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Thread: Fishing Destin/Ft Walton area?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Stephens City, VA
    Posts
    69

    Default Fishing Destin/Ft Walton area?

    Maybe headed down in a few weeks for a few days with wife to visit her friend. Is it worth dragging my kayak or should I just charter a kayak guide for some good fishing? Thanks for any info or suggestions.
    2016 Hobie Outback Limited #220
    2016 Jackson Cuda 12
    2015 Emotion 11 Stealth Angler

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    Burke, VA
    Posts
    184

    Default

    1idrod, I lived in Destin for six years and know the area pretty well. Although I didn’t fish out of a kayak back then (I owned a power boat), I’m very familiar with the local waters. Three years ago, I was able to return to the area with my old Hobie Revo and enjoyed wetting a line on the Emerald Coast.

    To help answer your question, I would offer up these points:

    Q1: How many times do you plan to fish?

    A1: If you are only planning to get out on the water once or twice, I’d recommend leaving your kayak at home and hiring a personal kayak guide. If this is outside your budget, then jump on a “head boat” leaving from Destin harbor. The head boats are relatively inexpensive and their captains have some good numbers to put you on some quality reef fish. All tackle, bait, and sometimes lunch is provided by the charter boats. The rest of the time you can try your hand at surf or pier fishing.

    Q2: What kind of fishing do you want to do? Inshore or Offshore?

    A2: If you are hoping to do some offshore fishing in your kayak, your chances will depend heavily on the wind and sea state. What may seem like a mere 2-foot chop on some innocuous weather report, quickly makes for a miserable, maybe even dangerous, trip in a kayak on the open Gulf. That said, if the weather gods are smiling and you get a glassy Gulf, the chances of hooking up with Cobia, Kingfish or Amberjack are high. I recommend you check out some YouTube videos from folks in the area. Search for “Navarre Beach Kayak Fishing” to get some ideas and possibly hook up with a local yakker.

    A2.1: If you decide to stay inshore, Choctawatchee Bay is fantastic. You will easily get on ladyfish, trout, jacks, redfish, sheepshead, and many other species. A number of kayakers launch around White Point at the foot of the Mid-Bay Bridge. This area is directly across from new Destin (closer to SanDestin) where Bass Pro Shops is located.

    A2.2: If you happen to be military or a DoD ID card holder, then you can drive on base and gain access to a number of launch sites not accessible by the general public. Launching from Eglin AFB, Hurlburt Field, or Pensacola NAS puts you in waters where the fish are less pressured and the crowds are smaller.

    A2.3: If you really want to get away from it all and experience some undisturbed NW Florida scenery, then I suggest you put in at Black Creek in Walton County. Don't let the name fool you, Black Creek is as wide as a river. It is located on the far eastern side of Choctawatchee Bay. After a short paddle/pedal you will leave what little civilization there is at the boat ramp (Live Oak Landing) behind and quickly be amongst wild, undisturbed vegetation. I recommend bringing along a good GPS and a back-up map because there are many tributaries and offshoots to get lost in (think FL Keys mangrove maze). If you explore far enough, you will be rewarded with a frosty beverage at the local Harley hangout, The Outpost (where Black Creek Rd, goes over the creek).


    ….and one final suggestion: Take a break from fishing and surprise your wife by taking her for a drive down Hwy 30A to the town of Seaside. It’s in between Destin and Panama City. It’s quaint, full of cutesy boutique shops, art deco-colored beach homes, and overpriced seafood restaurants, but you will score HUGE brownie points with her.
    After you feel like the brownie points are in the bag, act surprised and announce you just found out there was a kayak shop down the road. [Yellowfin Ocean Sports, Seagrove Beach]

    I hope this helps.

    Let me know how your trip turns out.
    Last edited by baitball; 04-27-2017 at 01:34 AM. Reason: "pedal" not "peddle"
    -manny

    Hobie Outback
    Wilderness System 130T

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Stephens City, VA
    Posts
    69

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by baitball View Post
    1idrod, I lived in Destin for six years and know the area pretty well. Although I didn’t fish out of a kayak back then (I owned a power boat), I’m very familiar with the local waters. Three years ago, I was able to return to the area with my old Hobie Revo and enjoyed wetting a line on the Emerald Coast.

    To help answer your question, I would offer up these points:

    Q1: How many times do you plan to fish?

    A1: If you are only planning to get out on the water once or twice, I’d recommend leaving your kayak at home and hiring a personal kayak guide. If this is outside your budget, then jump on a “head boat” leaving from Destin harbor. The head boats are relatively inexpensive and their captains have some good numbers to put you on some quality reef fish. All tackle, bait, and sometimes lunch is provided by the charter boats. The rest of the time you can try your hand at surf or pier fishing.

    Q2: What kind of fishing do you want to do? Inshore or Offshore?

    A2: If you are hoping to do some offshore fishing in your kayak, your chances will depend heavily on the wind and sea state. What may seem like a mere 2-foot chop on some innocuous weather report, quickly makes for a miserable, maybe even dangerous, trip in a kayak on the open Gulf. That said, if the weather gods are smiling and you get a glassy Gulf, the chances of hooking up with Cobia, Kingfish or Amberjack are high. I recommend you check out some YouTube videos from folks in the area. Search for “Navarre Beach Kayak Fishing” to get some ideas and possibly hook up with a local yakker.

    A2.1: If you decide to stay inshore, Choctawatchee Bay is fantastic. You will easily get on ladyfish, trout, jacks, redfish, sheepshead, and many other species. A number of kayakers launch around White Point at the foot of the Mid-Bay Bridge. This area is directly across from new Destin (closer to SanDestin) where Bass Pro Shops is located.

    A2.2: If you happen to be military or a DoD ID card holder, then you can drive on base and gain access to a number of launch sites not accessible by the general public. Launching from Eglin AFB, Hurlburt Field, or Pensacola NAS puts you in waters where the fish are less pressured and the crowds are smaller.

    A2.3: If you really want to get away from it all and experience some undisturbed NW Florida scenery, then I suggest you put in at Black Creek in Walton County. Don't let the name fool you, Black Creek is as wide as a river. It is located on the far eastern side of Choctawatchee Bay. After a short paddle/pedal you will leave what little civilization there is at the boat ramp (Live Oak Landing) behind and quickly be amongst wild, undisturbed vegetation. I recommend bringing along a good GPS and a back-up map because there are many tributaries and offshoots to get lost in (think FL Keys mangrove maze). If you explore far enough, you will be rewarded with a frosty beverage at the local Harley hangout, The Outpost (where Black Creek Rd, goes over the creek).


    ….and one final suggestion: Take a break from fishing and surprise your wife by taking her for a drive down Hwy 30A to the town of Seaside. It’s in between Destin and Panama City. It’s quaint, full of cutesy boutique shops, art deco-colored beach homes, and overpriced seafood restaurants, but you will score HUGE brownie points with her.
    After you feel like the brownie points are in the bag, act surprised and announce you just found out there was a kayak shop down the road. [Yellowfin Ocean Sports, Seagrove Beach]

    I hope this helps.

    Let me know how your trip turns out.
    Thank you for your reply and all the suggestions. I would love to fish everyday. The wife will be visiting her high school friend and will probably be spending a lot of time with her on the beach. Laying in the sun just isn't for me. Fishing would probably be inshore. I don't know the area so I will look up all areas you've recommended and actually see where we're staying but it's a great start. Thank you again for the help. Hopefully soon I'll be able to post some of my time there.
    2016 Hobie Outback Limited #220
    2016 Jackson Cuda 12
    2015 Emotion 11 Stealth Angler

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    Burke, VA
    Posts
    184

    Default

    ...I forgot to mention the very popular, on-the-water local hangout in Destin. It's called Crab Island. It's not technically an "island", but rather an area of knee-high shallow water directly adjacent to the Destin Bridge.

    You can't miss it when driving over the bridge. On a sunny weekend day, the area will have hundreds of boats, PWCs, kayaks, and basically anything that floats anchored around it. The area becomes a giant party with thousands of revellers. Music, debauchery and good times - even the local bars have large pontoon boats selling blended drinks to the partiers!
    -manny

    Hobie Outback
    Wilderness System 130T

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Stephens City, VA
    Posts
    69

    Default

    Sounds great baitball. I could definitely get into a place like that. My wife has mentioned that place. She's been down a few times herself. Again, thanks for the info.
    2016 Hobie Outback Limited #220
    2016 Jackson Cuda 12
    2015 Emotion 11 Stealth Angler

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