Offshore Heritage

There are plenty of fish in the sea but honing the skills to find and catch them consistently can take years – or even generations – to accomplish. This week, the “Chasin’ The Sun” crew heads offshore with a charter fisherman who’s carrying on his family’s long tradition of fishing the waters off Panama City Beach.

The mid-December trip is a rare opportunity for co-hosts Capt. Justin Leake and Capt. Travis Holeman to let someone else do the hard work for a change. Capt. Josh Sauls of Heritage Exursions, whose family has been fishing these waters for more than a century, takes the helm and heads for secret deep water hotspots teeming with snapper and grouper.

Capt. Sauls’ plan is to target reefs about 40 miles offshore but, when the water turns rough, he decides to navigate to an area only 25 miles out from shore where natural limestone reefs lie 150 feet below the surface. Before he can get set up to fish, though, impatient anglers Justin and Travis have already sent their baits plunging into the deep. “I love seeing what comes up from the bottom because it’s a mystery every time,” says Capt. Holeman.

For Sauls, the goal is not just filling the cooler with fish but making memories that will last a lifetime. “This is something that my Dad and great uncle shared with me and it’s the most precious gift that anyone has ever given me,” he says. “I want to get people to talk about the experience they had with their friends and family until they get to come back to Panama City Beach and do it again.”

After a successful trip that yielded red snapper, gag grouper, triggerfish, vermilion snapper and red grouper, it’s clear Capt. Sauls is a worthy heir to his family’s fishing legacy.