Fort Walton Beach deep sea fishing will have you spoiled for choice. If you want to experience the best of Florida’s Panhandle fishing, you should head straight offshore into the Gulf of Mexico. These fisheries put to the test even the most experienced angler and are home to some of the most brutal game fish. Marlin, Yellowfin Tuna, Sailfish, Wahoo, and Mahi forage the pelagic waters. Hundreds of feet down, the seafloor holds untold schools of Amberjack, Grouper, Snapper, and Swordfish.

What to catch and where to find it

Some months are more productive than others, but once you make it past the 20-mile mark, you arrive at a battleground with never-ending action.

Just 30 miles from the coast, the continental shelf plummets to impressive depths at the area known as The Edge. Here you can expect to reel in King Mackerel, Mahi, and Blackfin Tuna. Come summer and these waters will light up with the Wahoo and Sailfish bite. And when the Snapper season is open, you’ll be able to fill the freezers and grace your table with a rich meal. You should be aware that the The Edges are closed to all forms of fishing from 1 January until 30 April each year to help preserve Grouper. But come May, you’ll have an impressive array of fish to grapple with.

You can wet your lines and get an amazing catch if you troll around Madison, Swanson, and Steamboat Lumps. These waters are open only for surface trolling, from May to October. You might not get bread-and-butter fish here, but you will have your line smashed by Mahi, Wahoo, Tuna, Marlin, and Sailfish.

Move further out and you’ll be well rewarded by oil rigs and Bluewater fisheries. Oil rigs are scattered around the Gulf and are a shortcut to game fishing from heaven. Marlin, Swordfish, Mahi, Wahoo, Yellowfin Tuna, and Snapper.

De Soto Canyon is the final frontier for Fort Walton Beach deep sea charters. The area produces amazing big game fishing as you can get Blue and White Marlin, Swordfish, Sailfish, and Yellowfin Tuna. Previously thought to be 300 ft deep, the area’s untapped potential was discovered in the early 2000’s when a team of researchers concluded that this network of reefs and wrecks is more extensive. So extensive that at some parts it plunges 6,000 ft below the sea surface. Talk about fishing paradise -- Fort Walton Beach has it.

How to get the fish

You’ll spend most of your time trolling as that can get you a lot of fish in less time. You will cover a greater area and spread the lines nicely to avoid tangling. Most charter captains will use artificial baits and lures as the distance you need to cover isn’t suitable for live bait. You’ll adjust the speed depending on the species you want to catch, lures you use, and choppiness of the sea. Skirted lures are effective for Marlin -- rig them up with circle hooks and you’ll have reliable trolling lures. To get Tuna, prepare 80-pound gear and use the standard ‘V’ pattern that you will drag behind the boat.

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Top Targeted Deep Sea Fishing Species in Fort Walton Beach

Snapper (Red)

Amberjack

Dolphin (Mahi Mahi)

Wahoo

What People Are Saying About Deep Sea Fishing in Fort Walton Beach

"First deep sea fishing trip! "

fished with Destin Fishing Outfitters on March 9, 2018

This was my first time deep sea fishing! My husband and I had a blast. Captain Zach couldn’t have been better! We caught a ton of fish and just had a blast being on the water. Thank you again captain Zach. Next time we’ll book a full day trip!

"Fishing with Mike"

Carol Fultz fished with Salty Dawgz’ Deep Sea Charters on June 26, 2017

This was our first deep sea charter. Group consisted of my husband, 3 teenage boys, and myself. We truly enjoyed the experience. Mike and Jesse were both very informative and friendly. We would definitely book with them again should we return to the area. I think I have a grandson that would like to become a deckhand now!

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