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

Cobia Fishing 2019

Its that time of year! Destin Offshore Charters specializes in Cobia fishing and the best bay fishing in Destin, Florida.

Cobia can be found in a variety of habitats including coral reefs, rocky shores, and inshore around pilings. They are found in clean, offshore waters around drifting and stationary objects. Along the Gulf Coast, Cobia tend to inhabit the Panhandle area in late February, early March. They then travel southward along the coast beginning in April and peaking all along the Gulf Coast in July and August.

Cobia feed on fish, crabs and squid and can be caught by bottom fishing and trolling. They can be spotted as they travel in shallow water, markers, around pilings, buoys and anchored boats. They will also accompany other large fish and rays. You want to cast ahead of the fish, bring the lure across its path and work the lure with plenty of action. Cobia are tough fish to fight, so use caution getting them into the boat.

The Destin Cobia Tournament began March 1st and ends April 30th at 8pm. Contact Destin Offshore Charters for more details on Cobia fishing along the Gulf Coast.

Category: Offshore Fishing

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


Category: Uncategorized

Offshore Trolling in Destin

With the water pushed in really close this year, we are now able to offer some truly extraordinary offshore trolling at Destin Offshore Fishing Charters! Offshore trolling is a method of fishing where you draw one or more fishing lines through the water, instead of actively keeping it still in one position. This is normally done off of a moving boat or, if fishing from a bay, by slowly winding in your line. This gives the illusion that the tackle or bait fish is moving.

Offshore trolling can be considered one of the most effective ways to locate and catch fish. It allows you to cover a lot of water faster and can also allow you to catch fish at depths where most are not comfortable or experienced enough to with regular fishing. This method is also used to precisely control depth and speed, for those picky fish that need dinner and a show before they take the bait!

Our staff is always here to answer questions and help you, step by step, with any fishing, trolling, fish, or water-related questions you might have! We’re passionate about what we do here and always love to talk to and educate others about the sport we love to do most!

So come on out and consider Destin Offshore Fishing Charters a destination with the family and join us on either our daytime or nighttime trips, where you can put what you’ve learned about offshore trolling to use! See you on the water soon!

Category: Offshore Fishing

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

Limits and Recipes!

In accordance with Florida Fish and Wildlife regulations, you are able to harvest one Amberjack 34 inches or larger per person. One 40lb amberjack is enough to feed a family of eight to ten people. Amberjack’s meat is firm and white. There are multiple ways to cook Amberjacks as well. Here is one of our favorite ways to prepare and eat Jacks!

 

MICROWAVE FISH TACOS

(Yes you read that correctly!) This is probably our friends and families most favorite recipe!

What you Need:
  • Soft Butter, Margarine (Country Crock is what I use)
  • Cavenders Greek Seasoning
  • Slap Ya Mama Seasoning
  • Tony Chachere’s Seasoning
  • Small Soft Tortillas
  • Shredded Lettuce
  • Salsa
  • Microwave and your Fish!
Steps:
  1. Prep your fish. Cut out bloodline. Cut into 2-3in wide strips.
  2. Rinse strips and pat dry with paper towel.
  3. Place on microwavable plate. Top completely with margarine.
  4. Then top buttered fish filets with any seasoning you like. Slap Ya Mama, Tony’s, and Cavenders are our favorites. Completely cover the buttered filet.
  5. Place in microwave for 3 and a half minutes.
  6. Prep your tortillas with a bed of shredded lettuce and salsa.
  7. Pull the fish from microwave and you should be able to stick a fork in it and turn and it should flake apart. White and flakey is what your looking for. Cook longer if needed for thicker filets.
  8. Place a cook strip in the tortilla and enjoy!

* This is our most requested dish when we have friends and family over. We like to serve it with chips and salsa. This dish is very easy and fast to make! For an extra kungpow taste, take the fish out of microwave after 3 minutes and then top with Parmesan cheese and then place back in for 30 seconds or until cheese melts. MMMMmmm!

Category: Recipes

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

Amberjacks Season 2018

The 2018 Amberjack Season will open May 1st, 2018 and will go until May 31st. They will have a brief closure during June and July and then reopen August 1st. Amberjacks are a pound for pound, hard fighting fish. They range in size and grade depending on how far offshore you are fishing. Captain Chris Kirby on the Backlash requires an eight-hour minimum trip for Amberjack fishing. We use all live bait and it isn’t uncommon to have multiple fish hooked up at once. Amberjacks are required to be 34 inches in length to harvest. Most of the Amberjacks you will catch while offshore fishing with the Backlash will range from 40 to 50lbs.

Category: Offshore Fishing

Destin Offshore Fishing

The Charter Boat Backlash is one of the finest sought after offshore charter fishing boats in Destin, Florida. With Captain Chris Kirby, you are sure to experience charter boat fishing on a level unlike any other. The Backlash specializes in near-shore trips ranging from 4 to 6 hours that are perfect for kids and families.

The Backlash also offers offshore fishing trips ranging from 8 to 16 hours for the hardcore deep-sea fishing trip. If you really are looking for the ultimate trip ask about our overnight bottom fishing or Tuna and Sword fishing trips!

You can experience targeting a wide verity of fish species while charter boat fishing with us in the Gulf of Mexico, depending on the length of excursion. Our more common and well known species are Red Snappers, Groupers, Amberjack, King mackerel, Wahoo, Mahi Mahi, Sailfish, Blue marlin, and Swordfish just to name a few.

Deep Sea fishing is fun for all ages and a must-do when you come down to Destin, Florida. No matter if it is just you and your family or if you have a company vacation you are putting together with a large group of employees you need to entertain, we can accommodate multi boat trips for large numbers.

We are assured once you come offshore fishing with us aboard the Charter fishing Boat Backlash you will fish with us every time you decide to go Deep-sea fishing in Destin, Florida. We will handle everything from start to finish so you can just relax and have the time of your life.

They don’t call Destin, Florida the luckiest fishing village in the world for nothing!
Book your trip now to be sure you won’t be left at the dock!!

Category: Offshore Fishing

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!

Category: Uncategorized
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