standard-title FAQs Get answers for frequently asked questions about charter fishing in Destin with Panhandle Fishing Charters.

FAQs

Get answers for frequently asked questions about charter fishing in Destin with Panhandle Fishing Charters.

Q: Can we keep everything we shoot/gig?

Yes! Rays may be released as long as the arrow hits their wings. 

Q: What will we catch?

Depending on the season, Flounder, Cobia, King Mackerel, Tarpon, Red Snapper, Black Snapper, Mahi Mahi, Trigger Fish, Amberjack, Jack Crevalle, occasional Grouper and Shark

Q: What about cancellations? What if the weather is bad?

All cancellations MUST be made one week prior to your fishing charter. Any amount of time less than this may result in a 50% charge to your credit card. Anything less than 24 hours notice or a no show the day of the charter, you WILL be charged 100% of your charter price. Unfortunately, we cannot control the weather; however, cancellations or postponing a trip due to weather is STRICTLY the Captain’s call. If the Captain deems the safety of the trip is questionable, he will postpone the charter for another day during your vacation or cancel the charter in its entirety.

Q: What do you recommend we bring?

Your lucky cap! We recommend snacks, drinks, hats, no-spray sunscreen, and polarized sunglasses. We also recommend a small cooler in the back of your vehicle to take your fish filets with you.

No need to bring your cooler aboard the vessel—we have a large cooler aboard that you can stow your snacks and drinks in and we’ll return them after your charter. Please no black-soled shoes.

Q: What are your recommended hours for gulf fishing?

We recommend a minimum of 5 hours for gulf fishing.

Q: What items are included in your charter prices?

For all trips aboard our boat, we include bait, tackle, rods, reels, ice, cleaning of the fish, and your fishing licenses. For specialized flounder gigging and bowfishing charters, we supply the gigs, bows, and arrows.

Q: How many people can you take on each charter?

Our charter prices include 4 people; however, our vessel can board up to 6 passengers. There is an additional charge PER the 5th and 6th person ONLY. The charge depends on the type of charter booked and the time of year.

Q: Who do you recommend to cook the fish?

If you’re looking for the freshest fish you’ve ever had, then look no further than to have your catch cooked for you just after being filleted. There are multiple restaurants that cook your catch; however, there is a restaurant conveniently located at the Fort Walton Beach Yacht Basin towards the beginning of our dock - The Original Crab Shack! They’ll cook your catch for you while you enjoy a beer at the bar!

Q: How long do you travel aboard the vessel until you’ve reached your fishing destination?

The time varies depending on the type of trip you are on. For instance, we do not travel as far for a Kid’s 3 hour trip as we do a 5-hour gulf trip. For our gulf trips, within 30/40 minutes, you will likely be at your first spot. For a bay fishing charter, within 10 minutes, you are likely at your first spot. We do try several spots to get you on as many fish as possible.

Q: What time should we arrive prior to our charter?

For fishing, we recommend arriving 15 minutes prior to your trip start time. During the spring and summer months we run multiple trips per day; we kindly ask that you arrive safely and on time so your charter can leave at it’s designated time.

For bowfishing; we recommend arriving 30 minutes prior to your trip. This allows time for practice shots at the dock beforehand.

Q: Can we bring our children? Do you supply life vests?

YES! We could not be more excited for you to get your little ones out on the open water! Panhandle Fishing Charters is family owned and operated with Capt. Joey having two little girls of his own. We offer kids fishing trips targeted for children 12 and under. We supply life vests for children under the age of 6.

Q: Do you clean the fish?

Yes! We filet, bag, and ice your fish for you! Don’t forget to leave a cooler in the back of your vehicle so you can take your fish with you.

Q: What items are included in your charter prices?

For specialized flounder gigging and bowfishing charters, we supply the gigs, bows, and arrows.

Q: What will we catch?

Your catch depends solely on the season you’re fishing and what is currently within FWC regulations to harvest. You may find a variety of fish here.

For some direction, in the spring, you’re looking at:

Sheepshead, Redfish, Speckled Trout, Black Drum, Flounder, Cobia

In the summer, you’re looking at:

King Mackerel, Tarpon, Red Snapper, Black Snapper, Red Fish, Speckled Trout, Mahi Mahi, Trigger Fish, Amberjack, Jack Crevalle, occasional Grouper, Shark

In the fall, you’re looking at:

King Mackerel, Red Snapper, Black Snapper, a variety of other Snapper, Speckled Trout, Black Drum, Flounder, Red Fish

In the winter, you’re looking at:

Sheepshead, Flounder, Redfish, Speckled Trout

Q: What will we target?

We will target a variety of Rays, Spade Fish, Sheepshead, Triple Tail, Black Drum, and Mullet.

Q: Is there a bathroom on board?

No. We are happy to take customers to restrooms along the harbor during fishing if someone needs to use the restroom. None of the inshore charter boats offer restrooms aboard their vessels.

Q: Can we keep everything we catch?

Unfortunately due to FWC regulations, we can only keep what is considered in-season and within legal lengths. The FWC’s goal is to regulate and manage our fishing industry so that no fish or marine wildlife becomes endangered or extinct. You can follow their regulations here for more information. At Panhandle Fishing Charters, we do promote catch and release charters to better help our fishing industry thrive - ask about our discounted catch and release trips!

Q: Is this deep sea fishing or a private charter fishing boat? What’s the difference?

Deep sea fishing typically targets Federal waters and heads offshore approximately 32+ miles and you’re on the boat with roughly 40 other people at the same time targeting the same type of fish. Panhandle Fishing Charters operates as a private inshore charter company; we target state waters and venture less than 9 miles offshore and typically you can still see land majority of the time. On our vessel, it’s just you and your family making memories together; not being overcrowded and targeting the type of fish you want to catch. The difference between the two types of fishing is the distance travelled to get to your fishing spot and the amount of people on each trip. If you’re looking for private, more intimate fishing with your family or friends, then we’re you’re go to.

Q: What are your recommended hours for Bow Fishing?

We recommend a minimum of 3 hours for bow fishing. 

Q: What are your recommended hours for Flounder Gigging?

We recommend a minimum of 3 hours for flounder gigging. 

Q: How do I book?

Call us at 850-226-3127 to book your reservation today! We require a credit card in order to hold your reservation. We do not charge this card unless there is a no show the day of the charter.

Q: Is alcohol allowed aboard your vessel?

Yes! We just ask that there are no glass bottles aboard.

Q: Can we bring our own gear?

If you have bows and arrows made for bowfishing, you are welcome to bring them aboard. We do ask that there only be three shooters at a time due to safety precautions.

As for fishing gear, lures, bait, etc. we do ask that these be left behind.

Q: How do I pay?

The day of the charter, you may pay cash, check, or credit card and we can split the payments up however you wish. There is a 4% service fee for the use of a credit card with our Square reader.

Q: How early should we book?

We recommend booking a charter two weeks out from your scheduled trip and as early in your trip as possible - just in case there are weather cancellations/postpones or other fishing charters currently on the books. We book fast during the spring and summer months, call ahead!

Q: Is there smoking allowed on your vessel?

No.

Q: What are your recommended hours for your charters?

For Bay Fishing, we recommend a minimum of 4 hours.

For Gulf Fishing, we recommend a minimum of 5 hours.

For Bowfishing; we recommend a minimum of 3 hours.

For Flounder Gigging, we recommend a minimum of 3 hours.

Q: Are pets allowed aboard your vessel?

No. We are avid animal lovers; however, we take great pride in our boats and we’d like to keep our seat cushions scratch-free.

Q: I’m worried about taking my children on the boat. Is it safe?

YES! Our captains adhere to the utmost safety of you and your family. Each captain has all United States Coast Guard credentials and are CPR Certified. Capt. Joey’s oldest has been out in the Gulf of Mexico since the age of 2 reeling up bait and catching snapper! We will NOT go out into the Gulf of Mexico if the tidal conditions are unsafe.