Catch the Excitement of the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village.
Vacationers don’t just come to the Heart of Florida’s Emerald Coast for the sugar-white sand and the Emerald waters. They come to catch red snapper, white trout and blue marlin. From the depths of the breathtaking Gulf of Mexico to the sleepy bayous, beautiful lakes and pristine waters of the Choctawhatchee Bay, there is an abundance of fish to be caught here.
Comprised of Okaloosa Island, Fort Walton and Destin, the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village,” anglers have felt the tug of the Emerald Coast for decades. Bill Dance, host of the popular television show Bill Dance Outdoors, said, “Any saltwater fisherman that really knows his business can tell you that Destin on the Emerald Coast is the quickest deep-water access on the Gulf of Mexico.” But it isn’t just speed that impressed Dance. It’s the fishing itself. The famous angler admitted, “If you’re like me, you’ll find it impossible to visit this beautiful and productive fishery without returning again and again and again. I know I plan to do just that – forever!”
The Emerald Coast is the place to go for chartered fishing trips, party boat fishing and guided bay trips. Drop a line into the Choctawhatchee Bay, or cast from the East Pass finger jetties or local sandy shores, and you may reel in speckled trout, red drum, Spanish mackerel, white trout, redfish or sheepshead. The Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier stretches 1,200 feet into the Gulf of Mexico, is lighted for night fishing and is known to shelter 100-pound tarpon.
Deep-sea fishing is another specialty of the Emerald Coast. Red snapper, grouper, triggerfish, scamp, Warsaw grouper and amberjack can be caught offshore by trolling or bottom fishing. The offshore shelf dips straight from Destin’s East Pass to 100-foot depths within 10 miles. Far offshore, trollers can find big game such as white and blue marlin, wahoo and sailfish. Some charters specialize in shark fishing as well. Charter boats also troll near the shore, where you can catch cobia, blackfin tuna, king mackerel, bluefish, barracuda and Spanish mackerel. Prices vary by trip and/or boat, and some prices include bait and tackle.
From the Water to the Platter: the Gulf to Table Experience
Where there is great fishing, there are usually great seafood restaurants and the Emerald Coast is no exception. Here you’ll find cuisine that is both inventive and delicious. From rustic oyster bars and open-air cafes to candlelit restaurants, all our local eateries offer the freshest, largest variety of Gulf to Table seafood.
The only thing more thrilling than having a big fish on the end of your line is having that same fish on the end of your fork, prepared for you that same day by a top chef. Many restaurants along the Emerald Coast will take your cleaned fish, prepare it for you any way you like it and serve it up with your favorite sides. You can drop your catch off at the restaurant earlier in the day or have it taken to the kitchen while you make your way to your table. For a listing of restaurants that participate in the “You Catch it, We’ll Cook It” program, visit emeraldcoasting.com.
From September 30 to October 2, 2016, join us for the 38th Annual Destin Seafood Festival, three days of fresh Gulf to Table seafood, free rockin’ entertainment and family fun at Destin Harbor.
And the legendary Destin Fishing Rodeo begins October 1st and lasts all month long. Anglers from all over the country compete in more than 30 different categories for more than $100,000 in prizes.
Don’t let your fishing trip to the Emerald Coast be the one that got away. Start planning your adventure by watching a Gulf to Table video at emeraldcoastfl.com/gulf-to-table While there, request your free Gulf to Table Eating and Fishing Guide.