What Fish Are in Season in Florida?

            Here in Florida the variety of species of fish wildly varies along with the season to harvest each species. When deciding when to book a fishing trip, who to choose for your guided charter and what species you would like to target here are some things to consider.

In our area, Destin, Florida, we are located in the Northwest region of Florida. Among our breathtaking white sand beaches, resides some of the best inshore bay, nearshore gulf and offshore gulf fishing in the world. Here is a breakdown of the different guided fishing charters you can book while visiting our area.

  1. Offshore Gulf Fishing – For the unlimited package and open-minded angler, there is the offshore gulf fishing option. The length of trip you book will determine the distance offshore you fish along with what species you are able to target during that time frame and water depth you will be fishing in. Most all these trips will take place on a large sport fishing boat equipped with all the amenities of home such as bathroom, a/c cabin, dining area, indoor seating, etc. This allows for you to fish for a long period of time all while being comfortable. All-day, overnight and multi-day trips will fall into the offshore gulf category. Species targeted will range from Red Snappers, Amberjacks, Gag Groupers, Scamp Groupers, Wahoo, Mahi-Mahi, Swordfish, Yellowfin Tuna, Blackfin Tuna, Marlins, Yellow-edge Groupers, Snowy Groupers, Tilefish, and Barrel fish. The longer the trip you book, the wider variety of fish species you will be able to target depending on area in which the captain decides to fish. Most all-day trips will be 12, 14 or 16 hours. Overnight trips will start at 24 hours and continue into multi-day trips of 30, 36 and even 48-hour trips.
  • Nearshore Gulf Fishing – These guided fishing trips are half day 6 or 8 hour trips that will take place out in the Gulf of Mexico where you are still be within eyesight of land. Guided fishing trips in Destin, Florida that fall into the “nearshore” category take place 3 to 10 miles off the beach. This is a perfect choice for family groups looking to have constant action for their kids of any age in a short period of time. Fishing tactics used during this trip will be bottom fishing and trolling. Average depth for bottom fishing in open water will be about 100 to 200 ft on a nearshore trip. For trolling you will often use live bait that is cast behind the boat as the boat stays in constant motion at a slow speed to allow for the pelagic fish to find it and attack. The species of fish targeted will be determined by the month you book your trip and what is biting best. Among some of the most common species targeted nearshore are Triggerfish, Mingo snapper (Vermillion Snapper), White Snapper (Red Porgy), King Mackerel, and Spanish Mackerel. 
    • Gray Triggerfish – As of January 2022, Triggerfish season is open in the Gulf from March 1st– May 31st and August 31st-December 31st. Minimum size is 15” to the fork of the tail and you can harvest 1 per person per day. 
    • Mingo Snappers or Vermillion Snappers – Vermillion Snappers are open to harvest year-round in the Gulf. They must be a minimum of 10 inches in length and the daily bag limit is 10 per person (not considered part of the snapper aggerate bag limit) 
    • White Snapper or Red Porgy – Red Porgies are open year-round. They have no minimum harvest size in the Gulf. Daily bag limit is 100 pounds per person.
    • King Mackerel – King Mackerel are open year-round. They must be a minimum of 24 inches to the fork in length and have a daily bag limit of three per person daily.
    • Spanish Mackerel – Spanish Mackerel can be harvested year-round and must be a minimum of 12 inches to the fork to be harvested. The daily bag limit per person is 15 per day.

In searching for a guided fishing trip that is not too short and not too long, the nearshore gulf option is by far the best for your needs. It is a great option for you to experience bottom fishing and trolling in the Gulf no matter your age. Usually on a half day trip nearshore, you will harvest enough fish filets for about four fish dinners.

  • Inshore Bay Fishing – This style of fishing can be compared to lake or bass fishing. While you are not fishing fresh water, you will still be using light tackle and fishing around structures such as docks, bridges, jetties, oyster beds etc. Most inshore bay fishing will take place on a center console boat with an outboard motor. Most of these boats will range in size from 22ft to 26ft. Comfortable family or group size of four or less is ideal for this style of fishing and boat size. In Destin, FL the guided fishing trips booked for inshore bay fishing will take place in the Choctawhatchee Bay. The main species targeted on this trip will be Redfish (Red Drum), Speckled Trout, and Black Snappers (Mangrove Snapper). 
    • Red Fish can be harvested every month except February. They have a slot limit and can be no less then 18” but no more than 27” in total length. One fish per person, per day with a four fish vessel limit.
    • Speckled Trout or “Spotted Sea Trout” can be harvested year-round. They have a slot limit of no less than 15” but no more than 19” in total length. Anglers may possess one fish over 19” per vessel included in bag limit. Daily bag limit is three per harvester.
    • Black Snappers or “Mangrove” Snappers are open to harvest year-round. In state waters, there is a daily bag limit of five per person. They must be a minimum of 10 inches in length to harvest.

If you are a first timer, have fear of being seasick, or just prefer to cast and fish with light tackle such as 15lb test or less, inshore bay fishing is the option for you. This laid-back leisure fishing, usually yields enough fish for one or two nights of fish-filet dinners. 

When Should I Book a Guided Fishing Trip?

When deciding WHEN to book your guided fishing trip, the two main factors to consider is specific species season and weather. For example, if you are looking to target Red Snappers, historically the past three years the Federal Red Snappers season has opened June 1st and usually ends the second week of August. To target Red Snappers for the 2023 Red Snapper season, I would recommend booking during the months of either June or July to ensure they are in season while you are here. Here is a chart to help break down when is the best time to fish according to species and regulations:

Species:                       Best Month to Target:

Red Snappers              June & July

Scamp Groupers         Year Round

Amberjacks                 May, September, October

Almaco Jack                Year Round

Triggerfish                  March, April, May, August

Vermillion Snapper     Year Round

Swordfish                    Year Round

Tilefish                        Year Round

Mahi-Mahi                  July & August

Wahoo                        April – August

Yellowfin Tuna            Year Round

Blackfin Tuna              October & November

King Mackerel             May – November

Marlins                        June – August 

Gag Groupers              June – November

Who is the Best Charter Boat in Destin?

Last and certainly not least the most important aspect of booking your fishing charter here in Destin, Florida is WHOM to book your trip with. Over the past decade the number of charter boats in our area has tripled. We are the largest charter fishing fleet in the country. With this being said, be sure to do your homework and research what boat, company, and captain is the best for you. Google and Facebook reviews are your best friend. Do not be fooled by pop up charter companies who are not seasoned and will leave a bad taste in your mouth. DO NOT USE A THIRD-PARTY BOOKING SITE. Be sure to book your trip directly with the owner to avoid any miscommunications or misinformation about the boat and crew. Also keep in mind, the best in boat in Destin will book up ahead of the competition. You will need to book your trip well in advance of your arrival to ensure you are on a reputable boat.

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2022 Federal Red Snapper Season Announced!

Today, NOAA announced the 2022 Red Snapper fishing season for vessels with federal for-hire reef fish permits is 79 days in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The season for federally permitted for-hire vessels will begin at 12:01 a.m., local time, on June 1, 2022, and will close at 12:01 a.m., local time, on August 19, 2022.

LETS GO FISHING !!!!!!! 

See y’all on the water!

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Deep Sea Fishing Destin Florida

Deep Sea Fishing in Destin, FL is a known tradition and “must-do” when coming to town.

Three fun things to know about deep sea fishing in Destin:

  1. Destin, FL is home the world’s largest charter fishing fleet in the world!
  2. You can take the fish you caught, walk right off the boat and have them prepared at any local seafood restaurant on the harbor.
  3. Our season is year round, as there is always something in season here!

Whether you are traveling here on vacation or planning to make it your home, we would love the opportunity to take you on your first deep sea fishing trip  in Destin! Our one of a kind boat and operation can accommodate any size group. We offer fun family deep sea fishing trips and large party corporate deep sea fishing trips. No matter if it is spring, summer or fall there is always something to catch here while deep sea fishing in Destin, FL.

It is here!! The 2022 Season has already began! If you are interested in booking a trip, visit our Trips page on the main menu and check out all the different options we have to offer. If you have any questions, visit our FAQ page as well!

For booking a trip please contact Capt. Chris’ wife Shelby directly at (850)685-9368. See y’all on the water!

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Fall into Offshore Fishing

Although it’s cooler weather, plenty of fish are available in the Gulf when you go on a fishing trip with Destin Offshore Charters.

Whether you want a short trip or a longer one, you’re sure to be happy with what you bring home from the expedition.

In the northwest portion of the state, you can expect to catch Flounder, Gag Grouper or Red Grouper, Black Drum, Redfish, Sheepshead, Bass, Flathead Catfish, speckled Seatrout or Tuna. While Red Snapper is not in season now, Black Snapper, Mingo Snapper, Vermillion Snapper and White Snapper are.
While Triggerfish is in season, fishing for Triggerfish is considered to be fair in November and December. You may also be able to catch Mahi Mahi or Blackfin Tuna.

Of course, there’s always a chance you could catch a trophy fish, such as a Sailfish, a Swordfish, a Blue Marlin or another that will put up a fight for you.

Your captain will take you to the best location for the best fishing. Whether it’s an artificial or manmade reef, you can trust his knowledge.
Fishing remains fast and furious in local waters, so book your charter trip today with Destin Offshore Charters. Grab a waterproof jacket, sunglasses and sunscreen, and don’t forget your fishing license.

Come on aboard with Destin Offshore Charters for the fishing experience of a lifetime.

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Fall Offshore Fishing is a Must

Destin off shore fishing with Destin Offshore Charters is a must for a memorable fall vacation. You’ll get the fishing memories you’ve been wanting. Just wait until you tell your friends what you caught.

A deep sea trip can last a long as you want; anywhere from 8 to 16 hours, depending on the fishing experience you desire. Check with Destin Offshore Charters for help with what’s best for you. Don’t worry if you aren’t an experienced fisherman or woman. Help is available for all levels.

Off shore Destin offers many reefs, both artificial and man-made, where fish are plentiful. In the Gulf of Mexico, you may have an opportunity to catch amberjack, grouper, king mackerel, wahoo, mahi mahi, sailfish blue marlin, sword fish and many others. Your captain will know the best locations for the best fishing, including what fish have been biting lately. Their knowledge will guarantee that you’ll at least have a good time and maybe even reel in a big catch.

Make a reservation now and prepare to board for the best fishing experience with Destin Offshore Charters.

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Fish Offshore in Destin

If you’re vacationing in Destin, a deep sea fishing trip is a must. With many charter boats available, you’ll want to cut through the crowd and call Destin Offshore Charters. You’ll have the fishing experience you’ve been wanting when you’re in their hands.

Near-shore trips range from 4-6 hours and are perfect for the entire family. Others may want a longer trip, and that can be arranged, as well. Longer trips can last from 8 to 16 hours and provide the ultimate fishing experience.

The Gulf of Mexico offers a large variety of fish, including red snapper, grouper, amberjack, king mackerel, wahoo, mahi mahi, sailfish, blue marlin, sword fish and others. Your captain will know the best locations for you to encounter the best fishing. While nothing is guaranteed a far as which fish you’ll catch, you are guaranteed a good time.

Make a reservation and prepare to board. This vacation will be the fishing trip of a lifetime so don’t forget the camera.

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Everyone’s Bucket List Fish ~ The Mahi-Mahi





Mahi- Mahi, Dorado, Dolphin… whichever name you call it, is a name heard around the coast. Everyone wants to reel in one of these over the top colorful, tasty fish. This is one of our most popular requests on our trips.

A Mahi-Mahi is considered part of the pelagic family. Pelagic fish are species found neither near the bottom or near the shore. These free-swimming fish are often caught while deep water offshore trolling. They are also known to be hanging around sargassum seaweed patches or floating objects that have accumulated bait fish to school around it. Unlike many other species of fish, a mature dolphin is very easily determined to be a male or female by just the way they look. The males (or bulls) will have a large prominent protruding forehead while the females (or cows) have a rounded shaped head. Mahi-Mahi are also known for their mesmerizing blue, green, and yellow colors. They are truly a piece of art swimming around.

Mahi-Mahis are among some of the fastest growing fish. They don’t live much long than four to five years but regenerate very rapidly. Female Mahis will spawn two to three times a year and can produce between 80,000 and 1,000,000 eggs per event! That is a lot of kids.

To better your odds on catching one of these fish of a lifetime, we suggest booking an all-day 12 hour (or longer) trip. This will allow enough time to travel to the clean blue, deep water where the Mahi-Mahi usually homestead. Also, while trolling for Mahi-Mahi you have a chance to hook up a sailfish, wahoo or blackfin tuna as well.


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Triggerfish Are Open!


Triggerfish season will extend from March 1st to May 31st. They will reopen later in the year starting August 1st – December 31st. The bag limit is 1 fish per day and must be 15 inches to the fork. Triggerfish are by far one of the most delicious reef fish in the Gulf. Their firm, flaky white meat is perfect for a blackened fish sandwich.

Our half day, six hour trips have consisted of mostly bottom fishing for Triggerfish, White Snappers, and Vermillion Snappers. The fishing has been great and consistent. The live bait has been abundant as well which has been excellent for our longer all day ten-hour trips. Fresh live baits have been crucial for firing up our Scamp Groupers. We are excited for the 2019 Red Snapper and Amberjack season to open as well, as we have been catch and releasing quite a few Jacks and Reds while bottom fishing for our Triggerfish. Red Snappers and Amberjacks will be out of season until later in the year (See below).

Offshore Trolling has been rather slow right now. The King and Spanish mackerel haven’t showed up yet with the water temperatures still being rather cold. The weather has been very up and down with highs in the 70s and even 80s one week and then lows reaching down to the 30s the next. We are hoping for the cold to push out soon and the water temp to start rising.



2019 triggerfish season


Amberjacks

Gulf State Waters
Minimum Size Limit: 34” to the fork
Daily Bag Limit: 1 per person
Season: Open May 1st – 31st and August 1 – October 31st
**Federal Regulations for Amberjack season will be announced soon!


Red Snapper

Gulf State Waters
Minimum Size Limit: 16” total length
Daily Bag Limit: 2 per person
Season: Proposed 2019 season: June 11 – July 12

Gulf Federal Waters
Minimum Size Limit: 16” total length
Daily Bag Limit: 2 per person
Proposed 2019 open date: June 1st


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Extension to Red Snapper Season

Red Snapper season has been extended and this season will be the longest season since 2013. There has been a 39 day extension to Red Snapper season this year. This is really great news because it’s not just a 3 day season like it has been for a few years, it will be on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays including Monday and Tuesday July 3 and 4, and Monday September 4.

Snapper season was really limited to only 3 days and that meant there wasn’t much time to catch fish. With the new season here, there is an estimated amount of fish caught per day which is 230,000 pounds. This will result in more than 11 million pounds harvested by September 5. The previous catch limit was 3.8 million pounds. This new season will result in nearly 7.4 million pounds over.

For all the fisherman out there wanting to go fishing, come and join us so that we can go catch some Red Snapper. Every weekend until September 4 will be available for Red Snapper fishing. We need to take advantage of this because there is no telling what could happen to the rules next season!

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October is Destin’s Fishing Rodeo with Backlash!

destin rodeo with backlash
With the start of October comes not only the Halloween decorations, but every Destin fisherman’s favorite time of year. It is your time to join in the fishing experience that’s taken place since 1948! The Destin Fishing Rodeo is held from October 1st thru the 31st, and daily weigh-ins are located behind AJ’s from 10am-7pm.

Don’t Miss Shark Saturday!

Hang ‘Em High every Saturday in October. It’s time to put in all that muscle work from the summer to the test. If you bring in the largest shark of the day, you’ll get a cash prize! What are you waiting for? Start reeling!

Aboard the Backlash, your captain will be Chris Kirby and his professional and skilled fishermen. Just because summer is over does not mean the fishing fun has come to an end. Book your fishing trip now to take part in this yearly event!

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