Guide in the Making

In the world of professional fishing guides, there’s a lot of give and take. This week, Capt. Justin Leake gives an aspiring guide some insight into the profession and takes a few tips from his fellow pros.

Nathan West, a teen angler who has already made a name for himself on the local fishing piers, dreams of operating his own guide service one day. Spending time on the water with Leake furthers his education and ensures the next generation of anglers understands why Panama City Beach’s fishery thrives. The lesson starts with accumulating a wide variety of live bait because, as Leake explains, versatility and adaptability are hallmarks of successful guides.

Later, Leake hooks up with experienced anglers to learn some of their secrets.

Ed Zyak of the D.O.A. Lure Company conducts a field test of the company’s newest plastic baits in the flats where redfish like to hang out in water less than one foot deep. The keys to successful sight fishing these waters are getting the boat into proper position and making pinpoint casts without spooking the target.  Meanwhile, veteran kayak angler Jerry McBride describes why it’s important to keep an eye on birds – if they’re feeding on baitfish at the surface, then there are bigger fish forcing them to the top.

Finally, we get a look at the Naval Diving and Salvage Training Center where divers from all branches of the U.S. military go to school. In addition to classrooms, divers train in a variety of simulated and real life environments designed to equip them with all the skills necessary to carry out their missions.