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Destin/Ft Walton- looking for some advice

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I am heading down too Destin for a long Labor Day weekend with the PF and several friends.  Excited to have a spot where I can dock the boat up behind where I’m staying.  Have never fished the area, but am ready to see what damage we can do.

I am willing and equipped to fish water from the flats out to the reefs 20+miles out (weather permitting).

Not looking for secret spots, but can anyone provide some advice or direction on what I should be targeting?  What’s the best focus for our time in your opinion?  

Thanks for any advice volunteered!

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That area is loaded with public numbers for live and artificial reefs and this site is all about fishing Destin, from numbers to advice on tactics:  https://www.fishingdestinguide.com/GPSMAIN.html    You can list and print out the lists of numbers and then use google earth to plan out some areas to try.  You'll have shots at all the various snapper varieties, AJs, grouper, etc.  Squid and cigar minnows are good but if you can get live pin fish that's the best.  Take a sabiki with you for schools of livies you may see offshore and you can use it on the bottom even in 80' or less to get bait off the bottom.  Keep 1 rod rigged with a feather jig ready in case a Cobia or Mahi comes by while you are drifting or anchored up.

There is also a companiy that you can download numbers to a card for $99 and just load onto your GPS  -  https://flfishingspots.com/destin-florida-fishing-map/



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  • 3 weeks later...

So, thanks for all he direction for my trip down to Destin.  Had prepared to fish both inside and outside, but we had so much fun heading offshore that we did it all three days.

It was hit or miss with the numbers we tried but we did find several great spots on the artificial reefs south and southeast of East Pass. It was crazy that both the close in spots (5-6 miles and 60 ft)as well as many of the deeper spots (20+ and 100 ft) produced similarly well. It was lots of fat red snapper (couldn’t keep), some legal vermillion snapper, small amberjack and lots of trigger fish. Not a grouper to be found…

Was using frozen squid and cigar minnows mostly, but did sabiki some live bait outside the pass. Both caught fish. That said, we caught a small live grunt and immediately sent back down…. That resulted in a hook up that could not be stopped. 50lb test screaming off an older Penn reel. Not sure if it was a larger grouper, amberjack or other toothy critter before it broke off several minutes later.

The cherry on top was the Mahi that followed in a snapper at the end of day 3 in 110 feet of water. I did take Limitless’s advice, though the only castable rod was a small bucktail on my trout rod. Lure hit the water, and the hook up was immediate. Light rod, fast runs, and a great aerial display. Also, dinner!








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