Fish-N-Mate Jr. Beach Carts | REG: $353.99| SALE: $299.99 |

Destin Fishing Seminars

Each Month we will be teaming up with Legendary Marine in Destin to bring you our Sportsman Seminar Series! These 100% Free Fishing Seminars are put on by our very own Destin Fishing Veteran Tim Broom along with the award winning Capt. Mark Hotze of 30A Light Tackle.

We will be covering seasonla topics that vary month to month to make sure you're ready to catch whatever is biting. See the full topics schedule by clicking the Learn More button below.

March 1st - 3rd 2024 | Pier Park

The Emerald Coast Boat & Lifestyle Show features boat displays from all major manufacturers and the top dealers representing the latest in boats, high tech engines, electronics and marine accessories. Boats ranging from entry level bow riders, pontoons and center consoles all the way up to the next generation 42' center consoles with quad outboards that have become so popular. Buyers will find everything in-between.

Fish-N-Mate Jr. Beach Carts | REG: $353.99| SALE: $299.99 |

Destin Seminars Begin in February. Checkout the 2024 schedule now. 

Destin Seminar Schedule

Each month we will be teaming up with Legendary Marine in Destin to bring you our Sportsman Seminar Series! These 100% Free Seminars are put on by our very own Destin Fishing Veteran Tim Broom along with the award winning Capt. Mark Hotze of 30A Light Tackle.

We will be covering seasonal topics that vary month to month to make sure you're ready to catch whatever is biting. See the full topics schedule and dates by clicking the Learn More button below.

Destin Seminar Schedule

Each month we will be teaming up with Legendary Marine in Destin to bring you our Sportsman Seminar Series! These 100% Free Seminars are put on by our very own Destin Fishing Veteran Tim Broom along with the award winning Capt. Mark Hotze of 30A Light Tackle.

We will be covering seasonal topics that vary month to month to make sure you're ready to catch whatever is biting. See the full topics schedule and dates by clicking the Learn More button below.

Destin Seminar Schedule

Each month we will be teaming up with Legendary Marine in Destin to bring you our Sportsman Seminar Series! These 100% Free Seminars are put on by our very own Destin Fishing Veteran Tim Broom along with the award winning Capt. Mark Hotze of 30A Light Tackle.

We will be covering seasonal topics that vary month to month to make sure you're ready to catch whatever is biting. See the full topics schedule and dates by clicking the Learn More button below.

March 1st - 3rd 2024 | Pier Park

The Emerald Coast Boat & Lifestyle Show features boat displays from all major manufacturers and the top dealers representing the latest in boats, high tech engines, electronics and marine accessories.

Fish-N-Mate Jr. Beach Carts 

Reg: $353.99 | SALE: $299.99

Destin Seminars Begin in February. Checkout the 2024 schedule now. 

Destin Seminar Schedule

Each month we will be teaming up with Legendary Marine in Destin to bring you our Sportsman Seminar Series! These 100% Free Seminars are put on by our very own Destin Fishing Veteran Tim Broom along with the award winning Capt. Mark Hotze of 30A Light Tackle.

We will be covering seasonal topics that vary month to month to make sure you're ready to catch whatever is biting. See the full topics schedule and dates by clicking the Learn More button below.

Destin Seminar Schedule

Each month we will be teaming up with Legendary Marine in Destin to bring you our Sportsman Seminar Series! These 100% Free Seminars are put on by our very own Destin Fishing Veteran Tim Broom along with the award winning Capt. Mark Hotze of 30A Light Tackle.

We will be covering seasonal topics that vary month to month to make sure you're ready to catch whatever is biting. See the full topics schedule and dates by clicking the Learn More button below.

Destin Seminar Schedule

Each month we will be teaming up with Legendary Marine in Destin to bring you our Sportsman Seminar Series! These 100% Free Seminars are put on by our very own Destin Fishing Veteran Tim Broom along with the award winning Capt. Mark Hotze of 30A Light Tackle.

We will be covering seasonal topics that vary month to month to make sure you're ready to catch whatever is biting. See the full topics schedule and dates by clicking the Learn More button below.

March 1st - 3rd 2024 | Pier Park

The Emerald Coast Boat & Lifestyle Show features boat displays from all major manufacturers and the top dealers representing the latest in boats, high tech engines, electronics and marine accessories. Boats ranging from entry level bow riders, pontoons and center consoles all the way up to the next generation 42' center consoles with quad outboards that have become so popular. Buyers will find everything in-between.

Destin Seminars

Each Month we will be teaming up with Legendary Marine in Destin to bring you our Sportsman Seminar Series! These 100% Free Fishing Seminars are put on by our very own Destin Fishing Veteran Tim Broom along with the award winning Capt. Mark Hotze of 30A Light Tackle.

Use coupon code: HalfHitch to get $5 off Emerald Coast Boat & Lifestyle Show tickets!

March 1st - 3rd 2024 | Pier Park

The Emerald Coast Boat & Lifestyle Show features boat displays from all major manufacturers and the top dealers representing the latest in boats, high tech engines, electronics and marine accessories.

February Fishing Forecast

February Fishing Forecast
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February Fishing Forecast

February Fishing Forecast

February is definitely our coldest month of the year, but the days can be very nice and the fishing can be really hot!

In the bay, you’ll find trout, redfish, black drum, flounder, white trout and some of the best sheepshead fishing of the year.

Along the coast and off the piers, you’ll find winter bonita cruising just off the shore line and sand bars in the early mornings.

Surf, pier and jetty fishing will produce some pompano, whiting, redfish and sheepshead.

Bottom fisherman will enjoy catching amberjack, scamp, red grouper, triggerfish and vermillion snapper.

Bay Fishing

Speckled Trout

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Trout will be found in deeper water this time of year. Try fishing deep water boat docks, bridges, deep holes in the bayous and channels. Your best baits for trout will be live shrimp, pinfish, croakers, and pigfish. Fish these on a Carolina rig or under a popping cork.

Deep running or sinking plugs, DOA shrimp and Savage shrimp are some of the best lures. Fish this very slow this time of year, as the water is cold and  trout are less aggressive. Fishing the lure too fast will limit the number of bites. 

A good way to locate trout is to slow troll with a shrimp tail soft plastic jig in the deep channels of the bayou to locate the trout and then switch to live bait to get the max number of bites.

Speckled Trout

Trout will be found in deeper water this time of year. Try fishing deep water boat docks, bridges, deep holes in the bayous and channels. Your best baits for trout will be live shrimp, pinfish, croakers, and pigfish. Fish these on a Carolina rig or under a popping cork.

Deep running or sinking plugs, DOA shrimp and Savage shrimp are some of the best lures. Fish this very slow this time of year, as the water is cold and  trout are less aggressive. Fishing the lure too fast will limit the number of bites. 

A good way to locate trout is to slow troll with a shrimp tail soft plastic jig in the deep channels of the bayou to locate the trout and then switch to live bait to get the max number of bites.

Redfish

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Most or the redfish will be caught fishing live shrimp, pinfish, croakers and pigfish. Reds will be hanging on docks, bridges and jetties. You will get most of your bites fishing with live bait on a Carolina rig on the bottom. Redfish have to be between 18 and 27 inches to keep.

There are a lot of bull reds around during the winter months and you will find them in the passes, deep channels and around deep water bridges. These bull reds are fun to catch and release. If you chose this type of fishing make sure to net the fish and do your best to unhook them while still in the water only using the net to control the fish.

Troll for them using deep running lures. If your lures have large lips and troll 15 of more foot you can run them by themselves. If you have lures wilt small lips you may need to add trolling lead 4 to 6 ounces to get the lure deep enough. Add single hooks to your lures rather than the treble hooks that normally come on them. Single hooks make it easier to release the fish unharmed.

Redfish

Most or the redfish will be caught fishing live shrimp, pinfish, croakers and pigfish. Reds will be hanging on docks, bridges and jetties. You will get most of your bites fishing with live bait on a Carolina rig on the bottom. Redfish have to be between 18 and 27 inches to keep.

There are a lot of bull reds around during the winter months and you will find them in the passes, deep channels and around deep water bridges. These bull reds are fun to catch and release. If you chose this type of fishing make sure to net the fish and do your best to unhook them while still in the water only using the net to control the fish.

Troll for them using deep running lures. If your lures have large lips and troll 15 of more foot you can run them by themselves. If you have lures wilt small lips you may need to add trolling lead 4 to 6 ounces to get the lure deep enough. Add single hooks to your lures rather than the treble hooks that normally come on them. Single hooks make it easier to release the fish unharmed.

Sheepshead and Black Drum

Sheepshead and black drum look very similar. The biggest difference is in their mouth and dorsal fins. Sheepshead have teeth that look like molars and the black drum has more or less sandpaper in the mouth. The dorsal fin is much more pronounced and spiky on the sheephead than that of a black drum.

You will find both around bridge pilings, jetties and oyster bars. They love live shrimp, fiddler crabs and sand fleas. Fish these baits on a Carolina rig with a small straight J hook. For most species I like circle hooks bit for sheepshead and black drum because of the shape of their mouth and teeth a J hook no bigger than a dime work best. 

Sheepshead

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Sheepshead

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Black Drum

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Flounder

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Many of the flounder move to the gulf at this time of the year, but you can find a few in the bay and harbor areas. For best results, fish with a Carolina rig on the bottom near docks and bridges that have sand bottom with access to deep water and oyster beds.

Fish a Carolina rig on the bottom near docks and bridges that have sand bottom with access to deep water and oyster beds for best results. Your best bait is live bull minnows, but flounder belly strips, DOA lures, Savage Shrimp and Gulp will also work.

The best flounder fishing is just outside the passes and near shore reefs and wrecks. For these flounder in the gulf, bull minnows fished on a Carolina rig produce the most fish. Fish on the lee side (down wind) of the reef or wreck. Unlike snapper or grouper fishing, you don’t want to be directly over the wreck but more over the sand bottom on the lee side of the wreck. Flounder prefer to wait on the sand bottom to ambush their prey.

Flounder

Many of the flounder move to the gulf at this time of the year, but you can find a few in the bay and harbor areas. For best results, fish with a Carolina rig on the bottom near docks and bridges that have sand bottom with access to deep water and oyster beds.

Fish a Carolina rig on the bottom near docks and bridges that have sand bottom with access to deep water and oyster beds for best results. Your best bait is live bull minnows, but flounder belly strips, DOA lures, Savage Shrimp and Gulp will also work.

The best flounder fishing is just outside the passes and near shore reefs and wrecks. For these flounder in the gulf, bull minnows fished on a Carolina rig produce the most fish. Fish on the lee side (down wind) of the reef or wreck. Unlike snapper or grouper fishing, you don’t want to be directly over the wreck but more over the sand bottom on the lee side of the wreck. Flounder prefer to wait on the sand bottom to ambush their prey.

Near Shore

Winter Bonita

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During the winter months, bonita cruise the surf, just off the sand bar and along the beaches. You can cast white jigs, white jerk baits, or troll Yo-Zuri plugs for them. Look for birds working to locate them. The best days are cold north wind days.

While most people tell you that bonita are not good to eat, maybe they’ve just never prepared it right. Immediately upon catching, make a cut under each pectoral fin to the back bone on both sides. Cut a ring around the tail but don’t cut the tail completely off. Stand the bonita on its nose in a bucket for about five minutes to bleed out. Then, ice it in a cooler in slushy ice. As you fillet the fish, you’ll see that the meat is dark with a distinct blood line. Remove the blood line and skin, then cut into chucks. In a pot, add some oil (maybe a cup), add bonita, salt, pepper, fish seasoning, and cover fillets with water and boil. When done drain and mix up with your favorite recipe just as you would with canned tuna for some tasty fish salad. 

Another method of cooking comes from Jamaica. Fillet then blacken it with Caribbean fish seasoning. This is definitely stronger than some fish, but really tasty.

Winter Bonita

During the winter months, bonita cruise the surf, just off the sand bar and along the beaches. You can cast white jigs, white jerk baits, or troll Yo-Zuri plugs for them. Look for birds working to locate them. The best days are cold north wind days.

While most people tell you that bonita are not good to eat, maybe they’ve just never prepared it right. Immediately upon catching, make a cut under each pectoral fin to the back bone on both sides. Cut a ring around the tail but don’t cut the tail completely off. Stand the bonita on its nose in a bucket for about five minutes to bleed out. Then, ice it in a cooler in slushy ice. As you fillet the fish, you’ll see that the meat is dark with a distinct blood line. Remove the blood line and skin, then cut into chucks. In a pot, add some oil (maybe a cup), add bonita, salt, pepper, fish seasoning, and cover fillets with water and boil. When done drain and mix up with your favorite recipe just as you would with canned tuna for some tasty fish salad. 

Another method of cooking comes from Jamaica. Fillet then blacken it with Caribbean fish seasoning. This is definitely stronger than some fish, but really tasty.

Sharks

Pick out an area of natural bottom or large wreck. Mix a batch of chum and use some for a chum bag and some for chunking into the water. Use a few pieces of bonita or mackerel for bait. There are plenty of sharks all year if you just want a good tug on the line and some adventure!

You will need a 80lb rod and reel combo spooled 80lb or 100lb line braid or mono. Your leader should be 150lb to 250lb wire with a 12/0 to 16/0 circle. Sharks can be caught on boats or surf fisherman, there are plenty of sharks in the surf if you want to do that.

Sharks

SHARK-BLOG

Pick out an area of natural bottom or large wreck. Mix a batch of chum and use some for a chum bag and some for chunking into the water. Use a few pieces of bonita or mackerel for bait. There are plenty of sharks all year if you just want a good tug on the line and some adventure!

You will need a 80lb rod and reel combo spooled 80lb or 100lb line braid or mono. Your leader should be 150lb to 250lb wire with a 12/0 to 16/0 circle. Sharks can be caught on boats or surf fisherman, there are plenty of sharks in the surf if you want to do that.

Bottom Fishing

Scamp Grouper

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Scamp Grouper are generally found in the 75ft to 400ft range, They prefer natural bottom but will gather on some wrecks. Fishing a Carolina rig with 1oz of lead for every 10ft of water. Best to use live cigar minnows, pinfish or frozen northern mackerel.

Scamp Grouper

Scamp Grouper are generally found in the 75ft to 400ft range, They prefer natural bottom but will gather on some wrecks. Fishing a Carolina rig with 1oz of lead for every 10ft of water. Best to use live cigar minnows, pinfish or frozen northern mackerel.

Amberjack

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Amberjack are generally found fishing wrecks in 50 to 400 ft range, Unlike grouper they tend to like large wrecks rather than natural bottom. Live cigar minnows, hardtails, pinfish and vermillion snapper are preferred baits. Use a Carolina rig with extra long leaders, up to 20ft when fish are picky. Amberjack also love butterfly jigs and large swimbaits.

Amberjack

Amberjack are generally found fishing wrecks in 50 to 400 ft range, Unlike grouper they tend to like large wrecks rather than natural bottom.

Live cigar minnows, hardtails, pinfish and vermillion snapper are preferred baits.

Use a Carolina rig with extra long leaders, up to 20ft when fish are picky. Amberjack also love butterfly jigs and large swimbaits.

Scamp Grouper

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Red grouper, unlike most bottom fish, seem to bite better on what we call trash bait. Trash can be anything from a frozen northern mackerel to a butterflied vermillion snapper.

Live baits typically don’t work as well for red grouper unlike other groupers as they tend to be very lazy.

Also we catch them in much shallower water. Normally 50 to 150 foot depths. 

Red Grouper

Red grouper, unlike most bottom fish, seem to bite better on what we call trash bait. Trash can be anything from a frozen northern mackerel to a butterflied vermillion snapper.

Live baits typically don’t work as well for red grouper unlike other groupers as they tend to be very lazy.

Also we catch them in much shallower water. Normally 50 to 150 foot depths. 

Triggerfish

Triggerfish are one of the more tasty fish and fairly easy to catch.

Use a 2 or 3 hook bottom rig with circle hooks no bigger than a nickel in size. The best bait is squid, northern mackerel or bonita cut into 1in chunks, fresher is better.

They can be caught on wrecks or reefs in 50 to 175 foot depths. Another bait not many people use but very effective is Fishbites or Gulp!

Triggerfish

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Triggerfish are one of the more tasty fish and fairly easy to catch.

Use a 2 or 3 hook bottom rig with circle hooks no bigger than a nickel in size. The best bait is squid, northern mackerel or bonita cut into 1in chunks, fresher is better.

They can be caught on wrecks or reefs in 50 to 175 foot depths. Another bait not many people use but very effective is Fishbites or Gulp!

Vermillion Snapper

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Vermillion snapper aka Mingo snapper or Beeliners are another one of the better eating snappers. In my opinion they are much better than red snapper and can be caught all year. They normally range 1lb to 3lbs but we catch them from 5lbs to 7lbs. If these little guys grew to 20-30lbs no one would care about red snapper.

Use a 2 or 3 hook bottom rig with circle hooks no bigger than a nickel in size. The best bait is squid, northern mackerel or bonita cut into 1in chunks, fresher is better. They can be caught on wrecks or reefs in 50 to 175 foot depths. Another bait not many people use but very effective is Fishbites or Gulp!

Vermillion Snapper

Vermillion snapper aka Mingo snapper or Beeliners are another one of the better eating snappers. In my opinion they are much better than red snapper and can be caught all year. They normally range 1lb to 3lbs but we catch them from 5lbs to 7lbs. If these little guys grew to 20-30lbs no one would care about red snapper.

Use a 2 or 3 hook bottom rig with circle hooks no bigger than a nickel in size. The best bait is squid, northern mackerel or bonita cut into 1in chunks, fresher is better. They can be caught on wrecks or reefs in 50 to 175 foot depths. Another bait not many people use but very effective is Fishbites or Gulp!

Rockfish or Squirrel Fish

These little guys don’t get much attention, but if they grew bigger they would be regarded as one of the top fish in the gulf. Rarely do you see one over 2 lbs and most people consider them as trash but are one of my personal favorites for the dinner table.

When you fillet one, the meat is meat is not so much white as clear and sparkles when you cut it across the grain. Catch them just like you would fishing for vermillion snapper or trigger fish.

Rockfish or Squirrel Fish

squirrel-fish

These little guys don’t get much attention, but if they grew bigger they would be regarded as one of the top fish in the gulf. Rarely do you see one over 2 lbs and most people consider them as trash but are one of my personal favorites for the dinner table.

When you fillet one, the meat is meat is not so much white as clear and sparkles when you cut it across the grain. Catch them just like you would fishing for vermillion snapper or trigger fish.

Surf, Jetty, and Pier

For the most part, you’ll find just a bare few pompano in the surf, some good numbers on whiting and occasional redfish in the surf. On the jetties mostly sheepshead and redfish. On the pier a few bonita and sheepshead.

Pompano and Whiting

Catching pompano and whiting from the surf can provide many relaxing hours of fun in the sun as well as some excellent dinners. While pompano are the glory fish of the surf, whiting are a favorite gulf fish and rank right at the top of the list. 

Both can be caught bottom fishing with sand fleas, fresh peeled shrimp, and fiddler crabs. Another method that can be used is casting jigs from the surf, pier or jetty.

The bite is best at first light and especially on cold, calm north wind mornings.

Pompano

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Whiting

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Redfish patrol the jetties and shallows at the pier and prefer live shrimp for bait!

Bonita can be caught from the pier casting white jigs and white swimbaits. Normally these only bite at first light for a few hours and the colder the better, especially slick calm north wind mornings.

Sheepshead tend to hang out on the jetties and pier and the best baits are live fiddler crabs and live shrimp fished on a Carolina rig right next to the pilings or rocks.