A Fisherman's Dream
As a born and bred Destin native, I have been fishing these waters my entire life. My wife, Anna, and I started Destin Inshore Guides a little over seven years ago, but I have been charter fishing our area for 17 years.
As an experienced fisherman, I can tell you that it’s important to be open to trying new things if what you're doing isn't working. For example, some customers we serve at Emerald Coast Bait and Tackle strictly use live bait, while others only use lures.
No matter what type of bait is used, the fishing is top-notch here. Once you choose your bait, the location of your fishing experience will determine what type of rod and reel you need to use. You can get away with using light gear in the bay, whether fishing on land or on boat. If you head out into the gulf, then you would need heavier set-ups.
Whether you fish from the beach, bridges, piers, banks, docks, grassy areas, or boats, you can use almost any mode of transportation to get there – boat, kayak, paddle board, wading, or simply driving to a land-based location. The best advice would be to just get out there. Our area can be overwhelming even to someone that is experienced in other places. The easiest way to learn the area is to talk to the locals – all of our customers are great with advice, and our employees are always willing to take the time to talk to you. Definitely check out the local Facebook fishing groups – there's one for basic fishing, kayak, and offshore fishing.
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One of my most memorable experiences was with my wife and oldest daughter. We decided to go out in the gulf for a few hours since it was so calm. I wanted to get my wife hooked up onto something big and let Lily catch a few fish too ... well, we ended up getting hooked up with a Goliath grouper. At first I had handed the rod over to Anna to reel it in, but she was struggling and asked me to take over. She thought she had gotten hung up in the rocks. I took over and realized pretty quickly what it was. Before that I had been on a boat where one was caught but had never had the chance to reel one in myself. We ended up getting it to the surface, took some amazing photos of it in the water and then safely released it back to fight another day. (Goliath groupers are an amazing fish to catch and are extremely protected. They must remain in the water at all times and be safely released.) Once we released it, we all sat back in amazement. We were relatively close to land and were definitely not expecting that. He was roughly around 300 pounds. While on the boat, I started to ask my wife if we should get it mounted, and before I could even finish, she said, “Oh, we are definitely getting that mounted." We now have a replica of that fish hanging in our daughter's room, as per her request.