Capt. Justin Leake takes a day off from guiding and becomes an average angler on a head boat operated by one of the area’s first families of fishing.
The Raffields have been fishing Northwest Florida waters commercially since 1895. Its current fleet includes large head boats such as the 65-foot “Family Pride” operated by Capt. Leveral Raffield. “We’re very blessed to be able to do what we do,” says Raffield. “You meet a lot of fine folks.”
Head boats, also known as “party boats,” can accommodate 30-60 passengers and offer small groups of visiting anglers and families a convenient and affordable option for offshore action. “This is a turnkey deal,” says Capt. Leake. “You can just show up at the dock, jump on the boat and you’re ready to go.”
Excitement builds among his anglers as Capt. Raffield steers the “Family Pride” toward offshore reefs usually teeming with red snapper. It doesn’t take long for poles to bend and reels to sing as a variety of species take the bait.
For Capt. Justin, who hasn’t fished from a head boat in more than 20 years, the experience brings back fond memories. “It’s still a lot of fun,” he says. “We’ve caught a ton of fish and everybody is having a good time – that’s what it’s all about.”
Later, Justin heads back to tarpon grounds with Phil Chester, a city councilman and long-time resident hoping to land his first silver king.