Top 10 Inshore Fish to Catch in Destin in 2023

Destin, Florida, is renowned as the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village” and attracts anglers from around the globe with its rich marine ecosystem and bountiful fishing opportunities. While offshore fishing garners much attention, the inshore waters of Destin offer an exciting range of fish species that are just waiting to be hooked. In this article, we present the top 10 inshore fish to catch in Destin in 2023, providing anglers with valuable insights and tips for a successful fishing adventure.

Top 10 Inshore Fish to Catch in Destin in 2023


Sight Fishing Redfish on Destin Florida Beaches - Lion's Tale Adventures

Redfish, also known as Red Drum, is a prized catch in Destin’s inshore waters. These powerful and aggressive fighters can be found near grass flats, mangroves, and oyster beds. Use live bait such as shrimp or mullet, or try artificial lures like spoons or soft plastics to entice these bruisers to bite.

Redfish are known for their strength and resilience, making them a prized catch. Look for them in shallow water flats and around structures during high tide. When targeting redfish, consider using crab or shrimp imitations, as well as topwater lures like poppers or walk-the-dog plugs. Pay attention to subtle movements or “nervous” water, as it could indicate the presence of feeding redfish.


Speckled Trout

Destin Inshore Fishing: Springtime Speckled Trout

Destin is renowned for its superb speckled trout fishing. These beautiful fish are abundant in the area’s seagrass beds and deep channels. Live shrimp, pilchards, or artificial lures like topwater plugs and soft plastics work well for targeting these elusive and delicious fish.

Speckled trout are often found near drop-offs, grassy areas, and points where baitfish congregate. During colder months, they seek deeper channels. Experiment with different colored soft plastics, such as chartreuse or white, and vary your retrieval speed to entice strikes. It’s worth noting that trout have a delicate mouth, so be sure to use light to medium-light tackle for a more successful hook set.



Flounder are highly sought after for their delectable taste and unique appearance. They are typically found near sandy bottoms, ledges, and channels. Use live bait such as mud minnows or finger mullet, or experiment with jigging lures tipped with soft plastics to entice these flatfish.

Flounder Fishing in Destin, FL - FishingBooker

Flounder are masters of camouflage, lying flat on the sandy bottom and ambushing prey. They are most active during the falling tide. When targeting flounder, consider using live finger mullet or mud minnows on a Carolina rig. Casting and slowly retrieving a bucktail jig along the bottom can also be effective, mimicking the flounder’s natural prey.



Known for their explosive strikes and acrobatic fights, snook are a prized catch among inshore anglers. Look for them around bridges, jetties, and mangrove shorelines. Live baitfish like pilchards or pinfish, as well as artificial lures such as jerkbaits and swimbaits, are effective for targeting these elusive predators.

Snook are highly sensitive to water temperature, so focus your efforts during the warmer months. Look for them around mangrove shorelines, bridge pilings, and deep channels. When using live bait, present it in a natural and lifelike manner, allowing it to swim freely. For artificial lures, opt for those that mimic small baitfish, such as paddle-tail swimbaits or suspending twitchbaits.



Sheepshead, with their iconic vertical stripes and impressive teeth, are a popular target for inshore anglers in Destin. These fish frequent structures such as docks, bridges, and jetties. Use live shrimp, fiddler crabs, or barnacles as bait, and be prepared for their knack for stealing bait without getting hooked.

Destin Florida SHEEPSHEAD Fishing With OYSTERS | This Bridge Holds HUGE  Fish! - YouTube

Sheepshead have a reputation for being bait stealers, so it’s important to be patient and set the hook at the right moment. Use small hooks and a sensitive rod to detect subtle bites. When using live shrimp, consider removing the tail to make it harder for the sheepshead to snatch the bait. Another effective technique is to scrape barnacles off pilings and use them as natural bait.


Spanish Mackerel

Spanish mackerel are known for their blistering speed and aggressive feeding habits. These migratory fish can be found in large numbers in the nearshore waters of Destin. Trolling with shiny spoons or casting and retrieving silver jigs are productive techniques for enticing these fast-paced predators.


Black Drum

Black drum, often found near oyster beds and deeper channels, offer an exciting inshore fishing experience in Destin. They have a penchant for feeding on crustaceans and small mollusks. Use live shrimp, fiddler crabs, or cut bait to entice these hard-fighting fish.

Pregnant Destin freediver lands pending record fish with polespear



Pompano are prized for both their sporting qualities and delectable taste. They are commonly found along sandy beaches and nearshore sandbars. Sand fleas, shrimp, or small jigs tipped with soft plastics are effective bait choices for targeting these silver-sided speedsters.


Jack Crevalle

For anglers seeking a thrilling battle, the jack crevalle is an ideal target. These powerful fish are known for their brute strength and aggressive nature. Look for them around jetties, bridges, and nearshore reefs. Topwater plugs, spoons, or live bait such as mullet are effective options for enticing these voracious predators.


Mangrove Snapper

Mangrove snapper, also known as gray snapper, are prized for their tasty flesh and challenging fight. They can be found around structures like bridges, docks, and submerged rocks. Use live shrimp, small baitfish, or cut bait to entice these cautious and cunning predators.


Wrapping It Up

Destin, Florida, offers an abundance of inshore fishing opportunities, allowing anglers to target a variety of exciting fish species. From the powerful redfish and snook to the delectable flounder and pompano, these top 10 inshore fish to catch in Destin in 2023 promise thrilling battles and delicious rewards. Whether you’re an experienced angler or a novice, the diverse range of fishing options and techniques ensures that there’s something for everyone. So grab your gear, head to Destin’s inshore waters, and embark on a memorable fishing adventure that will create lasting memories.

Remember, always check local regulations, obtain the necessary licenses, and practice responsible catch-and-release to preserve the fishery for future generations. Happy fishing!

If you’d like to join an inshore fishing charter to have a professional captain and guide to help you during your trip, contact us now. We offer excellent fishing charter services for every angler!

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Destin Florida Fishing Charters » Top 10 Inshore Fish to Catch in Destin in 2023