My favorite vacations to Destin, Florida have always included fishing. Since I’ve been a young boy, my family has made deep-sea fishing the focal point of our vacations. It also wouldn’t be unusual to rent fishing poles and walk out on the Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier and drop a line.
Early morning and dusk are the best times to go to the fishing pier (www.okalooslaislandpier.net) to see what everyone else catches. I’ve only caught small fish, but the fun part is feeding the pelicans and herons. They always hang around for a free snack. And it’s not unusual to see dolphin, sting ray, turtles and osprey. But what is most exciting is to see large Tuna, Amberjack and Cobia being hauled up to the deck of the pier by the serious fishermen.
We’ve also fished for Red fish in the Choctawhatchee Bay. The bay connects to the Gulf of Mexico at the East Pass by Highway 98. It’s very similar to fishing fresh water for Bass and Catfish. Catching a red is very exciting. They are very strong and fight hard. It’s not unusual to have them jump several feet out of the water as you reel them in.
Destin and the Fort Walton Beach area are famous for fishing. It’s been known as the “The World’s Luckiest Fishing Village” since the 1950’s. Known for it’s fishing rodeos and great seafood, Destin is a major vacation fishing destination.
My favorite memory of deep-sea fishing was when we hooked something really big. It took a long time to figure it out, but it was a large Bull Shark. Everyone had to pull their lines in as my Dad ran around the boat deck trying to stay with the shark. He got exhausted and each of us took our turns. Finally, the first mate took over. It lasted two hours. We got the shark close to the boat and the captain estimated it was ten feet long and 400 pounds. Right then, the line snapped. All that work and we only wanted a good picture.
Another memory is when my brother caught a big Barracuda. Captain said it was one of the biggest he had ever seen. We got it mounted and its hung in our basement. A normal Destin deep sea fishing trip is catching Red Snapper, Grouper, Mackerel, Cobia, Rock fish and baby sharks. We’ve also caught an octopus. My favorite to eat is Red Snapper. We grill them at our condo at Destin West and make a big night of it.
I really understand why they call Destin the Luckiest Fishing Village. It’s always the highlight of my summer vacation.