13 Jul 2021
Fishing Destin-Fort Walton Beach without a Boat
Fishing in Destin-Fort Walton Beach without a Boat
Ever find yourself down in Destin-Fort Walton Beach for a vacation and want to go fishing, but you don’t have any boat friends? The locals know the best spots to go — with or without a boat. Here are some of our favorite spots.
1) Okaloosa Island Pier: Catch redfish, Tarpon, Mackerel, Ladyfish, and Hard Tails at this spot. Find it on the west side of the island near the Okaloosa Boardwalk. This pier provides everything you could need for a day of fishing, including licenses, bait, and equipment that you can buy or rent.
2) Clement Taylor Park Fishing Pier is located on the west end of Destin and has an L-shaped pier that extends 100 feet from the shore and another 50 feet parallel to the shoreline. This park really has plenty of amenities like a beach, sand volleyball, and a playground, not to mention public restrooms, trash service, picnic tables, and even a few grills.
3) Marler Bridge lies on the east end of Okaloosa Island and connects Okaloosa Island to Destin while overlooking the Choctawhatchee Bay, Destin Harbor, and the Destin Pass. Fishing on the bridge is free and legal, provided you stay within the posted spots. You’re bound to catch some Sheepshead, Black Snapper, or Red Fish, and as long as you stay within the fish’s required size and weight limits, it’s good to keep and cook.
4) Gulf Islands National Seashore offers bayside public access if you are looking for calm, shallower waters to fish in. This is a great spot for families with younger children to fish in. There is brackish water, a mix of freshwater and saltwater coming from the Destin Pass, so you’ll see all different kinds of fish here, from Flounder to Redfish to Speckled Trout. The Bayfront seashore houses some incredible animals below the water and above the water; be sure to clean up after yourself when you leave, as there are many protected dunes nearby. There is a small fee to enter the park, but your pass is good for up to seven days.
5) The Famous Destin Jetties is another great spot to fish, or should we say spots. There are giant rock piles that border the Destin Pass, the East Jetties being in Destin and West Jetties being on Okaloosa Island. Fishing off of the Jetties is so scenic since you can watch boats coming and going, people participating in water sports, and you still have the beach which the Jetties start on. We will warn you; this is not a fishing spot for children or disabled individuals as the boulders are massive and requiring a bit of climbing with no smooth walkway nearby. However, with the tides changing daily through the east pass, it creates a prime and ideal feeding environment that attracts everything from redfish to bluefish, flounder, mackerel, and various baitfish. It also doesn’t hurt to pack light on this trip because both jetties require a bit of a walk on the beach. Just don’t forget that often, with risk comes reward, and there have been plenty of fishermen who have been rewarded with amazing and plentiful catches.
6) Last but certainly not least is to fish from the shore or Surf Fishing on the Gulf Side of Destin and Fort Walton Beach. It’s as simple as rigging up a surf rod and wading out in the water to cast a line. Just be aware of swimmers nearby as you cast your line. Go over far enough, and you’ll find yourself a little slice of heaven on the beach where you can cast or sit in a beach chair waiting on a fish to hit your line. “Most public surf fishing goes down at the beaches behind Santa Rosa Boulevard Condos and the Okaloosa Island Boardwalk and Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park. But if you drive towards the east end of the island, you’ll find patches of public beach that is more secluded, and prime for surf fishing. It’s almost impossible to predict what you’ll catch from the beach. You’ll typically encounter:
Where should I fish if I have a kayak?
If you have your own kayak, you’ll find plenty of great spots to fish. But if you’re unsure where to go, try paddling up along the Choctawhatchee Bay and its inlets and saltwater creeks. We only advise experienced kayak anglers to go offshore fishing in the Gulf with Kayak Fishing Destin, where you’ll paddle about a mile out and fish around a private underwater structure.
Where can I take my kids fishing?
Destin is known for its many fishing spots. However, some of these spots may not be accessible for all people and boats. We advise you to stay Bayside fishing unless you are on the Pier or the shore. Just don’t forget to get your fishing license for saltwater and freshwater while your here. Kids love to go fishing on paddleboards as well. You can rent a paddleboard and take off at Island Watersports right next door or head to Ross Marler Park in Fort Walton Beach.
Where can we eat the fish that we caught?
To really make the most of your experience, cook what you catch from either East Pass Seafood and Oyster House, Brotula’s Seafood House & Steamer, or have a private chef cook up a meal special for you and your family with Artistic Catering.
Where can I get my fishing license?
You can grab your license at one of four places.
1. Bait & Tackle or sporting goods stores. Head into Walmart’s sporting goods section or to Half Hitch Tackle and pick up your physical license to carry with you. The cost is $17
2. Call FWC. Dial toll-free, either 888-HUNT-FLORIDA (486-8356) or 888-FISH-FLORIDA(347-4356) from anywhere in the United States or Canada. Cost: $17 plus $4.25 + 2.5% surcharge of total sale per person convenience fee.
3. Go online.Cost: $17 plus $2.25 or $1.75 + 2.5% surcharge of total sale per person convenience fee.
4. Get the App. Buying a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) license has never been easier with the new Fish-Hunt-FL app. This interactive app gives you easy access to purchasing any recreational fishing or hunting license offered by the FWC, and you can also store a copy of your license on your phone, check out recent FWC news, look at the current sunrise/sunset time for the area, check the coastal waters forecasts and lookup fishing regulations. Download the free app today by searching FWC in the App Store or Google Play.