Destin Florida

Anyone fish this area, the bay or coast? I will be in the area second week of April. Like to surf fish also if anyone has tips and info.

Thanks, Jim

I’ve fished the Florida Panhandle from Panama City to Fort Morgan on the Mobile Bay. Not to discourage you, but I’ve always had the worst luck in Destin as opposed to any of the others. It’s mainly because I like to fish the jetties and Destins aren’t that fishable (in my opinion) compared to Panama City and Orange Beach.

  1. I like fishing the jetties. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with what I’m talking about, but jetties are the rock structures that jut out into the Gulf (or sea but sinnce were talking the Gulf here I’ll be specific) at what is known as the “pass.” The pass is where there is a deep channel from the bay to the Gulf, where the ships go in and out of. In Destin at the pass, if looking out at the Gulf, there are jetties on the right and left. The ones on the left are not near as long, but they are in shallow water. This is fine as long as your sight fishing, but it’s more like hunting because you are waiting until you see something swim by before you can cast to it. And schools of fish do swim by. I once witnessed one of the most awesome sights I’ve ever seen on the edge of this jettie. A school of Jack Crevalle about 5-8 pounds apiece, probably 20 in the group came by just outside of casting distance. About the same time that they rounded the point into the shallow Gulf a school of about 3 porpoise came from the same direction, but 45 seconds behind. As soon as the dolphin rounded the bend they saw the Jacks and kicked in the afterburners. They covered 100 yards of water in seconds and slammed into the school of Jacks. They would grab a Jack and sling it in the air and then eat them. It was amazing, I’ll never forget it. But back to your question. This jettie is good at day break and late in the day, however in April is when a lot of different fish species are “running” (term used for fish migrating through). So really hanging out there any time during the day is good in April.

    The right jettie is much longer. This jettie is probably 3/4 of a mile long. I may be off on my distance either way, could be shorter, could be longer, but its long and if you’ve ever walked on the jetties it’s ruff walking. The jetties are giant slabs of granite. Anyways I’ve never been to the end of these jetties because they are so long. And I’ve seen days when the waves are rough and slamming into the jetties way out there. The waves will completely wash over in some areas, which will take you with and that wouldn’t be good. The problem I’ve found with this jettie is again it hugs the shallows for a long way. So you would have to see the fish to catch it. I imagine if it were a calm enough day and you went way out on the jettie that you could fish deep water and it would probably be good. But you would have to travel light.

    However, walking out to the jetties on the right side, there is a sand point prior to the jetties that juts out toward the channel. If you get there before someone else you can throw far enough to reach the deep water. This is where the fish will be. It is better if you use live but or cut bait here because you can cast just far enough to get in the deep water, but you don’t have much room to work a lure. I’ve caught some good fish here. Shrimp works really well.

    Surf Fishing

    Surf fishing can be good, too. Either live bait or lures. The best lure in the Gulf fishing from shore is a silver Gotcha plug with white-haired tail. You can find them everywhere there, even Wal-Mart. There is also a nice Bass Pro Shops in Destin. This is a good place to talk to the locals and find out what the fish are doing. Surf fishing can be a pain in the butt if the waves are bad though.

    Now if you are wanting to go out on a charter boat, then you will do really well. Some awesome off-shore fishing.

    That’s the skinny. I hope this helps. I wanted to go into detail, because I remeber going down as a teen on family trips and trying to learn how to catch the saltwater fish. I talked to locals any chance I got. Most of them enjoy telling fish stories anyways and you learn a lot.

    One tip I’ll give you. If you are using a lure. By a spool of cheap 30-50 pound test monofilament fishing line. Cut a 2 1/2 foot section and tie it to the lure and a swivel attached to your line. You will get more strikes with the clear line instead of a steel leader. And the fish won’t cut through with their teeth. Use it for a live bait rig too.

    Good luck and if you don’t mind send me a fishing report back. I live in Birmingham, AL it’s only a 4 1/2 hour drive down for me. If the fish are biting I might head down.

Yes, I agree.
Though, I never fished it, I did carry my kayak down there 2 years ago and inquired about fishing on the Gulf side of the area. Spoke to the owner of a tackle shop in Destin and he had fished the outside of the jetty on the right in a kayak and said he had the time of his life. They caught sheepshead on sandfleas. I remember him saying he caught the biggest sheepshead he had ever landed while fishing there in the kayak. Also remember him saying he doesn’t even kayak and that a friend talked him into going. I never attempted it due to my family schedule and unfavorable weather. Also, if you carry your boat, you may want to consider fishing in the bay (more safe) for reds and trout. It should be a good time there for both. Jig heads with shrimp Gulp Bait. Color: “new penny”. Works great! Can be used from jetties or best if used on bayside. Live shrimp with a bobber is hard to beat but more difficult from a boat.

Thanks for the info
Thanks for the info guys. I have never been in this area before. I think my first stop is Half Hitch tackle/bait shop to pick up some tackle, license, and maybe find out where the fish are biting.

We are staying at Sandestin properties and they have canoes and kayaks but from my experience with resorts they are probably pretty basic boats so it may be wise to stay in the bay. I will take my own gear.


Good Choice
Half Hitch is a good store. The guys in there are pretty knowledgeable about what’s biting and what kind of rig to use. If the waters aren’t too rough I would definitley try the right side jetties in a kayak.

That is the bait shop I went to where I talked to the guy about fishing the jetties from a kayak. Good people and great help.

Also, another good contact there is

I’m not sure if she has rentals but when I talked to her she provided me with great paddle info for both paddling in the bay and around the jetties. She has some high-end boats and gear there. Also nice people.