At least 20 species of fish – more than four times the number found at most destinations – are available any time of year in area waters, making Fort Walton Beach a dream destination for anglers. And it’s just a short drive to neighboring Destin, widely known as the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village” because the 100-Fathom Curve, the fastest path to deep water in the Gulf of Mexico – and the big, deep-water fish – is closer to land there than anywhere else in Florida.
Depending on the season, deep-water fishermen can expect to catch triggerfish, grouper, cobia, Spanish mackerel, king mackerel, yellowfin tuna, red snapper, amberjack, sailfish, marlin, wahoo, bluefish, and tarpon.
Fishing from the piers is good year-round as well, yielding catches of pompano, whiting, channel bass, sheepshead, bluefish, Spanish mackerel, king mackerel, cobia, and bonito. The pier at Okaloosa Island, which is lighted for night fishing, has also been known to shelter 100-pound tarpons.
Also depending on the season, bay and bayou fishing yields catches of pompano, whiting, channel bass, sheepshead, bluefish, Spanish mackerel, king mackerel, cobia, and bonito.
Nearby freshwater lakes, rivers, and ponds are ideal spots to fish for bass, bream, and catfish.
For more about Fort Walton Beach fishing, and to charter a boat, check out our list of Fort Walton Beach fishing charters.