Porpoise to Side Scan
The old saying, “two’s company and three’s a crowd,” rings true when dolphins crash the pompano party Capt. Justin Leake and Capt. Travis Holeman had planned for their day of fishing the waters off Panama City Beach.
Easing alongside the St. Andrews Pass jetties with side imaging sonar, the anglers marvel at the amazing detail provided by this state-of-the-art technology. “You can literally see the shape of the fish,” says Travis. When a pod of dolphins shows up, it’s low-tech confirmation that fish are definitely in the area.
Although pompano are nowhere to be found, the guys enjoy some “colorful” action as Travis catches redfish while Justin lands bluefish. But when dolphins begin ambushing hooked fish before they can be reeled to the boat, the anglers surrender to another old saying: “if you can’t beat ‘em, then join em.”
That calls for a visit to Gulf World Marine Park and an up close and personal dolphin encounter. Since its opening in 1969, the park has delighted thousands of Panama City Beach visitors through its mission of entertainment and education. In partnership with Gulf World Marine Institute, the park rescues, rehabilitates and, when possible, releases marine mammals and sea turtles back into the wild. The “Royal Swim” is a thrill ride Justin and Travis won’t soon forget!