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Al and I are thrilled that you have found your way to our blog. We hope you enjoy reading our journal and viewing our photographs of the natural wonder of our United States of America. Let's hit the road together!
Homer, Alaska

Friday, April 12, 2013

Al goes Fishing April 2-4 2013

So the wife says there is nothing to post because we have not done much lately. So I said, "Well I went fishing!!" and she replies, "Then you write a post." So here I go.
Well if you know me at all you know I love to fish. Any type will do. Saltwater, freshwater, big or small as long as I can get out fishing all is good in the world. Now I tried some Fly Fishing in Colorado this past summer without much luck. I am still learning that one, so when I am near saltwater I need to go. Now Karen wrote about the half day trip that I, my sister Ginny and friend Patty went on but I need a bigger fix. So I found a trip that lasted 40 hours with the potential to catch some large fish. So I booked myself on the Florida Fisherman II out of Madeira Beach. Now before I could go I needed some fishing gear. The boat will provide the necessary equipment if you need it but there is nothing like having your own stuff. So a call to my brother in law, Bill, and a few days later all of the rods and reels, hooks, swivels and anything else I would need shows up at the house. Now this trip is almost 2 days long, so I need to bring clothes, sleeping bag, pillow, meds, and anything else you would need on a trip this long. What about food you say, well for $35.00 they will feed you the entire trip, not bad. So I think that I have everything ready, just need the day to arrive.
Tuesday April 2 has arrived, departure day. I need to be at the dock by 2:00 pm for a departure of 3:00 pm. I arrive a Hubbard's Marina at 1:30 pm and unload all my gear into the waiting area and park the car. I check in, pay my fare, and wait for the call to board. While I am waiting I go take a look at the boat that will be home for the next 2 days.
Florida Fisherman II

At 2:30 pm we are allowed to start boarding, but first, I need to get my live bait and put it in the provided live well on the boat. After loading my bait and gear I check out my spot along the rail, lucky number 13, and then find my bunk. 
My bunk area on the top deck

3:00 pm and we are on our way. First we pass through the John's Pass Draw Bridge. 

Then out into the Gulf of Mexico. On the way out I check out some of the many activities happening around the beaches here. I think we will have to come back here and check out the area on land.
John's Pass Boardwalk

Madeira Beach 

We have a long ride ahead of us. We are traveling to an area known as the Middle Grounds which is approximately 100 miles northwest of our starting point. The trip will take about 9-10 hours, so first I get my gear ready then prepare some bait then kick back and enjoy the ride. I could not have hoped for a better afternoon.
 This is Bob Harbison preparing Sardines for bait. Bob also provided me with many of the pictures. 

The ride out. 

On the way out  we had some Dolphins do a little bow riding. Here's a video.

It was now time for dinner. The food was pretty good and there was plenty of it. 

Sausage, peppers and onions hero. 

After dinner it was time to get some sleep. We will be arriving at the grounds around midnight and then we will fish until 8:00 pm with a few breaks for food and to move to other spots. 
The captain comes on the loud speakers, we have arrived at our first spot, it is 11:45 pm, we made pretty good time. Our first quarry will be Mangrove Snapper and possibly some grouper. On this trip we can keep up to 20 "Mango's", 8 Red Grouper, 2 Amber jack and others. Now this is my first time fishing for these fish and they are proving a challenge. The Mangrove Snapper are great bait stealer's and I am having a difficult time but I do manage a few. 
This is Mieko and one of the mates with some Mangrove Snapper. Sorry I never got any pictures with me in them. To busy fishing. 

We fished until dawn and then it was time to move to another spot to try for Amber jack. It was going to be an hour move so it was time to get some breakfast.
The "Slam"

We arrive and it was time to fish again. This time it is for Amber jack. Time to bring out the big guns. Amber jack average 25-30 lbs but can get as high as 100 lbs. They also fight very hard. I break out the rod with 60 lbs test line. It is also time for the live bait. You drop down to the bottom, reel up about 20 turns and hold on. I wait about 3 minutes when what feels like I hooked into a freight train takes off. It takes about 20 minutes but I get the fish. Amber jack about 25 lbs. I send down another bait, and wait. 3 minutes later we are off again. 20 minutes later anther Amber jack hits the deck. I have filled my limit. With that my new buddy Bob Harbison asks if I wouldn't mind catching one for him as he is to busy taking pictures. No problem Bob, I will have one for you in a few minutes. Wow, talk about cocky, and I paid for it. Don't you know I couldn't get another bite the rest of our time there. As a matter of fact, I was only one of the few that caught our limit. They just stopped biting for some reason. That's why it's called fishing, not catching.

Some of the Amber jack caught. 

After a while it was time to move to another spot. The ride would be about 1 1/2 hours, so a good time to catch a nap. We arrive and it is time for more fishing. Here we would catch Grouper, Mangrove snapper, Porgies, and others. I fished for an hour or so and then my stomach was telling me it was time for lunch. The crew did some fishing also and they turned some of the snappers they caught into beer battered fish sandwiches. the best ever. I asked about the beer batter and the cook told me she used McCormick's Beer batter and adds lots of pepper and some salt. I did try it when I got home and is was really good. After lunch, back to the rail. I managed more snapper, some Red Groupers that were not of legal size, a Scamp Grouper and a bunch of porgies. The were many American Red Snapper caught but all had to be released as the season was closed. Also, a Goliath Grouper about 200 lbs was caught but also released. 

Gag Grouper

American Red Snapper

Goliath Grouper

Around 5:00 pm a thunder storm with some heavy rain came through so it was a good time to get dinner. On the menu, chicken fajitas and rice.  Another excellent meal. By 6:30 the lightening had stopped but the rain continued. I went back to the rail and caught a few more fish before it was time to head home. We started back around 8:30 pm and had about a 9 hour ride home. After sitting with my fellow fisherman and talking about the day, it was time to hit the bunk. I believe I was asleep before my head hit the pillow. Before I knew it, the captain was announcing that we were almost back to the dock, so it was time to get up, get dressed, and get ready to collect our fish and head home. I got my fish and waited around for the mates to fillet my catch. 

Some of the catches

\All I have to say is that I had a great time. Caught plenty of fish and made a few new friends. I will be going again next year. Hopefully my brother in law Bill will be able to make it. Maybe I will try the 4 day trip? 

Here is a video that was taken on the trip. You get to see me in action. 
Well that's it for my post. Hope you liked it. 


  1. Very cool! Looks like it was a great trip. Not so sure I could have been on a boat that long without hanging off the side :)

  2. Wow Al a great post about something I know zero about. Now who is going to fix dinner??

  3. WOW...that's a lot of fish!! Looks like a fisherman's dream:o)) Great Post!!

  4. Well you really did have something to blog about, didn't you?

    That sounds like a really fun trip and the fishing was great.

    We took our boat (along with a few other boats) out there ONE time. The water is supposed to be really clear and the diving great, so we always wanted to dive the middle grounds. We ran out about 70 miles as fast as we could, and it started raining, thundering and lightning really bad as soon as we got there. We never got to dive and ended up turning around and coming back in. Fuel was a lot cheaper then, but still it was a waste of money. Glad your middle grounds experience was better.

    Can't wait for the 4 day trip!

  5. We have spent several vacations in that area. My Dad (RIP), our son and I even went fishing (day trip) with the same company one year. I really love doing this and have done day trips on the Miss Virginia out of Port Richie too. Lots of fun! Last time there we were short on time but I did get to spend an afternoon fishing from the pay pier just up the road from John's Pass. Not as much fun as the boat but it satisfied the itch! Great post.


  6. WOW - Those are some really big fish! They make the ones Nick and Bryce caught look like minnows!

  7. Great post, Albert. Sure looks like you had a great time doing what you love. We're so happy for you and Karen that you've been able to do what makes you the happiest. LIFE IS GOOD!!!!
    We're looking forward to seeing y'all again up in Bar Harbor this summer. Hopefully, by the time we get there, you will have found where to get the best lobsters in town.
    Safe travels to you guys.

  8. Awesome post, Al! It looks like an excellent trip if you like to fish and what a nice catch you all came in with!
    Maybe you can teach us in Maine this summer :) Rick plans to buy a license while we're there so maybe you 2 can plan a few outings. I LOVE for him to bring home dinner :)

  9. Al, I had a smile on my face the whole time I read your post! Very happy you had a good trip!

    I hope that everything elese is going good in your lives!

    David Brandon (from Waldenwoods. We miss you here!)

  10. What a great fishing trip. Looks like some great fishing.