What do the Squiggles, Preacher's Rock, Tyner Spot and Spur have in common? They all hold fish.
Over the years local fishermen and others have identified various fishing spots in the Gulf of Mexico. Some are named after the person who located the honey hole, others are named after what has been dropped to make the spot, and some are just named after the contour of the land.
Either way, some of these fishing spots have picked up some unique names. And behind every name is a story.
For example the Squiggles is located due south of Destin on the southeast edge of the 100 fathom curve. There is no mystery behind the name. The curve is mostly a straight line and then there is a little squiggle along the ledge — that's the Squiggles, according to Tim Broom of Half Hitch Tackle.
As for the area named the Spur, it got its name from being in the shape of a boot spur, plus there is a spot called the Nipple, on the 100 fathom curve, which is in the shape of a certain woman's “appendage,” according to one longtime fisherman.
"These are all general areas," said Capt. Harold Staples who's been fishing more than 40 years out of Destin.
The Spur, Squiggles and Nipple are all good for billfish, Staples said.
"The Spur is very good for swordfish," Staples said. "We've caught a lot of marlin out there too."
Over the years, Staples said he's probably caught 100 head of blue marlin from the Edge on out. The Edge is located about 23 to 24 miles southwest of Destin.
The Edge has about a 20-foot drop with a lot of jagged rocks that hold fish, Broom said.
Staples says that area is “probably the most productive ... they make a lot of fish.”
Other fishing spots are named after the person who found it years ago — and it stuck.
There's a spot on the map called the Tyner Spot, located at 3020.011 latitude and 8629.639 longitude.
Capt. Ben Marler, whose dad carried the first fare-paying customers in Destin fishing, says the Tyner Spot is named after Knobe Tyner of Laurel Hill. Tyner had a boat named the Little Martha and he "found or claimed to have found" the fishing location named as Tyner Spot.
The Nickey Grounds, which is located at 3011.077 latitude and 8649.472 longitude, was named after Capt. Marler's uncle, Nick Maltezo. "He fished there instead of going on further to what is known as the Timberholes," Marler said.
Timberholes “came from a long time ago before the sounding machine," Marler said. "Those throwing a sounding lead must have thought the bottom was like a place where trees (timber) had been removed or they could see tall timber for ranges to the north on a very clear day.
"A long time ago they would line up a range (say from trees and a sand dune) and then run out to where the depth was about right. Then they would toss a flag buoy in that could be seen for a distance and fish around it," Marler said.
The Timberholes is located at 3011.051 latitude, 8651.285 longitude, toward Navarre.
Then there is an area known as the Preacher's Rock just southwest of Destin in about 90 feet of water.
"The Preacher's Rock is still a very good place that Delbert Marler found with a boat load of preachers on board," Capt. Ben Marler said. "They caught a huge catch off of it."
Capt. Marler said the Nickey Grounds and Preacher's Rock were both good spots for catching red snapper, grouper, black snapper and triggerfish.
The Billy Rock located just due of East Pass was named after Billy Robinson who in lived in Fort Walton Beach.
"My dad would go there on two or three four hour trips and return with all the red snapper needed to please the folks," Capt. Ben Marler said.
One fishing spot that bears the name of a past captain, who died under mysterious circumstances in an explosion at the docks in 1957, is the Johnny O'Neal located about 18 miles out in 150 feet of water.
"Dad (Olin Marler) used to be Johnny's deckhand," said Capt. Greg Marler who runs the Gentle Winds.
Capt. Greg said that in those times "all they would use was his watch and compass and look for the amberjack breaking on the top."
The Johnny O'Neal spot was a sunken boat, but all that is left of it today is the fuel tank, Greg Marler said. Mingo and snapper is about all it holds now, he said.
"It's not like it used to be when I was a kid. We'd catch big amberjack, 50 to 60 pounds.”
Capt. Randy Hanshaw, O'Neal's nephew, said his uncle Johnny "caught 55,000 pounds of red snapper in three days" back in the day on that spot. "There were snapper all up in the water" was what he had heard.
Another spot, called the Airplane Rock is where a B17 crashed just offshore, according to Capt. Ben Marler. This spot is located in about 72 feet of water and is good for a good bottom catch.
Most of the fishing spots on the maps are still good for fishing and always good for a fish tale.