Gulf fishing in Walton County is just as natural as the dunes.
As a matter of fact, a small fleet of charter boats launch between the dunes right off the beach at Grayton, using the beach access just to the west of the Red Bar.
On the beach, the captains block off an area just wide enough to launch their boats right off the shore into the Gulf of Mexico — fishing the Walton Way.
Most every day, boats can be seen coming in between the 11 a.m. and noon from their morning adventures, and then again between 4 and 5 p.m. for those afternoon charters. If's there's a truck with a trailer on the beach, it’s a sure sign that the fish are on the way.
Wednesday morning was a good time on the Gulf.
Capt. Kerry Jones on Not A Dog charter pulled in with several vermillion snapper and white snapper. After hanging the snapper on the side of the boat, Capt. Jones pulled about a 15-pound grouper out of the box. Keith Basom was the angler on the rod that hauled in the gag.
While Capt. Jones was hanging his fish, Capt. Phil Hammond of Capt. Phil's Charters pulled in with the Lindeman family from Missouri. They caught a couple of big king mackerel, vermillion snapper, white snapper and a few bluefish.
"We had a bit of a dolphin problem," Capt. Phil said, noting that Flipper was taking their vermillion right off the hook. As for the mackerel, he said they caught them slow trolling around the natural bottom.
Capt. Mark Thompson and the Wright family aboard the Fishy Booty Charter landed a king mackerel, Atlantic sharpnose shark, along with a few white and vermillion snapper.
Tennessee anglers on the Fish On with Capt. Jimbo Bishop hauled in a huge Spanish mackerel, king mackerel, white snapper, one-and-a-half black snapper and four sea bass. Capt. Bishop said he's caught 14 sea bass in the last couple of weeks on the same fishing spot.
As for the half black snapper, when Hunter Henderson finally got the snapper to the boat, all that was left was the head. Capt. Bishop said a bull shark snapped it off. He said, the shark also ate another snapper they had on the line — so they moved to another spot.
Fishing in Walton County is as natural and convenient as it gets. Folks board the boats right on the beach, and come in right at the beach. And for the most part, the boats only go out about three to eight miles out. Come on down and check it out.
Remember if a truck and trailer is on the beach, there's an angler on the water.
See you on the beach.
For years, Tina Harbuck has walked the Destin docks to chronicle the catches of the day. Now she is expanding her beat to the beaches of Grayton. If you’d like to share a fish photo, email The Sun at firstname.lastname@example.org