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Reels-to-Reef Project Featured in Newest Episode of “Chasin’ The Sun”

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla.,  – “Chasin’ The Sun” documents the extraordinary team effort required to deploy an artificial reef in this week’s episode, Reel Reef Collaboration. The award-winning television show, presented by Visit Panama City Beach, will air on Saturday, April 9 at 8:30 a.m. Eastern & Pacific / 7:30 a.m. Central on Discovery Channel.

The Gulf of Mexico’s reefs are popular among local and visiting anglers because of their populations of snapper, grouper and other seafood delicacies. There are hundreds of reefs off the coast  but only a small number are naturally occurring limestone reefs.

Artificial reefs fill in the gaps and create angling opportunities by providing habitat for corals, baitfish and larger species that prey upon them. Artificial reefs can be built from concrete, retired ships or aircraft and steel bridge spans.

“We’re looking for materials that are durable and have a life expectancy of more than 50 years,” says Scott Jackson, Bay County Extension Director and head of the deployment team.

Through a partnership of government agencies and maritime contractors, crews deploy huge cable reels donated by Oceaneering International in separate locations approximately 12 miles offshore. The five spools, ranging from 22-35 feet in diameter and weighing 40-60 tons, are in water approximate 100 feet deep. The reefs will take up to five years to fully mature.

“The cable spools will help grow the habitat,” says marine wildlife artist and conservationist, Dr. Guy Harvey. “That’s good structure for a lot of different species of fish. The accumulation of new life that an artificial reef cause is measurable.”

Later in the episode, host Capt. Justin Leake joins a group of winter visitors on an early season charter trip to some of the offshore reefs already in place.

The fishing and coastal lifestyle television program showcases the diverse angling, diving and cultural opportunities found in the emerald-green waters of Panama City Beach. Season seven sponsors of “Chasin’ The Sun” include Dulce Vida Tequila, Florida Watersports, Grundéns, Holiday Inn Resort, Humminbird, Minn Kota, Pirates Cove Marina and Smith Optics.

Produced in partnership with Pinfish Media, new episodes of “Chasin’ The Sun” will air January through June during Discovery Channel’s Saturday morning outdoor programming schedule. Previous episodes of “Chasin’ The Sun” are available for online viewing at Previous seasons’ episodes can be seen on Amazon Prime, Vudu, STIRR, Discovery GO, Roku, Samsung TV Plus and on local affiliate television stations in the Waypoint TV, Fun Roads TV and Outdoor America networks. For more information on “Chasin’ The Sun,” please visit or stay connected via Facebook (@ChasinTheSunFishingShow), Instagram (@ChasinTheSunTV) and YouTube. Follow Capt. Justin Leake via Facebook (@justinleakePCB) and Instagram (@captjustinleake).

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