Florida at its best!
After months of waiting, finally a weekend weather forecast that Florida can be proud of. Hopefully, many Floridians will take advantage of the beautiful, calm, seas and challenge the American red snapper. This is indeed, 'Florida at its best!' Question is, will the fish be at their best. The full moon is July 3, perfect! Let's go get them!
Friday, 3 P.M., The Florida Fisherman, Hubbard's Marina, is ready and so are we. First stop is to see Tom for our live pin fish, boy are they ever lively. Time to go! As John's Pass bridge opens wide we see, for the first time in months, beautiful Madeira Beach without white caps. Hundreds are enjoying the white sandy beaches and ever so calm surf. See you Sunday morning.
We are blessed to have many really experienced, dedicated anglers on board the Florida. Joe, Richie, Allie Shamsidin, Matt Besmer, Mark, Sadeque Aamed, and Craig Scott, just to name a few, represent many years of experience. And, not to be left out, the female interest is well represented by Tree & McKenzie, hope those girls can fish. Miami is also well represented. We welcomed, from the,'South Florida Fish Hunters,' Mister Richard Dawson, President, Mister David Sorensen, vice-president, along with Robert H. Sorensen, Robert A. Sorensen, Darrell 'Bubba' Cochran, Walter Rodriquez, Carlos Santtago, Less Lawrance, Mike Freeman, and Tommy Cochran. Man! Those guys are excited. They are ready, ready to fight!
Twelve midnight, the battle begins. Calm, warm, a bright moon overhead, what a night! Immediately mangrove snapper begin to hit the deck of the Florida Fisherman, not fast, but steady. American reds and gags are also hungry, and so are we. Our on board chef, Chef Tammy 'Hahn' Kotta, class of 1980, Toms River High School, Toms River New Jersey, to the rescue. Gosh! those early morning, hot off the grill, ham & cheese sandwiches sure hit the spot. We are so proud of Tammy. Thank you Garden State, job well done!
As the sun makes an appearance in the Eastern skies, the Florida Fisherman's number one fish box is loaded to the brim. Good job gang! Thank you Captain Garett Hubbard for keeping us on the fish. We are hungry, Tammy time! time for bacon, eggs, biscuits, and the best Country sausage gravy imaginable, we are stuffed, and ready for a fight. Captain Garett sounds the alarm, the American red snapper are thick under the boat. Take a good look at that fish finder. Everything above the red bottom line is fish, solid fish! Are they hungry? Will we see 'Florida at its best?' Finally! The ARS are ready to go, the fight, fights, are on. Virtually everyone is hooked up. The deck of the Florida is covered with American beauties, a sight to behold, it just does not get any better than this. Our Southern neighbors, new friends, the 'South Florida Fish hunters' are really putting a good old Southern hurting on American reds, gags, red grouper and AJ's. Even the girls, Tree & McKenzie, are doing well on American reds. Those young ladies can keep up with any of us. They can even handle the powerful amber jack. Well done, girls, very well done.
We have caught enough off this stop, time to go. Sure we like to catch fish, that is why we are out here. Never-the-less, we are always thinking of tomorrow. We left the American reds in a hitting frenzy. The health of our fishery must always be considered. Properly managed, there will be plenty for generations to come. Properly managed without catch shares. Time to count and ice down our catch. We each have a designated fishing spot, and number. Captain Garett begins to call out the numbers of those who have reached their two day limit of American reds. Gosh! so many numbers were called; then I hear it, 23. Oh no! that's me. No more reds for me, for most of us. Time for a reward, we are hot! Ice cold water melon to the rescue. Talk about Florida at its best.
We will not be targeting American reds or gag grouper. However, they refuse to let up. Let's stop and eat dinner. After a very fresh garden greed salad, ranch dressing, and a Mexican special something or other, it's time to resume the battle. Gags and ARS please leave us alone. No way! Our way too short American red season is all but over, however, let's welcome a long four month gag grouper season, and then amber jacks. If gags and jacks were in season, the Florida would have been coming home early, all fish boxes would have been stuffed.
What a trip, what an adventure. We have seen, 'Florida at its best' The Sunshine state sure has a great deal to offer.
Bob Harbison Native Florida Sportsman...member Florida Outdoor Writers Association
(Photo Bucket is having problems. I did not know if I would be able to post pictures or not. I could not re-size, and was limited as to what I could do. I tried to cover everything in video just incase I could not publish stills. Next Friday I am scheduled to be on a private charter. Hopefully someone will give us a report on the Middle Grounds trip. July 10, 11, I will be chasing the Florida wild boar at Tiger Island Outfitters. Check out my report.)
Tom for live pins:
What a beautiful sight. Florida has so much to offer:
AJ's...Big & strong:
mango snapper, bait thieves:
Gag grouper...see you in July:
scope...Everything above the red bottom line is solid fish:
Florida water melon...ice cold
The American red snapper...a real class act
Joe (L), Will, and a very proud Captain Garett Hubbard: