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.

Spring/Fall/Winter Bay Fishing

Spring/Fall/Winter Bay Fishing
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Spring/Fall/Winter Bay Fishing
The best bay fishing happens during the spring, fall, and winter seasons when the fish range from the flats to deepwater and beyond. For variety we have redfish, speckled trout, white trout, sheepshead, black drum and flounder. In some years there can be a good supply of spanish mackerel. 

Where

The key to bay fishing is access. In the Destin area, there are many places you can access by foot, but your best bets are by boat or kayak.

SFWBay-01

Land Based

  • Wading between the Destin Bridge and the Coast Guard Station
  • Wading the mouth of Joe’s Bayou
  • Fishing the dock at Marler Park in Fort Walton Beach
  • The T-Pier in Valparaiso 
  • Fishing the bridges, Destin, Shalimar Bayou, Cinco Bayou, Tom’s Bayou
  • The 331 Causeway, fishing Bridge and the rock piles around the little 331 bridge
  • The Fort Walton Beach Landing docks
  • Noriego Point

Boat or Kayak Access

  • Mid-Bay Bridge to 4 mile point and Sandestin
  • Joe's, Indian, Jones Bayou, and Mid-Bay Bridge
  • Joe's and Marlet Bayous, Jetties, Coast Guard Station, and Destin Bridge
  • Sandestiin, 4 Mile Point, Mack's Bayou, and Hogtown

Something to look for are seagulls, pelicans and white birds working the area. All are good indicators of fish working schools of bait. Sometimes you’ll just see bait working the surface and other times you’ll actually see the fish busting the surface. As you can see in this picture, there are redfish busting on the surface eating menhaden and the gulls working for scraps. 

SFWBay-07

When you see this happening, you can troll plugs around the schools of fish, not through the middle to drive them deep and turn the bite off. Also, you can cast topwater baits, soft plastics, or spoons. Try and match the size of the baitfish you see for the most bites. Your lure can be smaller in size but not bigger. I’m sure you have heard the term “match the hatch.” It’s not uncommon to see schools like this covering several acres of water at a time and maybe several different schools working in a mile or two area. 

Something to look for are seagulls, pelicans and white birds working the area. All are good indicators of fish working schools of bait. Sometimes you’ll just see bait working the surface and other times you’ll actually see the fish busting the surface. As you can see in this picture, there are redfish busting on the surface eating menhaden and the gulls working for scraps. When you see this happening, you can troll plugs around the schools of fish, not through the middle to drive them deep and turn the bite off. Also, you can cast topwater baits, soft plastics, or spoons. Try and match the size of the baitfish you see for the most bites. Your lure can be smaller in size but not bigger. I’m sure you have heard the term “match the hatch.” It’s not uncommon to see schools like this covering several acres of water at a time and maybe several different schools working in a mile or two area. 

Rods, Reels, and Line

If you’re looking for ultimate performance, try the combination of a Star Seagis Rod, Shimano Stradic Reel, and Power Pro Super Slick 8 braided line. This is one of the lightest weight outfits you can buy! Ultra sensitive so you never miss a bite, extreme casting distance even with the lightest of lures, and virtually no wind knots due to the K-Series guides, super soft braid, and Shimano’s line management system.
Seagis inshore rod series from Star Rods incorporates the latest component technology to create an ultra-lightweight inshore rod with superior sensitivity. Only top quality Fuji® components are used on the fast taper, high-modulus specially processed graphite blank. Fuji’s® SK2 split reel seat gives increased sensitivity while reducing weight. The Fuji® K-Series Tangle-Free guides with Alconite rings are lightweight and shed tangles that occur while using todays popular braided lines. Top quality cork split grips further reduce weight. Weighing in at a mere 3.5oz-4.3oz., Star Rods have set the new standard as the premier inshore fishing rod. There are a total of ten models available in lengths of 6'6", 7', and 7’6".
 
Seagis rods benefit from the use of the New Guide Concept. By reducing guide size near the tip of the rod, weight is reduced in this critical area and more of the imparted energy can be used for casting rather than starting and stopping the rod. Rod response and recovery are noticeably improved and overall rod balance shifts that much closer to the handle.
Stradic utilizes Shimano’s latest technology while drawing on ways of the past. Hagane cold forged drive gear gear combined with X-Ship provides a smooth, powerful and durable reel. The sleek G-Free body provides a better weight balance to reduce fatigue. Every part has been designed to improve the anglers experience on the water.
Power Pro Super 8 Slick Braided Line features an 8-strand Spectra fiber construction, which is specially braided under high tension to create a uniform surface that feels as smooth as silk. The super smooth surface reduces friction and line noise, allowing you to make longer casts with stealth and silence. Designed for anglers who demand high performance using PowerPro’s Enhanced Body Technology process. 
 
The ideal color for fishing the flats, docks, bridges, jetties, flooded timber, stumps, wood and brush piles is Power Pro Super 8 Slick Line in Timber Brown. It’s also an excellent choice for fishing bay waters, muddy or stained water in or around rivers, inlets, and deltas. This is a strong, thin, smooth, and quiet line.

While the setup listed above is for ultimate performance, there are plenty of other options that will work as well.

Pair a 6’6" to 7’6" light to medium light action rod with a 2500 to 4000 sized spinning reel for bay fishing.

Spinning Rods

Spinning Reels

Winter Species

Redfish

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Speckled Trout

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Flounder

09-13-2018

Sheepshead

Penn-Sheepshead

Black Snapper

30a-mangrove-2

Black Drum

01-23-2019-4

Bluefish

bluefish
SFW-alternatives

Lures, Rigs, and Bait

Popping Corks

Popping corks work great with live baits and many of the soft plastics for Trout and Redfish. Popping corks are mostly used when fishing across the flats in water 2ft-8ft. The length of line between the cork and the bait should be about half the depth of water.
 
Popping corks can also be used around boat docks, heads of the bayous, and river mouth. You can use a variety of soft plastics or live baits under your popping cork. I have even used a very light spoon or a floating topwater bait with some success.
 
Live bait rigs for use on a popping cork should have a Owner 1/0-3/0 Mutu Light and a small split shot. When fishing deeper water like around bridges and boat dock you will need a Carolina rig with Owner 1/0-3/0 and a egg lead 1/0oz-4oz depending on water depth, wind and current. Generally the popping cork rig works better for trout and the Carolina rig is more geared to catch redfish, sheepshead, black drum, and black snapper.

Popping Corks

Popping corks work great with live baits and many of the soft plastics for Trout and Redfish. Popping corks are mostly used when fishing across the flats in water 2ft-8ft. The length of line between the cork and the bait should be about half the depth of water.
 
Popping corks can also be used around boat docks, heads of the bayous, and river mouth. You can use a variety of soft plastics or live baits under your popping cork. I have even used a very light spoon or a floating topwater bait with some success.
 
cajun-thunder-popping-cork-redfish
Live bait rigs for use on a popping cork should have a Owner 1/0-3/0 Mutu Light and a small split shot. When fishing deeper water like around bridges and boat dock you will need a Carolina rig with Owner 1/0-3/0 and a egg lead 1/0oz-4oz depending on water depth, wind and current. Generally the popping cork rig works better for trout and the Carolina rig is more geared to catch redfish, sheepshead, black drum, and black snapper.
 

Soft Plastics

Soft plastics come pre-rigged and unrigged. Some of the best pre-rigged baits are Savage Shrimp, Vudu Mullet, DOA Shrimp, and Mambo Mullet. Pre-rigged are very convenient as you can open the package, tie on, and you are ready to fish. 
 
Pre-rigged can be fished alone or in tandem with a popping cork. If there is one disadvantage to pre-rigged baits, it’s that most are on the lighter side and require fishing light to medium light tackle for them to perform best.
 
Remember when fishing most soft plastic lures it is almost impossible to fish them too slow. While some soft plastics are designed to mimic minnows most are made to mimic shrimp. If you ever watch shrimp in a large tank or in the wild they swim or walk very slowly along the bottom and only move quick when startled. Thus this is why we fish them very slow only giving a quick jerk or snap only once in a while. 
Unrigged soft plastic can be rigged in a variety of ways. You can use them under a popping cork rig. Use a very light 1/16oz jig head for fishing the sand holes on the flats and very shallow water around grass beds and shorelines. They can be rigged on heavier jig heads for for fishing bridges, docks, and channels. Lastly, they can be rigged Texas style on a hook for making swimming baits. This is not normally done with plastic shrimp but more so with swim baits.
 
Some of the most popular unrigged baits are the Z-Man, Berkley Gulps, and Got-cha Sea Striker baits.