An all Florida week to remember:
Florida weather, Florida fishing, Florida shrimp, and Florida hunting, all in one week. Who could ask for anything more?
Sunday, three P.M., twenty eight emotionally charged anglers are ready to go, ready to challenge the monsters of the Middle Grounds. The Florida Middle Grounds, 100 miles Northwest of beautiful Madeira Beach, Florida, consist of underwater formations of stony hard and soft coral growths, ledges with twenty-thirty foot drops, and numerous ship wrecks. The 330 square mile Middle Grounds provides a natural aquarium for many species of fish and a tropical wonderland for the serious angler.
The Florida Fisherman provides Spanish sardines & squid for bait. In addition, many also prefer live pin fish. Tom keeps us supplies with pins:
Will, our first mate, brings us up to date with Coast Guard regulations, and safety features:
Winter sports, Florida stile:
Gosh! Madeira Beach is beautiful. Clear water, sun bleached white sandy beaches, eighty degrees, and not a cloud in the sky. That's our Florida, the beginning of our, 'week to remember'!
Mister Don Bailey drove from Atlanta, Georgia to fish the Florida Middle Grounds aboard Hubbard's Florida Fisherman ll. Wonder if Don will be able to keep up with us Crackers? Only time will tell. One thing is for sure, This Georgia man likes Tammy's Philly cheese steak subs:
One A.M. after a great nights sleep Captains Brian & Anthony sound the alarm,
Go get them! The early morning bite is slow, but many nice fish are landed. Don & Ritchie can really catch the elusive mangrove snapper:
Mister David Harari, Ft. Laud., is really looking for trouble. Dave, on a heavy 60# outfit, prepares a very special bait, A Spanish sardine followed by a large piece of squid cut to resemble a natural live squid. Suddenly, loud screams. It's a monster. Dave battles the giant fish for well over half an hour. This fish of all fish is still going strong. Finally, mercifully, the leader gives way. Dave reports seeing a giant fin. So long partner, thanks for the fight of a live time.
We are starved! Tammy to the rescue. I will have a sausage, cheese, omelette with bacon & sausage on the side:
Mister John Haase, along with our new Georgia friend, are putting a hurting on mangrove snapper. Way to go guys, way to go!
The full moon night bite remains slower that expected, but still very good fishing:
Finally, the sun decides to make an appearance:
Joe, let's see that red grouper:
Mister Don Bailey from Atlanta, gets serious:
Hey Don! That's a nice fish:
Man! What a fight. That fish wore me out:
Again! What a trip:
Can Don 'keep up with us Crackers'? Absolutely!
Way to go Bob # 1, way to go partner:
We limited out, two day limit, on AJ's:
Tammy, we are starved. I will take the beer batter dipped fish. Wow!
How about some nice grouper?
Will proved to be a real expert at catching the elusive mango snapper:
Once again the Florida Fisherman ll welcomed the dedicated biologist from the FWC. Jon studies, vented, tagged, and released for future study, many different fish. Talk about hands on data, real data:
This red grouper had a tag from a previous catch & release. Jon records the pertinent data, vents the grouper, and returns the fish to fight again:
Wow! What a gag. Jon waits to study the huge fish. See you in a few months:
Jon tags, vents, and releases an ARS:
The mighty AJ's refuse to stop:
Joe, let's see that gag. Catch you later:
Finally, the sun disappears:
Ever see a lion fish. Talk about different. This is a big one:
Ritchie, now that's a nice American red. Wow! Guess we are looking at only a 28 day season. It's really going to be something:
We are starved! Our Tammy goes Mexican:
Even as Captain Bryan announces, 'Let's go home' we are still catching fish:
Man! Are those bunks ever a welcome sight. As we say good-buy to the Florida Middle Grounds, many of us are already thinking of our next excursion into this watery wonder-land. Is February 8, here yet?
Check out the short action packed video of our trip. That's Mister Harari doing battle with a real Florida Middle Grounds monster: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y7xBhl83y6k
Ok! Time for step number two of our, 'All Florida week to remember'. It's off to Tony & Teri's mansion in beautiful Citrus County, Florida. After resting up from the great fishing trip, it's the best of the best...our own Florida Gulf of Mexico, direct from the boat, Gulf shrimp. Talk about a feast, Thanks Tony & Teri. This is one meal that will be remembered. My daughter, Dee, digs in.
OK! After a great night's sleep, Citrus County stile, it's off to Tiger Island Outfitters, the final step in our, 'Florida week to remember'. Dee & I will be in hot pursuit of the cunning, dangerous, Florida wild boar hog. What a thrill! What a hunt! Daddy - Daughter hogs...Be sure to read the full story in the hunting, or anything goes, section.
Dee looks thrilled with Daddy, Daughter hogs: