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Old 03-17-2019, 12:22 PM   #1
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Default Why we fish the Florida Middle Grounds

Why fish the Florida Middle Grounds
Let's take a closer look at 'The Florida Middle Grounds in March'The Florida Middle Grounds, 99miles northwest of Tampa bay, consist of a series of both high and low relief limestone ledges and pinnacles that can exceed 49 feet. The Grounds 170 species of fish relies on the existence of the loop current. Food is plentiful and so are the fish. Let's take a look.A real Florida Middle Grounds Prize is faster than fast Wahoo. The Wahoo can be found worldwide in tropical and subtropical seas. It's best know to sports fishermen for its speed and high-quality flesh.Today's large, dependable, outboards can reach the Middle Grounds. I snapped this picture from the deck of the Florida Fisherman ll:Problem when fishing from a smaller boat is Florida's ever-changing weather patterns.When the weather turns...a 72' long, 25' wide head boat catamaran offers the serious angler a safe, stable platform from which to fish:Join us as together we find out what the Fabulous Florida Middle Grounds is all about. Is it worth the 100 mile trip? Let's go see:Will tells us what to expect:The Great Line Toss:Will hits the GOLD!First up the hard to fool Mangrove Snapper. Mangrove (Mango) Snapper is native to the western Atlantic Ocean from Massachusetts to Brazil, the Caribbean Sea, as well as our own Gulf of Mexico. The Mangrove Snapper is a highly sought after game and commercial fish. Properly managed their is plenty for both recreational and commercial fishermen. The killing-machine known as Longlines is not permitted on th Middle Grounds.I snapped this picture from the deck of the Florida Fisherman ll.Anyone know why commercial boats anchor from the stern?Recreational fishermen are managed through strict quotas; commercial fisherman by an equally strict IFQ system. Did you know that commercial boats are required to have a working VMS system?Mangrove snapper can be caught 24/7 every month of the year. Prime time is at night during the...Will tell us hot to catch Mango and...Thanks Will:2The splendor of sun-up over the Florida Middle Grounds:The Mangrove Snapper bite continues:Lures, live bait, or cut bait, the hungry Mangos are on fire:Ever hear of a Cornet Fish?The Cornet fish is common in tropical waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, as well as our Gulf of Mexico. It can be distinguished from the Trumpetfish by its whip like tail extension:One of the best eating, hardest to catch fish is the Hogfish. The Hogfish, often called a Hog Snapper is a member of the wrasse, not snapper family. The Hogfish is native to the western Atlantic ocean, with a range from Nova Scotia, Canada to northern South America, including our Gulf of Mexico. This species is currently the only known member of its genus:The Triggerfish inhabits tropical and subtropical waters throughout the world. As a protection against predators the Triggerfish can erect the first two dorsal spines. The first (anterior) spine is locked in place by erection of the short second spine, and can be unlocked only by depressing the second, "trigger" spine:Lady power on the Grounds! The mighty Amberjack is no match for...Amberjack are strong fighters that are most often found in warmer waters. They grow big, really BIG!
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Old 03-17-2019, 12:26 PM   #2
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The splendor of sun-up over the Florida Middle Grounds:The Mangrove Snapper bite continues:Lures, live bait, or cut bait, the hungry Mangos are on fire:Ever hear of a Cornet Fish?The Cornet fish is common in tropical waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, as well as our Gulf of Mexico. It can be distinguished from the Trumpetfish by its whip like tail extension:One of the best eating, hardest to catch fish is the Hogfish. The Hogfish, often called a Hog Snapper is a member of the wrasse, not snapper family. The Hogfish is native to the western Atlantic ocean, with a range from Nova Scotia, Canada to northern South America, including our Gulf of Mexico. This species is currently the only known member of its genus:The Triggerfish inhabits tropical and subtropical waters throughout the world. As a protection against predators the Triggerfish can erect the first two dorsal spines. The first (anterior) spine is locked in place by erection of the short second spine, and can be unlocked only by depressing the second, "trigger" spine:Lady power on the Grounds! The mighty Amberjack is no match for...Amberjack are strong fighters that are most often found in warmer waters. They grow big, really BIG!

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Old 03-17-2019, 12:27 PM   #3
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Hungry yet?* How about a huge ham sandwich?Rather have a burger? That's not just a burger...That's a 'Tammy Burger'!Next up, Red Grouper. Red Grouper are hard to target, and are often caught while drifting. Typical Red Grouper range is coastal areas in the western Atlantic stretching from southern Brazil to North Carolina and our own Gulf of Mexico. The Red Grouper will eat just about anything it can get a hold of. On the Florida Fisherman most are caught on squid or Threadfins. Body coloration is typically reddish-brown with many white spots. When aggravated or involved in spawning activities, the can rapidly change coloration patterns, with the head or other parts of the body turning completely white, and the white spots appearing more intense:Shark attack:Gag Grouper: Gag Grouper is a species of grouper found in warmer parts of the West Atlantic, including the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. Ten to twenty pound Gags are common. The world record is 80 pounds 6 ounces. This grouper is very good eating, and has a long recreational season lasting seven months. The Florida's fishing coach leads the way:Followed by...The American Red Snapper... The Red Snapper is found in the Gulf of Mexico as well as the southeastern Atlantic. It can also be found as far north as Massachusetts.The Red Snapper commonly inhabits waters from 30-200 feet, but can be caught as deep as 300 feet. Red Snapper are gregarious and form large schools usually around wrecks and reefs. These schools are usually made up of fish of very similar size. They can be caught on live bait, cut bait or even...(hold on, that's a Mutton)

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Old 03-17-2019, 12:29 PM   #4
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Trolling can be exciting and very productive.The Florida Fisherman ll has perfected trolling from a head boat:The number one target fish is Kingfish followed by Blackfin Tuna:Blackfin Tuna are a smaller, fast, hard-fighting, tuna with a maximum size of 39 inches long, and weighing up to 46 pounds. They can be found in the Western Atlantic from Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts to Brazil, including the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico:Some time ago I was filming what we thought was a Blackfin Tuna fight. Oh No! It's a Yellowfin. After standing for 33 years, the All-Tackle world record Yellowfin Tuna was shattered by Mike Livingston on November 30, 2010with a 405 pound catch, and then again by Guy Yocum on September 18, 2012 @ 427 pounds.Finally, perhaps the greatest PRIZE of the all, the mighty Wahoo. The Wahoo can be found in tropical and subtropical waters worldwide. The Wahoo's mouth is large and its teeth are razor sharp. The Wahoo, at 60 mph is one of the fastest fish in the sea. Wahoo have been known to reach 8 foot 2 inches in length, and weigh up to 183 pounds. Growth can be very rapid.Good going guys; good going:As the sun dips into the warm, tropical, Middle Ground waters...It's 'Jersey-Girl' Tammy time. That's not just chicken and yellow rice, that's Tammy chicken and yellow rice:Think that can't be topped? Think again:After memories to last a life time, stuffed ice boxes, and a great meal, it's time to hit our 4 inch thick foam bunks.Sunday morning, already?Only one thing left until we head home, head home and dream about when we do it all over again:Catch the action in this action-packed, short, video. Watch Will explain exactly how snapper swim. Watch him, 'Go For The Gold' as he attempts the 'Great Line Toss.' See, first hand,*Why Fish the Florida Middle Grounds:


preview of things to come:URL=http://s644.photobucket.com/user/harbisonphoto/media/MIDDL%20GROUNDS%20FISHING%203-8-19/53_zpstdmszabq.jpg.html][/URL]Bob HarbisonFlorida Outdoor Writers Association

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Old 03-17-2019, 12:44 PM   #5
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Anyone know why commercial boats anchor from the stern?

So they only have to drop and retrieve the hook once per trip. Once the bite stops, reverse course, pop the anchor free and it pops to the top while underway. Move to the next mark. Back many moons ago, the only time we bow anchored during a trip was in really snotty seas and at night while sleeping. Love the pics and stories Cap'n, brings back fond memories.
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Old 03-17-2019, 06:07 PM   #6
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Thanks! I had NO idea. Knew there was a reason.
Memories... Know what you mean. Been fishing & hunting in Florida ever since the late forties. So many good memories of times long gone, but never forgotten:


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Old 03-17-2019, 06:31 PM   #7
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Great report as usual, those are the biggest mangroves I have ever seen.
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Old 03-18-2019, 03:17 PM   #8
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Thanks! Both The Florida Middle Grounds & Elbow grows them BIG.
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Old 03-24-2019, 11:50 PM   #9
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I noticed that the first picture you have under red snapper with a jig is actually a mutton snapper. Overall nice read tho!
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Old 03-25-2019, 05:54 PM   #10
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Thanks for calling this to my attention. ! My mistake.
Noted it in the article.
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