Destin Offshore

Grouper and snapper are alive and well off the Florida Gulf Coast.

Destin Offshore

Destin Offshore

Aboard the Back Down 2 (a custom-built marine marine convertible) out of Destin, Florida. The late-spring morning couldn't have been much nicer, and Capt. Gary Jarvis (www.backdown2.com) made a two-hour run to some rigs off the Alabama coast in 500 to 700 feet. Almost at once, we were hooking up. All photos by Doug Olander
Destin Offshore

Destin Offshore

Great gobs of grouper! Yellowedge grouper (Epinephelus flavolimbatus) put our morning off to a good start for the this Team Daiwa effort left by Scot Rogers (far right, Daiwa's Southeast regional rep).
Destin Offshore

Destin Offshore

Good enough to eat - at least by denizens of the deep Gulf. The Back Down 2 favored mackerel filets on its deep-drop circle hooks.
Destin Offshore

Destin Offshore

Armful of Warsaw grouper puts the hurt on Ray Douglas of King Sailfish Mounts (www.kingsailfish.com), holding it up for the camera with Rogers' help.
Destin Offshore

Destin Offshore

Not surprisingly, Jarvis' boat is equipped with Daiwa Dendoh electrics, a line of deep-drop (and kite) reels that's done very well indeed since its introduction a few years ago. Unplugged, the reels become 100% conventional (though beware: even unplugged and completely manual, the IGFA considers these electric reels so no catches cranked up can ever be awarded record status).
Destin Offshore

Destin Offshore

Another yellowedge makes the day for angler Trent Rogers (right). Although a fine specimen, it's a long way from the 46-pound world record, caught off Virginia - though the species is more common farther south, and throughout the Gulf down through Central America.
Destin Offshore

Destin Offshore

A jewel from the depths, this striking longtail bass is a member of the sea basses (groupers) fairly common in waters hundreds of feet deep. They don't get a lot larger than this specimen.
Destin Offshore

Destin Offshore

Schools of big, hungry, tough jack crevalle often hang around rigs near the surface, ready for a tussle. I caught this one casting a Berkley PowerBait Mullet swimtail.
Destin Offshore

Destin Offshore

Other rig prizes include red snapper which, down to 300 feet or so, have become increasingly abundant in recent years.
Destin Offshore

Destin Offshore

The lure that catches everything - a Seastriker Gotcha - appealed to this late-afternoon blackfin, a fun catch on 15-pound braid.
Destin Offshore

Destin Offshore

This flyingfish took a wrong turn after dark, ending up in the Back Down 2's cockpit.