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Fishing Trip of a Lifetime in Panama

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Written by Captain Jack Sprengel.

Looking for the perfect winter fishing retreat? Recently, I spent over a week fishing aboard a mothership operation down in Panama.

Anyone who has fished the region or anywhere that close to the equator understands that one week of exposure to the extreme humidity, concentrated salinity and searing sun is equal to the equivalent of leaving your gear in a pot filled with salt water in the oven for a month straight.

Seriously, it’s that intense.

Now, add that type of environment to extreme physical activity and imagine the type of effect that can have on your physical being, both your skin and the clothing you're attempting to shield it with.

After one day in the elements down there, most new hats and cotton tees, look like you’ve fished them for a whole season.

I think you get the picture, so this is why when trying to determine what to pack when visiting a local like this, one has to consider not only the preferred looking sharp on the water as many of us strive to do, but how well will this gear perform, how much use can I get out of it and will it hold up?

Having been in the game for a long time I’ve watched a ton of fishing and outdoor themed apparel companies come and go.

Over the last few decades I’ve been able to develop a keen eye for the real deal brands that are clearly being driven by individuals that actually live the lifestyle and understand the true needs of active outdoorsmen and woman, especially those of us whom spend most of our time at sea, exposed to deteriorating extremes more often than others.

When packing for this trip I had a lot of confidence when selecting from Deep’s line up as I had already seen it in play amongst many of my crew and peers over the last few seasons.

Here’s a list of some of the items I purchased for this punishing trip and my personal experiences with each item. 

Boat to Bar Shorts (Black):

When these first arrived in the mail I put them on and instantly had to smile. Aside from looking cosmetically sharp, they actually fit - and I mean FIT - they weren’t too baggy, had just the right amount of room and the length was perfect, slightly below the knee, right were offshore shorts should fit.

Now take the vanity out of the equation, I fought 3 Yellowfin, standing up, back to back on one of the days down there with my black pair. I had no harness and was putting extreme wear and tear on the material with the exposed rod butt against the material.

With many other brands, this is where my button breaks, the crotch rips or the zipper goes, not one of these happened with my Deep shorts.

Then after landing the fish and sinking the gaff shot, it lands on my lap in all of its bloody glory for some photos. After the shots I stood up and let the mate spray me down like I was being de-liced at a third world prison. I looked down, and to my delight, my shorts were perfectly clean. 10 mins of deck clean up and we were back on plane chasing down another school of fast-moving, picky moon tide yellowfin. I reached back down to grab my gloves out of my pocket and was happy to find that the shorts were already dry.

I’d have to give Deep's shorts a5-star rating as they are hands-down going to be one of my top choices going forward. I'll use them for aggressive offshore sportfishing, hitting the bar at the captain’s meetings and even everyday use.

Deep hit it out of the park with these!

Blue and Orange Performance Plaid Shirts:

The new Deep Performance Plaid shirts are the answer to the modern-day angler looking for a shirt that you can travel in, rock at the bar after a day out or better still, hit the water. They have the perfect mix of sun coverage, cool breathability, and fast drying performance. The best part of these shirts is that you’ll look a lot sharper than rocking one of those standard issue fishing button downs with lapels and loops galore in some of those obnoxious pastel colors.

This is another one of those products from Deep that you find yourself wearing out to dinner or the bar as much as you will when you hit the water.

The perfect product for anglers that find themselves living out of a duffle bag for weeks out of the year and likely to get me into more of those last-minute dinners that I might have otherwise sit out of because all I have is a t-shirt. 

Heather Navy Performance Hoodie:

This product was one I have had my eye on for some time now, as many of my crew have been wearing it for the last few seasons.

Day two of my trip to Panama, I put it on and instantly realized what I had been missing out on.

Yes, it’s a tech shirt, and like all of the best tech shirts, it has that critical hood that covers up that one spot on the back of your neck that most neck gaiters won't cover!

Then it hits all of those requirements one would expect out of a tech shirt, it blocked the sun, it wicked sweat away from the body, it dried fast and like all of the better products in its class, it was easy to clean by rinsing blood splatter and slime off with the wash down hose without staining. 

At first light while on plane in the boat, it kept me warmer than most of the tech shirts I owned, but as soon as that sun came up, and with it 100+ degree temps and humidity, I found it to be remarkably cool. This is especially true for a tech shirt that presents its self at a darker, less conventional color than the more commonly seen pastels and tropical patterns (that I would never wear!).

Outside of the outstanding performance, this shirt fits the way a man wants it to. It fits flush around the chest shoulders and arms but leaves some breathing room around your abdomen and lower back, which makes for much better fish-fighting photos than most other shirts on the market.

Deep Leadering Gloves:

They might as well call these the Deep Everything Gloves because you can do much more than just leader with them.

Where these gloves stood out above many others in the industry was that they dried remarkably fast. It didn’t take half of the trip to get them back on after a good fish, then the palms and edges of the glove held up to the extreme line abuse of the jig and pop style fishing that my team and I utilized with heavy braided line wear and tear.

Above all, we were still able to operate our touch screen electronics like phones, cameras and the boat's GPS/Sonarwithoutt having to remove our gloves. They were a perfect balance of performance and protection.

Check out the rest of the lineup over at www.shopdeep.com. All orders over $100 get free shipping!

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