Destin, Fl.

Going to spend a few days down in Destin. Actually staying on Chactawatchee Bay back toward Niceville. We went once before, and found the gulf to be a different kind of place - very little tide and very clear water. Beautiful, but different. Have access to a 25’ fully equiped offshore boat and will be taking a kayak and snorkeling gear. (Last time we snorkeled up on some big jacks out in the bay - pretty wild!)

Anyone have any experience around this area? I would like to get offshore while I am there and I am fully equiped for the atlantic, but know nothing about gulf fishing. How different can it be? Ballyhoo??? Live Bait???


Key West 2300 SS
Yamaha f225

What do you want to catch?

I am not that particular. I would prefer to troll offshore, but if the bottom bite is good I am OK with that too. Whatever the hot bite is?

I will answer it this way - if I were going to be in Chas I would go and pull some ballyhoo for a while and maybe hit some bottom numbers later in the day.

Will the same baits & tactics work offshore there???

Key West 2300 SS
Yamaha f225

Similar techniques should work. However, I wouldn’t expect the same availability of Dolphin or Black Sea Bass.

Good news though is you’ll have a better shot at red snapper.

I used to fish more from the west of there out of Orange Beach, AL. But Destin will be very similar. If the blue water is in you can run to the nipple and fish for Blue Marlin. When blue water is there it is a very good marlin area.

Otherwise, I’d run sort of on a 190 degree heading out of East Pass and fish the 30-40 fathom curves for wahoo.

The public numbers might be pretty beat up for snapper depending on when you go. After August 15th you will only be able to catch snapper in state waters (within 9 miles).

Good luck.

As always…drop by a local tackle shop and see what they say.

I can put you on some big (20-30lb reds) but the moon needs to be full and you need an outgoing evening tide. Water is pretty shallow to 2’. pm me if this fits.

“The good fisherman is surprised when he doesn’t catch fish: I am just the other way around.”
Gene Hill, Passing a Good Time.

my daughter lives in destin and i go down there as often as i can. the fishing is nothing short of phenomal. i don’t have access to a boat down there so i usually go to okaloosa pier or wade the bay. on the pier i’ve caught kings,spanish,cobia,tarpon and redfish (up to 20 lbs). i belong to another fishing site pensacola fishing forum i think is the name, pretty good local knowledge. trust me you will have a ball down there!

green grass and high tides forever
jhp----- Murrells Inlet

Thanks for all the input. Going down next week. No matter what I do, it will be better than what I am doing now (work)!

Key West 2300 SS
Yamaha f225

I lived there for 6 years. This time of year fishing witin 15 miles of the Destin pass will easily produce Kings, Spanish, Cobia, Amber Jack, Huge Bull Reds, And an occasinal African Pompano, Wahoo or Sail. The last two and bigger Bills further out from 20 miles. Bait of choice is cigar minnows caught under the Destin bridge at sun up on gold hook rigs or Sabiki Rigs, you will be side by side other boats including huge charter boats and will fill the live well fast. Just have a full time operator as the current is fast and the traffic is heavy. Outside the pass in the gulf look for bait pods, cast live bait on 10lb spinning gear and hold on, once your bait sinks below the pod you will most likley have a king burning the drag. Hot public numbers are the bridge rubble (65’ deep) about 1.5 miles SE of the jetties and the Liberty Ship (87’ deep) about 12 miles SW. Anchor or troll either one and you will catch fish. Dusters (sea witches) trolled in front of cigar minnows are the local hot set up for kings. Cobia will be off the beaches already and love live cigar minnows but will seek out live eels. If you leave one hooked fish in the water the other will hang out and eat what you throw at them. Schooly dolphin will to the same and if you find a weed line be prepared to fill your boat with these. Have fun and let us know how it goes!!!

Now that is what I am talking about! Bro In-Law AKA Captain Cuda, has the boat but limited gear so I am trying to take what I need of mine. Sounds like live bait is the best option. Last time I was there we did catch pin fish in a trap just playing around in the bay. Their place is in Blue Water Bay if you know where that is.

Should I take/use my down rigger as I would here in Chas. this time of year?

Thanks again for all the help and will post a report!

Key West 2300 SS
Yamaha f225

I never had much luck with downriggers there. The water is so clear the fish will find your bait if the’re hungry, they just see allot of presure this time of year so be creative. Yeah Blue water bay is just a trip over the Mid Bay bridge. The toll used to be $2 per axel but better than driving 40 miles in traffic. There’s a state park right by Blue Water bay with a nice ramp and then a fast trip across the bay to the pass…

…I just remembered Blue Water Bay has a heck of a nice marina and ramp.

You are right. Their condo is about a block form the marina, easy walking distance. They keep their boat in the community lot. This week is dragging by!!! Thanks again!

Key West 2300 SS
Yamaha f225

So how’d this trip turn out?

Sorry for the delay, I kept intending to post pics, but it is just a little difficult on this site. Anyway…

We left Summerville in the early AM for the long trip down. We arrive in the early afternoon and my two boys proceeded to wade out in the Bay for a little inshore action. The water in the bay was somewhat dingy all week. I understand that there has been local talk about the cause, rain, construction etc… They proceeded to catch bluefish, catfish, large gar, and a weak fish. Trash Can Slam? They did that off and on all week. The water in the bay was just a little too murkey to see much with a mask and snorkel.

The next day we took it easy and went to AJ’s restaurant which is located on the water at Destin Harbor. They have crawfish boils on Sunday afternoons and we pigged out, drank plenty of beer and watched the boats and the beautiful turquoise water. Good Times!

The following day we went king fishing. We sabikied up caught what I think were some kind of shad, cigar minnows and blue runners in the Pass. We live baited a few miles west of the pass. It was pretty windy all week with a confused chop. But we had good action, lost a couple, and put a couple of small kings in the boat before we had trouble with one of the engines. Turned out just to be a problem with the water seperator.

A couple of days later we got a pretty early start and pulled ballyhoo. We started in a little over 100’ and we were getting slamed by kings and bonito - not what we were looking for. Pushed on out to about 400’ (30 miles??) and was pretty dead out there. Came back in to around 300’ and trolled along some ledges. The smallest rod (TLD 15 on a kingfish rod)on the outrigger rigged with a blue and white squitch goes screaming and the smallest guy on the boat grabs the rod (12 year old son who weighs about 80# soaking wet). He makes a good fight and we get a nice wahoo up to the boat and he is lit up like a neon beer sign. He wants no part of this and makes a hard dive, kingfish rod bends double