First Shot Charters

Will luck shine on you in the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village?” Join First Shot Charters and come see for yourself. 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.

You’ll test your luck aboard the First Shot, a 20’ Cape Horn center console that can fit up to 4 passengers per trip. The First Shot crew primarily uses live bait, but they can accommodate fly and artificial fishermen as well.

All the equipment will be ready for you on board. The supplies necessary to clean the fish will be provided as well, 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, Capt. 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, and Triggerfish, depending on the season. The bayside 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. Join First Shot Charters and have your own slice of fishing heaven in Destin!



Select date to see available trips and rates:

  • Private trip
    8 Hour Trip
    FREE Cancellation 3 days notice
    8 Hour Trip, starts at 6:00 AM
    $1,400
    price breakdown
    $1,400
    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 (AM)
    FREE Cancellation 3 days notice
    6 Hour Trip, starts at 6:00 AM
    $1,050
    price breakdown
    $1,050
    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 (PM)
    FREE Cancellation 3 days notice
    6 Hour Trip, starts at 1:00 PM
    $1,050
    price breakdown
    $1,050
    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 Trip (PM)
    FREE Cancellation 3 days notice
    5 Hour Trip, starts at 1:00 PM
    $875
    price breakdown
    $875
    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
    4 Hour Trip (PM)
    FREE Cancellation 3 days notice
    4 Hour Trip, starts at 1:30 PM
    $700
    price breakdown
    $700
    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 Cancellation 3 days notice
    3 Hour Trip, starts at 1:30 PM
    $525
    price breakdown
    $525
    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 12 people looking at this charter.

About the Captain

Mike Dates
Destin, Florida, United States
Angler's Choice
ID & License verified
86 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

Cancellation Policy

Free cancellation up to 3 days prior to trip

Customers can cancel or modify their booking up to 3 days before the trip date free of charge. If the trip is canceled or modified later, or in the event of a no-show, 100% of the deposit will be charged.

Listing Policies

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 (87)
4.88
out of 5 stars from 86 reviews
Boat
Crew
Experience
Captain is a great guy..
Captain is a great guy..
Captain is a great guy..
+84
Angler Rating
80
6
0
0
0
Anglers Claimed
Good experience
96%
Friendly captain
100%
Recommend this charter
99%
Appropriate for children
98%
Satisfied with the boat
98%
Catch intended fish
84%
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Showing:
5 of 86 reviews
Jason R.
Houston, TX
 4.67
Experience:
Boat
Crew
Overall

Half day trip

VERIFIED   3 Hour Trip – Kids Fun (PM) on August 27, 2020
Captain Mike was excellent with my son. We just got into fishing, so my son asked lots of questions. He took the time to answer...
Jason R. recommends First Shot Charters
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Emir S.
Houston, TX
 5.00
Experience:
Boat
Crew
Overall

Captain is a great guy..

VERIFIED   3 Hour Trip – Kids Fun (PM) on September 30, 2020
Captain Mike went above and beyond to make our boys remember this trip.. We caught several different fishes and also we had...
Emir S. recommends First Shot Charters
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Emir S. recommends First Shot Charters
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Justin B.
Reevesville, SC
 5.00
Experience:
Boat
Crew
Overall

August fishing trip

VERIFIED   3/4 Day Trip (AM) on August 5, 2020
We had a great time with Captain Mike! Such a cool laid back yet knowledgeable guy. He went above and beyond to give us a great...
Justin B. recommends First Shot Charters
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Justin B. recommends First Shot Charters
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Adam M.
Freeburg, IL
 5.00
Experience:
Boat
Crew
Overall

Kids fishing extravaganza!

VERIFIED   3 Hour Trip – Kids Fun (PM) on June 17, 2020
Had a great afternoon with captain mike. He was very accommodating and clearly knew the waters and his boat. My son had a great...
Adam M. recommends First Shot Charters
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Adam M. recommends First Shot Charters
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Ray G.
Brentwood, TN
 5.00
Experience:
Boat
Crew
Overall

Spanish Mackerel Boatload!

VERIFIED   4 Hour Trip (PM) on March 19, 2020
My son (9) and I had a wonderful trip with Captain Mike!  Our enjoyment and happiness were always first on his mind. ...
Ray G. recommends First Shot Charters
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Ray G. recommends First Shot Charters
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