The Luckiest Fishing Village in the World - Destin, FL

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April 2015
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By
Drew
Poland

Located along Florida's famed Emerald Coast between Fort Walton Beach and Miramar Beach, Destin, Florida, is a vacation jewel known for its sugar-white sand beaches and emerald-green water of the Gulf of Mexico. With a variety of backwater, inshore, near-shore, beach and offshore fishing opportunities, Destin is home to Florida's largest fishing vessel fleet and is nicknamed The Luckiest Fishing Village in the World.

The summer tourist season offers excellent fishing though the cooler weather during spring provides some of the best fishing of the year. The backwaters and coves of Choctawatchee Bay yield redfish, trout, flounder, small jacks and sharks for light-tackle fanatics, while tasty bottom dwellers including several species of snapper, grouper and jacks are common in the Gulf of Mexico. Sight casting, where a spotter perched in a tower can see big cobia along the beaches, is a popular technique for that species. Trolling inshore waters yield catches of speedy wahoo and king mackerel, high-flying dolphin and small tuna, while offshore look for tailwalking billfish, including sailfish, white marlin and blue marlin, plus dolphin, wahoo, swordfish and barrel-sized yellowfin tuna.

Tackle Tip Label Your Reels

If you own multiple light-tackle outfits with the same model reel, consider spooling each reel with a different pound-test line to adapt to different techniques and changing conditions. Today's micro-thin diameter lines, especially braids, make it difficult to distinguish one pound-test line from another, and even the same pound-test line from several manufacturers will vary in diameter. After packing the reel, use an office-type label maker to label the spool/reel to indicate the pound-test line.

Where to Dock/Anchor

Located in the heart of the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort in Destin you'll find Baytowne Marina (850-267-7773, sandestin.com), a full-service marina boasting 113 slips, accommodating vessels up to 140 feet. Onsite gas and diesel fuel are available, as is a pump-out station. The friendly and knowledgeable marina staff provides personal concierge service, including arranging golf tee times, restaurant reservations, tram service, and help with pointing guests in the direction when seeking things to do ashore. Golf cart rentals are available exclusively for marina guests. There are well over two dozen restaurants nearby, including casual dining, dinner cruises and fine dining where you can enjoy a spectacular breakfast, lunch or dinner. From Baytowne Marina, it's a short drive to world-class golf, tennis, shopping, fabulous dining and local historical and cultural sights. Additionally, Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort is the only Destin-area resort situated on both the Intracoastal Waterway and the Gulf of Mexico.

Marbella Yacht Club offers short- and long-term transient slips for vessels up to 70 feet. Amenities include 30 and 50 amp shore power, secure parking, a fish cleaning station, restroom and shower facilities and WiFi. Marbella Yacht Club also includes a swimming pool, hot tub, fitness facility, lobby and meeting room.

Crab Island provides an option away from fishing, where you can anchor and spend the day swimming and snorkeling and frolicking on a huge water trampoline. Depths around Crab Island range from two to ten feet depending on where you anchor. During the season, there is a restaurant/snack barge selling hamburgers and fast food, steamed shrimp, boiled peanuts and ice cream. HarborWalk Village offers activities and entertainment sure to please every member of the family regardless of age. Here you can find waterfront shopping, paddle board and kayak rentals, pontoon and jet ski rentals, parasailing, glass-bottom boats, pirate ship excursions, dolphin cruises, clubs and nightlife, weekly fireworks, weekly Fat Tuesday parades, live entertainment and an array of restaurants to satisfy all palates.

Guides and Charters

The Lil' Lucky of Destin (850-699-2286) charter fishing company is located at Baytowne Marina and specializes in fishing the shallow back bays and skinny water grass flats of Choctawhatchee Bay. Their boats are rigged for light-tackle fishing for redfish and speckled trout with live bait or artificial lures. Night Fishing and Fly Fishing Charters are also available.

PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT

FIN-NOR LETHAL: Fin-Nor's new Lethal features their Megadrag system and overbuilt construction for superior durability plus their Megashield corrosion protection. Ultra-tough durability through an oversized stainless steel drive gear and pinion gear pick up line quickly when utilizing the speedy 6.1:1 or 6.2:1 ratios, or lots of cranking power when in 3.0:1 retrieve on the two-speed models. Lethal is available in three sizes, in both a single and two-speed version, including the LTL16, LTL 20 and LTL30 models. More Information Here.

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