By Mary Ann Windes
Although I’m in real estate, many people know my family’s affiliation with the Destin Fishing Fleet. So, I get asked often many, many, many fishing questions. The most confusing part about coming to fish in the World’s Luckiest Fishing Village is knowing who to call, and much like real estate, even I can’t answer that one until I ask some probing questions first to figure out your goals.
Deep sea fishing is different from fishing in the Bay, going to Crab Island, or renting a pontoon or jet ski. Those are fun activities. However, they don’t allow you to bring back hundreds of dollars’ worth of fish. There are three distinct types of deep-sea fishing: charter boat, party boat, or a hybrid of the two with a grouped trip through a charter service. At the Destin Fishing Fleet Marina, we offer all three.
A private charter is the best, but also the most expensive. Most boats charge a base price like $200 per hour for the first six passengers. Trips can range from four hours to 36 hours depending on your skill level and courage. Some charter boats carry only six passengers. We call them six-packs. Larger boats that meet more stringent U.S. Coast Guard regulations are licensed to carry more than six. They often charge an additional fee, like 10% of the base price per passenger, for more than six passengers. The only people on a private charter, other than your group, is a captain and a mate (or two).
A party boat is a boat that charges a “per person” fee to go fishing. They often carry 35 or more passengers at a time, many of whom don’t know another soul on the boat. The party boats are less expensive than a charter boat and highly recommended for people who have never fished before, although they also have customers who are avid fishermen who go almost every day. You just have to be okay fishing alongside people from all over the country who might or might not know what they’re doing, which can lead to tangles and such. Listening to the crew will help with all that.
The third type of trip is a grouped charter. If you only have one to four people but want to fish with a smaller group, you can ask the charter service to set up a group (usually only up to eight people). They then charter the boat for you. The price is a little higher than a party boat, but you can split the cost of the charter boat. By the way, you can also charter a boat through Destin Charter Service (850) 837-1995, and since they know which boats are open, they can save you literally a hundred calls to find an open boat during the season.
Most of these boats have air-conditioned cabins, bathrooms, bunks, and tables. The boats generally provide the bait, ice, tackle and fishing licenses, and you bring whatever you want to eat or drink in a cooler. The empty cooler can then be later used at the end of the day to take home your fish.
We have everything you need at the Destin Fishing Fleet Marina, the only marina in town owned and operated by the fishermen. We’re in fishin’ condition!
—Mary Anne Windes
Real Estate Professionals of NW FLA, Inc., Real Estate Professionals of Destin, Inc., Charter Boat OUTTA LINE, Destin Fishing Fleet Marina, Party Boats Destiny & Destin Princess