Whats Biting ?
18 Jun 2015

Destin Deep Sea Fishing Catches



/>Charter fishing in Destin for reef fish like Amber Jack, Grouper, Red Snapper, Triggerfish begins in late Feb and early March. We charter fish in Destin all spring, summer and fall fishing for inshore pelagic fish like Cobia, King Mackerel and Bonito, and also deep sea bottom fishing for the reef fish like red snapper, grouper, amberjacks, and triggerfish,that continues all season long until the end of the Destin Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo which ends October 31st. Charter fishing in Destin tends to be better in the spring, April, May, early June and in the fall during September and October. But also available to saltwater anglers is some of the best Big Game fishing in the entire Gulf of Mexico and these fish listed below will wet your appetite for some serious blue water fishing.

/>Swordfish all year

241 sword

Capt Phillip Blackburn has been charter fishing in Destin aboard the Back Down 2 for a long time, he has the 38 years of blue water experience that Swordfishing requires. Swordfish are perhaps the worlds most powerful game fish and it has been known that Swordfishing battles can be short occasionally but many have lasted for hours starting the fight in the middle of the night and lasting way past daylight. They don’t call them the gladiators of the ocean for nothing.   You have heard that swordfish are among the most respected of the fighting fish… Are you ready to experience this challenge and excitement for yourself? Captain Blackburn and his crew will provide you with the charter fishing fishing experience of a lifetime. Captain Blackburn on the Back Down 2 will ensure your deep sea Swordfishing trip will not only challenge your fishing prowess but he will also use his knowledge to increase your chances of landing one of the most prized game fish of all time. Combine this with state of the art equipment and you can expect an exciting deep sea sport fishing experience.

Swordfish populations have had a chance to rebuild after years of overfishing in the 1970’s and 80’s. Closed zones were created and swordfish populations have rebounded in a big way. So now if you’re up to the challenge and want to catch a swordfish off the coast of Destin book a 24-hour swordfish trip and let’s go deep sea fishing. Captain Phillip Blackburn will take you 50-60 miles offshore out to the 200-fathom curve in the quest to catch this trophy fish. Using his knowledge of swordfish feeding habits and the most modern sophisticated navigation and sonar equipment on any charter boat in the Destin fishing fleet, he will set you up for the dream come true sports fishing experience. Captain Jarvis Increases Your Chance for Success.

There is, even more, to know to ensure your success. Understanding the effect of the moon phases on the swordfish habits is key! Swordfish are predators and feed on squid and mackerel which are affected by the amount of light filtering down through the water. The bait prefers to stay at the bottom of the filtered light and this, in turn, will be where swordfish are likely to be found. During nights of bright moonlight, Captain Jarvis and his experienced crew will have you set your line deeper and on a dark night, you will fish closer to the surface. Again, Captain Jarvis’s 38 years of experience is the key to your successful sports fishing experience.

Yellow Fin Tuna   May thru Dec




Captain Phillip Blackburn aboard charter boat Back Down 2 is well known as one of the best Tuna fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico. Yellowfin, Big Eye and Black Fin Tuna have been a focus of his since the mid-eighties when there were no offshore oil platforms to congregate them. Back then Captain Jarvis had to search open water for schools of big Yellow Fin Tuna. Finding and catching open water fish is a tough endeavor and when you locate them you better be ready with all types of bait and be ready to try all the techniques at your disposal. This early demand for preparation and exploring new ways to get them to bite has served Captain Jarvis well in his overnight tuna fishing charters, catching tremendous Yellow Fin Tunas for his customers and friends. With the introduction of deepwater oil exploration and the many offshore platforms now in the Northern Gulf of Mexico Captain Jarvis’s love for tuna fishing has gone to new heights and has been a motivation for developing his 2 and 3-day tuna fishing business.

Tunas are highly migratory and predatory fish so it is very important to pay attention to all the various aspects of what may affect the location and attitude of the tuna. Water temperature, clarity, current direction, current speed, wind direction, availability of bait and moon phases all have an effect on the success of a Yellow Fin tuna trip. This information coupled with 20 plus years and hundreds upon hundreds of days offshore commercial and deep sea charter fishing for Yellowfin Tuna is what brings in consistent successful catches on the charter boat Back Down 2. Just one look at the big fish photos is proof in the pudding.

Tuna’s generally bitting early in the morning around daylight then go deep to cooler water during the heat of the day and then rally late in the afternoon as the sun sets. Now with the lighted offshore oil platfo,rms you can catch many tuna at night near the rigs that are lit up like small cities. The way we fish for tuna and the bait used also depends on what Captain Jarvis evaluates by his experience. At times conventional offshore big game trolling techniques using rigged ballyhoos, small lures, birds and daisy chains work well, slow trolling live baits is a favorite, chunking and at night using live flying fish scooped up in a net as they drift by the spreader lights is usually a sure bet. But Tuna don’t always play by the rules with certain conditions leading mid-dayday action that surpasses all expectations, knowing these situations and reading the conditions is when Captain and crew make a huge difference. This should give you a little idea on what deep sea tuna fishing is all about however there are a few secrets that we wont post on the web so you will just have to come and book your Destin charter fishing trip with Captain Blackburn and see for yourself.

COBIA    Late Mar, Apr, early May


Charter fishing season in Destin, Florida gets started in March with the beginning of the annual spring run of Cobia. This fishing is much like deer hunting. To catch one you must go out and hunt them. Cobia fishing in Destin is done by trying to sight individual fish or in some cases small schools of fish swimming just under the surface of the emerald green waters off the Destin, Fl coast. Once a fish or school of fish are spotted we maneuver the boat to get in position and then cast a bait in front of the slow swimming fish. Watching this all take place on the surface is why this is one of the most exciting fishing charters that Destin, Fl has to offer. Seeing how the fish have to be spotted to catch, having a large tower that stands 22 ft above the surface like the tower on the charter boat Back Down 2 is so important for Cobia fishing success. Standing up that high Captain Blackburn and his crew have a unmatched view over the water that reduces the glare that can hide a swimming cobia and would allow that fish swim by unnoticed. After hooking a fish in the tower the crew has a nifty zip line that is attached to the fishing rod that helps get the rod down safely with hooked fish to deck level for the ensuing fight.

Cobia are considered pelagic fish which means they migrate over large ranges in a given season. Each year these big fish migrate through Destin coastal waters heading towards their spawning areas in the Mississippi Delta area. This migration is greatly anticipated each year. Weighing up to 140 lbs with many fish between 50-90 lbs they present a challenge for 30 lb spinning reel tackle most commonly used to catch these monsters. It is not uncommon to fight a big one for 45 minutes to an hour. The baits used to entice these fish to bite range between artificial jigs to live eels. Cobia are voracious eaters in the wild dinning on cat fish, rock fish, crabs, sting rays, eels, snapper… heck anything that swims really so it makes sense to have some or all of the above in your live well before you go out fishing. So when you go out for a fishing charter for Cobia on the Back Down 2 rest assured Captain Blackburn will have the live well loaded.

Starting the first weekend in April we have fish charters available for tournament cobia fishing. These fishing tournaments are held every weekend in April and most all have anywhere from $100,000 to $300,000 dollars in prize money. We fish in all of these contest including a month long tournament so we can win prizes everyday of the month with a big fish. We usually have 1 or 2 tournament fishing charters available each year. Just in the last 5 years, Captain Blackburn has won over $442,000 just in Cobia tournaments. Included in these total winnings was a whopping $74,623 This past April 21st of 2012 In the Outcast Cobia Tournament in Pensacola fl. Captain Blackburn really likes this tournament due to another big win in 2010 when Blackburn and crew won $136,000. This brings his winning totals to over 1.75 million in winnings since 1985.

Marlin   late May thru Oct



Big Game fishing in Destin, Fl is world renown. There have been 6 Blue Marlin over 800 lbs caught within 70 miles of the Destin East pass since the mid eighties. Including 2 thousand pounders landed by Destin Boats and crews just in the past few years. Most of these big fish have been caught at or near the Desoto Canyon which is only 60 miles SSW of Destin East Pass. Marlin fishing out in the Canyon is a favorite for Captain Phillip Blackburn and his crew on the Charter Boat Back Down 2. Not only is this a proven location for big game fishing for Billfish but it also is where Captain Blackburn does his offshore deep sea Sword fishing and has been a good location for finding schools of open water yellow fin tuna. Captain Blackburn caught his biggest Blue Marlin a 828 lb monster that he caught while fishing and winning the 2001 Pensacola Big Game Billfish Tournament within a few hundred yards from the spur tip.

There are two features of the bottom that makes the Desoto canyon a ideal place to big game fish. First is how the steep walls of the Desoto canyon which is over 1800 feet deep come together and form a point called the spur. The spur causes a normal up welling of current that is rich in nutrients and sea life that begins the food chain that brings all types of predatory fish into this area. This in turn congregates bait like hard tails, flying fish, scaly minnows, and small mackerel that attract big game fish like Tuna, Dolphin and Wahoo, and then those species in turn are fed upon by big Blue Marlin. The second feature just inside of the spur a mile or so inshore is the Mountain. This under sea mountain rises approximately 480 ft off the sea floor and its presence causes even more of a current up welling repeating the features of the spur. There also are a few other areas that are some of Captain Blackburn  favorites to fish. The Nipple which is about 40 miles Sw of Destin East Pass is where the 100 fathom curve comes close to an area that has a natural bottom and shallows up to a point that also attracts big game species. The other popular area is SSE of Destin called the squiggles this area along the 100 fathom curve also is close to shallow water and is a proven Blue Marlin favorite.

Fishing on the charter boat Back Down 2 offshore trolling for Blue Marlin, White Marlin, and Sailfish is a experience of a life time. When the crew puts out their spread of Big game fishing lures and baits the anticipation of what is going to bite is monumental. You can get a 5 pound chicken dolphin or a 500 pound Blue Marlin fishing with the same type of bait. Looking for and finding current rips that form lines of Sargasso grass or finding large floating objects like boards, trees or logs etc is also a exciting time with many bites from dolphin, wahoo and tuna increasing the big game fishing action. Another aspect of Captain Blackburn Big Game fishing is chartering Big Game fishing tournaments. Starting labor day weekend until the end of summer there is a Billfish tournament somewhere along the Gulf Coast. These tournaments have over a million dollars in prize money and categories for Blue Marlin, Billfish tag and release, Tuna, Dolphin and Wahoo. The charter boat Back Down 2 with Captain Blackburn at the helm has won over 1.75 million dollars tournament fishing here in the Gulf of Mexico. He has landed 11 winning Blue Marlins, the biggest a 828 lbs bruiser during the Pensacola Big Game ClubBillfishing Tournament that still holds the tournament record and Captain Blackburn also holds the Gulf of Mexico record for the largest single day double header that won both first and second place at the Oyster Bar billfish classic with a 744lb and 664 lb Blue Marlins together a whopping 1408 lbs of tournament winning fish. The back Down 2 has also won hundreds of thousands in tournament money in the meat fish categories of tuna, wahoo and dolphin. Call or e-mail Captain Blackburn for more tournament information.

Bottom Fishing  All year long



Deep sea bottom fishing out of Destin is some of the best is the world. That is why charter fishing in Destin is a good way to catch, keep and eat some of the best seafood the gulf has to offer. Reef fish like Red Snapper, Grouper, Trigger Fish, Amberjacks, are plentiful fun to catch and very good to eat.  Destin Deep Sea Charter fishing season gets kicked off in March with the beginning with spring break and runs until Oct 31st at the end of the Destin Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo. In actuality, bottom fishing for the reef fish fishery is good year around but our seasons for tourist and business is much shorter. Fishing in November and December is really good but it is hard to compete with college football, pro football and hunting season because most fishermen like to engage in those sports as well. We do get a few charter fishing trips around thanksgiving and Christmas as folks come to Destin for those holidays.

Charter fishing in Destin for bottom fish is made much easier due to the abundance of good live bait around Destin East Pass. Catching live hard tails, herring, cigar minnows and other live bait makes getting red snapper, grouper and amberjacks to bite your hook a much simpler success story and you can see photos of big fish on this web site to confirm the effectiveness of live bait fishing in Destin. On most deep sea bottom fishing trip on the Charter Boat Back Down 2 we will fish with both live and fresh cut bait to catch a wider variety of reef fish. Some species like vermillion snapper, white snapper and trigger fish are easier to catch on cut squid or Boston mackerel.

At the end of our regular charter fishing season, we finish up with the Destin Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo that runs during the entire month of October. The Charter Boat Back Down 2 is entered each year and all fishermen who come and fish with Captain Blackburn have a chance to win daily prizes and monthly awards for any large fish in its respective category in the rodeo. Captain Blackburn has set many rodeo records over the past 34 years and has won his customers many trophies, rod and reels, coolers, cash saving bonds and framed art work. There is no additional charge for anglers on the Charter Boat Back Down 2 to fish in this month long tournament. To learn more about the Destin Deep Sea Rodeo go to destinfishingrodeo.com and see the excitement that this event brings to the Destin Deep Sea Fishing Fleet.