Friday afternoon and the Florida Fisherman ll , with its crew of six, is ready to go. Fuel, heavily brined bait, excited anglers, hundreds of pounds of ice, and enough food to feed a small army; we are ready. Will the fish be there? Remember, NOAA has been preaching for years that if it swims, it's over-fished. Only one problem NOAA! We who actually fish know differently. We know that no one bothered to tell ARS, Grouper, or AJ's that they were in "Deep" trouble.
Boy! Madeira Beach sure is beautiful. kina hard to pull away; but we have a date with the Florida Middle Grounds.
After a fine meal, Tammy, our "Jersey Girl, " served cheese burgers deluxe, we hit the bunks. It takes a lot of energy to fight the monsters of the Grounds; we want to be ready.
The bite began, as it would be all day, slow, but steady.
Beautiful American red snapper were plentiful and big. Mister John Thompson really showed us how to catch American reds. Captain Mark Hubbard, and crew, vented these red monsters and sent them home to fight again.
Mangrove snapper were relatively slow. Never-the-less, many Ground's sized mangos hit the deck, and continued to do so for the remainder of our trip. The Grounds grows big mangos.
Many beautiful gags and red grouper were caught. Mister Larry Miller specialized in large gags and reds. What a fight! Andy limited out on gags, as well as AJ's.
By mid afternoon, our catch was already very respectful and growing.
OK! With a good catch of grouper & snapper, it was time to challenge the mighty Amber Jack. Captain Mark Hubbard punches in the numbers for one of the many wrecks that dot the Florida Middle Grounds. The demise of this once proud ship still reaches up towards the sky; what a sight on the Florida Fisherman's fish finder. Amber Jacks can easily be seen up & down the length of this underwater treasure. Grouper can be seen near the bottom. Mister Jarvis Mathews caught his first ever AJ. Talk about an excited young man! Later on, Jarvis caught a second AJ. Limiting out on his first ever AJ trip. Way to go!
Mister Bill Wynn, Mister Joe May, as well as Andy, all challenged, and won, the fight with the mighty Amber Jack. What a fight! What a trip! Yes, NOAA, "No one bothered to tell the ARS, Grouper, or AJ's." Yes! Dear Jane, and her yes boy Roy, "We who actually fish know differently."
An now, I saved the best to last, the food!
Our on board chef, Tammy, sometimes called, The Jersey Girl...from the Jersey Shore, did us, and the Garden State proud. Her all the way cheese burgers are always a classic. The early morning French Toast was a real treat. Tammy's fresh salads are the best. And then the show stopper...Sloppy Joe's with yellow rice a green peas. Good job New Jersey, good Job!
Nine P M: Arm weary, full, and proud, we hit the bunks. Next stop, John's Pass, John's Pass, home of Hubbard's Marina and the Florida Fisherman.
In parting our first thought was...when can we do this again? When will we once again, "Have a date with the Florida Middle Grounds?"
Florida Fisherman ll is ready to go:
The bait is heavily brined & ready:
Madeira Beach is hard to leave behind:
ARS were all over the place:
Joe and a fine ARS:
Mr. John Thompson is proud of his ARS:
Vince with a fine ARS:
ARS are properly vented and sent back home:
Joe with a fine mango:
A very proud James:
The Grounds grows big mangos:
Mister Larry Miller is proud of his big gag:
Andy limited out (2 day limit):
Vince shows a nice gag:
James gaffed this gag:
Nice red grouper...Joe gaffed it:
Time to go to a wreck for Amber Jacks:
The Wreck: AJ's higher up; grouper on the bottom. That structure shooting up is the wreck itself:
Gaffing the mighty AJ:
Mister Jarvis Mathews first ever AJ...he limited out: