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A life time of enjoying the great outdoors

Hunting and fishing a lifetime in Paradise
What an honor being a Florida native, a Florida sportsman.
As a life-long Florida sportsman nothing pleases me more than to reflect on memories of days, years, decades, long gone. To share these memories with fellow sportsmen-women all over this great country of ours is to me a dream come true. Come along with me. Join in and share your memories as we take a look at, 'Hunting and fishing a lifetime in Paradise'.
 
I was born the day after...

the attack on Pearl Harbor.
By the late middle fifties I was fishing the Florida 'Middle Grounds' just South of Gandy Bridge. The trout fishing was outstanding.
Rabbit & deer hunting with hounds on the thousands of acres of open area sand hills around Weeki Wachee Springs was outstanding. (LtoR - brother, me, mother)

During the summer bass fishing in the many small lakes was very good.
In the late fifties we decided to take our hunting to the next level, we joined a club near Floral City, Florida:
The snipe, duck, turkey, squirrel hunting was superb:


It was a family affair:

During the sixties the fishing was outstanding:
We sold grouper for 25 cents a pound:

We took our tarpon fishing seriously. We won many awards in in the Tarpon Fishing Tournament:

By brother and high school friends were very involved:

Often we would invite the local media. Mr. Archie Blount, Tampa Times:

Replies

  • harbisonharbison Posts: 4,226 Captain
    In 1970 I married Thelma, the girl of my dreams. Thelma was born on a mountain in Tennessee. She loved to fish & hunt. We bought three acres and a pond loaded with bass:

    We loved to fish along the grass flats just before Honeymoon Island:

    Our three daughters often joined us at camp:




    Next up, our hunting camp for the next twenty years, Madison County's Buck & Boar:

    The hunting was outstanding:









  • harbisonharbison Posts: 4,226 Captain
    The camp cook-outs were enjoyed by one & all:

    And for good reason! Ever try wild boar on the grill? You will never forget it:

    Thelma & I celebrated out 39'th wedding anniversary while hunting at B&B. No place better than Madison County's best, O'Neal's Country Kitchen:


    Little did we know this would be our last. Cancer took her, and our daughter, Betty, shortly thereafter:

    To say the losses was devastating would be an understatement. Life, as well as hunting & fishing, as I knew it was over. Eventually I was able to make the best out of the situation. Enter Two Guys & A Hog Outfitters. Less demanding, but still the excitement of the hunt:


    Exciting to the max!


    My guide, Francisco, a long time fixture at Two Guys, guided me to my personal best ever:

    What a way to celebrate big birthday number 76:

    I have always loved to make people happy. Sharing our Florida, our Paradise, does just that. I began sharing both hunting & fishing stories many decades ago. My Marina of choice, Madeira Beach, Florida Hubbard's Marina. First up, fishing on the 90' Florida Fisherman l with the man himself, Captain Wilson Hubbard:

    Today it's a real fishing machine, the Florida Fisherman ll:

    The fishing is outstanding. I took this picture:

    To talk about family, to talk about tradition, is to talk about fourth generation owned & operated Hubbard's Marina:

    What an honor being a Florida native, a Florida sportsman.
    Bob Harbison
    Husband, Father, Native Florida Sportsman, and proud member of the:
    Florida Outdoor Writers Association.
     
  • lukkyracerlukkyracer Posts: 743 Officer
    Cool stuff Bob. 
  • harbisonharbison Posts: 4,226 Captain
    Thanks!  Really enjoyed bringing it to you. 
  • Mackeral SnatcherMackeral Snatcher Posts: 11,296 AG
    Awesome post Bob.
    THERE SHOULD BE NO COMMERCIAL FISHING ALLOWED FOR ANY SPECIES THAT IS CONSIDERED OVERFISHED.
  • GratefulEdGratefulEd Posts: 316 Deckhand
    Great post, sir. You’re a bit older than I, but we grew up the same way. Nostalgic.
  • SuperMutuSuperMutu Posts: 420 Deckhand
    It would be interesting to see what the fishing would be like if the current regs were in place for the past 75 years.

    Bob, when did they buy the Florida Fisherman II?  It was built by the same company who built the Jet Express up on Lake Erie.  I wonder what will replace it.
  • Reel-LuckyReel-Lucky Oldsmar, FLPosts: 3,227 Moderator
    A very nice piece, thanks for sharing that, Bob.
  • harbisonharbison Posts: 4,226 Captain
    Thank so much. I the long lost pictures on an old hard drive I found. My first thought was to share them with my F/S Family. 
    "It would be interesting to see what the fishing would be like if the current regs were in place for the past 75 years."
    Tell me about it. Good example was the huge king fish schools of yester-year.  We destroyed them. I know, I was part of it. 

    "Bob, when did they buy the Florida Fisherman II?  It was built by the same company who built the Jet Express up on Lake Erie.  I wonder what will replace it."
    I personally have NO idea. Will pass along to Mark & Dylan Hubbard.   Will share response. 
    Gotta go!   Headed for the Middle Grounds for a 39 hr. trip.  Watch for my report next week. 
  • harbisonharbison Posts: 4,226 Captain
    edited August 2018 #11
    Concerning the Florida Fisherman ll : 

    It was completed in 1989 and we bought it in 1987, it was built it in geo shipyard in new Orleans

     

    Thank you,

    Capt. Dylan Hubbard


  • Grady-ladyGrady-lady east of the river, west of the woodsPosts: 5,282 Admiral
    edited August 2018 #12
    Amazing stories!  A pleasure to look at and read.  Thank you for sharing them. 

    I am a 4th generation Floridian but as my father was in the military we moved around quite a bit during my childhood.  Tampa is always where we came back to when he was sent overseas.  I have fond memories of night crabbing in the bay....of my grandfather going down to the shrimp docks and buying 5 lb boxes of shrimp right off the boats. 

    My grandparents loved to fish and one of our favorite things to do was to go out to the Courtney Campbell Causeway early on a Sunday morning - grandmother would fix breakfast while the rest of us fished.  In those days there were picnic shelters with grills all along the causeway.  Us kids would wade for sand dollars buried in the sand...and cut our feet on the sharp rocks.

    I 've scanned a few old photos from the 20's thru the 40's, and many more to go.  If you don't mind I'd like to share some of them here - though they are not fishing pics, they do show Fl. life in a different time.  Some of the Tampa Bay area, some in Indialantic.

    The earliest photo was taken on the beach in Melbourne in the winter of '24 where my great grandparents owned a small realty co, and my grandparents owned a tavern.




    My great grandfather took the picture but nobody knows what species of whale.



    Indialantic pier - Nell, a friend of my grandparents visiting from Chicago.  Apparently caught off the pier, the shark, not Nell.  Mid to late 30's.




    A beach picnic at Indian Rocks Beach - mid 40's.  Look how they were all dressed!  My mom is the young teenager with dark hair and a plaid shirt to the left.



    Sorry about the sizes - this 'new and improved' software makes resizing more difficult.  Who'd athunk it.
    I find my peace out on the sand...Beside the sea, not beyond or behind. R.A. Britt

  • harbisonharbison Posts: 4,226 Captain
    edited August 2018 #13
    Thank you so much for sharing. Brought back a lot of memories...
    "I have fond memories of night crabbing in the bay" 
     Grew up doing this along C C Causeway.  

     "my grandfather going down to the shrimp docks and buying 5 lb boxes of shrimp right off the boats."
    Best shrimp ever!

    "My grandparents loved to fish and one of our favorite things to do was to go out to the Courtney Campbell Causeway early on a Sunday morning - grandmother would fix breakfast while the rest of us fished.  In those days there were picnic shelters with grills all along the causeway.  Us kids would wade for sand dollars buried in the sand...and cut our feet on the sharp rocks".
    Loved to set-up & spend the night at one of the many shelters. We would crab at night & trout fish in the early morning. Then came a cook-out you would not believe. Fresh crabs & trout... unbeatable! 

    Not too many people can remember scalloping along C C. I do!
    Do you remember the beaches being red with fiddler crabs?  I do!

    Remember this?

    I do!
    How about rabbit hunting on what is now the grounds of the University of South Florida?

    I do!

    Central Florida of yesterday was amazing. I feel honored to have been, and still am, part of it. 
    I have been retired for 15 years. Now I spend my time sharing Florida in pictures, still & video, of huge Florida Fisherman ll catches. Pay-back for living a life time in paradise.  

    Please share any memories you may have of Florida years ago.  Thanks.  B H

  • Grady-ladyGrady-lady east of the river, west of the woodsPosts: 5,282 Admiral
    edited August 2018 #14
    Your photos and memories are amazing!  
    Fiddlers I remember, scallops I do not.  I do remember that I could ride a horse from 301 through woods and fields all the way to Brandon.  Entertainment was simpler in those childhood days - we'd pick up fish sandwiches from Mirabella's and park at the end of the runway at the old airport to watch the planes take off and land...or go to a point (can't remember the name) near MacDill and watch the planes coming and going.  
    I remember that the only way to get to Seddon Island (now Harbor Island) was to drive across a scary railroad bridge - it was overgrown with weeds but we'd go there to watch the pirate invasion.


    A few more - (I wish I had more fishing pics) - Uncle Frank's birthday at the Columbia in Ybor, mid 40's, he was gone  before I was born.


    My mother is 3rd on the left,  Grandmother 2nd on the right.



    My mother - mid 40's.


    Grandparents at Tarpon Springs, mid 40's.  Louis Pappas remained a favorite place to celebrate special family occasions.  Last time I went to Tarpon Springs nothing looked familiar.



    :)







    I find my peace out on the sand...Beside the sea, not beyond or behind. R.A. Britt

  • capt louiecapt louie citrus countyPosts: 10,222 Moderator
    Great stuff. I would imagine I know of a few people hunting in that Floral City club.? I knew a Mr. Edson who loved to turkey hunt back then.
    "You'll get your weather"
  • Reel-LuckyReel-Lucky Oldsmar, FLPosts: 3,227 Moderator
    Some great nostalgia, incredible how this area has changed.
  • harbisonharbison Posts: 4,226 Captain
    edited August 2018 #17
    Guys thanks for sharing you memories.  
    "Entertainment was simpler in those childhood days - we'd pick up fish sandwiches from Mirabella's and park at the end of the runway at the old airport to watch the planes take off and land...or go to a point (can't remember the name) near MacDill and watch the planes coming and going."
    Same here. I still remember the box lunches at Mirabella's. Loved their oyster sandwich.
    Remember this place? I almost lived there. They would smoke our king fish for us for .25 cents a pound.  Their smoke house was huge. They took pride in showing it off. Bait houses all over CC Causeway, as well as the Gandy area, sold live shrimp @ 3 dozen for $1:00. I remember it like it was yesterday. 

     
     I remember when Tampa was very small. In the early fifties I hunted in my back yard, rabbits & quail were everywhere; "great nostalgia" to the MAX!
     I still remember watching in dis-belief as huge B-52's flew roof-top high over my house. They looked as big as a city. 

    The Floral City club I was in required you to be a land owner. I was only in it for two years, early to mid sixties.. They charged $25.00 to help maintain the Club, people thought that was outrageous. The Club closed down. Next club was the Southwood Hunting Club. It was near the Crystal River power plant on Dixie Holland's property. Great deer, hog, and turkey hunting. Was also in it for two years. Then it was off to Alabama's Lenord Thomas' Club, great deer hunting for another two years. Then my hunting partner, my wife, and I found our home... Madison County's Buck & Boar. The hog & turkey hunting was outstanding. We we in B&B for 20 years. Just after our last hunt Thelma passed away. The loss destroyed me. End of hunting!  
    A couple of years later I again wanted to pull the trigger on a hog, enter one of the best outfitters in the state...Perry Florida's Two Guys & A Hog. The hogs act the exact same as Buck & Boar. I still hunt there. Join me sometime; I will feature you in my report.

    Please share any "nostalgia" memories.  Thanks!  BH
  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 11,139 AG
    edited August 2018 #18
    Dixie Hollins.

    Southwood was mid to late 1980's

    So you were one of the folks that pais $2500 to hunt deer and hogs on Southwood in the 1980's?

    No turkeys ever,
    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
  • harbisonharbison Posts: 4,226 Captain
    edited August 2018 #19
    That was me!  I worked for Florida's Department of Juvenile Justice. Many of my co-workers were also in the Club. Our # 1 targets were hogs & deer; we did very well.  I harvested a real trophy buck there. In addition, the place was loaded with turkey, Dixie considered them his pets. We finally persuaded him to let us hunt them. He only allowed us to harvest around 6 a season. I shot a real trophy each year. 
    Please share any memories you, or anyone else, may have of Southwood. I loved the place... Close to Tampa, outstanding hunting, great camp ground. I still remember an old farmer serving meals from vegetables he had grown himself. Wonderful memories!

    Anyone remember Tandy?

    Wish I had pictures to share. Southwood was one of the best hunting club I have ever belonged to. This was way before the digital age. 35 mm just did not cut it! 
    At the beginning of our third year they came up with some rules we could not live with. Time for Alabama's Black Belt hunting. Deer hunting here was great, but it was so far from Tampa, like a 9 hour drive. We wanted a place we could hunt much more often. Visited the Todd's Family, Madison County, Florida's, Buck & Boar. Hog signs were everywhere. That did it. We stayed 20 years. B&B is still going strong today. If my wife had not passed we would still be there.  
    My wife, Thelma, and I have been fortunate to have had the opportunities to hunt all over Florida, as far North as Maine, and as far West as New Mexico. However, 'hogging' in Florida was our favorite. Hog hunting can be very challenging, and even dangerous. If ever anyone tells you hogs will not attack, pay no attention, they do not know hog hunting. I know... first hand. Hogs tend to be very hard to take & keep down. For some reason they do not take too kindly to being shot, and they let you know it!
    Another great reason to hog hunt is the...



  • Grady-ladyGrady-lady east of the river, west of the woodsPosts: 5,282 Admiral
    I fondly remember the Mullet Inn.  It's great to see the picture!

    We'd buy their smoked shrimp, served in a brown paper bag and go sit out on the lifeguard stand on the beach.  Never found any place that serves smoked shrimp.  I've tried to recreate the flavor and texture with varying degrees of success.  The flavor is good, but smoking makes the peels hard to get off - and I'm sure the Mullet Inn's were peel and eat.



    btw - Ballast Point is where we'd go to watch the planes from MacDill.
    I find my peace out on the sand...Beside the sea, not beyond or behind. R.A. Britt

  • Grady-ladyGrady-lady east of the river, west of the woodsPosts: 5,282 Admiral
    Took this couple of years ago in our back pasture - we used to allow a few friends to hunt in the field and woods behind but we've got several  cows and calves in there now.  He was 'top tom' for several years.  At this point I enjoy watching then far more than eating them. :)




    I find my peace out on the sand...Beside the sea, not beyond or behind. R.A. Britt

  • lukkyracerlukkyracer Posts: 743 Officer
    I wish I could contribute to this thread. But the stories and pics are awesome.
  • 4WARD4WARD Cross Creek,FLPosts: 1,888 Captain
    Harbison and Miss GL,
    Thanks for taking the time, good stuff
    "I hate graveyards and old pawn shops
    For they always bring me tears
    I can't forgive the way they rob me
    Of my childhood souvenirs"... John Prine
  • harbisonharbison Posts: 4,226 Captain
    edited August 2018 #24
    Thanks guys & gals. Sharing the, "good stuff" with my F/S Family is well worth the time. 
    Mullet Inn smoked shrimp. It's been decades now, but I can never forget the place... Who could?  Don't know which I liked better, the smoked mullet or shrimp. Both we simply the best!
    "At this point I enjoy watching then far more than eating them"  Absolutely!  Me too. 
    "I wish I could contribute to this thread. But the stories and pics are awesome."  Thanks! You just contributed. 

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