You don’t have to venture far to find some of the best fishing in Destin, Florida so perhaps that why it has held its reputation as the “world’s luckiest fishing village” for so long. While offshore charters are always an option, Destin, Florida inshore fishing holds some of the best opportunities for anglers. What’s even better is that the best fishing spots in Destin are easy to access from the bridges, piers, bays, and harbors.
For a head’s up on where to go and to find out what’s biting during the time of your visit, stop by one of the local bait and tackle shops where you can pick up insider information on the current conditions and productive spots.
Start by purchasing a valid Florida fishing license and get ready for some fun outings on the waters of Destin, Florida.
Okaloosa Island Pier
One of the best places to fish in Destin is the Okaloosa Island Pier. It is easily accessible, offers fantastic fishing and it has public amenities nearby including a restaurant with great ocean views for lunch. The 1,262-foot-long pier stretches out into the Gulf of Mexico where you can almost see what you’re catching in the clear water below. Destin pier fishing lets you cast your line to try for black fin tuna, ladyfish, Spanish mackerel, whiting and redfish. The pier requires a day fishing pass that you can pick up on-site along with tackle and bait. They even have rods and reels available for rent.
Some of the best Destin, Florida inshore fishing happens right from the beach. Rig up your surf rod with proper tackle and bait like sand fleas (that you can dig up in the wet sand), live shrimp, or fish bites that you can buy from a local tackle shop. From the surf you are likely to catch pompano, redfish, whiting, bluefish, black drum, and ladyfish. The two important things to keep in mind when surf fishing is to stay away from swimmers and the be mindful of the tide. You will want to review the daily tide charts and fish on either side of the changing tide when fish are feeding and on the move in the surf.
The East Jetty
Anglers who don’t mind a little bit of a trek will enjoy fishing from the East Jetty. It is the more accessible of the two jetties where you can fish in Destin but that said, there are large and sometimes slick boulders to navigate. The East Jetty is one of the best places to fish in Destin because you get front-row access to the fish action during the changing tides in the east pass. Food moves quickly through this condensed area stirring fish into a frenzy attracting flounder, bluefish, mackerel, redfish and more. You want to come prepared to this spot with plenty of bait, tackle, a net, proper clothing layers for the changing winds and sturdy footwear.
Destin inshore fishing doesn’t get better than Choctawhatchee Bay. The bay is characterized by a mix of freshwater and saltwater making for a fun variety of fish to catch. This is a great spot to target speckled trout, redfish, bull red drum, grouper, Spanish mackerel, flounder, and striped bass. Besides a mix of water and tides, Choctawhatchee Bay has plenty of structure to fish as they often congregate near bridge pylons, docks, shipwrecks, and artificial reefs. The bay has nearly 30 miles of fishable water. If you are new to the area you might want to hire an inshore charter guide that can get you to some of the best spots in the bay more easily.
If you have a kayak, you should cast a line in Destin Harbor which has some of the best inshore fishing in the area. Destin Harbor has a drop-off and oyster reefs that attract a variety of fish including redfish, black drum, pinfish, flounder, Spanish mackerel, and bluefish. Kayak fishing in the harbor can get you close to the edges, and you can easily maneuver around docks and other spots where there are fish. A bonus to fishing in Destin Harbor is the opportunity see pods of dolphins that frequently swim through the area.