Bass Fishing Destin Florida: Where to Snag a Big Fish

Known as the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village,” Destin, Florida, is a haven for saltwater fishing. But Destin is also an excellent spot if you’re looking for a great bass fishing destination. This coastal town is home to both rivers and lakes, which means there are plenty of places to bass fish.

What’s more, the climate in Destin is good for bass fishing year-round, so you can find suitable conditions for a day on the water. Finally, locals are known for their love of bass fishing, so you’ll have no trouble finding expert tips and advice.

In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at bass fishing in Destin, Florida, and provide you with the information you need to get started.

Deer Point Lake

Deer Point Lake is 7 miles north of Panama City, about an hour and a half east of Destin. It’s a quiet freshwater lake making it an ideal spot for bass fishing. 

Boat ramps are conveniently located on both sides of the dam. There is also a fishing pier near the west side of the dam.

The lake is best known for shellcracker (redear sunfish) fishing in the spring. However, good old earthworms are the most popular baits for these guys through June.

The best time to catch Largemouth Bass is during the spring and early summer and in the fall when the water temperature drops. With cooler temps, angling opportunities increase. Try crankbaits and plastic worms. Broken-back minnows are a good option if you are fishing from shore.

Holly Lake

Holly Lake is about an hour north of Destin, just outside Defuniak Springs. There is a single-lane boat ramp and a small parking lot so get there early.

The lake is slightly different from other lakes because the deeper water is closer to shore, which is excellent for shore fishermen. Holly Lake is known for bluegill, shellcracker, and speckled perch, in addition to bass.

Another thing that makes Holly Lake unique is the lack of vegetation and structures on the bottom of the lake. As a result, Holly Lake is a great spot to fish with a small boat or fishing kayak.

Escambia River

The Escambia River is one of Florida’s most biodiverse rivers. Florida’s fourth largest river meanders 92 miles (54 miles in Florida) from its headwaters in southern Alabama to Pensacola Bay. Along the way, the river carries a wide variety of wildlife and aquatic species, including plenty of freshwater fish.

There are many access points along the river for boats, canoes, and kayaks, including Quintette Landing, north of Pace, and Floridatown landing.

Anglers will enjoy a variety of bass, largemouth, spotted, striped, and sunshine, in addition to sunfish and bluegill. Of course, there is plenty of other freshwater fish in the area too.

Bass fishing is excellent in the spring and fall, and sunshine bass is especially hungry and biting in late summer. Jigs and spoons work well. Crankbait and live shrimp are great for late summer.

Blackwater River 

The Blackwater also starts in southern Alabama and winds 58 miles to the Gulf of Mexico. With numerous launch spots along the length of the river, including Milton, and Bagdad, it’s easy to find that perfect spot for your boat, kayak, or canoe.

Fishing the upper river can be challenging when the water level is high, but bass are plentiful and biting. There are limited options for shore fishing on the upper river, which depends much more on water levels.

Anglers will find the usual suspects, largemouth bass, sunshine bass, stripers, bluegill, sunfish, and many others. Worms, crankbaits, and jigs are good options. Anglers have noted that more vibration on your lure is better.

Striper fishing is best in the cooler months, January through March. However, largemouth bass generally start biting when the weather warms toward the end of March.

In addition, fishing the lower Blackwater River introduces some saltwater species into the mix, like redfish and seatrout.

Yellow River

Just a few miles away, many anglers prefer the Yellow River to the Blackwater River. Bass fishing the Yellow River in Florida offers anglers a unique experience of tackling an incredible variety of fish. When the water levels are right, this slow-moving river provides plenty of great spots for beginners and experienced fishermen alike.

One way to approach this kind of fishing is to start by searching with worms, crawfish cranks, and maybe Rapala jerk bait or spinnerbaits. This allows you to explore different river areas until you find out what bait the bass want that day.

The lower end of the river is usually easier to navigate and offers plenty of good spots to cast from. Brown’s Fish Camp provides excellent access for launching your boat. With its diverse populations of bass and other fishes, the Yellow River makes for a great bass fishing destination.

Bear Lake

Bass fishing is a popular activity at Bear Lake in Florida. A human-made lake, this relaxing destination boasts 107 acres of tranquil waters. Concentrate along the dam at the main lake for anglers looking to catch bass as these fish typically gather.

From April to September, however, visitors may struggle to find a campsite due to the high number of visitors, so it’s best to plan ahead if you’re hoping for a spot!

Largemouth bass become increasingly active during cooler water temperatures and can be caught using dark-colored plastic worms or floater-diver-type lures. There are also two primitive boat landings accessible from the south side of the lake where fishermen can launch motorized boats during their trips.

With its beautiful scenery and great fishing holes, Bear Lake is an ideal spot, no matter whether you’re looking to relax or catch some big fish!

Hurricane Lake

Hurricane Lake provides an excellent chance for bass fishing enthusiasts to catch plenty of quality largemouth bass. Because the lake is stocked with bass, anglers should be prepared to encounter some big bass and plenty of options for smaller fish.

Covering over 300 acres, the lake’s maximum depth of 25 feet and flooded timber combine to provide an ideal habitat for anglers and the fish they seek. 

The lake also has ample boat ramps and floating docks, making it easy to launch a boat and navigate the lake.

Fishing techniques such as spoons or crankbaits are essential to lure the bass out from submerged structures. Ultimately, Hurricane Lake makes an ideal spot for amateur and seasoned anglers.

Choctawhatchee River

The Choctawhatchee River in Florida is the third largest river system in the state. It offers an excellent opportunity for bass fishing. 

When water levels are low, anglers will enjoy the greatest success catching largemouth bass, which tend to congregate around treetops and snags upriver.

Crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and artificial worms are common bait choices for this species. Still, anglers should also be aware of sunshine bass, which can also be caught in the spring or fall.

For those looking to take advantage of exceptional opportunities for both largemouth and sunshine bass fishing, there is a boat ramp off River Road Highway 20 with a nearby bait shop. With all these options available, Bass fishermen won’t be disappointed when they visit the Choctawhatchee River.

Sandestin Golf Course

Yes, that’s right, Sandestin Golf Course has long been a haven for anglers. Bass fishing here is especially popular, with plenty of freshwater lakes teeming with bass. Best results can usually be obtained in the early mornings and around dusk when fish emerge to feed on the surface – an excellent opportunity for thrilling topwater action.

Texas-rigged worms or crankbaits are often the go-to lures for those trolling along shorelines in search of these prized gamefish. But, however you choose to approach it, the Sandestin Golf course provides outstanding bass fishing opportunities.


With so many options for rivers and lakes to fish, there’s no shortage of opportunities to snag a big bass in Destin. The techniques described in this article should help you get started on your next bass fishing adventure in Destin, Florida.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced angler, these destinations provide ample opportunities for a great day out on the water bass fishing.

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Steve Morrow owns Paddle About, an outdoor recreation and travel blog. Steve loves to travel, kayak, paddle board, camp, hike, and spend time outdoors with his wife and two kids. When he's not exploring the great outdoors, Steve enjoys writing about his adventures and sharing tips for getting the most out of your outdoor experiences. He has a lot of interesting stories to share, and he's always happy to help others get more out of life.

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About the author
Steve Morrow
Steve Morrow owns Paddle About, an outdoor recreation and travel blog. Steve loves to travel, kayak, paddle board, camp, hike, and spend time outdoors with his wife and two kids. When he's not exploring the great outdoors, Steve enjoys writing about his adventures and sharing tips for getting the most out of your outdoor experiences. He has a lot of interesting stories to share, and he's always happy to help others get more out of life.