Destin offers a wide variety of charter fishing opportunities that help to make it one of the top fishing destinations in the world. For those who are new to the sport, these choices can be overwhelming. Here, we lay out the different types of fishing charters in Destin to help you decide which kind of fishing charter is right for you.
Bay fishing typically uses light tackle and live bait to target species such as Speckled Trout, Redfish, Sheephead, Flounder, Black Snapper, Drum, etc. The boats are typically smaller and can accommodate 4-6 people depending on the boat, and typically fall within the lower end of the price spectrum, with prices ranging from $130-150/hr. A great choice for single families or smaller groups looking to catch fish. Bay fishing is also sometimes called inshore fishing, although inshore fishing can also mean fishing in the gulf, while staying within a few miles of the beach.
Trolling is a method of fishing where one or more fishing lines, baited with lures or bait fish, are drawn through the water. You can troll close to the beach (inshore) or miles offshore (offshore). The type of fish you can catch while trolling will depend largely on how close you stay to land. Boat sizes will vary also depending on whether you are doing an inshore or offshore trip. As you might expect, the larger the boat and farther offshore you go, the more money you can expect to spend (and the larger the fish you can expect to catch). Expect to pay anywhere between $140-225/per hour depending on the boat.
- Inshore trolling: 3-4 lines out uses lures or live bait. The boat in constant motion as it travels up and down the beach. You can charter smaller or larger boats for inshore trolling and rates will vary accordingly. Inshore trolling trips typically target King Mackerel, Spanish Mackerel, Bonito, Jack Crevalle, Barracuda, etc.
- Offshore trolling: requires a longer trip to get out to the deeper waters, and uses live bait and lures to target Mahi Mahi, Sailfish, Wahoo, Marlin, King Mackerel, and Black Fin Tuna. These boats will be larger and can accommodate more people, depending on the boat. Rates are typically quoted for up to 6 passengers and then each additional person is a flat rate equal to 10% of the trip’s total.
Bottom fishing is done in deep water using live or cut bait, fishing wrecks and reefs. You can bottom fish year round targeting a variety of Snappers, Groupers, Triggers, Amberjack, and Lesser Amberjack. Because Destin has the closest deepwater access in the northern Gulf, you can actually bottom fish the reefs and structures along the beach, so smaller boats can be used and long trips aren’t necessary. Bottom fishing is probably the most common type of fishing in Destin, and you can fish from many different types of boats, from a head boat (also called a party boat, where you pay a flat per person rate and share the boat with 40-60 other anglers looking to sink their lines in the water), to a smaller boat (a 4- or 6-pack boat that will accommodate 4-6 people), to a larger private charter boat (just your group fishing on a larger boat, which may also be able to accommodate larger groups as well). Rates are all over the map, depending on the type of boat and number of people in your party.
- Shark Trips: Shark fishing charters, of course, target shark specifically. You will fish the Gulf, within 3-5miles of the beach, using anchor and chum and large baits, to target Mako, Bull, Dusky, Blacktip, Spinner, Tiger, and Sandbar sharks. Shark fishing charters can be done during the day but are typically done in the evening or at night. Shark fishing can make for an exhilarating time on the water for those adrenaline junkies (you know who you are!). You have a large variety of boats to choose from with shark fishing, and rates vary accordingly.
- Split trips: Split trips, also called group charters, allow groups of less than 4 to split a private charter with another group. This reduces the cost of a private charter while still offering the customization and attention that are often lost on party boats, and you can make some new friends in the process. Split trips do require a certain amount of flexibility as we will have to find another group that wants to fish on the same day and at the same time as you, but if you are flexible, we can often make it work. Contact us if you’d like to request a split trip!
- Overnight Trips: Overnight trips involve chartering a larger boat for multiple days to get 75-150 miles offshore where the really big fish live. These trips really get the crews excited. This type of fishing charter is the most expensive but typically yields the largest and most fish. Target larger bottom fish such as Marlin, Swordfish, and Yellow Fin Tuna. Perfect for groups looking for that once-in-a-lifetime vacation experience!