My family has a love of fishing. It stems from my Daddy, who ran a deep-sea charter boat — The Sandy — out of Empire, Louisiana for years.
Dad is good friends with another fishing captain, Harold Staples, who runs a charter boat out of Destin, Florida. They met over 40 years ago when Harold was just a boy and my Dad was a young man. They have been”fishing” friends ever since.
On Saturday, Aug. 7, my family chartered Captain Harold’s boat for the day for a fishing trip out of Destin. My daughter, Jamie, joined my Dad, Larry Johnson; my brother, Johnny Johnson; my nephew Reese Johnson; Captain Harold and his son, Alan Staples for a great day of fishing off of the beautiful coast.
Harold’s boat, The Al-Lin, is a 44-foot boat that accommodates six. The group left at daylight and ventured out to the jetties to catch shad to use as fresh bait. Captain Harold relies on numerous GPS coordinates that mark his best fishing locations. His secret is the knowledge of countless underwater locations that fish are known to inhabit. The group continued traveling until they were 25 miles southwest of Pensacola — approximately 8 miles offshore.
Federal waters were closed due to the BP Oil spill and fishing beyond 8 miles offshore was prohibited.
The first stop for the crew was a sunken ship. Fishing in 84 feet of water, lines were hit before hitting bottom! The first two fish caught were two 30 to 35-pound Amber-jack. On subsequent drags, Red Snapper were hit, which was a shame because the season was closed so they had to be released. A lot of them do not go back down after being caught which means they die anyway. It seems like such a waste.
The boat moved 5 or 6 times and at every stop they caught as soon as the line went down. They caught an abundance of bottom fish — Trigger Fish, Spanish Mackerel, 25 to 30-pound Grouper, Cobia (Lemon Fish) and Scamp (which by the way, if you have never eaten, is quite delicious).
The trip was a full eight hours. The group returned about 2 p.m. with plenty of fish to bring home! The end result was an ice chest full of fillet meat.
Captain Harold has been fishing out of Destin for over 30 years. His son Alan, now 31, has been fishing with him all this time. Fishing with this team is not only about catching; Captain Harold is not only a great fisherman, but is extremely knowledgeable about all species and the area. Capt Harold and his son sell a great experience rather than just a fishing trip. Their fishing trip is a guide service where, in addition to the beautiful water, one may see dolphin and sea turtles.
If you would like to charter The Al-Lin while in Destin, you can contact Harold by calling 850-837-8615 or email [email protected]