What a way to end the gag season:
The Florida Fisherman, Hubbard's Marina, challenges the mighty gag for the last time this season. Will our trip be successful? A full boat load of excited anglers sure hope so.
Our first step is to see Joey for our ticket. Then, Leslie, the dock master, makes sure we know what to expect. The more we know, the better. Just as you go into the office there is a tank with beautiful Maine lobsters. Want one? A lot of people win these prizes, what a meal?
3 P M, Finally, the wait is over. Boy! are we ready to go. The excitement level is off the chart. We are going deep into then very heart of the Florida Middle Grounds.
First things first! That Tammy cheese burger put us in the mood for a good long rest. After all, fighting those monsters of the Grounds requires a great deal of energy.
1 A M Saturday morning: Captain Hubbard eases back on those huge Caterpillar diesels; we are ready, are the fish?
The bite was, by our standards, pretty slow, never-the-less, beautiful, very healthy fish were hitting the deck. I saw gags, red grouper, mangrove & vermilion snapper. One of our large fish boxes was already beaming with color, what a sight. A bright moon over the Grounds, real sportsmen/women, and a steady stream of fish. It just does not get any better. Oh No! I spoke too soon. Here comes Tammy with a tray of, just off the grill, grilled ham & cheese sandwiches. What a life.
Before breakfast one of our three fish boxes is almost full. Ever see an African Pompano? What a fighter. This monster gave Steve Muenzel a real battle. The darn thing swam in circles as it was coming up. Sure was a sight to behold. Saw some beautiful yellow tail snapper. Jeff caught a real monster. Mister David Underwood also caught a beautiful yellow tail. They are really some kind of fish.
And, speaking of gags: Will, our first mate, loves to show off our gags. Can you blame him?
Mister Mike May & Leo Smith had a real battle keeping those darn gag away from their home. But, guess what? They were up to the challenge. What fish! what a fight! We sure kept our mates busy. Not only was the gag count growing, but the red grouper numbers were also impressive. Mister Robert Brooks (therobertbrooks) had a field day with red grouper, mangos, and amber jacks. Robert was especially proud of his red grouper. Mister Peter Bernstein caught a really big red grouper. Way to go guys! Those mates sure were kept busy.
By early afternoon our number one fish box was full. The early afternoon bite was very slow, time to rest our tired out bodies. Later on that evening we decided it was time to put our mates to work. More gags, red grouper, mangos, vermilion snapper, amber jacks, and the American red snapper were hungry. We, being the sportsmen we are, did not want the poor darlings to go to bed hungry. Mister Leo Smith led the charge. At first I thought the American red was going to win this battle. Then I thought...now wait just on moment, this is an X Marine we are talking about...the toughest of the tough! Sure enough the Marines won, I think, Leo looked pretty beat. Even this Marine knew he had been in a real battle.
James, one of our professional mates, called to our attention a big hunk that had been bitten our of the back of an ARS. It was healed over. Now that was one hardy fish.
Mister Robert Brooks just would not stop. He and Mister Dave Hallas kept at it all day long, what fighters. Guess the Florida Middle Grounds tends to make fighters out of all of us. The Grounds are really that good. More often than not, the Florida Middle Grounds offer the adventure of a life time.
Dinner time: time for Tammy to shine. Good old Southern chicken & yellow rice is very hard, if not impossible, to beat. The transplant from New Jersey, Miss Tammy (Hahn) Koota did
herself & us proud. What a meal! Still, even though we were stuffed, the fishing continued. The mango bite Saturday evening was good. In all, we managed to fill two of our three fish boxes.
Show off time:
What a proud group: On the (L) Mister Leo Smith; on the (R) Mister Tony Baker, and in the middle, more proud anglers.
And then the Sunday morning mountain of fish: James (L), Joe, & Captain Mark Hubbard are ever so proud...so are we!
Ever see a Big eyed soldier fish? This was the very first one we have ever seen on the Florida Fisherman.
What a way to end the gag season! Hope we get a real season next year.
I love to share what we in the Sunshine State have to offer. As such, I have been posting on the forum, "Salt Water Fisherman NJ." The people of the North have shown such an interest that I have published a detailed description of, Florida's Fabulous Middle Grounds, "Our Heritage, Our Life, Our Florida Middle Grounds," in New Jersey's the edge "Big Game Fishing Journal," November-December addition. The Journal is a must read for everyone interested in saving our sport. President/Senior Editor, Captain Len Belcaro's editorials are, simply put, the best in the business. Captain Len is afraid of no one! He takes on the big boys on a very regular basis. In the current issue, the good Captain tackles the Florida Gulf Council. "The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council's push for Sector Separation, Catch Shares, and a Recreational Fishing Shutdown," provides a virtual wealth of information. I intend to study every word, and keep this, and every issue, for future reference. The more we all know, the better we can fight for our great sport!
Bob Harbison native Florida Sportsman...and darn proud of it.
First we get our ticket:
Leslie, dock master, orientation:
How about a chance for a lobster before we go:
We are good & ready:
Steve Muenzel is proud of his African Pompano:
Will shows off a fine gag:
Mike May is proud of his gag:
Leo Smith loves to catch gags:
Joe & James love to show off our gags:
Robert Brooks is proud of is red grouper:
Peter Bernstein catches them big:
James (Monkey) is proud of our reds:
Jeff sure was proud of this huge yellow tail snapper:
Mister David Underwood also likes to catch yellow tails:
Leo Smith and a fine ARS:
Landing an ARS
First mate will shows off ARS:
Something took a hunk out of this one:
Robert Brooks showed us how to catch mangrove snapper:
Dave Hallas loves to catch mangos:
Joe knows that the Grounds grows big mangos:
Robert Brooks had a field day:
James, Monkey, is proud of this one:
Joe gaffed this monster for us:
Dinner time...Chicken & yellow rice:
Leo Smith (L), Tony Baker (R) & a proud group of successful anglers in the middle:
James, Joe, Captain Hubbard, & Will are ever so proud:
Big eyed soldier fish:
Our Florida Middle Grounds:
Last edited by harbison; 11-15-11 at 01:48 AM.
SERIAL KILLAS YOU ARE....ALL OF YOU! Reckon it's just in our blood!
GREAT STORY AS USUAL AND THANKS FOR SHARING My pleasure! I love sharing with fellow sportsmen/women. Bob H.