Destin, Florida, with its brilliant white sand beaches and emerald green water, enjoys a well-deserved reputation as a world class fishing destination. The Emerald Coast, as the area is known, offers year-round fishing opportunities for the widest variety of gamefish in the Florida Gulf. Nine saltwater world records and the largest charter fishing fleet in the United States draws people from far and wide for a Destin fishing vacation. Although there are other Destin activities, like golf, tennis, and beachcombing, for anglers it’s all about the fishing.
Billed as “The World’s Luckiest Fishing Village,” Destin boasts the shortest distance of any port in Florida to the “100 fathom curve,” the 600-foot mark where serious deep sea fishing begins. And only 50 miles offshore from Destin, depths of over 1,200 feet are found in an area known as “the Spur,” famous for its huge swordfish. Blue marlin, tuna, and dolphin fish also ply the depths in great schools. The state record blue marlin, a 1,046 pound leviathan, was caught by an angler sailing from Panama City, just down the coast. Closer in, along the beaches of Seagrove, Seaside, Grayton Beach, Miramar Beach, and Panama City, snapper, mackerel, amberjack, grouper, and tarpon are found. The state record cobia was caught near Destin, a whopping 130-pounder.
But deep water isn’t the only type of fishing available in Destin. The Choctawhatchee Bay teems with life, and provides the opportunity to stalk shallow water species. Perfectly suited for kayak fishing, the seemingly endless grass and mud flats of Choctawhatchee Bay give anglers a good chance to find schools of tailing redfish, nosing into the bottom for crabs and shrimp. Speckled trout are also here in great numbers, prowling the edges of potholes, ready to ambush small baitfish. A beach vacation in South Walton or Santa Rosa Beach is ideal for launching a kayak trip in Choctawhatchee Bay.
There is a rich history of fishing tournaments in Destin, along with other events celebrating the fishing history and culture of the Emerald Coast.
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