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
    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
    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
    4 Hour Trip (AM)
    FREE Cancellation 3 days notice
    4 Hour Trip, starts at 6:00 AM
    Seasonal trip Oct 1 - May 15
    $750
    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
    $750
    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
    $600
    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
128 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) Black Grouper
Grouper (Gag) Gag Grouper

King Mackerel (Kingfish) King Mackerel (Kingfish)
Redfish Redfish
Sailfish Sailfish
Sheepshead Sheepshead

Snapper (Red) Red Snapper
Spanish Mackerel Spanish Mackerel
Tarpon Tarpon
Triggerfish (Gray) Gray Triggerfish

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
Fishfinder
Flybridge
Live Bait Well
GPS
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, an additional 5% charge will apply.

Destin Fishing Calendar

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Customer Reviews

Rating Summary
Photos & videos by reviewers (129)
4.9
Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent
out of 5 stars from 128 reviews
Boat
Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent
Crew
Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent
Experience
Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent
3 Hour Trip
3 Hour Trip
3 Hour Trip
+126
Angler Rating
119
8
0
0
0
Anglers Claimed
Good experience
97%
Friendly captain
100%
Recommend this charter
98%
Appropriate for children
99%
Satisfied with the boat
99%
Catch intended fish
90%
Sort By:
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Showing:
5 of 128 reviews
Doug M.
Bixby, OK
Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent  5.0
Experience:
Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Boat
Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Crew
Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Overall

6hr trip. Highly recommend Capt. Mike. Kind…laid back

VERIFIED   3/4 Day Trip (AM) on July 26, 2021
About us:  I am a lifetime fisherman from Oklahoma, and all of my family have fished, but this was our first saltwater adventure....
Doug M. recommends First Shot Charters
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Doug M. recommends First Shot Charters
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Matt L.
Chattanooga, Tennessee
Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent  5.0
Experience:
Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Boat
Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Crew
Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Overall

6 Hour Bay Fishing Trip with Captain Mike

VERIFIED   3/4 Day Trip (AM) on June 21, 2021
We originally had scheduled an off shore fishing trip with Captain Mike for 6 hours. Unfortunately, we were not able to go...
Matt L. recommends First Shot Charters
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  Mike Dates Captain replied

Timothy V.
Sand Springs, OK
Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent  5.0
Experience:
Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Boat
Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Crew
Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Overall

6hr Trip With Captain Mike

VERIFIED   3/4 Day Trip (PM) on June 23, 2021
Captain Mike was a wonderful guide. He worked hard to get us our limit of Red Snapper . I had mentioned when I booked the trip...
Timothy V. recommends First Shot Charters
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Timothy V. recommends First Shot Charters
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Jordan C.
Winder, Georgia
Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent  5.0
Experience:
Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Boat
Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Crew
Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Overall

8 Hour Trip with Captain Mike

VERIFIED   8 Hour Trip on July 29, 2021
Captain Mike was awesome. He kept us on fish all day. This picture doesn’t do it justice. We were bringing them in all day....
Jordan C. recommends First Shot Charters
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Jordan C. recommends First Shot Charters
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Jeremy T.
Lawrenceburg, TN
Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent  5.0
Experience:
Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Boat
Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Crew
Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Overall

Great trip with Captain Mike

VERIFIED   3/4 Day Trip (AM) on August 25, 2021
We got delayed a bit by the weather but Mike kept me informed on what was going on and when we could leave.Mike is very knowledgeable...
Jeremy T. recommends First Shot Charters
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FAQs about First Shot Charters

First Shot Charters offers the following trips to customers:
  • $600 per group - 3 Hour Trip – Kids Fun (PM) (3 hours)
  • $750 per group - 4 Hour Trip (AM) (4 hours)
  • $750 per group - 4 Hour Trip (PM) (4 hours)
  • $1,050 per group - 3/4 Day Trip (AM) (6 hours)
  • $1,400 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
  • 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)