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On the water therapy

Coping with these stressful times can cause severe anxiety attacks among even the strongest.

For many sportsmen/women 'On the water therapy' is a heaven-sent. And, to make things even better, there is always fishing; fishing in the Fishing Capital of the World, Florida.

Few places offer what the fish-rich Florida Middle Grounds has to offer. Problem is the distance. Few boats can make the 75+ miles trip. The answer for many; head boat fishing. Hubbard's Marina has been running overnight Middle Grounds trips for decades. My fist Middle Grounds trip was on the Florida Fisherman l, mid seventies. The fishing was far better than anything imaginable. And, best of all, was the companionship. Old and new friends getting together on the water enjoying, together, the best of times. Talk about 'therapy.' This is a good as it gets. Can this therapy still be enjoyed today? Let's take a look:

Friday, May 29, 2020, three P.M. Captain Bryon Holland, one of the best, most experienced, Captains unleashes the awesome power of those two huge CATS:

The Florida has turned trolling into an art forum:

One of the first things I noticed was this gentleman's choice of reels. For anything withing its price range that Shimano 2 speed TLD 50 is hard to beat. You will not believe the cranking power of those low-range gears. And, in addition, the graphite lightweight frame won't corrode or rust. Use it, abuse it, and the TLD 50 will still function and look like the day it came our of the box.

Where did he find such a reel? You guessed it.

Just before he got on the boat:

Let's face it, we all love to eat. Eating on the Way to the Florida Middle Grounds is a real treat.

Tammy, do your thing:

Before the fights begin let's rest for few hours; after all, we will be challenging the fish that call the Middle Grounds home on their own home 'grounds' most of Friday night, and all day Saturday.

Midnight Friday, First mate on the Florida of well over ten years, Will, drops the anchor and leads the charge:

Middle Grounds Mangrove Snapper tend to be a 'little' LARGE. As usual, the ladies lead the way:

John, that looks like a jackpot winner:

Who has the bigger smile, Jason or the fish?

Hard to fool, fun the catch, tremendous eating, the Mangrove Snapper has it all. And, best of all, NO close season, and a two day possession limit of 20:

By our standards the fishing is slower than we would like to see it, non-the-less:

Another Snapper to be proud of, the Yellowtail Snapper:

Gag Grouper season opens June 1, 2020, and is open the remainder of the year. It's going to be a good one. The cranking power of that 2 speed TLD will really be appreciated:

Talk about 'appreciated,' look at Cliff's King:

Early Saturday morning 100 miles off Madeira Beach, Florida.



1,967 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
It's been a long night. Need a boost? Tammy keeps the coffee hot & ever so flavorful:

Talk about a BIG Triggerfish:

One of the best eating fish ever to swim, the Scamp Grouper:

Best eating followed by the faster than fast swimming, hard to gaff, Blackfin Tuna.

Will shows us how its done:

Another fast, hard to catch, fish, the Almaco Jack.

On the table the Almaco is one of the better tasting jacks. It's excellent on the grill and is considered a delicacy as sushi:

Often on the Grounds the Almaco Jacks tend to be kinda LARGE:

In addition to Gag Grouper, American Red Snapper season also opens June 1. The Florida Middle Grounds is home to so many Red Snapper that it's often hard to get away from them:

All American Red are properly vented and released to fight again.

Come June 1 is pay-back-time!


1,967 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Late Saturday evening, the Mangrove Snapper bite is on fire:

Everyone on board is hooked-up. We are still a very long ways from Madeira Beach. Leave we must.

After a hot shower, one more thing before we hit our bunks for the long ride home.

It's Tammy Time!

After a great night's sleep it's:

The lovely ladies of Hubbard's Marina welcome us:

On the water therapy... You had better believe it!

Nothing like coming home in the money:

John Martin (L) is a native Floridian who has been fishing our waters his entire life. Omar (middle) has been fishing with Hubbard's ever since the days Captain Wilson Hubbard and the the Miss Pass-a- Grille ll.

Captain Bryon (R) brings multi-years of experience. This man-among-men served his country by driving an Abrams tank. Before becoming Captain of the Florida he fished commercially.

Catch the trip on the water video:

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