Florida Fisherman hits, "Monster Land!"

Monster Land:
Due to a very big wind named Irene, the 39 hour Florida Fisherman ll trip, August 26, was a hit or miss project until Friday morning. The weather report called for 15 to 20 kt winds; not too bad for a 72 foot catamaran. A couple of weeks ago we did extremely well on large mutton snapper and scamp grouper. We fished an area known as "Twin Peaks". Finally, we discovered some fish NOAA has not attacked, yet! We wanted another shot at these fun to catch, great to eat fish. Let's go!
We left Hubbard's Marina promptly at three P.M. Friday afternoon. White caps were prevalent as far as the eye could see. And, much to our dismay, that darn wind decided to be a big blow hard with, I think just to annoy us, a great deal of Westerly movement. Never-the-less, we were all in a go for it mood! So that we did. The ride out was very bumpy; however, most of us were able to sleep.
Sometime after midnight Captain Hubbard anchored the Florida Fisherman over the twin peaks; we were ready to go! Problem was, the fish were, for the most part, still asleep. All of a sudden, without warning, something big, really big, hit Mister Craig Scott's light snapper rig. Oh no! finally a fish. "Why is my first fish a monster?" It was man verses beast. Good thing for Craig, bad for the monster, Craig is a seasoned veteran. After about ten minutes of give & take, mostly give, we finally saw color. It's big, really big! It's red and has teeth like a barracuda. Only one thing it could be, cubera snapper. Cubera snapper, the overgrown, mangrove snapper look alike with the big teeth. As this prize of the deep hit the deck, a loud roar of applause filled the darkness of the night. The first cubera we have seen in years. Congratulations Craig, a job well done, well done indeed! After coming down out of the clouds, Craig decided to follow up with a mutton. No problem! mutton on the deck. Then, as if that was not enough, this pro of the pro's decided to try his luck with a dry line. No sooner said than done, king fish on the deck of the Florida Fisherman. Craig, even before the sun decided to make an appearance, had an excellent catch. For us ordinary mortals, the fishing was slow. A fish every now & then; however, for most of us, it appeared that the fish were just not interested in being the number one guest at our little dinner party. Oh well! guess that's why they call it fishing; not catching. Oh! we were catching fish, just not as fast as we would like. Later on, the, "Near extinct" American red snapper decided it was dinner time. Mister Tony Baker landed some very impressive American reds. Then, without warning, all heck broke loose; the American reds were everywhere. We could catch nothing else. Luckily, we were accompanied by a real professional, Mister Jon Wolfson, FWC Reef Fish Tagging Project. Wonder where NOAA was? Mister Wolfson studied, measured, tagged, and released red snapper after red snapper. Luckily, we were able to provide him with a great deal of study materials. Many were tagged, all were properly vented and sent back to their watery homes. Most recovered instantly, dove, and will be ready to fight again. Thank you FWC! Thanks for collecting real data, data from on the water, not from behind the desk!
The amber jacks were also ready for a fight. Virtually everyone who so desired, easily caught their two day limit. Mister Michael Bench was all smiles after catching a very respectful muscle man of the deep. Talk about muscle power. It took a total team effort to out-muscle a real monster of the deep, a huge amber jack. Even with 125 pound test line, and a 12 / 0 Penn Senator, the battle reached epic proportions. Truly a fight for the ages, a classic battle to the finish. Question was, the finish of whom? The drag on that over-grown reel was singing a song. How can this be? That drag had been set very tight. What kind of fish is this? Finally, after 1/2 hour, and battling from the stern to the very front of the Florida Fisherman, we saw color. Will screamed, "It's an amber jack, it's an amber jack, hurry! the gaff, the gaff!" Only one problem, the monster was too big to be hoisted with one gaff. Even with two gaffs, it was still a struggle. This beast had a head as big as a bucket. What a fish! What a fight! Gosh! We will not get another shot at, "Monster Land" until September 16. Then we will be targeting gag grouper. I will be counting the days! If the weather will give us a chance, it should be a red hot two months.
Bob Harbison Native Florida Recreational Fisherman

Craig shows off his big cubera snapper. James gaffed the monster:
Craig, Captain Mark Hubbard, Jon Wolfson (FWC) admire:
The teeth of a cubera :
Cubera weigh in @ 40 pounds:
Craig's mutton snapper:
Craig's king fish: (Craig, (L) James, Vince, Bob)
Mister Tony Baker lands an ARS:
Mister Jon Wolfson (FWC) hard @ work (On the water data) Jon tags an ARS for future study:
Jon shows the correct way to vent a fish:
Current (on the water) data is recorded:
Jon releases ARS to fight again:
Michael Bench is very proud of his nice AJ:
Will fights a monster
What a brute (James (L), Vince, Will:
Captain Mark Hubabrd weighs in AJ @ 105.9 pounds:
Look at the fish on that fish finder:
The Gulf of Mexico Twin Peaks:
A real Italian dinner:
Big, really big! (James (L), Vince, Captain Mark, Craig, Tammy:


  • PopeyePopeye Posts: 14,296 AG
    Thanks Bob, I look forward to your great reports. Well done.
    When I was younger, I could remember anything...

    whether it had happened or not.

    Mark Twain
  • Lobstercatcher229Lobstercatcher229 Posts: 4,844 Captain
    nice report
  • harbisonharbison Posts: 3,326 Captain
    Thanks so very much. You are the reason I do what I do. If the truth be known, I do much more covering the action than I do fishing. I love to mingle with real sportsmen/women. Bob
  • johnDjohnD WC FLPosts: 6,401 Admiral
    Thanks for the report Bob !! :beer
  • TennesseeDaveTennesseeDave Posts: 308 Deckhand
    Bob, sorry I missed this trip. That was the 100lb+ AJ that I was trying for on the 1st AJ opener in early August. Only Capt. Mark didn't make it out to the Twin Peaks on that trip. Do you know what kind of bait it ate? Pinfish or a big giant bait? Hurray for Craig and his Cubera. Sometimes he has the best luck and sometimes he has the worst! It is always funny to watch what happens to him though.

    Thanks for the pics. You make me feel like I was there!
  • harbisonharbison Posts: 3,326 Captain
    "Thanks for the pics. You make me feel like I was there!"
    I really try. I love promoting our sport. The more people are interested, the more involved they will become. Be sure to check your P/M. Bob
  • tokinredtokinred Posts: 202 Officer
    Great post. Thanks for taking the time when I suspect you were very tired.
  • Gators2000Gators2000 Posts: 33 Greenhorn
    Awesome trip!!!

    2015 World Cat 295 cc
  • XafXaf Posts: 1,041 Officer
    Another great post Bob. The pictures, particularily the AJ, don't do them justice. Those were some monster fish, biggest AJ I have ever seen.
  • Reel-LuckyReel-Lucky Oldsmar, FLPosts: 3,082 Moderator
    That AJ is a beast, hats off getting that to the boat. Nice snaps, too.
  • harbisonharbison Posts: 3,326 Captain
    Thanks guys! I really love reporting on our trips. The types of reporting I do requires a great deal of time & effort. You make it worth every minute it takes.
    Xaf: Bob, sir I have learned to respect you tremendously. You will never realize how much your continued support is appreciated. Bob & I fish together quite often. He is a very good fisherman, and a fine gentleman. I am proud to call peoples like him and Dave friends. Bob H.
    Bob shows us how to do it. Will on the gaff!
  • harbisonharbison Posts: 3,326 Captain
    Getting that monster into the boat was indeed a real task. Two very strong young men really struggled. Wish you could have seen the looks on their faces as they lifted that brute for pictures. Traditionally, before the fish are distributed, pictures are taken. Had to use a rope & three men to position that AJ. Bob
  • TennesseeDaveTennesseeDave Posts: 308 Deckhand
    That's the one that did not get away! :Rockon
  • BoataciousBoatacious Posts: 113 Officer
    Awesome cubera and AJ!
  • bigfinn35bigfinn35 Posts: 628 Officer
    Wow. That Aj defies words! Exactly how much is a trip on this boat?
    Paddle faster, I hear banjo music.
  • harbisonharbison Posts: 3,326 Captain
    Friday - Departs 3:00 PM returns Sunday 6:00 AM - $299
  • FishaHallicFishaHallic Posts: 660 Officer
    Holy cow, that is one big AJ, the biggest I ever saw, add in the Mutton and Cubera and that must have been one heck of a trip. Good post
  • SumotimeSumotime Posts: 178 Officer
    Thanks for taking the time to post the FF reports. They are a good read.
  • harbisonharbison Posts: 3,326 Captain
    Thanks! The sportsmen/women on here make the time well worth it. Bob
  • vftaaffevftaaffe Posts: 6 Greenhorn
    heres the AJ, the final measurements were 5'10' in length and 41' girth. the other deck hand i work with (Wilbur) got him on a knocker rigged 5lb mango
  • jimmy77jimmy77 Posts: 1,690 Captain
    That's an absolute pig AJ! I've held 60lbs but that's just sick! Man sized fish...

    Gonna have to do another one of these trips soon.
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