Red snapper explored in new museum exhibit

The Destin Log
The Destin Fishing & History Museum recently opened a new exhibit, “Talking Smack,” about the history of the red snapper in Northwest Florida. The exhibit will run until Aug. 31. [ABRAHAM GALVAN/ THE LOG]

Want to learn about the history of red snapper fishing in Northwest Florida? The Destin History & Fishing Museum has set up a temporary exhibit entitled “Talking Smack” that will run until Aug. 31.

The exhibit details the two-masted schooners that formed the red snapper fishing fleets in the Northwest Florida waterfronts. The sailing vessels were often refereed to as “smacks.”

“These ships had live wells in the bottom where fish swam around making smacking sounds,” said Kathy Marler Blue, the museum’s executive director. “The largest fishing schemers could carry a crew of 12 and hold as much as 132,000 pounds of fish.”

The exhibit goes on to explain how Pensacola was one of many southern port cities to boom in the beginning of the 20th century. Due to that huge boom, fish houses were established throughout Northwest Florida to support the red snapper market.

Artifacts from the Hamilton’s wreck are also on display for visitors to see. The wreck is located west of the Pensacola Pass in four feet of water and is what remains of one of Pensacola’s commercial red snapper fishing schooners.

Blue said other improvements are being made throughout the museum, including installing a replica of the Destin Fishing Rodeo's tournament leader board, complete with the 2016 rodeo results.

“We are also going to make our exhibits more interactive by adding iPads and kiosks to them,” she said. "Our goal is to get visitors more involved.”