What’s the Cost of Your Deep Sea Fishing Charter?

What’s the Cost of Your Deep Sea Fishing Charter?

If you’re in the process of hunting deep sea fishing charter rates, you’ve probably noticed the wide range in hourly pricing across the board. So, why not take the charter with the lowest cost? After all, each charter boat offers the same basic experience, right? Unfortunately, not all fishing charters were created equally. Here, we will discuss major considerations that reflect both the cost and the type of experience you can expect to encounter for the price that you pay to go deep sea fishing.

What is a Deep Sea Fishing Charter?

First, let’s define a deep sea fishing charter in its most basic form.  Of course, there’s a great deal of saltwater fishing that goes on during a charter, but let’s face it. If it’s just about the fish, why charter a boat when you could fish off of a pier? A deep sea fishing charter is so much more than catching fish.

The ingredients that make up a deep sea fishing charter include a charter boat, a captain, and a first mate, or deckhand. The quality of these three ingredients determines both the price that you pay, and the experience that you’ll likely have during your deep sea fishing trip. Asking the right questions about the boat, the captain, and the deckhand can help you to determine which charter offers the best possible experience for your family or group.


The Charter Boat

A Picture is Worth 1000 Words

Have you ever booked a room at what you thought was a fancy resort, only to find out that you booked your nonrefundable reservation at an overpriced motel? Not a fun time. Well, the same precaution should be considered when reserving a charter. The great thing about charter boats is that you can usually find a number of pictures and videos on the internet showing the interior and exterior features of any well-known charter.

The quality of a charter boat can be evaluated by its initial appearance. Though a charter boat that lacks proper housekeeping skills may be significantly cheaper per hour than their competitors, the cleaning habits of a charter boat’s crew can reveal an array of problems with the boat’s mechanics. If the first thing that you see on the back deck is dried fish blood, filled trash cans, and salt water residue on the windows and chrome, chances are that you’ll find a cluttered and messy cabin, along with a dirty head, or toilet room. These are some of the factors that contribute to sea sickness, so you want to make sure that you aren’t reserving a charter with these types of reviews.

A charter boat that invests the time and money in keeping a clean appearance is more likely to invest the same effort in keeping all mechanical parts working promptly. We’ve heard stories of customers going out on charters that advertised an air conditioned cabin, only to find out that the air conditioner was broken during the fishing trip. When we’re talking about a $20 per hour difference in deep sea fishing rates, a working air conditioner is worth the expense.

A charter boat that leaves much to be desired upon initial appearance is also more likely to have mechanical issues in the engine room. Now keep in mind that even the best charters will eventually have some mechanical issue that need to be addressed. The difference is whether the problem is corrected promptly, or whether the issues are prolonged to keep the charter boat running, despite the comfort of charter fishing customers.

In this respect, a charter boat that costs more per hour is more likely to invest the time and money needed to ensure top quality maintenance and upkeep. The charter boats that raise the bar on maintaining a clean exterior and interior tend to take the time for routine engine and mechanical maintenance, all of which makes a better charter experience for deep sea fishing customers.

New vs Experienced Charter Boats

Forget everything that you know about the American way for just a moment. In perhaps one of the only situations of our consumer market, newer is not always better when selecting a charter fishing boat. Just as you would want a seasoned captain who knows the waters you are fishing, you want your charter boat that has plenty of running time to and from the deep blue.

As captains make choices for improvements and enhancements of their charter boats, they gage their needs based on customer experiences while onboard. A brand new charter boat’s best feature is newness, where a seasoned charter boat’s owner will invest in top of the line fishing equipment and more comfortable accommodations for the customer.

Do you remember the first day that you purchased a smart phone? Even with all of the excitement that came with having the technology of a cell phone and a computer all in one little device that could fit in your pocket, it still took some time to learn how to navigate between calling a friend and searching the internet. Over the years, social media, shopping, and business apps have been added to our smart phones. With each upgrade, we all spend some time getting familiar with the new abilities of our smart phones. Well, captains require the same learning period with new deep sea fishing technology. New equipment is always great, but only if your captain is versed in using the new equipment. As you can imagine, a captain with more frequent trips will be better at navigating his new fishing equipment, and therefore the top of the line equipment aboard a seasoned captain’s boat is more likely to be reflected in the hourly rate.

In the same way that captains require experience with new fishing equipment, plenty of experience with a variety of customers will enhance the captain’s ability to better provide the customer comforts that fit an array of personality types. Depending on the kind of charter you’ve booked, whether a family tripcorporate charterovernight, etc., you’ll want a captain who knows what your group needs to remain comfortable on the charter before you do. A captain who allows customizable charters for each group is more likely to have accommodations onboard that will keep your group content during your deep sea fishing trip. This wisdom can only come from a captain with a great deal of experience running a variety of customized charters on his boat. As upgrades are added to a charter boat that will enhance the level of customer comforts, you can expect the hourly rate to reflect those accommodations.

The Captain

Ah, yes! The man driving the boat will play one of the biggest roles in both the cost of the charter, as well as the kind of experience that you’ll encounter during your deep sea fishing trip. Depending on his investment in the charter boat, you can expect a captain with a long-standing reputation within the area to have a higher rate per hour than his competitors.

Does the captain wear two hats?

One question that you should always ask is whether or not the captain is the owner of the charter boat. The answer could make a huge difference in your overall saltwater fishing experience. See, a captain who owns the charter will be more invested in all the working parts of your charter experience. He is there from the start of your adventure, to the end, and witnesses your personal satisfaction with the boat’s amenities, the deckhand’s willingness to go above and beyond your expectations, and your experience. In short, a captain who owns the charter boat works diligently to ensure that his customers are satisfied with the best deep sea fishing experience possible. After all, his livelihood depends on repeat customers who are impressed with his ability to run a top of the line charter boat, and hire the best crew.

In contrast, a charter boat captain who is working as a private contractor for a boat owner tends to be less invested in the charter customer’s relationship with the boat. He may be on one boat this year, and then another next year. That is not to say that you’ll always encounter an unprofessional captain when he doesn’t share the title of boat owner. There are some great captains who run boats without owning them. However, a private contractor captain has less final say about your trip than the captain who owns the boat.

We’ve heard stories about charter trips that involve the owner’s input of adding more people to a private charter or overbooking due to a lack of communication between the owner and the captain. It’s best to have one boss running the boat. When the captain and the owner are one in the same, the blame for something going wrong isn’t shared, and there tends to be a smoother running operation than when multiple people share the responsibility of setting up custom charters.

Is the captain seasoned in these waters?

When you make your agreement with the captain of a charter boat, you are paying for a guided fishing excursion into a body of water that the captain knows how to navigate through his firsthand experience. The more experience the captain has on the local waters, the more likely he is to know where the best fishing spots are. As with any other professional occupation, you can expect a captain who is more experienced to have a slightly higher hourly rate in comparison to other novice captains who are struggling to find those honey hole fishing locations in the gulf.

Remember to ask about experience with the specific area that you will be fishing. A captain with 30 years of experience fishing off the coast of California would still be considered a novice in the Gulf of Mexico. You see, each captain has their own secret spots in addition to public reefs. It takes many years to learn the waters well enough to know where the fish will be under a variety of conditions like the time of year, temperature, weather, fishing season, etc. These conditions change daily, and only a captain who has fished the area for years will know what to expect on any given day of fishing. Though the seasoned captain is more likely to charge a little more for his services, you can rest assured that his experience in the deep waters is worth every penny.

 The Deckhand

In addition to the captain, you are also paying for the services of the first mate, or deckhand. The deckhand plays an important role in your deep sea fishing experience. He is there to teach you the basic skills and techniques of saltwater fishing, all while keeping your group entertained during your charter. Since the deckhand works for tips, you should see a great deal of customer service in his role as he attempts to keep guests comfortable and engaged during the trip.

How to Determine the Quality of a Deckhand

As we’ve already mentioned, the captain who owns the boat is more likely to have an excellent deckhand working alongside him. As the captain witnesses the deckhand’s interactions with deep sea fishing guests, the captain can determine whether or not the deckhand is a good fit for the reputation of the charter boat. A boat that has gone through several deckhands does not necessarily mean that there is a problem with the operation. This just shows that the captain will not tolerate a deckhand who is not committed to working well with deep sea fishing parties. It can take several years to find the right deckhand. They seem to always be auditioning for the part. A captain who is not afraid to let go of a deckhand who has become too comfortable in his job is more likely to never settle until he finds the best of the best.

Fortunately, pictures found on the internet of fishing experiences from past trips on a given charter boat can often tell the story of how the deckhand interacts with charter customers. In addition, you can get the feel of what the owner/captain expects out of his deckhand. For example, if action shots taken on the boat during the charter show the deckhand working to help customers with their fishing experience, including support during reeling, gaffing, cutting bait, and helping families get a photo of children who may be scared to touch the fish, etc., then you know that the captain expects a top of the line service out of the deckhand for his clients. Check out this video to see what to expect out of a great deckhand during your charter.

In contrast, if you often see the deckhand jumping in the group photo at the end of the trip with a beer in his hand, then you may want to reconsider your options. Unfortunately, there are some captains who have hired on friends to work as their deckhands. This is not to say that friends can’t work well together. What we are saying is that there tends to be a level of comfort in the deckhand where he will eventually do the bare minimum during a charter without the fear of being fired.

Not too long ago, we heard a story about a deckhand who forgot about his upcoming trip, stayed out all night partying the night before, slept on the boat, and was too hung over during the trip to work. When he wasn’t sleeping during the charter, he was complaining about how hung over he was. Because the captain and deckhand were friends, the captain allowed this behavior in front of his clients. Needless to say, the trip turned into a bad experience for this group, and charters are nonrefundable. Take our advice. A little time investigating pictures from prior fishing trips is always a great way to determine the quality of a deckhand, which is also often reflected in the price of the charter.

The Take Away

So, are we saying that the charter boat with the highest rate per hour is always the best? No. Are we saying that the charter boat with the lowest rate per hour is always the worst? Again, no. What we are saying is that given the experience of past private charter fishing customers, the cost of a deep sea fishing charter is often reflected in the quality of the three major working parts of any give charter. A little internet research goes a long way in determining which charter is the best option for your group. Depending on the fishing rate per hour on a private charter, you can expect a higher or lower reputation in the quality of the charter boat, the captain, and the deckhand.

The hourly rate for private charters in Destin, Florida can range anywhere from $195 to $240 per hour. Our recommendation is to first research the quality of the charter boat, the captain, and the deckhand before choosing the charter company that works best for you. Though the cost of a private charter may fluctuate throughout the years and fishing seasons, these are pretty standard as of the year 2017. Finding a great charter company is essential in securing the best charter fishing experience possible. Once you’ve considered the hourly rates and compared a few options, we feel that you will come to the conclusion that a top quality fishing charter in Destin will run you about $225 per hour for the first six people, plus 10 percent off of the total per person after the first six. See the breakdown of hourly rates for deep sea fishing charters HERE.

Now that you know what to look for during your comparison of fishing charter rates in association with the three major working parts, including the charter boat, captain, and deckhand, it’s time to start planning the greatest deep sea fishing charter of your life.

If you’d like our recommendation on the perfect charter, we’ve got you covered. CLICK HERE to learn more about the Finest Kind.

Once you’ve done your research on the working parts, BOOK YOUR CHARTER HERE.

2017 Annual Destin Fishing Rodeo

2017 Annual Destin Fishing Rodeo

DESTIN FISHING RODEO 1954 Image by Destin Fishing & History Museum via New Orleans Magazine.

Destin’s Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo

Destin’s Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo has roots dating back to 1948 when a sense of community embraced the World’s Luckiest Fishing Village to promote compassion and well-being for fellow fisherman and families. What started as a three day special event to extend the fishing season a little further has now blossomed into a month long fishing tournament filled with festivities that cater to the whole family. Visitors from all over the world now travel to Destin every year during the month of October for one of the biggest annual deep sea fishing tournaments. From championship fishing teams to toddlers and teens, there is something for everyone during Destin’s Annual Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo.

Blessings from the past continue to overwhelm the coast as an abundant harvest of the most desirable fish in the Gulf of Mexico are brought to shore by anglers aboard Destin’s finest charter boats. To describe this annual event as anything short of glorious is an understatement.  The amazing encounters of unbelievable and record-breaking saltwater fish caught, during the month of October, entices locals, visitors, and retired fisherman to grace the dock for a glimpse of the daily catch and weigh-in boards.

Harvesting Harbor Blessings

Destin was founded as a fishing village in 1835 when Leonard Destin, a fisherman from New London, Connecticut, discovered one of the best kept secret saltwater hot spots that the world would ever come to know.

As quality marine saltwater species rely on deep waters to live, reproduce, and grow to colossal size,Destin’s prominent access to deep waters distinguishes its position as the most desirable sports, recreational, and commercial fishing location in the Gulf of Mexico.

A boy and his large catch of fish at the Destin Rodeo 1955. Image by Francis P. Johnson via State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory..

Captain Wheeler and crew with 455 Pound Marlin. 1972. Image by Karin Linick via State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory.

Roy H. Martin displays the reason he holds 19 world fishing records at the Destin Rodeo in 1956. Image by Karl E. Holland via State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory.

With a mere 10 miles from the shore line, anglers aboard Destin charter boats are already hitting some great spots, which means paying for less travel time and larger quantities of quality saltwater fish than anywhere else on the Gulf CoastWith over 175 years of family secrets passed through the bloodlines of the founding fishermen of Destin, experienced captains know exactly where to reel-in the finest fish in the Gulf of Mexico. The ability to deliver surpasses the expectations of customers, and brings them back for more each year after their first taste of glory.

Jake Brashears, official Rodeo Photographer, made this awesome video for the 2016 Destin Fishing Rodeo! Make your plans today to come join the fun October 1 - 31, 2016. Like (or Love) and share! Let's see how many people we can get to see our awesome part of the Gulf of Mexico!www.destinfishingrodeo.org Half Hitch Destin Florida's Emerald Coast #emeraldcoasting #rodeodestin

Posted by Destin Fishing Rodeo - Destin, Florida on Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Weigh Master Bruce Cheves with a day’s weigh-in during the annual Destin Fishing Rodeo

69th Annual Destin Fishing Rodeo

Destin is already recognized as the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village” and the “Billfish Capital of the Gulf.” The annual rodeo is a celebration of the blessings given to these legendary fishermen with participation from over 30,000 saltwater anglers from all over, who come to compete for bragging rights, prizes, and cash. With Destin’s annual rodeo growing in reputation as the “Ultimate Saltwater Tournament,” the prizes and awards grow even more elaborate each year. Booking a charter with a registered captain automatically qualifies all anglers to enter the tournament with no additional charge, and you are still in the running for award winning placement at the weigh-ins.

There are 29 divisions for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places, consisting of over 33 species of fish, in seniors, ladies, juniors, and teen subdivisions, with rewards for the top daily, weekly, overall, andjackpot catches. The sense of community from 1948 is still maintained today, as registered charter boat captains volunteer their time and sponsor several of the rewards for top winners, totaling over $100,000.00 in cash and prizes. When you charter a vessel registered with Destin’s Fishing Rodeo, your chances are great for a prize catch.

Shark Saturdays

Shark Saturdays are one of the most exciting events in the annual Destin Fishing Rodeo. Anglers are allowed one entry for the day, and since the entry with the largest shark wins, the shark hunters are aiming for the big ones. Over the years, we’ve seen some massive sharks come in from the gulf.

This October, the Saturdays will give those hanging out for the weigh-ins a thrill to remember. The slogan for the 2017 Shark Saturdays tournament is Hang ‘Em High. The bigger the shark, the higher it hangs.

If observing the sharks coming in is not enough excitement to get your blood pumping,BOOK YOUR SHARK HUNT TODAY. Shark trips in October are very popular, and must be booked well in advance. Remember, cash prizes are given to the angler who brings in the largest shark.

For the best chances of catching a winning bull shark or mako, we recommend an overnight charter leaving Friday nights in October to set up with plenty of time to catch some other entry fish while we’re out, and to get back to the weigh-ins at AJ’s on Saturday.

Fish the Days and Rock the Nights

What’s better than a Saturday of deep sea fishing in Destin, Florida? Well, nothing really. But to make an even better experience, HarborWalk Village will be hosting a party every Saturday night in October, beginning October 1st from 7:00 PM through 9:30 PM. Fireworks will light up the Destin Harbor at 9:00 PM. The Fish the Days and Rock the Nights event is free to the public, so bring the family down, watch the rodeo weigh-ins behind AJ’s from 10AM-7PM, and then head to the village for live entertainment, music, and the freshest local seafood that you can find! The Fish the Days and Rock the Nights event is shared with a variety of fall activities along the Destin Harbor, so visitors of all ages are welcome to join in on the fun!

Children with their winning catches at the Destin Fishing Rodeo. Image courtesy of Destin Fishing Rodeo

A Fishing Tournament for the Whole Family

Deep sea fishing tournaments are huge for avid fishermen of all backgrounds. What makes the Destin Fishing Rodeo stand apart from other tournaments is the emphasis placed on children during the event. The biggest  investment that the fishing communities across America have is in our children. The Destin Fishing Rodeo is a time to involve children and families in the traditions of coastal living.

Every child that enters a fish weighing at least 1 pound into the tournament will win a rod and reel, and they’ll receive an official rodeo certificate. This is not one of those everyone gets a trophy for trying organizations. Instead, the deep sea fishing community of Destin, Florida aims to plant a seed of inspiration into the hearts of young children who have the opportunity to experience a true love for fishing.

A wise man once said, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” That’s exactly what we intend to do with these children participating in the fishing rodeo. Teaching a child to love the sport of fishing ensures that the respect and passion for our saltwater resources will continue to thrive long after today’s generation of fishermen retire. After all, we’ll need some of these youngsters to go out and catch us some snappers some day.

So, bring your children down to fish in the Destin Fishing Rodeo. Make it an annual tradition, and consider an investment into both your child and the future of our fishing community. There are several events geared towards children of all ages, and lots of stories to hear from the famous Bruce Cheves who delights in sharing his stories of victorious catches with little ones.

The Reel Bottom Line

  • The 69th Annual Destin Fishing Rodeo lasts from October 1st through October 31st
  • Weigh-ins are held behind AJ’s Seafood and Oyster Bar where anglers will meet Bruce Cheves, the official Rodeo Weigh-master, and the 2017 Miss DestinRachel McMullen.
  • Several events and festivities run throughout the month of October to sustain the excitement and celebration of the harvest, including Destin’s Seafood Festival, the Kid’s Fall Festival and Wagon Parade, the Ringing of the Bell Ceremony, the Rootin Tootin Rodeo Round-Up, and the Halloween on the Harbor Party.
  • Shark Saturdays will run every Saturday in October, including the 7th14th21st, and 28th. Anglers with the biggest catch will win the cash prize.
  • Daily, weekly, and overall winners are awarded over $100,000.00 in cash and prizes.
  • Senior, Ladies, Teen, and Junior divisions ensure fun for the whole family.
  • Once you fish during a Fishing Rodeo in the Destin waters, you’ll be hooked on the tradition for years to come.

Destin Fishing Rodeo: Florida’s Emerald Coast.

The sooner that you book your charter for Destin’s Annual Fishing Rodeo, the better. This is a prime-time harvest season and some of the best fishing that you will encounter during your lifetime. Making a reservation will guarantee your place as you embark on the legendary adventures of deep sea fishing in Destin.Tournament entry fees are covered with your charter. For the best chances to gain a top spot on the weigh-in boards, it is recommended to charter a boat with a seasoned captain and a reputation for hooking the Big Ones.

So, what are you waiting for? The 69th Annual Destin Fishing Rodeo is just around the corner. BOOK NOW 

The 69th Annual Destin Fishing Rodeo Event Schedule

Saturday, October 1st – 31st 2017

10:00 am – 7:00 pm

The 68th Annual Destin Fishing Rodeo will officially begin on October 01, 2017 and continue through October 31, 2017.

Weigh-ins are held on the dock behind AJ’s Seafood and Oyster Bar each day where you will find Bruce Cheves, the Rodeo Weigh-master, and meet the 2017 Miss Destin, Rachel McMullen.

The weigh-in event is free to the public, and so are the stories told by the legendary Weigh-master. Anglers will bring their catch of the day to be weighed for placement on the board and have their photos taken with Miss Destin.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

10th Annual Kid’s Wagon Boat Parade

Elementary aged children are encouraged to participate in the Kid’s Wagon Boat Parade at 2:00 PM. Each year, children design and parents help construct their own wagons to resemble nautical vessels for the parade on the harbor. With Fall Break coming up, the kids will have plenty of time to work on their wagons and present their fun ideas for the parade.

October 6th – 8th

FRI.   4:00 pm – 10:00 pm / SAT. 10:00 am – 10:00 pm / SUN. 11:00 am – 4:00 pm

The 39th Annual Destin Seafood Festival along the Destin Harbor Boardwalk is free to the public, and is a

great event to attend during Destin’s Fishing Rodeo. Live entertainment is provided by local bands on four stages along the harbor including the Destin City Stage, the Heron Stage, AJ’s Game Stage, and HarborWalk’s Village Main Stage. The East Pass Marina and HarborWalk Village are designated Kid Fun Zones with several activities to keep children entertained for hours. Kid Fun Zones consist of a petting zoo, pony rides, games, Hamster balls, a rock climbing wall, and a zip line over the festival crowds.

The Annual Mingo Toss is held at the Royal Melvin Heritage Park on Sunday from 11:30 amthrough 1:00 pm. With a name like Destin’s Seafood Festival, this event is essentially the biggest seafood tasting venue to ever hit the Gulf Coast. With access to over 15 food vendors and 13 restaurants along the harbor, the Destin Seafood Festival will fill your hunger for coastal cuisine. Destin’s unique style is captured by local skilled artists who display their inspirational creations along the harbor during the festival. There is truly something for everyone at the 39th Annual Destin Seafood Festival, and as the 69th Annual Destin Fishing Rodeo launches on October 01, visitors are offered a front row seat for daily catches approaching the shore.

39th Annual Seafood Festival Poster by Theresia McInnis.

Shark Saturdays/ Fish the Days and Rock the Nights

October 7th, 14th, 21st, and 28th

Each Saturday in the month of October will be deemed Shark Saturday. The 2017 slogan for Shark Saturday is Hang ‘Em High. The bigger the shark, the higher they’ll hang. Cash prizes are given to the angler who reels-in the largest shark. BOOK YOUR SHARK CHARTER NOW.

Following the weigh-ins behind AJ’s Seafood and Oyster Bar, HarborWalk Village will host a dock party every Saturday night in October. Live music, seafood, and fun for the whole family will last from 7:00-9:30 PM.  Fireworks will light up the harbor at 9:00 PM for this weekly celebration during Destin’s Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Destin 5K Rodeo Run: Participants will gather at the Clement E. Taylor Park on Calhoun Drive to participate in the annual 3.1 mile flat course. There is a $25 entry fee, and the proceeds will support the Ronald McDonald’s House and the Miss Destin Scholarship Fund. Click here to register. Early packet pick-up will be on Thursday, October 5th – 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm and Friday, October 6th – 11:00 am –1:00 pm at the Destin Community Center located at 103 Stahlman Avenue in Destin.  An award ceremony will follow the 5K run at AJ’s Seafood and Oyster Bar with free beer and refreshments for participants. Children, wheelchairs, and strollers are welcome in this event.

Destiin Rodeo Run. Image Source: Active.com

Monday, October 09, 2017

Kid’s Fall Fest

From 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM. AJ’s Seafood and Oyster Bar will host the Kid’s Fall Festival with live music, arts and crafts, face painting, games, and pumpkin decorating. Join the fun with no cost to participants, and enjoy a front row seat at the weigh-ins during the 69th Annual Destin Fishing Rodeo.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Bruce Cheves Day, as proclaimed by the City of Destin. Join the gathering of men, women, and children to hear the epic tales of the official Rodeo Weigh-master, Bruce, during his heyday at sea. Bring him a fish, and he’ll make you famous!

Ringing of the Bell Ceremony: At 5:00 pmBruce will honor the legendary lives of Destin’s loved ones as he leads the annual Ringing of the Bell ceremony at the weigh station behind AJ’s Seafood and Oyster Bar.

Rootin Tootin Rodeo Round Okaloosa Island Image by: The Destin Log: Rodeo Rap

Saturday, October 21, 2017

8:00 am – 12:00 pm

Rootin Tootin Rodeo Round-Up: Hurry up and register your little anglers, (AGES 10 and UNDER), at Eventbrite for one of the rodeo’s biggest events for future fishing leaders. There is only space for 150 youth anglers, so get their names on the list today. Once registered, they can look forward to a fantastic morning of fishing, prizes, and lunch at the Okaloosa Island Pier. The entry fee is $10.00 for each child. Arrive between 8:00 and 8:45 am on the morning of the 21st for registration roll call. Fishing will begin at 9:00 am and last until 11:00 am. These lucky young anglers will receive a tee-shirt, bait, a rod and reel to keep, and lunch. Parents and pier fees are included in the $10 entry fee.

Monday, October 31, 2017

Halloween on the Harbor: Locals declare Halloween on the Harbor as the largest Halloween Party in Destin, Florida. Everyone is invited to join the 68th Annual Destin Fishing Rodeo’s Fleet, judges, and Miss Destin in wrapping up another abundant harvest of great fishing. Wear your costume, and witness the closing of the rodeo with a huge party complete with a fireworks finale sponsored by AJ’s Seafood and Oyster Bar.

Friday, November 03, 2017

69th Annual Destin Fishing Rodeo Awards: AJ’s Seafood and Oyster Bar will host the gathering to present the award winning Captains, Anglers, and Mates who will hold the overall records for the upcoming year! These fishermen are truly the luckiest of “The World’s Luckiest Fishing Village!”

Written By: Jessica Baggett

Play the Big Game this Fall with Finest Kind Charters

Play the Big Game this Fall with Finest Kind Charters

Image Source: Saltwater Sportsman

The Gulf of Mexico is one of the most popular sports fishing grounds for Big Game, Blue Water Species. During the fall season, changing temperatures push bait fish into regions accessible for Destin charter boats to have the best opportunity for reaching the same fish that have inspired fishermen, writers, historians, scientists, and artists for centuries. Novice and expert fishermen are offered the chance to experience the deep sea fishing trip of a lifetime while catching big game like Wahoo, Bull Dolphins,Yellowfin Tuna, Sailfish, White Marlin, and Blue Marlin, as they are abundant in the northeastern area of the Gulf of Mexico during autumn months.

Big game fishing should not be confused with half day and 3/4 day bottom fishing trips. You want to have plenty of time to engage with big game, once you gain ground with them. This means longer trips, expert charter captains, and flexibility for the conditions of the sea. To grasp the chance of catching one of these marvelous creatures, you must understand their habits and habitats. Customized charters that position anglers within the area favored by big game species usually run between 36 to 72 hours, depending on the season of migration, the temperature of the water, the phases of the moon, and the preferences of the species.

Learning more about the fish that you long to catch may help you to communicate your desires with the captain to create a custom charter designed specifically for your enjoyment. Experienced captains, like Jason Mikel of the Finest Kind, know these species well, and consider the variations in daily conditions to put you on the fish. With over 20 years of experience, Captain Mikel has encountered large numbers of big game species. He uses wisdom and expertise to determine the best location, time, and gear to provide his guests with the ultimate big game fishing experience in the Gulf of Mexico! No two charters will be the same, as a good captain must allow conditional flexibility for each day.

Map of the Gulf of Mexico Seafloor Image Source: Port Publishing

Where the Wild Things Are

Destin’s location puts anglers at a great advantage to reach the depths needed for large game fish during their seasons of migration within the area! Deep water, big game! As you can see in the map of the Gulf of Mexico’s seafloor, there seems to be a gradual slope up to a certain point where the bottom seems to drop off. Popular fishing spots for big game species around the drop off include the Edge, the Spur, the Nipple, Desoto Canyon, and the rigs. These points are reached easily by traveling about 30-40 miles SSW from the East Pass. However, to get further out, follow the fish, and allow for the day’s conditions to compliment deep sea fishing, a recommended trip for big game is always overnight.

Each line on this depth map of the Gulf of Mexico represents measurements in meters. Coming from Destin, you see a range of lines beginning at 5 meters, then 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 and all of the sudden, a crazy swarm of lines that represents the 100-500 meter drops in depth. Welcome to deep waters! You want to make sure that you have access to deep waters at first light and sunset. Depending on the moon phase, fish may be biting all night. A 3/4 day trip is enough to get you out into deep water, but if big game fish were feeding all night, you’ll have less of a chance to hook them up!  The best trips that allow you the time to hit the spot and have the opportunity to practice a variety of methods at different times during the morning, afternoon, evening, and throughout the night. The recommended charter for big game species in the northeastern territory of the Gulf of Mexico is from 36 hours to about 72 hours.

Depth Map of the Gulf of Mexico. Image Source: Texas A&M University

Image Source: FishWallpapers.com


Wahoo are reportedly one of the fastest moving pelagic species in the gulf, hitting speeds of over 50 mph! A close relative to the makeral family, wahoo are large fish weighing between 35 and over 100 pounds, depending on the time of year and the age of the fish. Wahoo are unpredictable, which offers an exciting challenge for anglers seeking this species. Usually found as loners in adulthood, they are sometimes found in small schools of 2 to 6, or more in some cases. These sharp teethed zebras of the sea prey on reef and wreck dwellers. Wahoo have been known to strike when fishing for other species offshore when using trolling methods with live bait, rigs, and artificial lures. The violent shake of the head is characteristic for wahoo, and an experienced angler can tell his bite from other fish! Raved as one of the best seafood cuisines of the gulf, wahoo are sought after for their nutrient fresh quality and excellent flavor.

Appearance: Elongated body with a deep metallic or electric blue back, silvery sides, and typically have bright blue vertical tiger stripes that run down the sides. The upper jaw is movable, and the teeth are razor sharp. Wahoo have been reported to grow as long as 8 ft and up to 183 lbs. The average size caught in the Gulf of Mexico is probably around 4 ft long and 50 lbs.

50lb Wahoo caught with Captain Jason Mikel of the Finest Kind

Wahoo caught with Captain Jason Mikel

Bull Dophin Image Source: Ashton Howard Fine Art Florida Mahi

Bull Dolphin (Mahi-Mahi)

One of the most desired fish in the Gulf of Mexico, the Bull Dolphin, also known as the Mahi Mahi, or the Dorado. This species is fast, habitual, and produces a savory meal. Living only about five years, the Bull Dolphin grows and reproduces rapidly. Mahi Mahi are typically caught using trolling methods. Most dolphin travel in schools, but the largest of this species can be found alone in deep waters. Dolphins are commonly found near floating debris and Sargassum weed lines, because they feed on squid, flying fish, and other sea creatures that hide in floating structures. Dolphins tend to migrate towards warm water greater than 68°F. The sun’s proximity above the Gulf of Mexico heats the water to the preference of Mahi Mahi. One of the amazing features of targeting the Bull Dolphin, is that you can expect other big game species close by! You will never see a dolphin in the same light that you will in the close encounter of fishing for the species. The vivid coloring of the Mahi-Mahi is electrifying with neon appearances as the fight unravels between fish and angler. Bull Dolphins jump high out of the water, and makes for an exciting experience unsurpassed by other fish hooked in the Gulf of Mexico.

Appearance: The Bull Dolphin is characterized by dark and bright blue to neon green colors along its back with yellow sides and splotches of green, gold and blue along its body. The forehead is high and flat, and the head of the male is usually much larger than that of the female, which is more sloped. The body of the dolphin tapers dramatically from the head to the tail. Mature Bull Dolphins can grow up to 80 pounds, but average catches range from 15 to 40 lbs.

Mahi Mahi caught with Captain Jason Mikel of the Finest Kind

Mahi Mahi caught with Captain Jason Mikel of the Finest Kind

Catch with Captain Jason Mikel of the Finest Kind

Yellowfin Tuna Image Source: Freedive.net2005

Yellowfin Tuna

In the Gulf of Mexico, Yellowfin Tuna are the kings of all related species of fish! Known for their physical beauty, strong swimming techniques, and exquisite flavor, the yellowfin tuna prefer waters of 68°F or higher, which makes the Gulf of Mexico a favorable location during autumn months, and even year round. Yellowfin tuna grow rapidly, reaching full maturity in about 4-6 years. Yellowfin swim in schools, and are usually accompanied by blackfin tuna and bull dolphins. Usually dwelling within 300 feet of the surface, yellowfin tuna are often found around floating debris and seaweed. The yellowfin is a visual predator that uses light from the sun or full moon to devour prey including a variety of smaller fish, cephalopods, and crustaceans. They swim about 28 mph for long distances, but can reach speeds of up to 49 mph. Tuna thrive in offshore waters, and are made with the stamina to hunt and dwell in deep water conditions. Equipped with  larger hearts, higher blood pressure, and more red muscle mass needed to move at higher speeds, yellowfin tuna are able to put up bigger fights compared to other saltwater game. The yellowfin tuna is a high in fat and contains pink to red meat, and is a favored fish meat by many Americans. The Gulf of Mexico is abundant with yellowfin, and using a variety of methods has proven successful for offshore anglers.

Appearance: Like most other tuna found in the gulf, yellowfins are football shaped missiles in the open water. Yellowfins have a deep metallic, blue back that fades into yellow and silver sides. The belly is often defined with vertical lines that extend throughout the body. The second dorsal and anal fins are long, crescent shaped, and yellow. Like other tuna, yellowfins have bullet shaped heads and bony plates that run between the second dorsal and anal fins. Yellowfins can grow over 200 lbs, but average catches range between 30 to 80 lbs.

Yellowfin Tuna caught with Captain Jason Mikel of the Finest Kind

Yellowfin Tuna caught with Captain Jason Mikel of the Finest Kind

Yellowfin Tuna caught with Captain Jason Mikel of the Finest Kind

Sailfish Image Source: Top Tips Feed


As the representative of Florida’s state saltwater fish, the sailfish is one of the most thrilling of the billfish species. Moving at speeds up to 68 mph, the sailfish puts up a good fight when hooked to a line jumping out of, and diving into the water to throw the hook. The sailfish grow rapidly, reaching lengths of 4-5 ft in one year. Sailfish are typically found offshore in deeper waters, usually around the 100-fathom curve. Following their prey, sailfish are commonly found on the same grounds as tuna, mackerel, squid, and bait fish. They use their sails to herd schools of bait into balls for feasting. Sailfish are targeted by sports fishermen for their brilliant techniques and beauty, but they are not desired by most anglers for their taste, as the meat is relatively tough. If cooking one of these species, try smoking the meat for the best chance at a tasty meal. Sailfish are abundant in the gulf, and usually prefer warmer water above 70 degrees.Sailfish have an average life span of 4 years.

Appearance:The coloration of the sailfish varies depending upon the level of excitement of the fish. The top of the body and fins are dark blue, and the sides are silvery white with brown spots and vertical bars with light blue dots. Fins are usually blackish blue, and the belly is white. Sailfish are distinguished from other billfish by their sail, in which the first dorsal fin is squared at the front, reaches a high at mid-point that is larger than the depth of the body, and has black spots. The upper jaw is elongated into a bill that forms a spear, which is circular in the cross-section. The upper jaw is about twice the length of the lower jaw. The sailfish can grow up to 11 ft long and 125 lbs, with an average catch being 4-6 ft and 30 to 50 lbs.

Sailfish with Captain Jason Mikel of the Finest Kind

Sailfish caught with Captain Jason Mikel of the Finest Kind

Sailfish caught with Captain Jason Mikel of the Finest Kind

ish caught with Captain Jason Mikel of the Finest Kind

Video Source: NatGeoWild YouTube

Image Source: Marlin Mag

White Marlin

Known for the grace and beauty of a ballet dancer, and the aggressive fight of a swordsman, the white marlin is a speedy hunter that has the ability to use its bill to stun other fast-moving pelagic species before moving in for the kill. However, research of white marlin diets indicate that speed, and not spear hunting, is the most often used weapon of choice for this species. Bony fish including dolphin, mackerel, flying fish, and bonito are the usual prey, much like that of yellowfin tuna and blue marlin. Therefore, the sighting of one of these species is often in the same territory as the other, since they tend to compete for the same foods. Commonly found near the surface of deep blue waters in areas where the currents push against the contour of the seafloor near canyons and drop-offs, white marlin are migratory creatures within the gulf and tend to spread out after spawning. They are typically found in water over 325 feet deep and prefer water temperatures above 71°F. White marlin can be found closer to shore, as they prey on bait fish similar to the methods used by sailfish. The white marlin is smaller than other billfish, but still makes for an amazing catch with tail-walking and leaping abilities. White marlins are known for tailing with only the dorsal lobe of the caudal fin visible above the surface. White marlins are usually caught and released after photos are taken with anglers in the Gulf of Mexico.

Appearance: With color changing according to the level of excitement, the white marlin is typically characterized by dark blue coloration on top, and a silvery white color on the sides and belly, and brown spots. The first dorsal fin is dark blue with black spots, which fade toward the back of the fin. The second dorsal fin and the pelvic fins are dark blue. The pectoral and caudal fins appear blackish brown with a possible white tip on the pectoral fins. The pectoral, first dorsal and first anal fins are usually rounded, rather than pointed. The first dorsal fin reaches a height larger than the depth of the white marlin body, and drastically drops to a low level for most of the body. The upper jaw forms a bill that is round at the cross section, and long and slender in comparison to other billfish. White marlin can reach up to 9 feet long and weigh 180 lbs, but the average caught is around 4-6 feet and weighs around 50-60 lbs.


White Marlin Catch and Release Photo

Video Source: Brady Lybarger YouTube

Blue Marlin Image Source: Marlin Mag

Blue Marlin

The Man in the Blue Suit! The one that Ernest Hemingway often wrote about. The Blue marlin is considered the ultimate big game fish of the Gulf of Mexico. Another speedy carnivore reaching up to 60 mph, the blue marlin puts up a fight that could last for hours! Often found offshore in deep waters of 300 ft or more, the blue marlin prefers warm waters over 68°F, near the surface where it can prey on pelagic fish like bull dolphins, tuna, and mackerel. Blue marlins are often found swimming alone or in pairs. Females tend to be about four times larger than males, and can live up to 27 years, while males live for an average of 18 years of age. The Gulf of Mexico has an abundance of blue marlin, but encounters, as with all billfish species, is considered rare. With perfect conditions, a blue marlin is more typically found on trips targeting game fish that the species preys upon. Trolling methods are typically used for hooking up with this fish. Once hooked up with a blue marlin, you can expect a long fight with a strong pull, as these are one of the most athletic and largest game fish who use leaping, diving, and head-shaking to give you the most exciting deep-sea fishing experience of your life. Using light to feed proves that these creatures are visual hunters who use their bill to stun and slash prey before moving in for the kill. Blue marlin are often caught and released like the white marlin, but the meat of blue marlin is of more value for raw consumption in sushi. 

Appearance: The dorsal fins and top of the blue marlin are cobalt blue with fading to light and dark brown with silvery white coloration on the belly and sides, with about 15 vertical rows of stripes draping the sides of the blue marlin. The upper jaw is elongated to form a spear with a relatively round cross-section. The dorsal pectoral, and anal fins are pointed. The first dorsal fin is high, and slopes drastically, running down the body. The second dorsal fin is small. The pelvic fins are slender with grooves to improve hydrodynamics. The blue marlin can reach up to 16 ft long and over 1,000 lbs. However, the average catch for blue marlins is about 200-450 lbs, with males rarely caught over 300 lbs.

Blue Marlin Image Source: Marlin Mag

Blue Marlin Caught with Captain Jason Mikel of the Finest Kind

Blue Marlin caught with Captain Jason Mikel of the Finest Kind

Wahoo, Dolphin, and Yellowfin Tuna Art by Terry Fox

Sailfish, White Marlin, Blue Marlin Art by Terry Fox

game fishing for blue water species like Wahoo, Tuna, Dolphin, Sailfish, and Marlin in the Gulf of Mexico is best during the fall months of September through November, and possibly even into the beginning of December. The conditions vary by season, weather, moon phases, currents, and where the bait fish are moving. Call Captain Jason Mikel to see how the conditions are for Big Game Fall Fishing, or go ahead and Book Now! Always be sure to give yourself plenty of time on the water. This captain takes you where the fish are, but you want ensure enough flexibility for variable conditions, allowing your captain to make the best judgement within the given time! Scheduling 36-72 hours not only gets you to the deep blue, but it offers the opportunity needed to make this the ultimate deep sea fishing adventure, and a memory for the books!

Fishing for a Mother’s Day Gift?

fishing for a mothers day gift

A mother’s love is one of the greatest blessings that anyone could ask for. She’s a teacher, comforter, and an adviser that you can always count on. With your best interest at heart, Mom seems to always know how to make sense of the world. Choosing the perfect gift on the designated day to honor Mom is kind of a big deal.

happy mothers day of all the fish in the seaMemories are the Best Gifts

Fishing for a Mother’s Day gift that says the right thing can be difficult in a department store. Think back to the best gift that you ever received. Whether you wished for a certain toy as a child, or inherited a particular family treasure, the most special part of the gift was the memory of reception. Material gifts may become lost, broken, or tarnished, but the memories survive. Those memories are bread and butter behind making the occasion special. Mothers tend to have a knack for enhancing memorable events. She’s always working behind the curtains to ensure the happiness of her children. Mom is one of a kind, and deserves the best gift for each Mother’s Day.

Jewelry, candy, and flowers have all been done before. These typical Mother’s Day gifts do say, “Mom, I love you.” But, when you want something that says more, consider what made the best gift that you ever received. Remember the vivid memories of joy and happiness that were given in love. This year, give Mom the gift of making memories with a special Mother’s Day Deep Sea Fishing Charter.

Take Mom Deep Sea Fishing

As the saying goes, “The best things in life are free.” We can’t buy lifelong memories, joy, or happiness, but we can take her deep sea fishing. The experience of deep sea fishing provides an opportunity to create those special memories for Mom. Imagine the backdrop of paradise, emerald waters below, sunshine overhead, and adventure all around. As she embarks on this journey with her favorite loved ones, joy will come in the form of smiles and laughter. There is no substitute for time well spent with Mom. Take this day, this adventure, and this time to honor your mother with one of the most incredible experiences that the sea has to offer.

How to Plan Your Mother’s Day Deep Sea Fishing Charter

Whether Mom is an outdoors enthusiast who loves the open water, or an indoors book worm, there is something in a deep sea fishing charter that appeals to every type of mother. With experienced captain and crew members who know the importance of family experiences, the focus of the trip will be on making memories with Mom! There are several options to choose from. You’re sure to find the charter that will honor your mother’s wishes for time well spent on Mother’s Day.

mothers day finest kindWhich Charter is best for my mother?

  • Half-Day: A half day charter is between 4-6 hours of fishing in the Gulf of Mexico, and is perfect for families with only a short window to fit in some saltwater fishing while visiting Destin, Florida.
  • 3/4 Day: A ¾ day charter describes any excursion lasting between 8-10 hours. If you’re looking to get into some deep sea fishing, the ¾ day charter is recommended.
  • Full Day: A full day charter is considered to be 12-18 hours in the deep blue waters of the gulf. For mothers who are adventurous, spontaneous, or just a blast to hang out with, choose the full day charter.
  • Overnight Overnight charters are typically booked for 24-72 hours, and include twice the limits of fish. If Mom loves deep sea fishing, or loves to eat seafood, here’s your ticket to golden status! Gear up for night, or two, or three, and escape the daily distractions of the main land. Quality time is calling, and there’s no better person to spend it with, than your dear mother!

To learn more about the differences in each charter option, visit Planning the Greatest Deep Sea Fishing Adventure of You’re Life, where you’ll find details that distinguish each charter, as well as, tips and tricks on easy planning for your next charter. If you’re not able to make the trip to Destin on Mother’s Day, consider booking the charter for a more convenient date, and presenting your mother with a certificate at Mother’s Day brunch! Either way, with the thought that you’ve put into this year’s celebration of Mom, this Mother’s Day gift will be unforgettable for her!

Additional 2017 Destin Mother’s Day Events

So, what are you waiting for? BOOK NOW to give Mom the best Mother’s Day Gift in the sea! The gift of quality time and special memories!


Blessing of the Fleet Destin, FL

blessing of the fleet destin, fl

Destin’s summer deep sea fishing season is just around the corner. It’s a time when the Gulf of Mexico and surrounding shores come to life with nonstop adventure and excitement. As captains and crew members gear up for the unknown encounters of daily deep sea fishing trips, anticipation of the annual fleet blessings draws locals and visitors to the Destin Harbor. Destin’s Annual Blessing of the Fleet displays the tradition, heritage, and culture of the coastal community by observing a time of prayer and celebration of those who make up the largest fishing fleet in the state of Florida.

Destin’s 60th Annual Blessing of the Fleet

  • Date: May 25, 2017
  • Location: 210 HWY 98 East, Destin, Florida, 32541 (Behind Brotula’s Seafood House & Steamer)
  • 4:00 pm: Blessing of the Fleet Ascension Day services
  • 5:00 pm: Fleet Blessing
  • 5:30 pm: Annual Blessing Fish Fry

What is the Blessing of the Fleet?

The Blessing of the Fleet is an annual tradition honoring the men and women who utilize the resources of the sea as a means of survival. As a centuries-old ritual, fleet blessings are commonplace among ports located all over the world.

With strong roots in the Catholic Church, fleet blessings have long been established as a time of prayer and faith. This ocean to ocean tradition marks a time when locals and churches come together to pray over each fleet vessel, the captains and crew members, and their families for safe passages, bountiful catches, and prosperity.

In addition to services and ceremonial prayers, fallen fishermen and local legends are remembered as tribute of their contributions to the coastal communities.

How did Destin’s Blessing of the Fleet begin?

blessing of the fleet history

Destin, Florida 13th Annual Blessing of the Fleet 1970 Image Source: State Archives of Florida/Veselka.

Destin’s Annual Blessing of the Fleet has a history dating back to May 30, 1957, when fishermen congregated at St. Andrew’s By-the-Sea Episcopal Church for communion and services conducted by founder, Reverend William Irwin.

The blessing ceremony followed the service as church members and fishermen prayed over each vessel. Back then, there were just over twenty boats, and the town was considered a small fishing community.

Those fishermen and their families built what we know today as one of America’s favorite beach and deep sea fishing destinations. The fleet has continued to grow in number, and the Destin Harbor is now recognized as home to the largest fishing fleet in the state.

Destin’s Unique History

Though Destin’s Blessing of the Fleet as an annual tradition began in 1957, the significance of prayers over the fishermen and their families is unique to those who know the story of Destin’s beginnings.

Destin was first discovered as a fishing haven by Leonard Destin in the 1830s. On his fishing voyage from New London, Connecticut, Leonard’s father and brother were lost at sea in a tragic accident close to Cape Canaveral. As Leonard continued through the Gulf of Mexico, and into the waters just below the Destin coastline, he knew that he’d found something spectacular. After Leonard settled along the shore, word soon traveled of the magnificent blessings found in the waters nearby.

Today, the blessings of the past seem to shine brighter than ever. Destin’s fleet has proved prosperous and protected from the dangerous elements of hurricanes and oil spills that have affected other coastal communities. Locals stand by their beliefs that God continues to watch over and bless the fishermen of Destin’s Harbor, just as he watched over and blessed Leonard Destin during his voyage and discovery of Destin, Florida.

The Atmosphere

Though times have changed from the early years of Destin’s introduction as a quiet fishing village, the Blessing of the Fleet takes locals and visitors back to a time when life-lines were dependent upon tight fishing lines. We are reminded of the significant role that fishermen played in building our beloved Destin community.

Though many visitors travel to Destin to witness the beautiful white sand and emerald waters of the Gulf Coast, Destin as a vacation destination would not be the same as we know it without the work of fishermen and their families, of both past and present.

Today the atmosphere during the Blessing of the Fleet transcends changes to the modern landscaping of Destin. As high-rise condominiums and tourist attractions fade away during the Blessing of the Fleet event, boats decorated with flags and bunting line up along the Destin Harbor, awaiting their chance for mass prayers extended to the vessel, the captain and crew members, and their families. The prayers also extend to all who climb aboard each vessel for deep sea fishing and recreation.

These fishermen and their families capture the same hard-working spirit of those who came before them. Thousands travel to Destin each year to witness the miraculous experience of one of the oldest traditions along the Emerald Coast. All visitors are invited to join the events surrounding Destin’s Blessing of the Fleet, as an experience unlike any other found among coastal traditions.

Week of Blessings 2015 from Coastline Calvary Chapel on Vimeo.

From the Blessing of the Fleet to the Week of Blessings

As Destin continues to maintain a prosperous reputation, the seeds of early fleet blessings have sprouted across the entire community. What began as the Blessings of the Fleet has led to an entire week of blessings for local families, emergency personnel, pastors, marketplace, and the youth.

During the annual Week of Blessings, churches from various denominations join together in prayer. Unification of Methodist, Catholic, Presbyterian, Episcopal, Baptist, Church of Christ, and Non-Denominational congregations are joined together to represent the Church of Destin. Through testimony and faith, prayer is strengthened, and lives are changed during the week surrounding Destin’s annual Blessing of the Fleet.

blessing of the fleet destin

Destin’s Blessing of the Fleet. Image Source: Immanuel Anglican Church

The 60th Annual Blessing of the Fleet

The year 2017 marks Destin’s 60th Annual Blessing of the Fleet. All services and ceremonies for the 60th Annual Blessing of the Fleet will be held in front of the Fisherman’s Co-op, which is directly under the back side of Brotula’s Seafood House & Steamer. The address for Brotula’s is 210 HWY 98 East, Destin, Florida, 32541. Once you pull into the parking lot of Brotula’s Seafood House & Steamer, take a right, then an immediate left. Follow the driveway down to the dock to find parking.

Locals and visitors are invited to attend the Blessing of the Fleet Ascension Day services at 4:00 pm, where local pastors, captains, and crew members will share testimonies and prayers for all attending the gathering.

Following the service, Destin’s fleet will line up along the Destin Harbor, and beginning at 5:00 pm, they will take turns stopping in front of the barge where Destin’s pastors pray over each vessel. Whether you hang out along the dock, enjoy a blessed dolphin cruise, or dine at one of the many harbor view restaurants, you’re sure to get a great seat to witness the blessing ceremony.

The traditional Blessing Fish Fry has been a part of the Blessing of the Fleet since its start in 1957. Following the blessing ceremony of the boats, the Blessing Fish Fry will be prepared behind Brotula’s Seafood House & Steamer at 5:30 pm.

If you can’t make the 60th Annual Blessing of the Fleet Event, be sure watch the ceremony via AJ’s Harbor live Gulf Coast Beach Cams found here.


City of Destin

Emerald Coast Magazine Historicity by Christy Kearney March 2008

Emerald Coast Magazine Founding Paradise by Scott Holstein December 2010