Born From Struggle
Sightfishing the shallow water flats on a windy, overcast day following a cold front is not the ideal scenario for the average angler but, then again, Capt. Justin Leake and Capt. Ed Zyak are not your average anglers. Ironically, they prefer the challenge of adverse conditions because the reward of a catch is that much sweeter.
The adventure unfolds in West Bay, where a maze-like system of creeks flows through the salt marshes and attracts bait and gamefish to shallow tidal pools. “Areas of dense grass get flooded at high tide and that makes the bay dynamic, depending on conditions and water levels,” says Capt. Leake. “West Bay also offers complete solitude – a place to get away from the hustle and bustle.”
Redfish patrolling the grassy flats on an overcast day are nearly impossible to see, but Justin and Ed are content to give their prey an advantage. “It’s the challenge that draws me to sightfishing,” says Capt. Zyak. “I love watching everything happen and trying to fool the fish into taking the bait.”
When Justin breaks out the push pole to ensure maximum stealth, patience finally pays off as the sun breaks through the clouds and the advantage shifts to the anglers.
Also, we take an up-close look at beach renourishment, the process of transferring sand from offshore to protect Panama City Beach’s coastline from the ravages of storms and natural erosion.