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The Fabulous Florida Middle Grounds


The Fabulous Florida Middle Grounds
One reason why Florida is highly recognized as the 'Fishing Capital of the World' is the Florida Middle Grounds. The Grounds, located in the Northeastern Gulf of Mexico, covers an area of 460 square miles:
Water depths range from 80 feet on the ridge crests to more than 150 feet in the troughs. Near-vertical bank edges consisting of overhangs and caverns plus a supply of nutrients and warm tropical waters from the Loop Current have created environments rich in tropical and subtropical fish. This makes it easy to see, 'WHY WE FISH THE FLORIDA MIDDLE GROUNDS'
And now the rest the story.
Join us on our home away from home for the next 39 hours, the Florida Fisherman ll, as we fish the Florida Middle Grounds and vicinity.
Let's go!
Open wide John's Pass Bridge, we are on a mission, a mission to catch fish:
On the way out there is always plenty to see.
After all, this is Florida:
Will is off this trip. Jon shares his vast knowledge with us:
After a hot off the grill 'Jersey Girl' meal it's nap time.
1:30 A.M. Saturday morning we are deep into the very heart of the Florida Middle Grounds. Let's go to work. Young Mr. Alex Babcock, Nolan Middle School, Lakewood Ranch, Florida, shows us how it's done:
The mangrove snapper are on fire:
Saturday Morning...the number 1 fish box is full. We are hungry. It's 'Tammy time!'
New and old friends getting together for quality time on the water is what head boat fishing is all about:
As always Mr. John Martin, the Florida's fishing advisor, 'Leads by example!'
John's AJ was so big it took two grown men to lift it onto the deck:
It was vented & released to fight again:
All American reds were also vented and returned to their rocky homes:
Nice king caught while trolling in between stops:
Now that looks really 'NASTY!' One good thing about fishing on a 72' long 25' wide Catamaran is...So What!
Grouper time. With two sons & a daughter 'DADDY' leads the way:
Time for young Alex to go to work again. Mr. Brian Babcock, you can be proud of the man your son has become:
They are getting even bigger:
'Saturday Evening' We are fished out tired and ever so hungry. It's 'Tammy Time!'
Look at the size of that center cut grilled to perfection pork chop.
A huge, flavorful, pork chop, smothered in Jersey Girl's special touch gravy, steamed green beans, and the best mashed potatoes, provides a meal few will ever forget. What a way to say good-by to some of the best fishing, greatest food, and the finest sportsmen/women our state has to offer. What an honor living in this Tropical Paradise:
Take us home Captain John...Next Up!
'Why We Fish the Florida Middle Grounds:'

I hope you enjoyed this on the water report as much as I enjoyed bringing it to you. Be sure to check out the short, action packed, video of our trip:


Bob Harbison Florida Outdoor Writers Association


  • LilcthefishslayerLilcthefishslayer Posts: 611 Officer
    No terrorist this trip thats good. Fish on
  • bigfishrossbigfishross Posts: 122 Deckhand
    No terrorist this trip thats good. Fish on

    great looking pictures , must have been a good trip. bigfishross
  • SouthshoreSlayerSouthshoreSlayer Posts: 408 Deckhand
    No terrorist this trip thats good. Fish on

    They seem to be keeping that hush hush. Every post on FB I see about it gets deleted.
  • Bottomfinder#1Bottomfinder#1 Posts: 1,021 Officer
    What about terrorists?
  • harbisonharbison Posts: 4,934 Captain
    Thanks! We enjoyed it.
    We did well at night, mornings, and late afternoon. However, the very hot water temperature slowed things down considerably during the day. Regardless, we picked a few on each stop all day long.
    TIP: Try to fish as much as possible before the heat of the day. The July full moon is 7/19 @ 6:59 P.M. Mangrove snapper tend to go crazy at night before & after the full of the moon. This weekend night snapper fishing should be fantastic.
    The Florida has a 44 hour snapper trip scheduled for this Friday. Hope to take plenty of on the water pictures and an action packed video to share.
    TERRORIST: Not a problem. The sportsmen/women on the boat, as always, were fantastic, a real joy to be around.
    This gentleman is a veteran of the Gulf war:
    (sorry the picture is not too clear, I pulled it from the video)
    What an honor to have such a hero fishing with us. When Tammy saw his veteran cap she raced over and offered him the first grilled ham & cheese sandwich. I shook his hand and told him how much we appreciated him. Our military and police keep us safe. They are our real heroes!
  • SuperMutuSuperMutu Posts: 478 Deckhand
    What about terrorists?

    Yeah, you can't mention something like that and not elaborate.
  • AquaRoosterAquaRooster Posts: 605 Officer
    just make a rule that says "no weapons" and the terrorists arent a problem.
  • SouthshoreSlayerSouthshoreSlayer Posts: 408 Deckhand
    SuperMutu wrote: »
    Yeah, you can't mention something like that and not elaborate.

    From what I read before it was deleted some guy went crazy and grabbed a bait knife threatening people. The ended up throwing a big trash can on him and zip tied his hands and feet until USCG showed up.
  • harbisonharbison Posts: 4,934 Captain
    'Weapons' & 'terrorist' OK! Let's elaborate. I was there.
    No weapons, guns, are allowed on board. I have a carry permit, regardless, I cannot bring a gun on the boat. In my 40+ years of fishing with Hubbard's Marina I have NEVER seen a terrorist situation. The gentleman involved was far from a terrorist. He was an ex college football player and very interesting to talk to. On the way out Friday evening we talked for hours. Unknown to us he had a mental condition. Saturday morning something snapped. He grabbed a big knife and immediately ran from the stern to the bow of the boat. The gentleman came within two feet of me. He NEVER threatened me or as far as I know anyone other than himself. He isolated himself on the bow and was screaming deliriously. I did not see how he was subdued so I cannot comment on that. His hands were tied and he was escorted to one of the front bunk. He quickly calmed down and was never again a problem. The Coast Guard required us to return to port. This took many hours as we were far off shore. Everybody made the best of the situation. We trolled, ate, napped, and got to know each other really well.
    Saturday evening, a couple of miles off shore, the Coast Guard boarded us and assessed the situation. After about an hour we returned to port. Both the CG & the FBI interviewed us before we were allowed to leave the boat. They were very understanding and easy to talk to. I told them that everything was handled in a very professional manner by all on board. The gentleman was escorted, no hands tied, off the boat. He was very calm and cooperated beautifully. He was taken to Tampa General Hospital. As we left Dylan Hubbard gave everyone a pass for another trip.
    This was a very isolated case. In my 40+ years of fishing with Hubbard's this was the only time I have ever witnessed anything like that. We are much safer on the boat than on the highway.
  • RMDRMD Posts: 1,796 Officer
    harbison wrote: »
    As we left Dylan Hubbard gave everyone a pass for another trip. QUOTE]

    It really sucks that you had to cut the trip short, but it was out of your control. The fact that he gave you all a pass for an additional trip is very cool.
  • harbisonharbison Posts: 4,934 Captain
    :chill I did not hear a single person complain. We all understood what had to be done. We made the best of a bad situation. Dylan Hubbard later said that many who were on the trip have already used their pass, they could not wait to get back again.
    Seeing so many working together under lousy circumstances was wonderful. It shows what kind of people sportsmen really are.
  • FishInFLFishInFL Posts: 2,222 Captain
    harbison wrote: »
    :chill I did not hear a single person complain. We all understood what had to be done. We made the best of a bad situation. Dylan Hubbard later said that many who were on the trip have already used their pass, they could not wait to get back again.
    Seeing so many working together under lousy circumstances was wonderful. It shows what kind of people sportsmen really are.

    Except the guy throwing the temper tantrum!! :rotflmao
  • harbisonharbison Posts: 4,934 Captain
    OK! You got me there. That was one h..l of a temper tantrum. Fortunately no one, even the gentleman involved, was injured.
  • SuperMutuSuperMutu Posts: 478 Deckhand
    OD on Motioneaze?

    The FBI???

    Don't understand why the FBI got involved with that situation.
    Everything affects everything.You can't just change one thing.Every thing is connected.
  • OtownjoeOtownjoe Posts: 56 Deckhand
    Probably didn't like Tammy's cooking.
  • harbisonharbison Posts: 4,934 Captain
    I think they smelled it and had to try some for themselves.
    As far as the FBI involvement...Absolutely No idea why they were there. I can only speculate that they wanted to make absolutely sure that it was not a terrorist situation, which it was not.
  • SuperMutuSuperMutu Posts: 478 Deckhand
    Otownjoe wrote: »
    Probably didn't like Tammy's cooking.

    LMAO :rotflmao

    What? Not like "Chef Tammy's" cooking? Blasphemy!!!

    Nothing against her though, she's very nice. I'm always afraid to eat those meals because I don't think those toilets can handle the aftermath.

    On one trip Tammy actually tucked me in! She must have walked by and saw me tossing around trying to get comfortable. A mom-like tuck and I was out.
  • Reel-LuckyReel-Lucky Oldsmar, FLPosts: 3,327 Moderator
    Great report, Bob. Some beautiful Gags, and major league Mangs. Like the chart shot, nice touch.
  • harbisonharbison Posts: 4,934 Captain
    Tammy: She is like a mother to us. Don't feel well? See Tammy...she will help.
    Thanks so much. Will try to show more chart shots.
    Caught some big boys again last weekend. Will have a full report soon. It takes mega hours to put our these detailed reports.
    Here is a preview:
    And then there is my favorite:

    I sure hope you guys like these reports as much as I like bringing them to you. To me it's an honor to share our great state & sport with the sportsmen/women of F/S.
  • amighoamigho Posts: 776 Officer
    Bob, on one trip Tammy pulled her shirt up and showed the twins to my buddy....he didn't say a word until we got off the boat!:rotflmao

    According to him it was a LONG story:hairraiser
  • harbisonharbison Posts: 4,934 Captain
    Sounds like a LONG story to me!
  • OtownjoeOtownjoe Posts: 56 Deckhand
    Tammy saved my trip one time. I got a terrible cough and sore throat right after I got on the boat. Tammy to the rescue with cough drops and cold pills.would have been a miserable trip without her.
  • harbisonharbison Posts: 4,934 Captain
    :wink Standard operating procedure!
  • SuperMutuSuperMutu Posts: 478 Deckhand
    Hey Bob, just wanted to thank you for the videos. On a trip in August 2014 I had my gopro running and the battery died. Now, for several hours I had a large beeliner on the bottom hanging from my big rod while I fished with my light gear. Well of course I go in to take off the gopro and come back to find guys staring at my doubled over big rod. I'm thinking "Sure, right when the camera dies!"

    I never noticed you standing there recording because people were gathered around and the big fish was giving me it's best. It turned out to be a pretty nice sized shark, based on the fins I'm guessing a Lemon.

    Last night I was watching some of your videos, building up the excitement for our trip in a couple weeks. I came across a video dated around the time we were on board. And wouldn't you know, Bob was right there with the camera and caught the excitement. Until now I had to resort to telling friends about it, not knowing it was recorded. I know regulars probably get disappointed when they realized it is a shark, but for an Ohio guy it was great!

    So, thanks again and keep that camera rollin' :)

    Oh, and that shark would not have happened if you didn't send me the measurements of the rod holders on the Florida which allowed me to fab up a rod holder that would allow me to fish two rods, which is why I fished the spot all the way in the front away from everyone else.
  • harbisonharbison Posts: 4,934 Captain
    That is so cool. Glad I could help. It's always an honor welcoming our Northern friends to the Florida Fisherman.
    Hope you can someday join us again. Please let me know when...I want to make sure I am there to video all thr big fish you are going to catch.

    [email protected]
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