Friday means deep water time for the Florida Fisherman, Hubbard's Marina. The moon phase is perfect for an all out assault on the 'Monsters of the Elbow & Forty Fathom Break.' Thirty dedicated anglers wait to board the Florida Fisherman ll. This is going to be all out war.
Our first mate, Will, goes over Coast Guard mandated safety regulations, we are ready.
Joe, our trusted mate, shares his vast knowledge. For the battles sure to come we must be at our best. Thanks Joe!
Look at those clouds. This could be a wet one.
We are hungry. Tammy to the rescue with Philly cheese stake sandwiches.
What a way to start our adventure:
Let's go to bed early. Fighting those monsters for over twenty hours is going to take every bit of energy we can come up with. This is going to be a real test;
Twelve midnight, Captain Hubbard eases back on those two huge 1,150 HP Cats. Let the battles begin. Immediately Mister Randy Moore, Chicago, shows a nice American red who the boss really is:
Look at the size of those Elbow mangrove snapper:
Even the porgies are monsters:
The Florida Fisherman ll provides a family atmosphere. Ms. Lisa Garrett & son Cody Kowalski are welcomed aboard with open arms. They can really fish:
Mister Craig Hammock is in for a real fight. Believe me, Craig has seen nothing yet!
Oh No! The amber jacks are getting even bigger & much stronger. The battle is in doubt.
These guys are playing no games, neither are we!
Richie, a Florida Fisherman regular, fought this monster to a stand still. Persistence won the great battle. Way to go Richie, what a fighter.
Mister Randy Moore takes the great fight directly to the enemy:
Mister Andre Spradley, Clermont, Florida, takes no hostages. Really glad to have this fighter with us:
Now this is a new one on me. We are doing very well on AJ's long before the sun makes it's appearance. Mangrove snapper have been slow.
Finally, a glow in the East. Wonder what the day will bring?
Ever see a Queen trigger fish:
The mangrove snapper are making an appearance. Did not see too many last night:
Even Tammy can't believe her eyes:
Tony, Mister Tony Baker, what a nice mangrove snapper:
Andre has mastered the tricky, hard to fool, mangrove snapper:
Man! Elbow mangrove snapper are huge:
Matt knows the secret. No more free meals:
Lisa is some fisher girl. We are so proud of her:
Like mother like son. Mister Cody Kowalski:
OK! Let's push out to the Forty Fathom Break, what a ledge:
Craig, congratulations on a fine scamp grouper. Way to go!
Ken, what a fine gag;
Gag grouper at 240':
Mister Tony Baker, that sure is a beautiful red grouper:
Sure is nice to have Jon & Natt, FWC, with us. They studied, took samples, and tagged fish all day long. We, all of us, need this on the water data:
It is really getting hot. That roof over our head while we are fishing, and the very cool air conditioned cabin are life savers:
Well! this deep water has produced some very nice fish, but not the numbers we were looking for. 240' is way too deep for mangrove snapper. Let's go back to the Elbow for the evening mango bite.
How about some dinner Chef Tammy style. Wonder what she has for us this evening? Gosh! That smells good. No wonder! Chicken pasta with a very special home brewed sauce: Fresh from Janye's garden, Tammy's good friend, Peppers, Garlic, and fresh basil. Who could ask for anything more? Great weather, fine food, good friends, and plenty of fish. This could become habit forming:
Now there is something different, a trumpet fish:
Way to go Tony. What a nice mutton
Well the evening bite is a lot slower than we expected. But we are still catching fish. Not good enough for Mister Craig Hammock. Craig is a sixth generation Indian Rocks native Floridian. He wants to end the trip in stile, with a big, really big, boy. Craig is using an old solid glass rod, and a Penn International two speed reel. Craig is going tough with 80 pound test Manoi-dramon mono line, & 100 pound test fluorocarbon leader. That 8/0 hook should hold anything. Craig selects the largest pin fish he can find. This could be dangerous, but Craig is a real man. No fish is going to intimidate him. Oh No! The battle of all battles is on. This is a fight to the finish. Who's finish remains to be seen. Craig really puts on the heat. Thank heaven for those low range gears on that Penn International. Ten minutes, fifteen minutes, the great battle goes on and on. This fish, this monster, forces Craig from one end of the Florida to the other. Will, or first mate, is constantly by Craig's side. Will is a life savor. Move that rod out of the way, tell those people to reel in. Finally we see color, the color of a real monster. Quick Joe bring two gaffs, we are going to need them. Our two mates sink the gaffs deep into the huge amber jack. With a might heave, the monster hits the deck of the Florida Fisherman ll. Craig, a completely give out Craig, graciously accepts a well earned round of applause. Job well done, well done by one and all. The beast has been whipped, beaten in his own back yard. This was a total team effort. We are so proud of Craig; he fought so long and hard.
Gosh! it's been a long, exciting, day. We are really tired. A nice hot shower, a final snack, and it's bunk time.
Now that was a short night. Captain Hubbard are you sure it's time to get up? Ok! Let's go get our fish, our rewards for a tough fought battle:
Joe, Will, can you hole that monster up?
He even looks bigger than 110 pounds:
Now those are fine looking mutton snapper:
Mister Michael Dickinson, Tampa, won both the snapper & grouper jack pots. Craig ran away with the amber jack money:
Next weekend we will be welcoming a new moon. Not a good time to chase the Monsters of the Elbow & Forty Fathom Break, too strong of a current. No problem on the Middle Grounds. Deep water, we will be back.