Fish Flash: Fishing before the opening of red snapper in Destin

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log

By the time you read this, red snapper will have already taken over the fishing docks in Destin. 

Red snapper season, for the federally permitted vessels, which is the majority of the Destin charter fleet, opened up June 1. The limit is two per anglers and the charter boats are in hot pursuit of the signature red snapper. 

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But before snapper days opened, a few of the boats braved the high seas and wind on Blessing of the Fleet day to bring in a few good catches. 

Chris Williams of Oklahoma City does battle with a shark on the Great Escape.

Fifteen-year-old twins Weston and Walker Hembree of Oklahoma went fishing with Capt. Don Dineen on the Sure Lure like they have for the past decade. On Friday, they pulled in a pile of mingo and triggerfish. 

Capt. Chris Couvillion on the Sea Winder and his group from Tennessee brought in a mixed bag of fish. They had mingo, triggerfish, white snapper, Spanish mackerel and a lane snapper. They even snagged a wahoo while trolling on the way in. 

The Hembree twins, Weston and Walker, along with Jax Evans show off some of the triggerfish they caught on the Sure Lure with Capt. Don Dineen.

The Great Escape with Capt. Jason Rogers at the helm and his anglers from Oklahoma City pulled in a few mingo and triggerfish. But the big story was the shark they wrangled with and released. 

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Chris Williams was the angler on the rod that tangled with the 6-foot shark for about 30 minutes. 

“It was my first time,” said a worn-out Williams. 

Taylor Gordon of Indiana shows off an amberjack she caught on the Nothin' Matters with Capt. Tyler Brielmayer.

Captain said they were looking for shark and about the time they saw it, the shark had already taken the bait on the 4-ought reel with a three-hook rig. The three-hook rig is not usual for shark fishing, but Williams battled the fish for about 30 minutes, got some good photos and then they cut it loose. 

Capt. Rogers said they were fishing about 5-miles off the beach when they hooked the shark. 

Indiana anglers on the Nothin’ Matters with Capt. Tyler Brielmayer came in Friday with amberjack, triggerfish, mingo and white snapper. 

Tennessee anglers on the Sea Winder with Capt. Chris Couvillion pulled in mingo, triggerfish, lane snapper and a wahoo on Friday.


Don’t forget there is still time to get registered for the fourth annual Boathouse Summer Slam Fishing Tournament at the Boathouse Oyster Bar. 

The 10-week tournament, which kicked off June 1, will run through Aug. 7, and features three main species, red snapper, gag grouper and greater amberjack. 

To enter a fish, the boat has to be registered the day before they plan to fish. 

For more information, contact event coordinator and weighmaster Amber Helton at