Offshore Opportunity

Although there’s always plenty of exciting fishing action in the bays and along the shoreline, the crew opts for a change of pace and heads toward deep water off the coast of Panama City Beach. Show host and professional fishing guide Justin Leake is joined by friend Patrick Rowe for a bottom fishing adventure some 50 miles offshore.

Surrounded by 360 degrees of open water in the Gulf of Mexico, technology is their friend. Capt. Leake relies on radar to maneuver around storms, then uses sonar to mark fish near reefs in depths approaching 400 feet. Modern, high speed reels and braided line have replaced old fashioned electric reels and heavy monofilament  – making it easier and more sporting to battle deep water fish.

As Justin explains, the trick is to drift the boat right over the fish just as the bait reaches bottom – if you can get past aggressive amberjack schooling up higher in the water column, that is. Threading that needle leads to exciting results off when the pair hooks into a school of scamp grouper, considered by many to be the “gold standard” of grouper. It’s a rare trip when anglers catch one scamp after another!