Deep Sea Fishing Options

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By Mary Anne Windes

If I had to put my finger on the “one thing” that makes Destin so popular, it would be the quick access to deep water for deep sea fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. Typically, Mom loves the shopping, the kids love the beach, Dad wants to fish, and everyone loves to eat fresh seafood. Destin has it all, and everyone is a winner!

So, the decision is made to make plans to go fishing, but there’s more to it than that. Will you fish in the Gulf or the Bay, do you want a private charter or a party boat, and how many people are in your group?

Deep sea fishing is different from fishing in the Bay, going to Crab Island, or renting a pontoon or jet ski. Those are inexpensive, but they’re not “Bucket List” activities nor do you bring back hundreds of dollars’ worth of fish. Deep sea fishing is what put Destin on the map. We’re called the “Luckiest Fishing Village in the World.” The “luck” doesn’t come from finding the fish; the luck comes from fishing in an area where the fish are plentiful. Destin captains KNOW where the fish live and they catch them daily.

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. Destin Fishing Marina and others offer all three.

A private charter is the best, but also the most expensive. Most boats charge a base price like $200 or more 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 passengers over the number of six. 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, and many of them have never been fishing before in their life. The party boats are less expensive than a charter boat and highly recommended for people who have never fished before. That being said, the party boats 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 may or may not know what they’re doing…which can lead to tangles and such. Listening to the crew will help with all that, and party boats are great about teaching you how to fish.

The third type of trip is a hybrid called a grouped charter. If you only have one to four people but want to split the cost of a charter boat with some other people, you can ask the charter service to set up a group (usually up to 8 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 the charter service, 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 which is, by the way, the only marina in town owned and operated by the fishermen.

We’re ready to take you fishing!

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