Some of the best Kayak fishing in Destin can be found by fishing the many artificial reefs nearshore. These areas are LOADED with structure; army tanks, fads, boxcars and natural reefs are spread out all through the region. Red snapper, amberjack, kings, cobia, sailfish and many other species are all along these structures within paddling distances. Another area where its a guessing game as to what you will hook up with. Live or dead cigar minnows are the bait of choice here with a fluorocarbon leader. Do a little research and you can find the GPS coordinates to many of these structures.
Crab island is a local hangout that is easily accessible by boat or kayak. During the summer, you will see hundreds, if not thousands of boats and people hanging out on the shallow sandbar in the middle of the bay. In the past there have been restaurants and other forms of entertainment out there...we'll see what the 2022 Season looks like in a few weeks and try to update. Aside from that, there is some great fishing all along the outskirts of the sandbar. Trout, redfish, jacks and many other species patrol this bar in search of bait fish. Live or fresh dead shrimp, or artificial baits work great.
Very near Crab Island is the Destin Bridge. All of the water moving in and out of the bay goes through this point. Probably the best place to fish for reds, trout, and jacks. Sheepshead and big black drum are also loaded up on the pylons. During high tide, the bridge area can be loaded with spanish mackerel and blues. Bring plenty of plugs as they will wear you out.
Destin Harbor is another one of the best Kayaking Spots in Destin! Experiencing RED FLAGS and can't use your rental kayak at the beach? Throw on some EZ Straps, load it up, and head for Noriega Point on Holiday Isle. This area is in the protected water of Destin Harbor just across from AJ's, Harbor Docks, and Boshamps. This is an area where you may have to weed through the catfish if you are bottom fishing baits, but don't be fooled the harbor waters are packed full of reds, jack, flounder, and trout as well. It is not uncommon for schools of mackerel and blues to be boiling the water's surface in the harbor too. Anywhere there is a bait stand or charter boat's cleaning station along the docks is a good bet for reds.
The docks along the bay, bayou, and harbor fronts are home to plenty of hungry fish. Sheepshead, black and red drum and trout are a favorite in this are, although it is not uncommon to catch Spanish mackerel, bluefish and a variety of others. Occasionally black snapper can be caught along some of the deeper docks as well. During the evening and night, many of these docks have lights on the end making sight fishing easy for trout and redfish. Be respectful and don't ever climb onto a stranger's dock for any reason other than an emergency.
The jetties of the East Pass are an incredible place for fishing, kayaking, and snorkeling. Make sure to time it right at high tide as this is when the water is crystal clear for snorkeling. The depths in this area can range between 5′ – 50′ and change rapidly. Along the inside of the structures you'll typically find much calmer waters along with Spanish, blues, flounder, and pompano along the rocks.
On the outside of the jetties, its a guessing game as to what you might encounter as the Harbor waters meet the big water of the Gulf of Mexico. Many types of shark, cobia, tarpon, and a large list of other saltwater species patrol this area looking for a meal. Be sure to bring a heavier rod and a strong sense of adventure if fishing here is part of your plan. This is not recommended for beginners or solo kayak fishermen. Take a buddy.
Joe's Bayou is very popular with a public boat ramp located right in the bayou. This area is easily accessible and holds plenty of fish. If you plan to bottom fish, you may have to weed through the catfish, but lots of reds and mackerel patrol this area as well. This is also a great place to catch bait fish. Just look for the boiling water and throw a net or a Sabiki rig, and you should be set for bait for the day.
Hogtown Bayou in Santa Rosa Beach is one of my favorite places to target big redfish and trout. Don't the the Alligator Warning signs scare you...there's fish out there too! We've had a lot of success fishing the back water channels and pools during high tides and moving to the points between the bayou and bays as the tide goes out and the fish move to deeper water. Live shrimp, Voodoo Shrimp, Fish Bites, and artificial baits all produce here at different times of year.
There three main bridges that cross the Choctawhatchee Bay. The Destin Bridge mentioned above, the Mid-Bay Bridge where 293 crosses connecting Destin & Niceville, and the 331 Bridge in Santa Rosa Beach. These bridges are over a mile long and the waters goes from shallow depths of 1′ or less to 60’ or more at the deepest channels. Big Sheepshead, large Black and Red drum are the normal catch in around the bridges. It is not uncommon to see schools of Spanish and blues around the bridges as well. You can also target flounder on the bottom along the pylons...if you can get a bait past the Sheepshead some days.
Located in the back of the Destin Harbor, this grate feeds the harbor with fresh water. Is is located about 300 yards off the beach and is about the size of a box truck. Lots of amberjack, small snapper and other inshore species will always be on this structure. Tarpon and cobia make a showing here as well on occasion.