Those who enjoy bottom-fishing will tend to the famous 18-fathom line, while offshore trollers head farther out to the 50-fathom curve. As a fathom is equal to 6 feet, those fishing in eighteen fathoms are in roughly 100-120 feet, and those fishing the fifty-fathom curve are in 300 feet of water.
The 'eighteen,' as it's known to locals, has along its bottom reefs, rocks, grasses and mud that shelter and attract fish. Not content with these, man-made artificial reefs have been created. These are formed from a variety of materials, most notably sunken ships, boats, and barges. Also used were steel cages containing concrete blocks, rocks and automobile bodies.
This accumulation of underwater debris, carefully drained of pollutants, together with the natural vegetation and structure, has resulted in a fecund habitat for a large variety of fish. This is turn leads to excellent fishing.
How excellent? Well, the world record Warsaw Grouper was taken in 1985 by an angler out of Destin. Its size? 485 pounds! That's a six-foot long, four-foot wide hunk of fighting fish!
Destin is home to over 140 charter fishing boats. This in itself is an indication of how productive and 'lucky' the waters off Destin are... that's enough deck space to carry just about the entire population of the little town.
There are several methods of chartering fishing boats. Private charters can be had for around $100 an hour, for up to six people. Be aware that a larger group will cost an extra 10% for each extra person, and some boats won't accept groups larger than six.
Group charters are essentially the same thing, except the group is made up of those who have signed up at the dock. One of the downsides to this method however, is that the cost of the trip is split among the anglers, and if the boat goes out with fewer than six, individual costs are greater.
A popular alternative is to go on a party boat. These hold anywhere from 20 to 40, and cost $30 or so for a five-hour trip, and $65 for a full day. While you lose a degree of personal attention from the crew, these trips are still popular for their catches and the easy-going atmosphere onboard.
Yes, Destin has many reasons to lay claim to being the World's Luckiest Fishing Village... and to many of those who've fished its waters, there is no disputing the title!
And there is a compelling case to be made that Destin can indeed lay claim to that title.
Destin is unique among Gulf Coast communities in that deep water is within a relatively short distance of shore. Within a half-hour of leaving Destin Harbor, anglers are in waters as deep as 60 feet. In fact, 100-foot depths are easily within 10 miles of shore, and the 300-foot mark isn't a great deal further.