Spring Break Florida Style

March begins a very special time for Florida sportsmen/women. The days are getting longer, the nights warmer, and the fish are on fire. 'March Madness' Florida Style takes on a whole new meaning:
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It's time to take a break from school, work, and everyday life. It's time for 'Spring Break Florida Style.' It's time to go fishing. The Florida Fisherman is ready, and so are we. Let's go!
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The sea-fog is extremely heavy. No problem with today's navigation systems:
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First thing Tuesday night we will be targeting the elusive, hard to hook, mangrove snapper. Will shares his vast knowledge:
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After a Chef Tammy hot off the grill dinner it's bunk time. We want to be ready for the fights sure to come. Twelve midnight; Captain Bryan Holland, one of the best in the business, calls for 'battle stations.' We are catching large numbers of small gags and American reds. These are our future. Note the FWC tag. This red snapper has been caught, vented, tagged, and survived to fight again:
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Mr. Milos Mitrovic, fishing spot # 41, already has a very impressive stringer of vermilion and mangrove snapper:
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Milos, that's one heck of a king fish:
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The mangrove snapper are on fire:
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Every fish is counted. This is head boat accountability:
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Mr. Bryan & Adam Smith traveled from Shelbyville, Tennessee to fish 'Spring Break Florida Style.'
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Mr. Carl Kisner is proud of his tuna. That blackfin gave Carl a real battle:
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The large, deep water, kings are showing up in numbers:
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Mr. Justin Perlow, fishing spot # 9, is helping to fill the boxes:
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The hungry fish have been feeding for hours; it's our turn. Jersey Girl what's for breakfast? Wow! That Southern Tam Slam looks great:
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Thanks to our Master Chef we are ready for day-time action. Mr. Guy Peterson and Master Alex Sandoval, are looking for a real battle. Guy & Alex traveled from Passaic New Jersey to fish, 'Spring Break Florida Style.' Never in their wildest dreams could they even begin to imagine the fight to come:
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The mighty wahoo could not resist that Rapala -X- Rap Magnum 20 lure:
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Young Ryan Cloke and Mr. John Martin also caught speed demons with huge teeth:
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Look at those teeth. Can't help but wonder what they would do to an amber jack:
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Looks like they know what to do with those teeth:
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Let's see if we can keep the AJ's away from the barracuda's ever so sharp teeth. Look at the amber jacks lined up next to that old wreck. This is going to be good:
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Pappy sets the pace:
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Milos limits out...Two day limit:
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Mr. Eddie Sumrall:
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Shelbyville, Tennessee will never be the same:
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The mighty AJ's are in a fighting mode, but so are we:
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Mr. Martin, that looks like a jack pot winner:
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John, way to go sir:
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Tuna time. Mr Eddie Sumrall:
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Mr. Ryan Cloke, Randall Middle School seventh grader, Knows how to make the most our of 'Spring Break Florida Style.' Mr. Howard Cloke, sir you can be proud of the man your son has become:
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Let's check out some pot holes for red grouper.
Fishing out of Dallas, Georgia Ms. Michelle Godwin:
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Now that's some great eating:
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Captain Bryan is so proud of us:
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The battles have been many and hard fought. As the sun goes down we are starved. Time for our long time resident Chef 'Jersey Girl' Tammy to shine. Tammy has been preparing a special dinner for hours. In honor of our many Northern visitors our Chef has prepared 'Yankee' pot roast with all the trimmings. Only the most tender, flavorful, beef is good enough for this 'Jersey Girl' transplant. The flavor is outstanding. The red potatoes and vegetables are steamed to perfection. Tammy, you are the best!
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Let's top off the boxes before hitting our air conditioned bunks. Looks like the fish are ready for dinner:
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Justin is having a difficult time getting his threadfin herring past the hungry, plentiful, American reds:
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Having problems with the gags also:
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We have been fishing, eating, for twenty hours straight.
The Florida Fisherman's three huge fish boxes are stuffed with over 1,400 fish. Nothing out of the ordinary...This is Florida.
Madeira Beach, Florida, here we come. Now that was one quick night.
Thursday morning welcomes a virtual 'mountain' of fish. What an adventure; what a way to spend 'Spring Break Florida Style:'
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Guy & Alex's wahoo hit the scales at a whopping 60 pounds. That's 60 pounds of brerth taking speed and power:
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Nothing beats coming home in the money. The jack pot winning AJ hit the scales @ 46.3 pounds, red grouper 15.8 pounds, and the mangrove snapper 7 pounds:
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Check out all the action in the short, action packed, video:

https://youtu.be/JdtPYh4cAcw

We really hope you enjoy these reports as much as we enjoy bringing them to you. That does it for March. April begins a very busy season with three 39 hour trips, one 44 hour full moon trip, and then the big one...April 28, is the first of three 63 hour deep-drop trips. We will be fishing waters from 700 to over 1,000 feet deep. Targeted fish will be snowy & yellowedge grouper, barrel fish, pelagics, and long tail bass.
Going hog hunting with Perry, Florida's Two Guys and a Hog March 31. I will share my secrets on how to make the best whole-hog sausage you have ever tasted; absolutely nothing artificial. Wild Florida boar at it's best:
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Join me on the water and in the field.
Bob Harbison Florida Outdoor Writers Association
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Replies

  • Reel-LuckyReel-Lucky Oldsmar, FLPosts: 3,156 Moderator
    Wow, what a trip, that Wahoo is a trophy catch...beautiful fish. March madness Madeira Beach style, gotta love it. Good stuff, Bob.
  • dcardcar Posts: 126 Officer
    does Eddie Sumrall go on every trip? seems to be in a lot of pictures
  • harbisonharbison Posts: 3,666 Captain
    Thanks so very much. It takes many hours both on the boat and at home producing these reports. Thanks to you, it's time well spent!
    I am a Central Florida native who has been fishing our waters ever since the late forties. In the middle seventies I started fishing the Florida Middle Grounds with Hubbard's. The fishing defied the imagination. I went as often as I could. Six years ago my wife of 39 year passed away. A short time later my youngest daughter also passed. The shock almost killed me. That is when I tarted visiting the Grounds virtually every weekend. It was, and still is, my therapy. Sharing my adventures with fellow F/S followers means more to me than anyone will ever know. It gives me the desire to want to carry on. I know Thelma & Betty would want me to do so. Thank you so very much for allowing me to be part of your world.
    Many of us, such as Ed, do indeed go virtually every weekend; it's in our blood. For those who fish the Middle Grounds you know what I am talking about. If you have not, you have absolutely NO idea what you are missing. It really is THAT GOOD!
    That wahoo was a real trophy; the biggest one I have ever seen. Tried to pull an action shot off the video of gaffing the speedster. The action was so fast that this was the best I could do:
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    Here is an action shot of pulling a huge barracuda over the rail:
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  • dcardcar Posts: 126 Officer
    harbison wrote: »
    Thanks so very much. It takes many hours both on the boat and at home producing these reports. Thanks to you, it's time well spent!
    I am a Central Florida native who has been fishing our waters ever since the late forties. In the middle seventies I started fishing the Florida Middle Grounds with Hubbard's. The fishing defied the imagination. I went as often as I could. Six years ago my wife of 39 year passed away. A short time later my youngest daughter also passed. The shock almost killed me. That is when I tarted visiting the Grounds virtually every weekend. It was, and still is, my therapy. Sharing my adventures with fellow F/S followers means more to me than anyone will ever know. It gives me the desire to want to carry on. I know Thelma & Betty would want me to do so. Thank you so very much for allowing me to be part of your world.
    Many of us, such as Ed, do indeed go virtually every weekend; it's in our blood. For those who fish the Middle Grounds you know what I am talking about. If you have not, you have absolutely NO idea what you are missing. It really is THAT GOOD!
    That wahoo was a real trophy; the biggest one I have ever seen. Tried to pull an action shot off the video of gaffing the speedster. The action was so fast that this was the best I could do:


    Thats just at $2000 a month to go fishing lol
  • harbisonharbison Posts: 3,666 Captain
    Worth every penny of it!
  • RMDRMD Posts: 1,796 Officer
    nice to see some tuna and wahoo in the mix!
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • XafXaf Posts: 1,071 Officer
    dcar, a few years back when I was going on almost every 39 hr trip, I figured with Regular's Club prices, some months only having 2 39 hour trips, trips being cancelled, etc. it was costing me about $9 - 10 K a year.

    I owned a boat at one time and it cost more then that a year and I didn't get to go fishing near as often. I know that you still have to add in other expenses for your gear, bait, etc. but there are a lot of hobbies out there that will cost a lot more then $10 K a year. To each his own, some of us just like fishing and being on the ocean. Believe me if my body could take it, I would still be out on the water every weekend.
  • MikeDeroMikeDero Posts: 92 Deckhand
    that is a crap ton of fish, I get wanting to go out that often but what do you do with all that fish? don't you think that's over kill?
  • harbisonharbison Posts: 3,666 Captain
    I have owned many boats. I could go on the Florida Fisherman every single week all year long and not even come close to the cost of buying, taking care of , and running an off shore boat. In addition, when you own your own boat guess who does ALL the work.
    Over kill is in the eyes of the beholder. We traveled 100 miles off Madeira Beach & fished for 20 straight hours for those fish. Over kill...No WAY!
    We vacuum pack fish & wild hogs. Will last for a very long time. Nothing goes to waste.
    We seldom catch wahoo. During the colder months we usually catch a few tuna on virtually every trip.
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  • MikeDeroMikeDero Posts: 92 Deckhand
    I get that but what I am saying is if you do that trip 2-3 times per month I think that is over kill IMHO maybe its the mentality down there Vs up here.
    90% of what I catch fresh and salt water gets returned I keep enough for a few meals. but mostly catch and release so that there is a sustainability in the fishery. Maybe the fishery down there is different and can support such a mass taking of 1400 plus fish. I understand that long trips we have those up here for Cod and polock and haddock so Yes I go home with like 30-40 pounds of fillets but at the same time no where's near the qty I have seen in those pics.

    Just saying maybe its different but I wouldn't go on 2-3 trips per month like that no need for all that fish you couldn't eat all that fish.

    Oh I missed where you said you go every week, now that is ALLOT of fish you must have like 2-3 freezers and eat fishing 2/3 times per day.
  • harbisonharbison Posts: 3,666 Captain
    We fish 100+ miles off Madeira Beach, Florida. Virtually every ledge is loaded with fish of all kinds. Seldom do we see another boat on the entire trip. Our areas could easily support a great deal more pressure than we could ever give them. The only other head boat fishing this far off shore is the Gulfstar out of Tarpon Springs. We see her about ever 2 to 4 months. We do have regulars who fish often. We ALWAYS eat whatever we keep; if we cannot eat it, we do not keep it. On every trip we have many visitors from far away states who come to Florida to fish. They want plenty of fish to take back home with them. That is what they come far. With the effort they, we, put out, they, we, earn whatever we keep. For keeping legally caught fish we will apologize to no one. Catch & release is not practical at the depths we fish. Barotrauma, even when properly vented, kills too many fish. Red snapper has a very short season. They are extremely aggressive and often difficult to get away from. When out of season if we are catching too many we will leave that area. Personally I fish very little. To me my camera has become much more important than catching fish. I love to share with fellow sportsmen. Unfortunately I have found NO way to hold a fishing outfit & a camera at the same time. That 30-40 pounds of fillets is more than I have taken home in the last three years...combined!
  • XafXaf Posts: 1,071 Officer
    Mike, I can't speak for others but my catch never goes to waste. What I can not use myself, I give to family, friends and co-workers. I have also given it to an assisted living facility and a shelter for the homeless on a number of occasions. The are very happy to take it off my hands.

    Overkill is the by-catch that commercial netters produce.
  • harbisonharbison Posts: 3,666 Captain
    Thanks Bob #1. Sharing is sportsmanship. What we are able to LEGALLY catch and bring home is greatly appreciated by many.
    Sorry Mike, but we do not travel 100 miles off shore to play games; we go to catch fish. If I was interested in 'catch & release' I would stay in Tampa bay. NO problem with 'FLOATERS' there.
  • lukkyracerlukkyracer Posts: 733 Officer
    Mr Mike, I am a Connecticut native, that moved here in 1989. It is wise not to tell floridians how it's done up north. They/we don't care. Besides that Hubbards is a first class operation. You will get little help here with your attitude.
  • harbisonharbison Posts: 3,666 Captain
    Thank you sir! Very well said.
  • Reel-LuckyReel-Lucky Oldsmar, FLPosts: 3,156 Moderator
    Catching a bunch of fish is the name of the game, we love it and it never goes taken for granted. Anytime I have a large catch, I go "reverse trick or treating" you go to your neighbors and give them a treat. Nothing wrong with that in my over-kill opinion.
  • harbisonharbison Posts: 3,666 Captain
    This is Florida!
    We believe in Southern hospitality. We share what we are so fortunate to have. Most are not able to do what we do, catch what we catch, share what we share. Many live their adventures through following our bigger than life adventures on Florida Sportsman.
    " the qty I have seen in those pics. " are shared by thousands all over the country. "Catching a bunch of fish is the name of the game."
    This is Florida!
  • MikeDeroMikeDero Posts: 92 Deckhand
    lukkyracer wrote: »
    Mr Mike, I am a Connecticut native, that moved here in 1989. It is wise not to tell floridians how it's done up north. They/we don't care. Besides that Hubbards is a first class operation. You will get little help here with your attitude.

    What attitude the fact that I feel a preservation is needed this day and age?

    Don't really care you will never see me keep more fish then I can eat in that week or 2 as I don't like frozen fish. My personal choice, I see the photos you cant tell me all that fish taken is not over kill?

    When you say this is Florida catching tons of fish is the name of the game, great just hope 20-30 years from now others can enjoy the sport as well. Each to their own I guess I fish for the fun of it not to feed my whole community. So when I do get down there and post my fishing reports you will see 95% of what I catch is released to fight another day. the sport is what I love and seldom "Bait" fish but each to their own as long as it is legal who cares, Well the next few generations will care.
  • MikeDeroMikeDero Posts: 92 Deckhand
    and what I was talking about is not the angler who goes a few times a year but the angler who keeps that amount of fish weekly sorry but you just cant eat that much fish in a week
  • lukkyracerlukkyracer Posts: 733 Officer
    I love it when people just talk and not listen. As bob has stated it is sometimes difficult to release fish when fishing that deep, and I'm pretty sure that the regulars don't waste any fish.

    As far as the future of our fishery, it looks very strong. FWC in my opinion has done a fantastic job at managing it. NOAA is a different deal, but save that for another thread.

    You should also understand that long island sound is a **** pond compared to the gulf of Mexico.
  • MikeDeroMikeDero Posts: 92 Deckhand
    lukkyracer wrote: »
    I love it when people just talk and not listen. As bob has stated it is sometimes difficult to release fish when fishing that deep, and I'm pretty sure that the regulars don't waste any fish.

    As far as the future of our fishery, it looks very strong. FWC in my opinion has done a fantastic job at managing it. NOAA is a different deal, but save that for another thread.

    You should also understand that long island sound is a **** pond compared to the gulf of Mexico.

    Ok I did listen but maybe you didn't?
    I am not talking about the person who goes when they come down for vacation or a few times per year. WHO and WHAT I am talking about is the person who does this weekly. ALL I am saying is DO you REALLY need that much fish WEEKLY. just do the math on the low end 30 pounds of Fillet's Times lets say 35 times as some weeks you just cant go that is 1,050.00 pounds of fish for personal use. That's what I am talking about.
    Not the person going 1-2 for that matter 5-10 times but the person going weekly.


    As far as **** pond I don't think so, its a different fishery totally cant compare apples to oranges.

    SO READ BEFORE ASSUMING,
  • MikeDeroMikeDero Posts: 92 Deckhand
    Jut because you can should you? is the question? a 1,000 pounds of fish is about eating 2.74 pounds of fish daily for each day of the year. Just seems like allot IMHO
  • lukkyracerlukkyracer Posts: 733 Officer
    Waste of time.
  • MikeDeroMikeDero Posts: 92 Deckhand
    Agreed I guess the mentality down south is much different then what I am used. Just like up north we don't keep Large mouth bass either that is almost always 100% catch and release
  • lukkyracerlukkyracer Posts: 733 Officer
    Yup, great sustainable fishing and beautiful weather. That's what we do here.
  • MikeDeroMikeDero Posts: 92 Deckhand
    lukkyracer wrote: »
    Yup, great sustainable fishing and beautiful weather. That's what we do here.
    For how long with thinking like keep everything you catch?

    But alas I am moving down there I get your drift, but don't mean I have to agree with keeping thousands of pounds of fish per year because we can
  • harbisonharbison Posts: 3,666 Captain
    Attitude! "I see the photos you cant (SIC) tell me all that fish taken is not over kill." YES I, we, can! Every fish kept on the Florida Fisherman ll is counted, recorded, and logged. Species limitations governed by specific 'total allowable catch' (TAC) assures against over kill. In Florida 'ACCOUNTABILITY' has been, is, and will always be: "the name of the game!"
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    Unsurpassed accountability assures a healthy Florida fishery for generations to come.
    In Florida, our fishery is strictly managed by both NOAA & the FWC to insure 'preservation' for not only 'the next few generations,' but for many generations to come. Case in point...the American red snapper. Just a few short years ago we had virtually NO red snapper in Central Florida waters. Now they are thriving. Proper management, such as an intensive tagging program, assures that "twenty years from now others can enjoy the sport as well."
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    Florida is know as the Fishing Capital of the World. Ever wonder why? SIMPLE!
    Florida is the Fishing Capital of the World? because of its great resources and responsible management. The diversity of sport fishes, habitats, great weather, year-round fishing and superb tourism and fishing industry-related infrastructure are unsurpassed."
    Great resources, RESPONSIBLE management, diversity, habitats, year-round fishing, superb tourism and fishing industry-related infrastructure makes Florida the "UNSURPASSED" Fishing Capital of the World. We in the deep South believe in Southern Hospitality. We are more than willing to share our 'Great resources.' We are thrilled that dedicated sportsmen such as Mr. Tim Fisher are more than willing to drive from Indiana, over 1,000 miles, to fish our Florida waters. 30_zpsfvr2brmf.jpg
    Tim, and thousands like him, come to Florida to catch fish. In our Sunshine state this is "the name of the game!"
  • lukkyracerlukkyracer Posts: 733 Officer
    I hired a charter about 10 years ago in long Island sound, we caught our limit of 10 bluefish per person. We also caught many strippers, only keeping a few that were in the slot, and that would be eaten fresh. The 50 bluefish were donated to a soup kitchen. Even though I didn't eat any bluefish it was a sustainable fishery that could be shared and may help feed some.
  • MikeDeroMikeDero Posts: 92 Deckhand
    So Harb your ok with keeping the 1,000 plus pounds of fish you keep per year? as you go weekly on these trips? really you need that much fish? almost 3 pounds per day? So again my question JUST because you CAN does that mean you SHOULD? I DONT have a issue with the people coming down on vacation like I STATED MANY TIMES just the ones going weekly. MY GOD do they teach reading in Florida?

    As far as keeping bluefish in Long Island sound I never keep them don't eat them stripers I kept 2 in the past 5 years. all released to fight another day.
  • harbisonharbison Posts: 3,666 Captain
    'FOOD' for thought: " I am a Connecticut native, that moved here in 1989. It is wise not to tell floridians how it's done up north. They/we don't care"

    "MY GOD do they teach reading in Florida?" Absolutely! As well as 'retention' and 'understanding' what we are reading:
    Case in point: "To me my camera has become much more important than catching fish. I love to share with fellow sportsmen

    Unfortunately I have found NO way to hold a fishing outfit & a camera at the same time. That 30-40 pounds of

    fillets is more than I have taken home in the last three years...combined!"

    "As far as keeping bluefish in Long Island sound I never keep them don't eat them stripers I kept 2 in the past 5 years.
    'READING' and 'UNDERSTANDING:' "They/we don't care!"
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