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Old 11-06-2013, 05:56 PM   #1
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Default General Destin info/advice needed

I've got 10-12 days of fishing and general R&R planned for Destin next spring and need some advice. Here is the setup: I have a 19' bowrider fixed for trolling and I'm comfortable going out 3-5 miles with 1-2' seas max. I've got a radio and Sea Tow membership.

1) When should I go for greatest opportunity at variety? My window is Mar through the end of May. I'm looking for eating fare and not worried about trophy size
2) What sort of fish can I expect from 5 miles to shoreline?
3) Suggestions for lures? Feathers? Stretch baits? Cigar minnows, menhaden, shrimp? Frozen or alive if obtainable?

I've got a couple of Penn Senators (H113) loaded with Diamond 30lb mono but could up it to 50lb if necessary or needed.

I know it might take someone a few minutes to cover all of my questions so your time is deeply appreciated!!!
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Old 11-06-2013, 06:01 PM   #2
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Cobia run usually starts around mid March with April the best but the seas are usually sporty most of the time. May will most likely be the best time for you as far as 2' seas. What you will target will be dependent on the current regulations at the time.
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Old 11-06-2013, 06:08 PM   #3
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I've fished quite a bit within 3 miles in the gulf in Destin. Mostly from a kayak. When trolling, expect spanish, bluefish, king mackerel and the occasional lucky pelagic. Bottom fishing, you'll find grouper, black and red snapper, lane snapper, trigger, and the occasional AJ if you pick the right spots.

Get some sabiki rigs and hit the buoys or the areas just out of the pass and you'll find some bait.
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Old 11-06-2013, 06:11 PM   #4
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I would go towards the middle or end of May. March and April tend to be windy and rough.

You should easily catch spanish and king mackerel trolling and if you run really close to the beach (within a half mile or so) you could get a stray cobia on the troll.

In the kayaks, May is the time we start getting the occasional mahi, sailfish tuna and even wahoo but I wouldnt count on it as they arent exactly common in that close.

I would pull nothing but live bait. Cigar minnows, threadfin, spanish sardines and hardtails can all be caught on a size 8 sabiki. If you leave the pass around dawn youll see all of the other boats making bait so go towards them and load up.

Pull them on wire "king rigs" which can be store bought or easily made with one 2/0 live bait hook and one or two size 4 or 2 4x strong trebles for a stinger(s) some 40lb seven strand or 30-50lb single strand and a swivel.

Pull at least one bait on your down rigger. If you dont have a down rigger pick you up a couple of trolling weights. With live bait youre going to be "bump trolling" pretty slow so a 2-4oz trolling weight is all you need.

Your reel with 30lb mono is plenty. Most guys pull only 20lb for near shore trolling, no need to bump up to 50lb.

Bring some frozen cigar minnows and dusters as well as a couple of deep divers just in case you have a hard time getting live bait. Pink is my go to color though last spring we had tons of flyers in close and I really liked blue and chrome then too but its really hard to go wrong with pink.

Also bring a spinning rod with at least 20lb mono tied with a 40-60lb fluro leader and a circle hook just in case you get a cobia popping up next to the boat. Pitch him a live a bait and you should be golden. Another spinning rod, a lighter one, with a bubble and straw rig is always handy too in case you run into some spanish or bobos. Bonita arent good to eat but are fun to catch on light tackle and they will absolutely destroy a bubble with a small straw. Again pink is my color of choice here.

Near shore trolling is pretty straight forward. Either run the 40-50ft range if its holding bait or look up some close in public numbers and troll around those spots and you will catch fish.
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Old 11-06-2013, 06:37 PM   #5
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as others have said, you will see lots of fish and can pick and choose. Just be careful when you head out as that time of year can bring unexpected conditions on quickly. Tons of spots close to the beach, though unfortunately you will have to monitor the FWC site to see what catch limits are going to be, especially on bottom fish
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Old 11-06-2013, 06:56 PM   #6
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I'm not sure saying thank you is enough right now!!! You've all been so helpful and kind with your advice. I'll be sure to put it to good use.
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