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Native Floridian

Health and a lot more

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Health update and a lot more
Unfortunately at age 78 I can no longer do many of the things I love doing so much. Fishing and hunting are no exceptions.
After balancing on the decks of boats, and charging through swamps, for seventy years, my legs are no longer functioning as they once did. In addition, I have been diagnosed with artial fibrillation. At first the doctors were going to operate. Instead I am now on strong blood thinners, and doing just fine.
I have been fishing and sharing my adventures with Hubbard's ever since 1976. I now am forced to walk with a walker, as such, November 25, 2019, was my last trip on the Florida Fisherman ll.
I will still be sharing reports, pictures, and video through the eyes of fellow Florida native Mr. John Martin and others. I will continue to edit their works and share with fellow sportsmen/women. What an honor bringing our Florida into your home.
Christmas: To me Christmas means worshiping in the faith of our choice and family.
Thelma, my loving wife, my fishing & hunting partner for 39 years, is now doing her fishing & hunting in heaven. I can feel her watching over me. Thank you darling for giving me Dee, my precious little girl. Dee is now a grandmother six times over, but she is, and will always be, Daddy's little Girl.
Thank you Dee for being my daughter. Thank you for remembering Daddy with a very special, home cooked, Christmas dinner:
HUNTING: I can no longer 'charge through swamps' as I once did. But I still love to hunt. Perry Florida's Two Guys and a Hog allows me to not only share:
But to 'pull that trigger!'
I have been hunting with Two Guys for 6 years now. Will be going back soon and often; the Ranch is really that good.
An now, talking about, 'really that good', let's take a look at a very detailed report filed recently by Mr. Mack Nowlin of Kansas.
(it's long but well worth the read)

Well it finally happened! I got to go on a 39hr. trip aboard the Florida Fisherman. I had missed this trip once before after not allowing enough time to get to the boat, and getting caught in South Florida traffic. That is one thing to keep in mind if you are coming from out of state - traffic here can be very intense! Determined to not make that mistake again I asked Dylan Hubbard for a reccommendation on where to stay close by. Man did he do me solid there! He sent me the contact info for the Bilmar Beach Resort on Treasure Island ( Ph#727-360-5531) about 3 blocks away from the boat. I called them and when they heard that Dylan had sent me it was VIP treatment all the way! Incredible, the price for a very nice room dropped from $ 128 to $ 87.20 a night with free breakfast (a real one!), and so many extra's I cannot list here. I got there the night before exhausted, and releaved that the stated time to pre-board was 1pm for 3pm departure. Determined to not be late, I rose in the am, so as to have plenty of time to get organized. I remembered to put on my trans-derm sea-sickness patch since I live in Kansas currently, and am not acclimated to the sea. I ate a hearty breakfast and headed down to Hubbard's Marina around 11am, I think. I went to the well stocked tackle shop and bought the few things I couldn't find that would be specific to this trip. They had all the hooks, which may be the most importantant thing (one of, anyhow). You need 5/0, and 6/0 Octopuss style Owner or Gamatsu hooks that can be sneelled into the double bait rig that is used on these trips ( they will have a seminar on board and show you how to tie them, if you don't know how). I parked in the parking Garage across the street where you can leave your car, or truck for $10 while you are gone fishing ( it has an attendant, to make sure your car is there when you return). You can pull in front of the boarding area and dump off your gear before you park if you desire. Soon, Fisherman were gathering and introductions were being made. I had the stroke of luck, to meet Chris and Dave (hope they don't mind being mentioned, I left out there last names) who would be fishing next to me, and we instantly hit it off.
Dylan Hubbard showed up and gave us all the info on how things would go, and how to board the Florida Fisherman. He shook everyone's hand and wished us good luck. That man, and his family(4 generations) have been doing this for over 100yrs. in this very spot. He explained that he is committed to 100 percent customer satisfaction, and I gotta say, He really is! We boarded and stored our gear. There was some rod storage overhead near the rail in front of your designated fishing spot. These were quickly filled, no matter. Dylan had told me to take my gear upstairs and tie it to the rail, so I did. That worked beautifully. We then gathered our pre-bought bait ( it must be ordered 2 weeks ahead of time), I got my 3 dozen pinfish and put them in my OWN personal bait well. sooo nice! I did however, not know to bring my own bait net. No big deal, there were a few around and the spirit of cooperation was very refreshing to say the least! (not always that way on other charters i've been on). We headed out, trollers were the guys, on the stern spots first, then others could troll later if they wished. I had alot to do, this being my first trip. I went to the seminar deckhand Will gave about fishing for Mangrove Snapper and how to tie a double Snell rig. This man knows, and loves his job and it shows ( he earned my tip, for sure. Please tip 25% as it a large portion of their wages, and the right thing to do). I then went about tiying rigs and reading my gear. I knew I should get some sleep as it's about a 8 hr. ride to the Florida Middle Grounds, But I couldn't because I was so excited! Soon we arrived, It was still middle of the night and time to fish. Captain Brian gave the word to drop 50lb rigs down to the bottom and start catchin Mangroves! People got bit almost immedediately! I was getting bites, but couldn't hook them! They say, if you can catch Mangrove Snapper, you can catch anything in the Gulf! I believe it! They are the biggest bait stealers I've ever encountered! You must reel, but not set the hook at the first nibble. It took a bit, but soon I was catching. My new friend Chris, probably caught 10 fish while I was learning - It was frustrating but great fun! You also had to get the fish immediately off the bottom or they would re-inter the hole they just immerged from, and you would be rocked up hard! Fish bit well till after sun up. Capt. Braian was relentless in his pursuit of a bite and moved us constantantly. Seems like we would get 4-5 fish and the bite would slack. This is where the skilled, experienced anglers excelled (Not me), they continued to rack up their fish tally. Soon it was getting Dark again, man time fly's when your fishing!. The bite picked up again, only now we were getting Grouper, Red, and Gag. Larry, John and a couple of others nailed some monsters ( up to 48" in lenght). I told myself, be patient, your time is coming. I noticed guys were catching them on the Pinfish. That was it! The pinfish had a tough hide, and were very hard for the fish to steal. Now the technique changed. You could fell the intial bite, hold off till they swallowed it and reel, Reel. REEL! If you didn't those big Grouper would rock you ever time!. I found the best rig for me ( After wasting alot of time) was a 50lb outfit. I used an old favorite of mine. It consists of the following- Calstar 610 fiberglass, fast action rod, Avet JX Raptor spooled with 65lb braid and about 150ft of Mono. I used 50lb Floro leader tied to a swivel that attached the double sneel bottom rig to the mono mainline. Really, any modern 2 Speed reel would work well, just make sure it has 40-50lbs of drag to horse those fish out of their holes! The 2 speed is nice because I could not believe how hard those Grouper pulled! It gave that Calstar all it could handle. I would get the fish off the bottom, then lay the rod on the rail, and winch the fish up. Man, what a blast! I finally hooked a 32" Gag Grouper, when that fish came aboard I woke the dead back on the mainland! Lol. Jason tried to take the the fish away from me to string it. I was havin none of that, I wanted to string it myself! Finally, I regained my composure and let him do his job! Sun set again, and the bite kept improving. Plus, now I had my confidence. I boated a few more fish, as did everybody. It was getting rough, I didn't realize my Trans-derm sea patch had fallen off ( another rookie mistake). There was one stop left, but I just couldn't hang. I hadn't slept or rested for about 32 hrs of fishing! I hear, it was the best stop of them all. of COURSE! I racked out upstairs for some much needed rest, and we headed in on the 8hr ride back. I awoke to the Captain rousing us over the load speaker. I felt like I'd been run over by a truck! The sea, and the Grouper catching had takin a toll! We quickly unloaded, ( everone but me, because being a gear ho I had to much stuff). Deck hands filleted our fish for a nominal fee, if desired ( $1 for snapper, $3-5 for Grouper). We said our goodbye's to the crew, and our new fishin buddies. I think I can say it was one of the most fun trips I've ever been on, and cost a 10th of some of them! Can't wait to do it again, and it won't be long either!
Artic Traveler, AKA Mack Nowlin - Out!
After balancing on the decks of boats, and charging through swamps, for seventy years, my legs are no longer functioning as they once did. I must adapt.
Hunting & fishing is a lot different for me now. But I love the great outdoor and sharing with fellow sportsmen/women.
Bob Harbison, a proud member of the...
Florida Outdoor Writers Association

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