Vacationers don’t just come to the Destin-Fort Walton Beach for the sugar-white sand and the emerald-green waters. They come to catch red snapper, white trout and blue marlin. From the depths of the breathtaking Gulf of Mexico to the sleepy bayous, beautiful lakes and pristine waters of the Choctawhatchee Bay, there is an abundance of fish to be caught here year-round.
Some of the greatest fishing on the planet is right here in Destin - Fort Walton Beach. Fish stories aren’t necessary here. Keep your camera handy and the truth will do just fine. Whether you’re interested in bottom fishing, inshore trolling or big game fishing, an adventure awaits in Destin and Fort Walton Beach.
At just ten miles from 100-foot depths, East Pass in Destin offers the speediest access to the Gulf of Mexico. That means less time wishing and more time fishing. Anglers here can choose from Inshore Gulf Fishing in state waters and Offshore Gulf Fishing in federal waters.
Near Shore Gulf Fishing in waters between 50 and 100 feet deep is very popular, because you can be a part of the beach scene while you fish. With light tackle, you can pull in red, white and black snapper, king mackerel, grouper, triggerfish, shark and bonito.
Choctawhatchee Bay is an estuary teeming with fresh and saltwater species. Here you’ll find an abundance of redfish, speckled trout, sheepshead, Spanish mackerel, flounder, ladyfish, bluefish, black snapper and pompano. The Choctawhatchee Bay system offers seemingly endless bayous, creeks and rivers to explore. By the way, around these parts, bay fishing is any fishing done in the Choctawhatchee Bay, Destin Harbor, East Pass and inlets and bayous.
Angling from the Destin Jetties Amazing fishing can be had from the twin jetties that guard the East Pass channel from the Gulf of Mexico. To get to the end of the jetties, you need to step from one car-sized boulder to the next, with no smooth walkway to navigate. Most anglers will tell you it’s worth it. With the daily tidal changes, the jetties are the perfect spot for catching bluefish, flounder, grouper, king and Spanish mackerel, redfish, sheepshead, trout and many kinds of baitfish. Visit FishingDestinGuide.com for more information.
You don’t need to go on a charter to catch the big ones. Tarpon as large as 100 pounds have been reeled in from the 1,262-foot-long Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier which juts almost a quarter mile out into the Gulf. Rental tackle, bait and snacks can be purchased here, and even if you don’t fish, you’ll find the pier is a great place to watch the action and get a better feel for the area’s vibrant Gulf-to-Table culture. Another great place to fish without a boat is from the catwalk of the 3,000-foot Destin Bridge over East Pass. You can pick up gear, bait and fishing licenses at Destin Harbor.