Out of all the exciting things to do in Fort Walton Beach, fishing tops the list for many beach vacationers. Okaloosa Island in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, provides a prime location for all different types of fishing.
Beaches, piers, bridges, and a nearby charter fishing industry offer more than just one way to catch that prized fish you've been waiting for. From minnows to mackerel, anglers can expect to reel in a wide variety of game fish and table fare during a stay on Okaloosa Island. Finding the top fishing spots in Fort Walton Beach can be tricky for non-locals, so keep reading for the best fishing spots on Okaloosa Island!
If you're searching for local Fort Walton Beach fishing charter trips, look no further. Reserve your fishing trip and save online with Okaloosa Island Fishing Charters on TripShock.com.
Right next door to Destin, Florida, "The World's Luckiest Fishing Village", Okaloosa Island also is home to some incredible fishing. Spread across Okaloosa Island are some of the region's top fishing destinations. From the jetties to the pier and everything in between, keep reading to discover the best places to fish on Okaloosa Island in Florida.
Sailfish caught on the Okaloosa Island Pier photo by pensacolafishingforum.com
The #1 stop for many avid fisherman is the Okaloosa Island Pier. This 1,262-foot pier is located on the west end of Okaloosa Island, at the heart of the Okaloosa Island Boardwalk. The pier provides everything you would need for a day of fishing including licenses, equipment (for sale or rent), and bait.
Fisherman can expect to catch practically any kind of Gulf fish off the massive pier. Most commonly encountered fish species are:
Through the years, species like Blow Fish, Sharks, Sailfish, and many more exotic species have been pulled out of the water. Mid March through October the Pier is open 24 hours, with the time dropping to more restrictive hours October through March. For more info on pier rates and schedule, visit okaloosaislandpier.net.
While you're at the pier, check out some of the other cool things to do at the Boardwalk on Okaloosa Island.
It's common to see fisherman on the Marler Bridge while visiting the Destin Harbor
On the east end of Okaloosa Island lies the Marler Bridge. This famous Emerald Coast bridge connects Okaloosa Island to Destin, FL, and overlooks the Choctawhatchee Bay, Destin Harbor, and the Destin Pass.
Throw a line off this structure and you're bound to catch something good. Sheepshead, Black Snapper, and Redfish are going to be your main targets, but plenty of desirable fish are waiting to be hooked! Fishing on the bridge is free and legal providing you stay within the posted locations. And as long as the fish is within the required size and weight limits, it's good to keep!
Another popular option is to fish at the base of the bridge aboard a pontoon. The pontoon boat rentals Destin FL tour companies offer depart nearby and allow a large group to fish around the pillars of the bridge!
Surf fishing on Okaloosa Island is a great way to enjoy the beach
There's nothing like rigging up a surf rod, wading out to the drop off, and casting a deep line! Surf fishing (or as some call it, beach fishing) allows some of the freedoms that bridges and piers do not. You need only avoid the swimmers, and you'll find yourself in a perfect fishing location free to cast anywhere, set up a chair, and chill out while waiting for the big one to bite!
Most of the 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:
Okaloosa Island bayside view
Surf Fishing in the bay as opposed to the Gulf isn't quite as popular, but provides a whole different experience. Park along Highway 98 on the north side of Okaloosa Island along the long stretch of public beach, and set up shop. Find Speckled Trout, Redfish, Flounder, Ladyfish, and Bluefish while surf fishing in the Choctawhatchee Bay!
Anglers opt for lighter gear when fishing the bay, and live bait including finger mullet, shrimp, and pinfish are sure to attract quality catches. If the northside beaches aren't yielding the desired results, try fishing the waters in the area under the Marler Bridge. Here you'll find free public parking, and easy access to quality seaweed beds and drop offs.
The Destin West Jetties photo by pensacolafishingforum.com
The giant rock piles known as the "East and West Jetties" border the Destin Pass. The East Jetties are in Destin, FL, but the West Jetties are part of Okaloosa Island. The sights of boats traveling down the pass, and tourists parasailing in Destin is picturesque, but none of it compares to the fishing. Fishing off the West Jetties is a perfect example of "extra risk, extra reward". The Jetties are accessible to the public, but take a little extra effort to reach.
Packing light is encouraged, and the right footwear will go a long way when climbing massive boulders to reach the best fishing spot. Snag various Gulf fishes including Grouper, Snapper, and Spanish Mackerel fishing from the West Jetties, and make sure to steer clear of snorkelers, surfers, and passing watercraft.
Giant catch on the Swoop Fishing Charter Boat located in Destin, FL
If you're looking for a sure way to catch some fish, reserve a Destin Fishing Charter today. Destin, Florida, is located just a short drive from Okaloosa Island lodging, and is considered one of the top commercial fishing towns on the Gulf Coast. Charter boats are run by experienced local captains and crew, with state of the art technology and equipment that makes fishing a breeze!
Bring along food, drink, and plenty of sunscreen as the captain guides you to desired game on a fishing trip ranging from 4 hours to 24. Destin party boat fishing and Private Charters are both available for booking, with each type of charter fishing excursion providing a different, safe and fun experience for either individuals, families, or large groups!