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Summer Time Deep Sea Fishing in Destin, Florida

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About 4.5 million tourists visit Destin, FL, each year, and it’s not just to soak up the Florida sun. Destin is known as the “world’s luckiest fishing village” because of its array of fish species and the abundance of fishing spots.

If you want to test your fishing skills or try to catch your dinner for the very first time, then Destin should be first on your list.

Start learning about deep sea fishing in Destin to know where to go and how to catch the most sought after fish in the Gulf of Mexico.

Why Choose Destin for Your Next Fishing Trip?

Fishing in the summer is one of America’s favorite past times, especially if you live on or around the east coast. But what makes Destin so special is its location, which allows enthusiasts access to more fishing opportunities than they ever dreamed of.

Located on the Florida panhandle, Destin is a peninsula itself that has the Gulf of Mexico on one side and the Choctawhatchee Bay on the other. This makes it a perfect blend for fresh- and salt-water fish to mingle.

With 266 sunny days per year in Destin and the range of shorelines both inshore and offshore, you will have the best chances of catching fish.

Types of Fish in the Summer

Destin fishing season lasts year-round, but the best time to get the most and the fattest fish is when the water is the warmest in the summer. Some species like blue marlin and tuna are more active in the warmer months as well.

In addition, here are the most popular summer-time fish to cast your line to.

Inshore Fish

One of the fastest fish and the hardest to catch are tarpon, otherwise known as the “silver king.” While they may grab your bait and be out of sight before you can even finish one reel rotation, if you do catch one you are in for a treat. This is because they can grow to over 100 pounds, so just one lucky catch and you will have memories that will last a lifetime.

Redfish, flounder, and speckled trout are also present inshore. Redfish hang out around rocks and bridge pillars to feed on smaller fish and crustaceans. Similarly, speckled trout and flounder prefer more shallow water. So, both species can be caught from bridges, jetties, or shores. Flounder can also be gigged at night by spotlighting them in the shallows!


A summer fishing trip can’t be completed without going after one of Destin’s most sought-after fish: red snapper. These fish hide in nearshore man made structures like chicken coops and reefs during the summer, so they are particularly easy to target if you can find the right structure.

Grouper, triggerfish, amberjack, and various other snapper species also congregate within the reef when it’s warm to feed on smaller fish.

A lot of these fish can be quite large and stay well below the surface, so you will need a slip lead and live bait or a jig for bottom fishing to reach them.


Deep sea fishing is required to find some of Destin’s prized fish. Blue Marlin is by far the largest (weighing up to 1,000 pounds), most beautiful, and the most cherished fish in Destin’s gulf waters. While the blue marlin may be one of the biggest fish to catch while trolling we also catch sailfish, wahoo, and dolphin (mahi-mahi).

The Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic is held in Destin each year. This is where contenders compete for the largest blue marlin for prizes that add up to over $2 million.

Trolling the gulf will also get you some king mackeral or spanish if you are lucky and skilled at this fishing tactic.

Popular Fishing Spots in Destin

You can try to find your own fishing spot in Destin among its many piers, docks, beach shores, and even on your own kayak. However, there are some more well-known hot spots that can increase your chances of catching a load of fish.

Okaloosa Island Pier

This 1,262-foot pier is a popular destination for early-morning fishing enthusiasts. You can try casting near the end of the pier to reach deeper waters of the Gulf of Mexico or use the pier to surf fish without getting wet.

If you fish from this designated pier, then you do not require a fishing license. You can also shop at the bait store or even rent a rod and tackle. Get fishing advance from the shop owners to elevate your chances of success.

100-Fathom Curve

If you want to reach deep water without the excursion then this area is for you. It is just 10 to 12 miles off the coast and has water that’s 600 feet deep. You can find red snapper, mingo snapper, amberjack, and many more species in this unique hotspot.

East Pass

There are man-made jetties that go between Destin and Okaloosa Island. This body of water, where the jetties cross, is called the East Pass. These jetties make it easy to go beyond the surf and reach fish the Gulf of Mexico by boat.

It can also be quite adventurous to walk along these jetties. Be aware of the tides that can cover most or all of the jetties and make it dangerous to cross.

Hiring a Charter

Booking a fishing charter in Destin is the best way to explore the depths and beauty of the Gulf. If you don’t have experience with deep-sea fishing, then you are in luck. Charters are run by professionals who can safely take you to deep-sea fishing hot spots.

Types of Excursions

Deep sea charter excursions range from a few hours to overnight trips.

If you want to take your kids on a short fishing adventure, then a family excursion that caters to children is for you. Or, spend a day on the sea with your co-workers to bond and share a memorable experience.

Day excursions can be booked for half a day, 3/4 of a day, or a full day, ranging from 4 hours to 16 hours. On the Sea Winder, we also offer overnight trips for an extreme fishing adventure. An overnight excursion goes big or goes home by hunting for large fish like sharks, swordfish, deep dropping for grouper, and trolling for marlin.

What to Expect

Your deep sea fishing journey is well taken care of when you book a charter. Expect to arrive early, which is easy because you don’t have to worry about supplies, food, or beverages. On the Sea Winder, we handle all of the gear, from rods and bait to fishing licenses to tackle.

If you know nothing about fishing, then be prepared to learn and participate. Charters don’t just take you out to sea, the captain and his mates also teach you how to fish. From showing you how to rig a rod to reeling in your catch, professionals on a charter won’t let you leave empty-handed because of lack of knowledge.

Once you catch a fish, the crew will put it on ice. Then, when we arrive back at the docks, your fish will be cleaned and fileted for you to take home with you. You can also visit some of the best Destin restaurants to get your fish cooked to perfection.

How to Prepare

Because you will be taught how to fish on the charter, there is no need to prepare for fishing. If you’d like to practice, then visiting one of the local fishing hotspots mentioned above can help you get acquainted with fishing gear.

You can also prepare yourself with proper clothing. Wear layers and bring a windbreaker or raincoat in case it rains.

Also, think about what kind of fish you want to catch. Use this guide to the most common fish found in Destin and tell your captain what you hope to bring home.

Other Things to Do in Destin

Fishing isn’t the only way to enjoy Destin. Be sure to stop on the beaches for a stroll or swim. You can also rent a jet ski, go parasailing, or learn how to surf.

If you don’t want to leave the beach even after nightfall, then visit Henderson Beach State Park. You can pitch a tent at one of the 60 campsites or park an RV right by the beach to wake up to blue skies and shoreline.

Take a break from the sun by visiting Harborwalk Village where you will find local shops and restaurants to buy souvenirs or grab a bite to eat.

Book Your Deep Sea Fishing in Destin Excursion

When you visit Destin, it usually means that you are looking for fresh fish. What better way to enjoy the city’s seafood than by going deep-sea fishing in Destin?

This is the best way to explore the Gulf while getting to catch the freshest fish possible. Plus, you are gaining new experiences and making lasting memories.

Book your charter today to ensure you don’t miss the chance of a lifetime during your Destin vacation.

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