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We who call the Sunshine State home are blessed to have outstanding fishing, hunting, and weather most cannot even dream of. In addition, we have some of the best schools in the country. I am ever so proud to be a Florida Native who had been fishing and hunting in our Paradise on earth for over seventy years. I am a product of Tampa's Jesuit High School, and the University of Tampa. I am proud to be a lifelong member of Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology:In 1970 I married Thelma, the girl of my dreams. Thelma was born on a mountain in Tennessee:Fishing and hunting were in her blood:We had three daughters, Dee, Barbara, and Betty. Thelma & Betty are now doing their fishing and hunting in heaven. Dee still lives in Tampa. She is my daughter, my best friend, my everything:Dee has two daughters, my granddaughters, Stephanie and Danielle.Stephanie:Dee and Danielle of years ago:Danielle now lives in Texas. Love to fish & hunt? Well! She's Bob's granddaughter:Danielle Bird is a real woman. Danielle has two sons and a daughter.Bailey, you can be proud of your Mom.Fishing out of Gilchrist, Texas, Red Fish are no match for young Bailey. A 12# test leader and shrimp resulted in, as it has so often in the past...For Danielle and Bailey fishing and hunting did not just happen; they, like their Granddad, Great Granddad, were born into it.My fishing and hunting career began with my parents in 1948. There is not an inch of Tampa Bay I have not seen; not fished.After a lifetime of fishing on my own I decided to give headboat deep-water overnight head boat fishing a try. At that time Hubbard's was located at Pass-a-Grille:In the mid seventies Hubbard's moved to John's Pass. The headboat of choice, the Florida Fisherman l.Gosh! That boat is huge. Let's give it a try. I Will never forget my first trip with the man himself in charge, Captain Wilson Hubbard. Never saw so many fish in my life. Huge grouper, snapper, and ever Cubera snapper were everywhere. To say I was 'HOOKED' would be an understatement. Today, over forty years later, I am still as 'HOOKED' as ever:I am so proud of out State and love to showcase what we see and enjoy every day. I began contributing to the Tampa Tribune, Tampa Times, just after my Jesuit days. Numerous years ago the 'OnLineFisherman' (OLF) recognized my abilities and recommended me for the very prestigious Florida Outdoor Writers Association. I have been an active member ever since:Florida is home to many outstanding marinas, marinas catering to not only tourist, but to those who take their fishing to the next level. Ever since 1928 Hubbard's has been doing just that. Fourth generation owners, operators, Captain Mark, and son Captain Dylan Hubbard, are ever so proud of their legacy. Captain Wilson, sir you can be proud of what you started so many years ago. It's in good hands!March 1, 2019, let's go see what those huge smiles are all about:Fishing the fabulous Florida Middle Grounds and vicinity will put smiles on even the most serious anglers.Will, tell us what to expect and how to prepare for the battles sure to come:Many 'regulars' salt down their bait of choice, the ever so popular Threadfin Herring. Did you know that the Threadfin Herring family contains 40 different species:
 

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How good are Threadfin Herring for bait? Well!At this time Amberjack season is closed. It won't be for long. The Florida Fisherman ll record AJ stands at 110 pounds:Let's beat it this year. For now it's catch-and-release:To talk about Amberjack is to talk about a fight. Another real fighter, with NO closed season, is the I'm faster, stronger, better than you king fish:To talk about fast is to talk about tuna. Today not too many target tuna, wish more did.In years past the tuna fishing has been outstanding. It still could be when we visit...Interested in grouper? Red Grouper offer a challenge. This colorful, great eating, member of the grouper family is hard to target:
 

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Now! Let's talk about Gag Grouper. The Florida Fisherman ll fishing coach, Mr. John Martin, has been fishing Florida waters for a lifetime. John, a fellow Florida native, graduate of the University of Florida, is one of the best when it comes to catching Gag Grouper. Good at catching Gags? Want to be even better? Talk to John. John is on virtually every weekend overnight trip. He is more than willing to share his vast knowledge:John does a great deal more than tell us how... He shows us!Last year was an excellent year for harvesting Gag Grouper; this year is starting out even better:Next up, the 'endangered', often impossible to get away from, American Red Snapper. Last year the Florida Fisherman ll overnight trips averaged over 170 American Reds a trip. Captains Garett and Bryon have been doing this on a very regular basis:For headboats the 2019 American Red Snapper season begins June 1, and closes August 2. The American Reds are running BIG and ready for a fight. For now it's catch and release. All indications are it's going to be another outstanding year:Sunday morning the Florida docks with a very impressing 'mountain' of fish:Look at that smile as our Captain, Captain Bryon Holland, hand out the $$$ to the jackpot winners:Ever wonder what we do with that 'mountain' of fish? Simple!Ever try a real fish sandwich on real Tampa Cuban bread?Hot off the grill tuna and kings are hard to beat:And now what for many in the deep south has become a way of life... southern fried fish and cheese grits:Ever wonder what we do with that 'mountain' of fish? Simple... Never A Problem!Guys & Girls, over a month ago I was operated on for a massive, life threatening, hernia. I spent a week in Florida hospital followed by three weeks in Hamilton House trying to recover. I am now home, but remain under strict doctor's care. At 77 recovery is slow. Please say a little prayer for me.Thank you! I need all the help and understanding I can get.* * *Bob Harbison
 
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