Everything You Need to Know About Fishing the Choctawhatchee Bay

Thousands of people head to the Emerald Coast yearly. Some would go to Destin for the fantastic beaches, while others flock to the area for the excellent fishing action. You could visit the Gulf of Mexico to catch Snappers, but locals would advise you to stay in the brackish waters, focusing on Destin Bay!

Destin Bay, also known as the Choctawhatchee Bay, is the heart of Destin’s dishing scene, which is why it’s worth exploring. Learn everything you need to know about fishing the Destin Bay here!

Everything You Need to Know About Fishing the Destin Bay

It’s in Destin Bay’s grassy marshes and flats that all the actual fun happens. You’ve got light tackle action and big, feisty fish, all of it at reasonable prices, especially when on a fishing charter.

Take a look at what you should know when fishing in Destin Bay!

Fishing the Destin Bay 

The best fishing spots in Destin Bay

You can find a lot of productive fishing spots in Destin and hit different terrains in a day while catching many fish species. Some anglers can land inshore Grand Slams, which means that you caught Speckled Trout, Redfish, and Flounder all in one day)!

There are many ways you can fish in Destin Bay. You can rent a kayak to explore the marshes, fish from the jetties, book a reputable fishing charter to take you around the flats, or even fish on a fly, explore bridge pylons, and fish from the shore or piers.

Regardless of your preference, we recommend going to these spots first:

Fishing the Destin Bay

East Pass Jetties

This is the first stop for most anglers who visit Destin Bay. The water salinity would change with the tides here, so you have great chances of landing colossal fish. You’ll most likely find Redfish and Sheepshead here, but anglers also report finding Trout, Flounder, Sharks, and Spanish Mackerel.

It gets pretty crowded since it’s the usual first stop for any anglers (and a popular one). We recommend visiting to beat the influx of boats and people in the morning.

Fishing the Destin Bay 

Mid-Day Bridge

This area is the most popular and well-known fishery in Destin, attracting boating anglers and schools of fish. The Mid-Bay Bridge pylons will attract Redfish and Speckled Trout that stay in the area most of the time.

Mid-Day Bridge is a 10-minute boat ride away from East Pass, offering great light tackle action. After you’ve caught enough Redfish, we recommend going south to nearby flats where you can find Speckled Trout lurking in grass patches. You can also discover various deep spots where Gag Groupers and Redfish like hiding in!

Fishing the Destin Bay

Hogtown Bayou

When heading east from Mid-Bay Bridge, you’ll find Hogtown Bayou, a place filled with flats and grassy patches filled with fish in shallow water. You can find a lot of Reds and Specks here throughout the year, even in winter, where the fish would come to feed and mingle as there’s more sun here. Head to the area for a first-morning bite during the spring to fall seasons, too.

You can go kayak fishing in Hogtown Bayou, and you can find most anglers getting a good workout from it!

Fishing the Destin Bay 

Choctawhatchee River

This area is one of the best fisheries when targeting Reds or Specks. It’s very popular among locals, but you’ll see many tourists as well.

While the fish typically stay close to the river mouth, it’s worth checking rock piles. Because there have been alligator spotting, it’s best to go on a fishing charter, or at least with an experienced guide. You see some anglers using kayaks, but most people test their lines from boats, which is safer and easier to spot fish.

The fishing seasons

You can fish in Destin Bay all year round and no matter the season, you’re bound to get a decent catch! You just need to know where your targeted species is at every season.


You’ll notice more Reds and Trouts, especially when they begin spawning season. Reds are very hungry during this time, so you’re sure to get a lot of catches.


Most people would head to the Gulf of Mexico to catch various sports fish species. Just let them be and stay in Destin Bay! The more people head to the Gulf of Mexico, then it means more water for you to catch even more fish.

We believe that summer is the best time of the year to fish in Destin Bay, as you can find many fish species swarming flats, grassy patches, bridges, potholes, and reefs. For those who want light tackle action, go to the eastern area. After you fished near the mouth of Choctawhatchee River, head west to Destin Pass, hitting all of Destin Bay’s hot spots.


Even as the temperatures begin to drop, you still have a chance to reel in Reds and Specks. As long as you fish on a fair day, they won’t run towards cover.


After the first frost arrives, fish start moving from open waters to creeks, inlets, and streams for warmth and shelter. Most fish would head east to the flats near the Choctawhatchee River. They’ll stay there once the warmth of spring arrives.

While you can still get some fish, the bites are slower, so expect a hit and miss. That said, the fish are definitely in the water; you just need to know where they hide, focusing on areas with a lot of grass and structure.

You may need to avail a fishing license before fishing in Destin, but if you plan on joining a fishing charter with a licensed captain and guide, chances are, you won’t need one.

Nevertheless, it’s essential to learn about Destin’s fishing regulations and how to avail a license if needed. This prevents hefty fines and trouble with the law.

Wrapping It Up

Did you learn a lot about fishing in Destin Bay from our article? We sure hope so! If you’re interested in heading to Destin Bay to take advantage of that swimming action, contact us to avail of our fishing charter services!

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Destin Florida Fishing Charters » Everything You Need to Know About Fishing the Destin Bay