea fishing excursion to the itinerary of your next Destin-Fort Walton Beach trip. You just might be surprised at what you catch (and what you learn!).

This post was written by Sara McCarty, founder of Run Wild My Child, in partnership with Destin-Fort Walton Beach.

Events in Destin-Fort Walton Beach

It’s always the best time of the year to visit Destin-Fort Walton Beach, Florida. Mild temperatures and warm gulf waters make the area enjoyable no matter the season. And with a running lineup of exciting local events and festivals, there’s always something to do in Destin-Fort Walton Beach!

C.A.R.Eing for Turtles Talk

June 12, 2024 - September 25, 2024

C.A.R.Eing for Turtles Talk

Participants will learn about sea turtles, their nesting habits, and…

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