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
    3 Hour Trip – Kids Fun (PM)
    FREE Cancellation 3 days notice
    3 Hour Trip, starts at 1:30 PM
    $650
    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!!
  • Private trip
    4 Hour Trip (AM)
    FREE Cancellation 3 days notice
    4 Hour Trip, starts at 6:00 AM
    Seasonal trip Oct 1 - May 15
    $800
    Catch the early bite and spend the morning fishing the bay or the Gulf. In the bay, you'll get to target species such as Redfish, Trout, and Grouper. If you head out a bit further, you'll get to do some trolling for Kingfish, Spanish Mackerel, and more.
  • Private trip
    4 Hour Trip (PM)
    FREE Cancellation 3 days notice
    4 Hour Trip, starts at 1:30 PM
    $800
    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
    3/4 Day Trip (AM)
    FREE Cancellation 3 days notice
    6 Hour Trip, starts at 6:00 AM
    $1,200
    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
    8 Hour Trip
    FREE Cancellation 3 days notice
    8 Hour Trip, starts at 6:00 AM
    $1,600
    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.
There are 24 people looking at this charter.

About the Captain

Mike Dates
Destin, Florida, United States
ID & License verified
153 Customer reviews
Response time 1 hour
Member since September 2014
Angler's Choice
The Angler's Choice Award is given to listings that consistently deliver a high-quality service and earn great reviews from customers.
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) Black Grouper
Grouper (Gag) Gag Grouper

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
9 miles
Reef Fishing
Wreck Fishing
Flats Fishing
Backcountry Fishing

Fishing techniques

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

Amenities

GPS
Fishfinder
Sidescan and structure scan
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

You can cancel or modify your booking up to 3 days days before the trip date, free of charge. If you cancel or modify your booking later, or fail to show up, you'll forfeit 100% of what you've paid.

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 15% deposit, pay rest to captain

When the captain confirms your trip, FishingBooker charges your credit card a 15% deposit to guarantee your reservation.

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, an additional 5% charge will apply.

Destin Fishing Calendar

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Customer reviews

Rating Summary
Excellent
4.9 / 5
out of 5 stars from 153 reviews
Boat
Excellent
4.8 / 5
Crew
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Experience
Excellent
4.9 / 5
Photos & videos by reviewers (160)
6 hr trip with captain Mike
6 hr trip with captain Mike
6 hr trip with captain Mike
+157
Angler Rating
143
8
1
0
0
Anglers Claimed
Good experience
97%
Friendly captain
100%
Recommend this charter
98%
Appropriate for children
96%
Satisfied with the boat
98%
Catch intended fish
89%
Sort By:
Featured  
Showing:
5 of 153 reviews
Jeremy W.
Oak Ridge, Tennessee
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Experience:
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Boat
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Crew
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Overall

6 hr trip with captain Mike

VERIFIED   3/4 Day Trip (AM) on October 14, 2022
I have been fishing the gulf during different times of the year, from the bay to 80 miles offshore every year since I was 14...
Jeremy W. recommends First Shot Charters
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Jeremy W. recommends First Shot Charters
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Kameron G.
Sioux Center, IA
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Experience:
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Boat
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Crew
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Overall

Morning 4 Hour Trip w/ Captain Mike!

VERIFIED   4 Hour Trip (AM) on April 10, 2022
My brother & I had a perfect fishing trip first thing in the morning with Captain Mike! We stopped at our first spot to catch...
Kameron G. recommends First Shot Charters
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Kameron G. recommends First Shot Charters
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Rick U.
Hixson, Tennessee
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Experience:
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Boat
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Crew
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Overall

6 Hour trip with Captain Mike

VERIFIED   3/4 Day Trip (AM) on April 1, 2022
We booked a 6-hour morning trip with Captain Mike.  He was honest with us when we contacted him early in the week letting...
Rick U. recommends First Shot Charters
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  Mike Dates Captain replied

Dustin H.
Atlanta, Georgia
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Experience:
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Boat
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Crew
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Overall

On the water with Captain Mike

VERIFIED   8 Hour Trip on August 4, 2022
We had an eventful day on the water. We started off good but the trip was cut short due to weather conditions and rough waves....
Dustin H. recommends First Shot Charters
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Dustin H. recommends First Shot Charters
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Nathan M.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Experience:
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Boat
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Crew
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Overall

Morning, October 8th, a 6hr tour.

VERIFIED   3/4 Day Trip (AM) on October 8, 2022
Excellent day on the water. Capt Mike has his boat kitted out with whatever is needed. He has the local knowledge and experience...
Nathan M. recommends First Shot Charters
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Nathan M. recommends First Shot Charters
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FAQs about First Shot Charters

First Shot Charters offers the following trips to customers:
  • $650 per group - 3 Hour Trip – Kids Fun (PM) (3 hours)
  • $800 per group - 4 Hour Trip (AM) (4 hours)
  • $800 per group - 4 Hour Trip (PM) (4 hours)
  • $1,200 per group - 3/4 Day Trip (AM) (6 hours)
  • $1,600 per group - 8 Hour Trip (8 hours)

When you book a trip with First Shot Charters, you can expect the following amenities onboard:
  • GPS
  • Fishfinder Sidescan and structure scan
  • Flybridge
  • Live Bait Well

Trips booked with First Shot Charters include:
  • Rods, reels & tackle
  • Live Bait
  • Lures
  • Catch cleaning & filleting
  • Fishing License

First Shot Charters offers the following types of fishing:
  • Inshore Fishing
  • Nearshore Fishing
  • Offshore Fishing (9 miles)
  • Reef Fishing
  • Wreck Fishing
  • Flats Fishing
  • Backcountry Fishing

First Shot Charters offers the following fishing techniques:
  • Light Tackle
  • Heavy Tackle
  • Bottom Fishing
  • Trolling
  • Spinning
  • Fly Fishing
  • Drift Fishing
  • Deep Sea Fishing

Top targeted fish species with First Shot Charters include:
  • Amberjack
  • Cobia
  • Grouper (Black)
  • Grouper (Gag)
  • King Mackerel (Kingfish)
  • Redfish
  • Sailfish
  • Sheepshead
  • Snapper (Red)
  • Spanish Mackerel
  • Tarpon
  • Triggerfish (Gray)