19 Jun 2017
Why you should absolutely go charter fishing - by a local girl who had never been.
Before last Friday, if you asked me about charter fishing in Destin I would have said of course you should go because Destin's the World’s Luckiest Fishing Village. Pretty generic answer, right? You’ve seen it everywhere that mentions Destin. But now that I've had my first charter experience, my outlook has definitely changed. When I say I only want to go fishing all the time now, this is not an exaggeration.
When the invitation to spend the day charter fishing made its way to me, I was skeptical about whether I would enjoy it. I’m the kind of person that gets queasy if I stand up too fast, so how was I going to be on a boat in the Gulf of Mexico and stay standing, much less learn to fish? I had never reeled in a fish before but it sounded like work, especially if you have very little upper body strength. But I did it! I was on board bright and early, slathered with sunscreen, chasing Dramamine with coffee, and bracing myself for a day of adventure.
The day started with bait fishing. A pretty basic concept (catch little fish to feed to bigger fish). It was completely lost on me. Those tiny bait fish could sense how bad I wanted them on my hook and they were having none of it. At one point, the first mate checked to make sure my hooks didn't need to be replaced. As it turns out, that was not the case at all. I was assured multiple times that the person who can’t tackle bait fishing always catches the largest fish...
After we got into deeper water, which really didn’t take any time at all, I stood there was my rod questioning if I would even know what it felt like when I had a fish on. People started pulling in fish around me and I was officially convinced that some people were anglers and some were not, and I was not. And then it happened. This fish pulled so hard that very briefly I was worried I was going in with it and was sure I was never going to be able to reel it in.
There is something about having a big fish on the line. Suddenly, you are completely lost in the moment. You’re fighting this fish, you’re fighting your screaming arms, you’re fighting your sunglasses to stay on your face, but nothing else matters. All the people with you are cheering and yelling for you to reel this fish in. You briefly want to yell at them that you are trying to do just that, and you fight that urge, too. And then finally it happens, you see the fish just under the surface and all your hard work seems worth it. Suddenly this invisible force that you have been pushing yourself to the limit for will be real.
My arms were shot but there he was. My fish. My trophy. My welcome to the club and proof that I could hang. The moment that I will forever be proud of and the fight that I will reference whenever my brain tries to tell me I can’t do something. It’s that feeling of accomplishment that makes me want to yell from the rooftop, everyone should go charter fishing! Even if you don’t eat fish, there is so much more to it than coming home with dinner. Proving to yourself that you can do it is worth all the work and everyone should get to experience that, even if its just once.