No Boat? No Problem!

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By Cali Hlavac, To Do in Destin

In our lucky little fishing village, it may be perceived that a boat is necessary to catch certain kinds of fish, or a multitude of fish. However, without access to a boat, there are still some great fishing spots anglers can take advantage of (even some who will rent rods if you don’t have your own!) Grab your rods and reels as we head out to explore some active spots to fish in Destin.

Probably the most popular and first thought of fishing spot without a boat is our white sand beaches. With miles stretching across the Emerald Coast, there is no shortage of spots to fish but a few key factors could help you be more successful. When searching for a spot, look for a more secluded area where there are less swimmers. Also, check the water for color changes and wave breaks as that will signify better feeding spots for the fish. Try to find a spot where two sandbars meet and post up in the middle of them. Popular fish caught off the beach include pompano, redfish, bluefish, ladyfish, black drum and jack crevalle.

The Destin Jetties is another local favorite. Many anglers will walk the stretch of rocks that line the Destin Pass to claim their spot for the day. With the way the tides change daily through the east pass, the jetties create a prime feeding area and attract a variety of fish like bluefish, redfish, flounder, and Spanish mackerel, sheepshead, and a variety of baitfish. This is a spot recommended for adults only, as the jetties were constructed with large boulders to climb over and there is no smooth walkway to reach the end.

Pier fishing is another hot spot in our local area, and we have two within driving distance – The Okaloosa Island Pier or the Navarre Beach Pier. Both piers stretch almost a quarter mile into the Gulf of Mexico and anglers of all skill levels can try their luck. Most frequent catches from the pier include Spanish mackerel, whiting, sheepshead, ladyfish and bluefish, but some noteworthy fish have been caught there as well. Cobia, king mackerel, tuna, even Tarpon weighing over 100lbs and a few Sailfish have been pulled up from the water. Redfish and pompano are also frequent catches in this area. Both piers have a tackle shop on site that will also rent rods and reels, so even the novice angler can spend a day trying their luck.

A new spot to try is Thomas Pilcher Park, located under the 331 Bridge. There are plenty of parking, bathrooms, and a variety of spots to cast a line. There is a bait shop down the road before the bridge that you can pick up tackle, bait and anything else you’ll need to get started. This is also a good spot to launch a paddleboard or kayak if you want to try fishing the shallow water along the shoreline, around the docks and grass flats.

In any of these locations, the best time of year to fish is from March-November, but fish will bite all year long if we have a warm winter. The bite is also always best when the tide is rising or falling and it’s common to see fish start to school up along the beaches. Practice makes perfect my friends, and we look forward to seeing you out on the water with tight lines!