Not Just A Swordfish

It’s Sunday, April 28th, 6:34am, I’m up going through my normal routine of feeding deer, chickens, dogs and watering my garden. It’s my day off…and by day off I mean playing catch up in my home office with the paperwork side of fishing. Chris calls to pass his time while he’s cruising out to his first stop. He has an 8-hour trip today. We start talking about the upcoming week and which days would be the prettiest to attempt to break away and go sword fishing. Today would mark 3 days since I pulled my Dad’s Swordfish off on the wire 10ft behind the boat. I hadn’t slept a night since and Chris is the one who had to hear all about it. Chris was quiet for a minute then blurted out, “Tonight is the night, we’re going. Seas are less than a foot.” That was all I needed to hear. I got off the phone and spent the next 6 hours throwing together all the gear in order to meet Chris at the dock as soon as he got in.

What felt like 30 minutes later, I was standing at the stern of the Backlash loading her up. First mate, Chris Hunter is there. He is spraying and scrubbing off the days meat haul. With the boat loaded, Chris Hunter ran to his house and changed clothes. Chris Kirby opened the cooler I packed and asked where his rigged baits were. It then dawned on me that I had forgot them. With straight panic I told him I would run home or call Jeff, the bait man, and see if he could run me some squids. 10 minutes later I was heading to the tackle shop to pick up squids and hooks. Bait man saves the day. It’s now 4:28pm, Chris Kirby, Chris Hunter, a case of twisted-tea, a few packs of squid, a harness, and myself are headed out of the pass in search of a Swordfish. In search of redemption.


sword fishing


The sun had set and it wasn’t much longer, Chris is pulling them out of gear signaling it is time. Chris started to rig baits while I broke out the grill and started to prep our feast. I already had a good buzz from tea-time mixed with some ultras. Once we landed in Sword country it was about 9:00pm. Chris shut the big girl’s motors off and we began to drift slowly in the middle of nowhere. We let out three baits and began to wait. 20 minutes later, I’m pulling ribeyes off the grill, 50 yards off the back of the boat appears a pissed off, bill swinging Swordfish on top. I threw the plates down, it was pure chaos for about 15 long seconds before I was holding the rod. Ten minutes later Chris Kirby was leaned over the gunnel reaching down to pull this mighty-might out of the water. This girl was healthy, lit up with the bluest cobalt blue down her back and measured in at 47 inches. We snapped a few pictures of her as her eyes swiveled, looking at each of us like we were aliens. With a good luck kiss, I deposited her back into the deep. We all smiled and laughed as we ate our luke-warm steaks and discussed how the trip had already been made.

We reset our baits and finished cleaning up dinner. Chris picked up the jig rod and started searching for a Blackfin. It wasn’t long until he had one on. The three of us shot the shit and drank, telling stories and listening to music. I felt so relaxed and thankful to be alive. About the time the buzz had increased to a cloud, ZZZZZzzzzzZzzzZZZZZZzzzZZZzzzz. There she was. We all ran around the boat like squirrels. I harnessed up as she ran to the bottom. Chris Kirby woke the Backlash up as Chris Hunter reeled in the other lines. This would make the 15th time I was in the harness and saddled in to reel in a sword. Every time prior to this, ended with being a shark, pulling the hook, or some giant eel. While I have been on the boat multiple times as part of the crew, I had yet to ever reel in a sea monster I could call mine. I concentrated on the reel and watched my rod tip position to make sure I didn’t screw this up. Little while later we got our first glimpse of her. She came up on top and was trying her best to escape the lasso she had around her. She made another short run and then came back up and straight down off the starboard side. She was comfy there and refused to come up any further for a harpoon shot. She raised up and made a big run straight under the boat. Chris Hunter unclipped the rod, followed her and yelled “HARD TO PORT”. Chris Kirby blew some diesel smoke and flipped the Backlash around to save it. She would then take off for her final run. With the line straight down and taking drag off the stern, I was hooked back in and waited for her to stop. When she did, I could almost feel how tired she was. (So was I) I started to ease her up and gain back the line lost. 10 minutes later Chris Hunter said, “ Oh shit, shes dead.” I looked up from the reel and saw a tail coming towards me. The fight was over. I never stopped reeling until the swivel hit the rod tip. Chris squared and myself heaved this monster over the side. We all stood in awe trying to comprehend what the hell just happened. The hook had ripped through her dorsal fin and landed in top of her head. The leader completely wrapped around her stomach and then again around her tail. With a smile so big it kind of hurt a little, I grabbed Chris Kirby and hugged him so hard I thought I broke him in half. I thanked him from the bottom of my heart. He never gave up and the curse was broken. I was officially holding a broadbill that was mine. My Dad’s face crossed through my mind and a tear ran down my cheek. With some hoops, hollers, high-fives, a little photo shoot, drinks and some music cranking, we celebrated in the middle of nowhere, as a speck of sand in the Gulf. While the rest of the world was sleeping, we rounded back to the spot where the madness began, iced our trophy, and put out some more lines. Chris squared went to sleep a short while later. It was now 4:30am. I watched the moon rise and then the sun. I spent the whole night talking to God and singing Miranda Lambert songs on the back deck as I watched the lines. I thanked God for this harvest. As the sun got brighter the guys woke up. I reeled in our Sword rigs and put out lures. It was time to head back. On the way there we swung by some shrimp boats off in the distance to see if they had any friends hanging around. Sure enough we found some yellowfins wanting to play. What a way to cap it off.

I called my Dad as soon as we came into cell range to tell him what had just happened. Redemption at its absolute finest. Thank you Chris squared. Thank YOU Chris Kirby. Thank you God. My first broadbill, a trip I will tell my grandchildren about.

Thank you for reading,

Shelby Lynn Kirby~

Category: Fishing Trips

Kicking Off 2019; Whats Biting and Fishing Tips

We would like to take a moment and thank those who came out with us on the Backlash this past year. We are blessed to have taken groups from as far as Alaska to as close as right here in Fort Walton Beach and Destin. The Backlash will be headed to dry dock at the end of January to receive the annual TLC she deserves in order to kick off the 2019 season.

Gulf Fishing has mainly consisted of bottom fishing. Amberjacks, Red Snappers, and Triggerfish are out of season currently but the other species we have been targeting consist of Vermillion Snapper, White Snapper and Mangrove (Black) Snapper. All of these are excellent to eat. Although some will be catch and release, there is constant action while bottom fishing in the Gulf right now. We didn’t have the flounder season we had hoped for but there are a few flounders being caught on the wrecks inshore.

Amberjack Season 2019

To kick off this season during Spring Break you can expect to catch Amberjacks, Mingo (Vermillion Snappers), and White Snappers. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission have purposed for Amberjacks to open in state and federal waters starting May 1st through May 31st, 2019. Then opens once again August 1st, through October 31st, 2019.

Red Snapper Season 2019

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission have not yet announced the finalized dates for Red Snapper Season 2019. They usually issue them by the end of April so be sure to check back with us.

Planning a fishing trip can come second to booking your hotel. Here is a list of accommodation partners we highly trust to take care of your relaxing needs.

  • Ocean Reef Vacation Rentals
  • San Destin Hilton
  • The Island Beachside Resort
  • Holiday Inn Resort
  • Destin West Beach and Bay Resort

*These trusted partners are located thorough the Emerald Coast including Fort Walton Beach, Destin, San Destin, 30A, Santa Rosa Beach and Miramar Beach.

We are looking forward to the 2019 season! Keep up to date with our latest fishing news and catch pictures by following us on Instagram and Facebook! See y’all on the water!

Category: Fishing Trips

What can you expect while Amberjack fishing with Destin Offshore Charters?

Amberjacks are often called “Reef Donkeys” and with good reason. Deep-sea fishing for Amberjacks will start about 15 miles offshore. The grade and size of fish can vary depending on the depth offshore you are fishing. Typically the larger Amberjacks will be found further offshore. Starting your trip off, you will spend 15 to 30 minutes catching fresh live bait. The bait preferred by a Jack are either hard tails or white snappers. Although it isn’t impossible to catch them on other live baits such as cigar minnows. Once your bait has been caught, it is off to the fishing grounds. Captain Chris will cruise out for approximately 30 to 45 minutes before your first stop. This puts you out where the sea monsters live.

The first mate will give a thorough fishing school on how to use the rods and reels. He will also discuss what to feel for and how to hook these salt-water giants. No jerking is allowed!! We are NOT bass fishing. Leave your hook setting skills at home. Once schooled up and suited up with the proper size rod belt, you will assume your fishing position on the back deck. We can fish 6 anglers comfortably at one time.

Jacks are a hard fighting fish and they like to chase their bait. Once they get a hold of your bait, you better hold on! You want the rod tip to bend over and almost touch the water before you start cranking on your reel. No jerking to set the hook! We use circle hooks, therefore the fish will hook itself. It is up to you to reel in that reef donkey!! It is not uncommon to have multiple fish hooked up and fighting at once. It is important that you watch your line and follow it where ever it goes to avoid tangles with other lines or getting caught in the prop and cutting your fish off. If you see your line moving left, move left. Everyone will move in a smooth flowing system. Once your fish is to the top and you can see your leader, you will whined your lead all the way up to the rod tip and the first mate will gaff or grab your fish to place her in the boat. Once the fish is in the boat, you will be able to grab a quick picture before we place her on ice. A job well done!

Category: Fishing Trips

Our Most Memorable Trips from 2016!

SEE YA 2016! We would like to say THANK YOU to all those who fished on the Backlash with us this past year and wanted to take a second to reminisce on some of the great trips we had over the year:


fishing trip

Always a great time fishing with this crew! What a catch and absolute gorgeous day on the water. A special thank you to Burt, Lynn, Tracy, Norm, Pam, and Brent!
girls fishing trip

WHAT A CATCH! A huge thank you to these girls and their hard work reeling in these big groupers and snappers

blue marlin trip

A day we will never forget! 300-pound Blue Marlin caught while tolling out to go Sword fishing! Thank you to our crew and God for this sea monster! She was caught and released.

From our four-hour half-day trips to our 3-day over-night trips, it was our pleasure being able to take y’all out on the water day after day! A huge thank you to all those who fished with us this past year on board the Charter Boat Backslash and we can’t wait to see y’all again in 2017!!!

FEDERAL RED SNAPPER SEASON 2016 ANNOUNCED JUNE 1ST–JULY 16TH

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Finally, red snapper season has been announced for federal waters. The Charter Boat Backlash will have 46 days for harvesting Red Snappers! These trips book up the fastest! Call ahead to be sure you won’t be left at the dock.

We will also be running night time Red Snapper charters. The Backlash is equipped with underwater lights and floodlights on the deck to light up the night. These trips are a great way to beat the heat and relax. Red Snappers bite just as good and sometimes better at night when the water gets hot in the summer.

If you are vacationing on the Emerald Coast, THE place to catch that trophy Red Snapper is on the Charter Boat Backlash. Captain Chris Kirby has a 100% success rate on ALL Red Snapper fishing trips. Call now for available dates.

Catch y’all on the water!

Amberjack Season is in Full Swing!

Amberjacks

The Amberjack fishing has been awesome! The average amberjack weight is 40-50 lbs. These reef donkeys will give you a fight like no other. The Charter Boat Backlash is the boat to fish with if you want to target trophy Amberjacks in the Destin Florida area. Along with Amberjack fishing the triggerfish are still in season and we have been catching some beautiful triggers as well.

Don’t get left at the dock, book your trip on the Charter Boat Backlash with Destin Offshore Charters. Book it now! (850)685-9368

Overnight Fishing

Overnight fishing can be a lot of fun but if it’s your first time, it’s good to come prepared and know what to expect. Of course the captain and crew of the vessel you’re chartering will be there to provide any gear you may have forgotten to bring, help you learn the ropes, and have as much fun as possible. However, it’s always better to be as over prepared as possible instead of relying on the charter for gear that they may run out of. Bring necessities that you can’t be without, even if the charter already provides them, such as―changes of clothes, sunblock, and plenty of water. Extra fishing line and bait is always a good idea too, just in case the fish dine and dash one too many times!

It’s always good to pack your gear while keeping your targeted fish in mind; bring baits that will relate to the particular type of fish you will be fishing for. No need to bring the whole tackle box, considering space is limited on overnight charters. Everything you bring will for the most part have to fit below deck along with everyone else’s gear, so that the deck is clear to move around. The very last thing you want is the deckhands tripping over gear when they’re running up to net your big catch!

Carefully consider what type of fish you want to go fishing for as well. Think about the time of year it is, what type of fish are in season, and the location you’re chartering from. Depending on how new you are to overnight fishing, the captain may take care of most of this to start off with. But the more often you go out, the faster you will be able to make those decisions yourself and be responsible for your own adventure.

At Destin Offshore Charters we welcome beginners and seasoned fisherman alike to join us for overnight fishing off the beautiful coast of Destin. The Backlash and her crew are always prepared and knowledgeable on any type of fishing excursion you might have in mind. We will gladly walk you through the basics, or get out of your way so you can get down to reeling in the big one. And of course we’ll be there to back you up when you hold up your hands and tell your friends the fish was this big.

See y’all on the water!

Welcome to the Charter Boat Backlash!

Always stay up to date with the latest fishing news, weather updates, and weekly catches. I want y’all to have the most up to date info, so you’ll be knowledgeable on exactly what we are doing. Feel free to contact us anytime with further questions. See y’all on the water!
-Captain Chris Kirby

Category: Fishing Trips

Cobia Fishing Trip Special!

ITS OFFICIAL! The first cobias have been caught in Destin. The race is about to start. Hurry up and book your trip now that the word is out. Be sure to ask about our specials for Cobia fishing only.

Category: Fishing Trips

Amberjack, Snappers and Triggerfish

Well the water is really starting to heat up 70.2 degrees yesterday a few miles off the beach. This temp has made the Amberjacks turn mad! Past few weeks has been unbelievable for Amberjack fishing. The average Amberjack weight has been around 38lbs with a few in the mid 50lb range. Most of our bigger amberjacks have been caught on big live baits and also have been catching the smaller Amberjacks on top water artificial lures. The Vermillion Snappers, White Snappers, and banjo size Triggerfish have really turned on as well. With this water temperature heating up, the fish are going to be even more savage. It wont be long before the cobias make their way to Destin.

Category: Fishing Trips
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