Literally millions of fish swim the Gulf of Mexico but, in this week’s episode, we’re interested in only one when host Capt. Justin Leake invites professional fly angler Meredith McCord to Panama City Beach.
McCord, who has set more than 230 International Game Fish Association species and line class world records, has a proven system of pinpointing opportunities. “I love the game of world record chasing,” says McCord. “You have to come prepared because you don’t know what conditions are going to allow you to fish.”
When initial efforts to catch a trophy Spanish mackerel fall short, Capt. Leake heads for an artificial reef teeming with amberjack and Meredith sets her sights on breaking the eight-pound line class record set off the coast of North Carolina in 2000. Soon, chumming live pilchards leads to an amberjack boil and it’s “game on” when Meredith sets the hook on a nice one that just might set a new standard.
Anticipation builds as the pair races to the certified scale at Capt. Anderson’s Marina to weigh the fish but excitement turns to disappointment when Meredith’s amberjack comes up just a few ounces short of the record. “It was a conflict of emotions that I was left with that day,” says McCord. “But all fishermen have hope for the next day, the next fish and the next cast.”
After such a close call, Justin and Meredith vow to return to the water the very next day for another shot at making history.