If the last couple of days are any signs of the fishing season to come, it should be a good one.
On Wednesday and Thursday, the boardwalk along the harbor was full of folks strolling up and down looking at the bounty being brought in on the many charter boats.
"This week we are going seven days a week," said Capt. Greg Marler of the Gentle Winds. "We're booked everyday."
And the catch aboard the Gentle Winds was big both Wednesday and Thursday.
"The amberine are biting good," Marler said, noting herring works well for bait. However, he did say the other fish were a little slow to bite.
Nevertheless, his anglers brought in multiple tubs full of amberine, mingo, triggerfish and white snapper.
Texas anglers on the Vengeance with Capt. Jason Hallmark Thursday pulled in a good mix of mingo, triggerfish, white snapper, lane snapper and a couple of Atlantic sharp nose shark. The shark were only a couple of feet long, but they were mature for their species. Plus folks are always curious about a shark. These two particular shark seemed to have some kind of markings under the mouth. It almost looked as if someone scribbled on them with a pen.
The Inshore Angler boats were busy in the bay and under the Destin bridge. Capt. Justin Brantley and his crew hauled in 28 sheepshead, while Capt. Daniel Pike and his crew from Michigan landed their share of sheepshead as well. Capt. Brantley said the sheepshead are biting so well right now, they'll go after just about anything.
Capt. Robert Hill on the Twilight and his group hauled in some huge triggerfish, along with a few mingo and almaco jack.
"It was a bit choppy this morning, but it calmed down just in time," Hill said on Thursday. "And there are still plenty of snapper around.”
Capt. Chuck Turbanic on his new ride, Fifth Amendment, came in from a short trip with white snapper and triggerfish and headed back out for an afternoon trip.
The Backlash with Capt. Jason Mikel at the helm came in with a limit of amberjack in the 30-pound range, along with a couple of triggerfish. Mikel said they were fishing about 20 miles out.
Capt. Ken Bolden on the Just B Cause and Capt. Tony Davis on the Anastasia both came in with good catches of mingo, white snapper and triggerfish.
Mississippi anglers on the Outta Line with Capt. Trey Windes put five big amberjack on the racks as well as some triggerfish, mingo, white snapper and rock salmon. Windes said it was a little choppy out but the fish was still good.
Texas and Georgia anglers on the Huntress with Capt. Mike Graef came in from an eight-hour trip with three big amberjack, a pile of triggerfish and one lone mingo.
Capt. Matt Woods on the Rookie and his crew from Wisconsin each reeled in an amberjack.
Wednesday was just as good on the docks with Capt. John Tenore on the Dawn Patrol taking a group from Texas out for a good catch. They reeled in sheepshead and flounder plus a huge bull redfish that was to big to keep.
"There's no such thing as too big in Texas," said the lady angler from Texas, noting she hated to throw the fish back.
The Texas crew also hooked up with about an 8-foot shark, which hit about a 15-pound snapper. Didn't board either species, but still fun to talk about later.
Anglers on the Cutting Edge with Capt. Steve Regan pulled in amberjack, triggerfish and mingo, while Capt. John Geisbrecht on the Starfire landed mingo, white snapper, triggerfish and amberine.
Capt. Mike Graef on the Huntress and his anglers filled the top rack with amberjack and the bottom with triggerfish.
Texas, Maine and Wisconsin anglers on the Phoenix pulled in a huge catch of triggerfish, white snapper and amberine, while Texas anglers on the First Light with Capt. Steve Haeusler filled the board with triggerfish, mingo and white snapper.
Dallas anglers on the Vengeance reeled in some big amberjack, mingo and white snapper.
Thirteen-year-old Zach Parker of Texas had a big day on the Miss Nautica with Capt. Randy Hanshaw. He said the huge amberjack was the biggest fish he'd ever caught.
Don't fret, there are still plenty of big fish out there to catch.
See you at the docks.