First Shot Charters

Will Lady Luck shine on you in the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village?” Come and see for yourself aboard the First Shot, out of Destin, FL. She’s a 20’ Cape Horn center console that can fit up to 4 passengers per trip. Captain Mike Dates, the owner and operator, has been fishing the area waters since childhood. A native of the Destin area, he’s been a USCG-licensed captain for over 16 years.

The First Shot crew primarily uses live bait, but they can easily accommodate fly and artificial fishermen as well. All the equipment and supplies necessary to clean the fish will be provided, along with a seasoned crew who are there to help along the way. As a matter of fact, they’ll also be happy to clean the catch for you following the trip.

If you don’t want to keep the fish, Captain Mike is experienced in CPR fishing - “Catch, Photo, Release”. This way, you’ll ensure you do minimal harm to the fish you catch, which will then be safely released back into its natural habitat.

First Shot specializes in fishing the coastal waters of the Gulf of Mexico as well as the backcountry waters of the Choctawhatchee Bay. In the gulf, your targets would be King Mackerel, Cobia, Blackfin Tuna, Sharks, Red Snapper, Grouper, Triggerfish, and much more depending on the season. The bay side is teeming with Trout, Redfish, Black Snapper, Flounder, Ladyfish and Bluefish.

From the first-time angler to the skilled professional, Capt. Mike will do his best to keep you on the fish and put a smile on your face. All fishing equipment for your group is provided by the Captain, along with fishing licenses for all occupants of the boat, so you can relax and enjoy an incredible time fishing.



Select date to see available trips and rates:

  • Private trip
    Full Day Trip
      FREE Cancelation 3 days notice
    8 hours trip, starts at 6:00 AM
    Seasonal trip available 30 Apr - 1 Nov
    $1,280
    up to 4 persons
    Any serious angler will just love spending a full day on the water. With this 8-hour trip, you'll get to experience the best that Destin has to offer. Troll for game fish in the deeper waters, or bottom fish the reefs and wrecks for a range of delicious and exciting fish. From Kingfish to Snappers, Groupers and Amberjacks – these waters have it all. Beginners are welcome too, with the captain at hand to help anyone land their first catch.
  • Private trip
    3/4 Day Trip
      FREE Cancelation 3 days notice
    6 hours trip, starts at 6:00 AM
    Seasonal trip available 1 May - 31 Oct
    $960
    up to 4 persons
    You decide what you want to do. The beauty of a 6-hour trip is that it gives you the flexibility to decide what you want to do. You can head out into the Gulf and troll for King Mackerel, or stay in the nearshore waters and bottom fish the reefs and wrecks for beautiful, thrilling, and delicious Snappers, Groupers, Amberjacks, and many more.
  • Private trip
    3/4 Day trip Afternoon
      FREE Cancelation 3 days notice
    6 hours trip, starts at 1:00 PM
    $960
    up to 4 persons
    You decide what you want to do. The beauty of a 6-hour trip is that it gives you the flexibility to decide what you want to do. You can head out into the Gulf and troll for King Mackerel, or stay in the nearshore waters and bottom fish the reefs and wrecks for beautiful, thrilling, and delicious Snappers, Groupers, Amberjacks, and many more.
  • Private trip
    5 hour Afternoon
      FREE Cancelation 3 days notice
    5 hours trip, starts at 1:00 PM
    $800
    up to 4 persons
    You decide what you want to do. The beauty of a 5-hour trip is that it gives you the flexibility to decide what you want to do. You can head out into the Gulf and troll for King Mackerel, or stay in the nearshore waters and bottom fish the reefs and wrecks for beautiful, thrilling, and delicious Snappers, Groupers, Amberjacks, and many more.
  • Private trip
    Half Day Trip (PM)
      FREE Cancelation 3 days notice
    4 hours trip, starts at 1:30 PM
    Seasonal trip available 1 May - 31 Oct
    $640
    up to 4 persons
    Get out on the Gulf on this afternoon trip. You'll set up some trolling lines, targeting exciting and delicious Kingfish. These prized species are famous all over the Gulf and you'll need to bring your A-game if you want to fill the boat, and your fridge on this 4-hour trip.
  • Private trip
    3 Hour Trip – Kids Fun (PM)
      FREE Cancelation 3 days notice
    3 hours trip, starts at 1:30 PM
    $480
    up to 4 persons
    This is just a fun trip with kids in mind. Take your kids out on the water and get them hooked on fishing!! We will teach them how to fish in a fun environment in the calm waters of Choctawhatchee Bay. (sometimes in the gulf if the waters are calm) This is mainly a catch and release trip but if we catch something you can eat I will filet it and you can take it home for dinner!!
There are 6 people looking at this charter.

About the Captain

Mike Dates
Destin, Florida, United States
Angler's Choice
72 Customer Reviews
Response time 1 hour
Member since September 2014
Mike has been a USCG-licensed Captain since 2002, but he's fished the waters of Destin since 1969. A true native to the area and he just can't get enough of the beautiful village and her incredible fishery. He will work tirelessly to put you on the fish, and employ his wealth of knowledge and experience on every trip he runs. On a personal note, I love this business because I get to meet some really great people everyday and I feel relaxed and at home on the water. Start out as a client, end the trip as a friend.

About this listing

Targeted Species

Amberjack Amberjack
Cobia Cobia
Grouper (Black) Grouper (Black)
Grouper (Gag) Grouper (Gag)
King Mackerel (Kingfish) King Mackerel (Kingfish)
Redfish Redfish
Sailfish Sailfish
Sheepshead Sheepshead
Snapper (Red) Snapper (Red)
Spanish Mackerel Spanish Mackerel
Tarpon Tarpon
Triggerfish (Gray) Triggerfish (Gray)

Boat Specs

Cape Horn (Center console) originally built in 2000, and restored in 2016. Powered by a 225HP Yamaha engine, with a maximum cruising speed of 35 knots.

Length
20 ft
Capacity
4 persons

Types of Fishing

Inshore Fishing
Nearshore Fishing
Offshore Fishing
Reef Fishing
Wreck Fishing
Flats Fishing
Backcountry Fishing

Fishing Techniques

Light Tackle
Heavy Tackle
Bottom Fishing
Trolling
Fly Fishing
Drift Fishing
Deep Sea Fishing

Amenities

GPS
Life Jackets
Fishfinder
Flybridge
Live Bait Well
GPS
Life Jackets
Fishfinder
Flybridge
Live Bait Well

Trip Includes

Rods, reels & tackle
Live Bait
Lures
Catch cleaning & filleting
Fishing License

Policies

FREE Cancelation
You can cancel or reschedule your booking up to 3 days before the trip. If the captain cannot run the trip due to unsafe weather conditions, your booking can be moved to another date or canceled free of charge.
Pickup not included
Transfer to/from departure site is not included in trip rates.
Child Friendly
You Keep Catch
Catch and Release Allowed

Payment

Book with 20% deposit
When the captain confirms your trip, FishingBooker charges your credit card a 20% deposit to guarantee your reservation.
Pay remaining balance to captain
The remaining balance is to be paid directly to the charter operator on or prior to your trip date in one of the following payment methods:
Cash
Visa
Mastercard
Checks

When paying the remaining balance with a credit card, there is a 5% fee.

Destin Fishing Calendar

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Customer Reviews

Rating Summary
Photos by reviewers (78)
4.90
out of 5 stars from 72 reviews
Boat
Crew
Experience
Fishing with Mike
Fishing with Mike
Fishing with Mike
+75
Angler Rating
68
4
0
0
0
Anglers Claimed
Good experience
97%
Friendly captain
100%
Recommend this charter
99%
Appropriate for children
97%
Satisfied with the boat
100%
Catch intended fish
86%
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Featured  
Showing:
5 of 72 reviews
Greg B.
Houston, TX
 5.00
Experience:
Boat
Crew
Overall

July fishing trip

VERIFIED   July 2, 2019
Great day. Afternoon fishing, captain Mike called and warned us of rough seas and other options for fishing.  We ended...
Greg B. recommends First Shot Charters
Mark as helpful
1 person finds this review helpful
You and 1 other person found this helpful
  Mike Dates Captain replied

Joe M.
Winder, GA
 5.00
Experience:
Boat
Crew
Overall

3 hour trip

VERIFIED   July 31, 2019
Captain Mike was great!  We planned this trip last minute and had to make some last minute changes..Captain Mike accommodated...
Joe M. recommends First Shot Charters
Mark as helpful
You found this helpful
  Mike Dates Captain replied

Dave W.
Cumming, GA
 5.00
Experience:
Boat
Crew
Overall

Fishing with Mike

VERIFIED   NEW  September 30, 2019
Captain Mike knows his craft.  He knows the Destin area, listened to us about what we wanted to do, and helped us land...
Dave W. recommends First Shot Charters
Mark as helpful
You found this helpful
  Mike Dates Captain replied

Adam F.
United States
 5.00
Experience:
Boat
Crew
Overall

3/4 Day Trip with Capt Mike

VERIFIED   June 26, 2019
If you want to fish, then First Shot with Capt Mike at the helm is your trip. Mike worked hard to keep us on and targeting...
Adam F. recommends First Shot Charters
Mark as helpful
You found this helpful
  Mike Dates Captain replied

John K.
Lubbock, TX
 5.00
Experience:
Boat
Crew
Overall

Day trip with Captain Mike

VERIFIED   June 22, 2019
We did a small 2hr trip for my 5yr old son to see if he would like fishing from a boat. He loved it, Captain Mike was extremely...
John K. recommends First Shot Charters
Mark as helpful
1 person finds this review helpful
You and 1 other person found this helpful
  Mike Dates Captain replied

Weather Protection
Weather Protection
Canceled due to bad weather? We'll help reschedule or refund.
Best Price Guarantee
Best Price Guarantee
Found the same trip for less? We'll refund the difference!
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