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Fishing along the Emerald Coast

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Beach and Jetty Fishing
Area fishing does not require the use of a boat. Many species of sport fish are caught in the Emerald Coast waters off of the beach  and jettys. This type of fishing in the Gulf is best between April, when the first Pompano arrive, through October.
Fishing from these fixed locations with live bait, frozen bait, and artificial baits will produce Pompano, Whiting, Channel Bass, Sheepshead, Blue Runner, Bluefish, Sail Cat, Spanish Mackerel, King Mackerel, Cobia, Bonito, Jack Crevalle.
Fishing in the Choctawhatchee Bay and its bayous is good year-round. You can expect to catch Speckled Sea Trout, Sheepshead, White Trout, Channel Bass, Red fish, Sail Cat, Bluefish, and Flounder; also, Blue Crabs can be found along the shore of the bay.


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Inshore Trolling 
The inshore trolling season runs from March through November and begins with the run of the Cobia (Ling) in the Spring. In the Destin area the most successful and popular method of catching Cobia is by sight casting. This method involves sighting the Cobia first, either in singles or schools. Once the Cobia is spotted the captain will position the boat so that either the angler or the mate can throw a bait to the fish, and let me tell you, a 100lb. Cobia on 20lb spinning tackle is not an experience that you will soon forget. This is perhaps one of the most exciting types of fishing that an angler can engage in.
 Inshore trolling also leads to great catches of King Mackerel, Spanish Mackerel, Bonito, Cobia and Schooled Dolphin to name a few. Inshore trolling trips are available from local charter boats all day and half day trips.


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Deep Sea Bottom Fishing
 Most of Destin's fishing fleet specializes in deep sea bottom fishing. The bottom fishing in Destin is good year round. oats are available for charter half day, all day, and over night. Bottom fishing yields catches of Grouper, Amber jack, Scamp, Trigger fish, Snapper and Cobia.
 Destin also has a fleet of party boats which can accommodate 25 to105 persons. These boats are available for all day and half day trips. They are available on a tickets basis or the boat can be chartered for large groups.


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Offshore Trolling
Offshore trolling takes place past the 50 fathom curve (300 feet), about 27 miles southwest of Destin. This trolling area has proven very productive for White Marlin, Blue Marlin, Sailfish, Dolphin and Wahoo. Although billfish have been caught from April to December, August through October are the most productive months.
Fishing offshore is like being in another world. The water changes from a turquoise color to a bright deep blue. Destin is known as the billfish capital of the Gulf because of the highly productive trolling areas southwest of Destin.
Then the serenity is ended when a 400lb. blue comes out of nowhere and nails the Ballyhoo rig on the flat line. Put yourself in the chair...could your heart handle the excitement and the adrenaline rush of a battle that may well last for hours.


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Florida Fishing License Information  

 Florida residents, nonresidents and recreational divers must have a saltwater fishing license unless covered by one of the following exemptions:

  • Any individual under the age of 16

  • Any Florida Resident fishing in saltwater from land or form a structure affixed to the land.

  • Any individual fishing from a vessel issued a Vessel Saltwater Fishing License, such as our charter boats.

  • Any person 65 years of age or older who holds a valid Florida Drivers License or valid Florida Voter Registration Card.

  • Any Florida resident who is a member of the Armed Forces while home on leave for less than 30 days, with valid orders in his or her possession.

  • Any individual who has been accepted by the Florida Department of Health and Services for developmental services.

  • A Florida resident who has been declared totally and permanently disabled shall be entitled to receive, without charge from the county tax collector, a permanent saltwater fishing license.


Resident: For the purpose of fishing in Florida, a person is a resident if he or she has lived in Florida for six continuous months prior to applying for licenses and who has an intent to continue to reside in Florida and claim Florida as his or her primary residence. Active military personnel stationed in Florida, including their spouses and dependent children residing in the household, are considered residents when purchasing fishing licenses.

Resident 12-Month Freshwater Fishing (Valid for 12 months from specified beginning date) $13.50

Resident Freshwater Fishing/Hunting Combination(Valid 12 months from specified beginning date) $23.50

64 or Older Hunting and Fishing: includes Freshwater Fishing and Hunting licenses; and Type I WMA, Archery, Muzzleloading Gun, and Turkey permits $13.50

Sportsman's License: includes Hunting,Freshwater Fishing, and permits for Wildlife Management Area, Archery, Muzzleloading Gun,Turkey, Florida Waterfowl (Valid 12 months from specified beginning date) $67.50


7-Day Freshwater Fishing(Valid seven days from specified beginning date) $16.50

12-Month Freshwater Fishing(Valid for 12 months from specified beginning date) $31.50

Licenses may be purchased from county tax collectors or their subagents, who are generally located at tackle shops, fish camps, hardware stores and sporting goods stores. In addition to the license stamp fees listed above, subagents are entitled to an additional $0.50. License fees are set by the Florida Legislature and are subject to change, watch this web site for updates.

Anglers may purchase licenses via a toll-free telephone number (1-888-FISH-FLORIDA [1-888-347-4356]) and a credit card. This will allow anglers who are ready to fish virtually instant access to a license. This service costs an additional $3.95 per transaction (not per license). Anglers will soon be able to purchase their license with a credit card via the Internet, watch our license Web Site (http://www.state.fl.us/fwc/fishing/license.html) for details.


Florida residents 65 years of age or older who possess either a Resident Senior Citizen Hunting and Fishing Certificate or proof of age and residency. A Florida Senior Citizen Hunting and Fishing Certificate is accepted in Georgia, but a trout stamp may be required.

Georgia residents 65 years of age or older who have in their possession a Georgia Honorary Combination Hunting and Fishing License and proof of age.

Florida residents certified as totally and permanently disabled, who possess a Florida Resident Disabled Person Hunting and Fishing Certificate. Applicants need to provide a certification of total and permanent disability from the United States Armed Forces or the United States Veterans Administration. Alternatively, a Notice of Award from the Social Security Administration for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Supplemental Security Disability Income (SSDI) Benefits will also be accepted.

Any person who has been accepted by the Florida Department of Health as a client for developmental services, with proof (e.g., retardation).

Children under 16 years of age

Resident Freshwater Commercial Fishing License holders.

Any resident who is a member of the U.S. Armed Forces and is not stationed in Florida, home on leave for 30 days or less, upon submission of orders.

Any resident fishing in the county of his or her residence with live or natural bait, using poles or hand lines that are not equipped with a reel or other line retrieval mechanism (cane pole), for noncommercial purposes. A valid Fishing License is required to fish by any method in a Fish Management Area.

Anyone fishing in a private fishing pond less than 20 acres. A private pond is a man-made pond constructed for the primary purpose of fishing, entirely within the property lines of the owner and with no surface water connection to public waters.

Anyone fishing in a private pond of 20 acres or more where the pond owner has purchased a fish pond license at a fee of $3 per surface acre.

Any person fishing in their county of residence on the homestead of their spouse or minor child, or any minor child fishing on the homestead of their parent.

Anyone fishing in the St. Mary's River or Lake Seminole (but not including tributary creeks in Florida), who has a valid Georgia fishing license.

NOTE: Although the above exemptions apply, individuals may always choose to purchase a license as a way to contribute to fish and wildlife conservation. Purchasing a license also helps us receive more of the excise taxes spent on fishing tackle and motor boat fuels under Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration. Finally, buying a license makes you eligible for the North American Fishing Club knife and membership offer.



Lifetime and Five-Year licenses are available to Florida residents for hunting, freshwater fishing and saltwater fishing. The Lifetime and Five-year licenses will remain valid for use in Florida even if you move out of state. The cost of a Lifetime License is less than what would be spent on annual licenses, permits and fees.

The Lifetime License is for parents, grandparents and family friends who want to pass on the joys of outdoor recreation to young people and help ensure that today's youth have the natural resources to share hunting, freshwater fishing and saltwater fishing with their children. Funds generated from the sale of these licenses will be invested, creating an endowment to support the long-term conservation of Florida's wildlife and fisheries resources. Only interest from the trust will be appropriated. The principal will be held in perpetuity to fund fish and wildlife programs to ensure your family's hunting and fishing tradition will be passed down to future generations. For more information or for applications for Lifetime and Five-year licenses, contact your county tax collector's office or the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Lifetime Sportsman's License includes: Hunting, Freshwater and Saltwater Fishing licenses; and Wildlife Management Area, Archery, Muzzleloading Gun, Turkey, Florida Waterfowl, Snook and Crawfish permits:

4 years or younger $401.50

5-12 years $701.50

13-63 years $1,001.50

Lifetime Freshwater Fishing License:

4 years or younger $126.50

5-12 years $226.50

13 years or older $301.50

Lifetime Saltwater Fishing License (includes snook and crawfish permits):

4 years or younger $126.50

5-12 years $226.50

13 years or older $301.50

Five-year Freshwater Fishing License : $61.50

(no permits required)

Five-year Saltwater Fishing License $61.50