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Gags & & Reef Donkeys on FIRE

Gags & Reef Donkeys on FIRE
In our Florida there is always something to catch 24/7 twelve months out of the year. When one season closes another opens. We in Central Florida are fortunate to have a large population of the hard fighting, great eating, gag grouper. Gags can be found in the western Atlantic, primarily from North Carolina to the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, the Gulf of Mexico, and even in Tampa Bay. Young Gags are predominantly female, transforming into males, as the grow larger. On the Florida Middle Grounds spawning takes place from January through March. The IGFA World Record gag, 80 pounds 6 ounces, was caught October 14, 1993, by Mr. Bill Smith of Destin, Florida. 
August is hot, very hot, in Florida; so is the fishing. How good is fishing in the Sunshine State during one of the hottest months of the year? Welcome on board Madeira Beach's Florida Fisherman ll as we find out together.
Let's go!
Our trip begins with with Captain Dylan Hubbard filming what has become a weekly tradition:

Will the Florida's first mate hit the pole? Only one way to find out, watch Will go for the gold 1:46 into the video at the end of his report.
Will is a very involved first mate. He makes sure we are good and ready for the fights sure to come, ready for, 'Gags & Reef Donkeys on FIRE'!

These overnight, deep-water, extended trips are for serious anglers, anglers who take their fishing to the next level. How serious is the Florida about catching fish, a lot of fish? Ever hear of a fishing coach on a head boat? Enter Florida native fisherman Mr. John Martin. John has spent a life time fishing Florida waters. He is an expert's expert who loves to share his vast knowledge. John not only tells us how, he shows us. John leads by example:

Nice Gag! Wait until you see what our Coach does to the, 'Donkey of the sea'.
The Gags are plentiful:

In addition to gags, Red grouper and Tuna also provide plenty of action:

Just before lunch the weather turns really:

No problem, it's Tammy time. That means the best burger ever to grace planet Earth, followed by a long, comfortable, nap:


  • harbisonharbison Posts: 4,056 Captain
    Full, well rested, and ready for a fight. Time to call in the Navy. Mark Gardner is so proud of his dad, career Navy man, Mr. Scott Gardner.

    America always has been, is, and will always be...

    because of the brave men and women like Mr. Scott Gardner. Mr. Gardner, retired, served on the $4.5 billion dollar, 1,092 foot long, nuclear air craft carrier, USS Theodore Roosevelt CVN - 71.

    Can this man, this American hero who served this Country on the, 'Big Stick', catch the hard fighting, never give up, Greater Amberjack? Navy motto, Paratus Et Potens ("Ready and Able") best describes Mr. Scott Gardner.
    Dad shows son how it's done:

    Son listens:

    This fighting machine, this 'Reef Donkey', will challenge even the best, strongest, of both men and women. The Amberjack is sough after, more than anything else, because of its ability to bring even the strongest to their knees. Greater Amberjack can be found in the western Atlantic from Nova Scotia to Brazil including our own Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. In the Indo-Pacific this fighting machine can be found around Japan, China, and the Philippines, and in the central Pacific off Hawaii, throughout the western Atlantic Ocean, in portions of the eastern Atlantic ocean (Madeira and southern and western Africa), and in the Mediterranean Sea:

    The hard fought battles are on-going:

  • harbisonharbison Posts: 4,056 Captain

    Fishing coach, Mr. John Martin, leads by example:

    This is serious fishing for serious fishermen:

    Never to be left out, the Gag grouper:

    This gentleman was extremely proud of his Scamp grouper:

  • harbisonharbison Posts: 4,056 Captain
    We have been fighting, 'Gags & Reef Donkeys on FIRE' most of Friday night and all day Saturday. We are tired and ever so hungry. Leading the way is, "The Few-The Proud", a proud Marine (retired) Mr. Leo Smith:

    As we prepare for 'bunk-time' our faithful mate, Richie, yells, "Sailfish on"!
    (thanks to Mr. John Martin for providing the great action shot)

    After numerous 'leaps-for-freedom' Rich yells. 'He's gone'! Hear, see, Richie's famous last words 11:30 minutes into the video at the end of this report.
    Watching the magnificent Sailfish come flying out of the water will but smiles on the faces of those fortunate enough to witness this wonder of nature:

    Talk about the 'Wonder of nature'!

    After a hot, relaxing, shower

    Bunk time. Our bunks are our best friends:

    Talk about a quick night... It can't be Sunday morning already:

    Back at the dock:

    The hard working, dedicated, biologist of the FWC are waiting to carefully analyze samples of our catch. This is current, meaningful, data. We, along with Captain Dylan Hubbard, welcome them:

    Doing the honors is Captain Bryon Holland:

    The in the money jackpot winning Amberjack hit the scales at 63.7 pounds:

    We just spent 39 hours on the water, can't wait to do it all over again. August 24 comes the big one. The August full moon is 8/26/18 @ 7:58 A.M. That means it's 44 hour snapper time on the Florida Fisherman ll. We will be fishing most of Friday night and all day Saturday just before the full of the moon. It just does not get any better than that.
    'Catch' the video of our trip:


    And now, our mystery fish of the week. This is an easy one, that pointed anal fin says it all:

    Bob Harbison
    Florida Outdoor Writers Association

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