Deep Sea Fishing in Destin, FL
Famous as ‘The World’s Luckiest Fishing Village,’ it's no surprise that the deep sea fishing Destin has on its doorstep is something special. This is one of the closest ports to blue water in the Gulf of Mexico, and the 150 strong charter boat fleet is primed and ready to show you what lies beneath the surface.
Destin charter boats might be famous for bottom fishing for Red Snapper, but go on a deep sea fishing trip and you’ll find that there’s a lot more to be done in these parts. Whether it’s deep dropping for Golden Tilefish, Snowy Groupers, and Yellow Edge Groupers, getting out the LEDs and glow sticks for deep water Swordfish, or trolling for pelagics, this is some of the most exciting deep sea fishing you can find... well, pretty much anywhere.
Top Fishing Hotspots
Bring up the topic of offshore fishing in Destin and you’ll hear ‘The Edge’ dropping into the conversation pretty early on. This refers to the edge of the Continental Shelf, which comes closer to this part of the Panhandle than anywhere else in the Gulf of Mexico. You thought Destin's impressive fish counts were down to luck alone? Think again.
It's here that the sea floor starts to get deep enough to be interesting. With depths of 180-300 ft of water and plenty of rocky outcrops, this is a paradise for the bottom fish that have made Destin famous. Big Red Snapper, Grouper, and Amberjack regularly find their way onto boats here. Dolphin (Mahi Mahi), Cobia, King Mackerel, Blackfin Tuna, and even the occasional Wahoo and Sailfish join them in the summer. All this, just around 20 miles from the coast.
100 Fathom Curve
If your sights are set on true deep water fishing, you need to travel beyond the 100 fathom curve. Here, waters drop to below 600 ft, where Blue Marlin, Mahi, Tuna, and Wahoo hunt around fishing hotspots such as the Nipple and the Elbow. This will require traveling at least 42 nautical miles, but if you have the time and the engine power, it’s a no brainer. Being one of the best places in the Gulf to catch a Billfish at certain times of year, it’s no wonder that the most seasoned captains in Destin believe this is where local deep sea fishing begins for real.
The Spur, the DeSoto Canyon, and Beyond
Go 50 plus miles offshore from Destin, and you’ll find yourself fishing waters well over 1000 ft deep. The action gets really hot at The Spur. Go 60 miles from the coast, and you’ll be fishing above the northern tip of the DeSoto Canyon. Here, you can expect 24 hour fishing action, with big game fish such as White and Blue Marlin in the day and Broadbill Swordfish at night. Travel 150 miles offshore, and the waters get to over 5000 ft deep. Yes, it’s a long old run, but it can be more than worth it.
Charter Fishing Options
In order to get the best out of deep sea fishing in Destin, you should be looking at trips lasting at least 10 hours. Almost all local deep sea fishing charters offer longer trips as well, with anything from 12 to 48 hour trips coming under their list of options. Of course, the longer the trip, the better your potential catch, although we recommend only going for 10+ hour trips if you have been fishing a few times before.
The distance you can travel depends on the boat, but 24 hour trips can get you fishing the DeSoto Canyon, while 2 day trips can see you fishing anywhere from 70 - 150 miles offshore. 3 day trips can take you to the offshore oil rigs, where you will be fishing in 5000 ft of water for huge Yellowfin Tuna as well as Billfish.
Most private charters will offer a combination of bottom fishing and trolling. The price of 8-hour full day trips usually starts around $1500 for an offshore boat, reaching about $2500 for 12 hours and around $3000 per day for multiday trips.
Commonly understood to be the cheapest option for traveling anglers, most Destin ‘deep sea fishing’ party boats will actually be fishing no further than about 20 miles offshore. While this can be a fun introductory experience to fishing the Panhandle, private charters are a better option for people who are looking for the top quality fishing experience. That said, these trips can result in catches of Mahi Mahi, Wahoo, Blackfin Tuna, as well as the poster child of Destin fishing — the Red Snapper.
When To Go
While there’s something worth catching in the Gulf of Mexico all year round, deep sea fishing trips are much more likely to be rescheduled due to weather conditions than other packages. This can make winter trips harder to schedule than summer ones.
There’s a good bite from Swordfish, Tilefish, and large Groupers all year round. If your heart is set on pelagics, April to October is the main fishing season. June-July can be a great time to fish for Wahoo, Tuna, Mahi, and Sailfish around floating weeds around the spur, while White and Blue Marlin peak in September.
Come in October, and you can be witness to the famous Destin Fishing Rodeo—this is something every serious saltwater angler should experience at least in their lifetime!
Top Targeted Deep Sea Fishing Species in Destin
- Size 5 to 20lbs
- Food Value Excellent
- Game Qualities Good
- Habitats Nearshore, Offshore, Reef, Wreck
What People Are Saying About Deep Sea Fishing in Destin
"Best trip ever"
Nick Mcjimsey fished with Just B Cause Charters on September 10, 2018
I have been on over a dozen deep sea charter trips over the past few years. This trip with the JustBcuase was by far the best I’ve ever been on. The captain kept all 7 of us busy on fish all day. Couldn’t of asked for a better trip. Highly recommended charter !!!
"Full day 8hr trip with Captain Mike"
Anh Dao fished with Mighty Fine Charters on August 19, 2018
This was our first time deep sea fishing, and we couldnt ask for a better trip! Captain and Crew member nick was very accommodating and knowledgeable of the sea! We have hit up many of their spot and fish keep on coming nonstop! Please if this is your first trip, book it with them and you won’t be disappointed!! Will absolutely book them again but next time we will try 12 hrs!
"Great 6 hr trip with Chris! "
Robert Lee fished with One of a Kind Charter Fishing on August 10, 2018
So glad we chose this company to do our deep sea fishing! We had an awesome time and caught a great amount of fish. We even caught a beautiful amberjack! Definitely going to use them again next year. The boat was pristine and the captain and 1st mate were extremely helpful the whole time.
Top Deep Sea Fishing Charters in Destin
My Chance Charters
Destin • 30 ft • 6 persons
trips from US$ 600
Emerald Coast Anglers
Destin • 22 ft • 4 persons
trips from US$ 425
Mighty Fine Charters
Destin • 50 ft • 14 persons
trips from US$ 800
Charter Boat Into the Blue
Destin • 46 ft • 6 persons
trips from US$ 800
Shamrock II Charters
Destin • 45 ft • 17 persons
trips from US$ 510
Destin • 33 ft • 6 persons
trips from US$ 850
Hackers Charter Co
Destin • 25 ft • 6 persons
trips from US$ 700
Championship Offshore Outfitting And Charters
Destin • 42 ft • 6 persons
trips from US$ 740