From Spanish mackerel, inshore to amberjack, off the bottom fishing is as good as usual for this time of year. All that is needed are more lines in the water.


The COVID-19 has put a hurting on the majority of the fishing fleet in Destin. Due to social distancing, there is no place for folks to stay because short-term rentals are still not allowed to open and the charter fleet has just not had the business as usual.


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Usually by now, I would be wearing myself out running up and down the docks just trying to keep up with all the catches coming in. But when I ventured down to the docks on Wednesday, there were only about four or five boats out fishing. And that’s not because the fish aren’t biting, it’s because the folks who are usually here by now, the tourists, are not here.


However, a few folks ventured out on Wednesday. A group of guys from Chattanooga and Nashville, Tennessee went fishing with Capt. Justin Destin on the Un Reel and filled the racks with amberjack, mingo, white snapper and more.


Destin said the amberjack bite is a bit finicky, but they still managed to pull in a few big ones.


Capt. Casey Weldon and his group on the Fish-N-Fool came in from a five-hour trip with a rack full of mingo and white snapper.


I also saw where the Silver King went out on Wednesday and brought in a good catch of mingo, white snapper and an amberjack. Then on Thursday they stayed in close and did some trolling for Spanish mackerel.


Fishing appears to be good ... just need folks in town to go.


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On another note, don’t forget the 63rd annual Blessing of the Fleet is Thursday, May 21 from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. There will be no church service under the tent or a fish fry following the event. But the parade of boats and others that make their living on the sea will take place as usual. Vessels will parade by the barge set up at Fishing Fleet Marina for their blessing.


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Next on the fishing calendar would be the opening of red snapper on June 1. Usually it’s pure craziness with most every boat in the harbor running one, two and sometimes three trips a day.


What will opening day of snapper season look like this year? That remains to be seen.


See you on the docks. If it’s crowded, I’ll be the one behind the University of Alabama mask with a notepad in hand.


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