Winter is almost here, which means some unique charter fishing opportunities for local anglers.

DESTIN – It’s been about a month since we could look out over Destin Harbor and see a steady stream of charter boats headed out to the Gulf of Mexico on fishing expeditions.


But when temperatures start to shoot up into the 70s and the sun is shining — like it was headed into Thanksgiving weekend — it can seem like winter is on its way in spirit only.


And if you’re so inclined, it can make for some pretty tremendous offseason charter fishing opportunities.


“We’ll take January and February off for equipment maintenance, and that’s already scheduled,” said Finest Kind Charter Boats owner/Capt. Jason Mikel. “But we’re still running through the end of December, and if the weather is decent we’ll still go out pretty much anytime.


“Usually the winter is still a pretty good time to fish,” he added. “We’ll get to keep a whole lot of what we catch, it’s just not a lot of people who want to go out. We’ll see it spike up around Thanksgiving and Christmas, but that’s usually it.”


One equation that also holds up for winter (or slightly pre-winter, in this case) fishing is less people on charter boats equals more fish for other brave souls.


Half-day trips that last 4-6 hours typically bring in vermillion and white snapper. All-day trips can maybe snag a grouper or Almaco Jack. Scamp is also on the list, but right now all red snapper and triggerfish need to be tossed back.


“There’s a chance we might even catch a king mackerel,” Mikel said. “We brought in two of them when we were out earlier this week.”