The head boat, Florida Fisherman, Hubbard's Marina--Madeira Beach Florida, challenges the Fabulous Florida Middle grounds:  

The Fabulous Florida Middle Grounds

The fabulous Florida Middle Grounds:
Last year we, on the Florida Fisherman, Hubbard's Marina, had a record year. The fabulous Florida Middle Grounds proved, even with all the regulations we are now under, Florida is still the, 'Fishing capital of the entire world.' The Middle Grounds, known for its twenty foot plus ledges, rocky-corral bottoms, and numerous ship wrecks, is a natural aquatic wonderland, a dream come true for the serious angler. And, much to our delight, this year looks to be even better than last. The hard to fool, delicious eating, mangrove snapper, are abundant. American red snapper are hard to get away from. Often forgotten, vermilion snapper are thriving. Porgies, some really big ones, are a delight to both catch and eat. The, I am going to put a real hurting on you, amber jacks are more than willing to give even the strongest a real battle, a battle that, more often than not, pins the angler against the rail of the Florida Fisherman. And then, Florida's signature fish, the gag grouper. Even when not targeting gags, they have proven to be almost impossible to get away from. Last weekend we caught vented, tagged and released over fifty gags. This year we have a four month gag season. It should really be something. Suggest booking early for American red snapper and gag season. The Florida Fisherman over-night trips are so popular, they will sell out quickly. Last weekend we had over forty fishermen/women, near capacity, and we could only target mangrove snapper and amber jacks.

OK! So what can the serious angler expect when challenging the monsters of the Florida Middle Grounds? We will be leaving Hubbard's Marina three P.M. Friday afternoon. However, there is so much to see and do around John's Pass. Most arrive a couple of hours early, relax in the very comfortable waiting area, and watch the half day boat returning home. The Friendly Fisherman, loaded with happy anglers, docks at one P.M. The target fish, grunts. Grunts, one of the finest eating fish in the sea, are very abundant, and fun to catch. Mackerel, and an occasional hog fish, make these half day trips very popular. As we were watching the Friendly Fisherman unload, a full dolphin watching boat was laving. Captain Chris, one of the most experienced Captains to fish the Gulf of Mexico, guided the Hub, Hubbard's charter boat, on an excursion into the Gulf of Mexico. This is one busy place. So much to see and do.
For those waiting in the lounge the excitement level was at a fever pitch. Then comes the word we have all been waiting for, 'Pick up your live pin fish and board the Florida Fisherman.' The roar of those huge twin diesels signals the beginning of our trip. The John's Pass Bridge opens wide. Captain Mark Hubbard guides the Florida under the bridge, and immediately heads North West, North West for the one hundred mile trip to the Florida Middle Grounds. Madeira Beach is really beautiful. Even in March so many were enjoying the crystal clear water, sandy beach, and abundant sun shine. For the most daring among us, there is even parasailing. Think I will put that one on the back burner.

Now, let's talk about a subject close to our hearts, food! On the way out we had fresh caught fried grunts and Tammy burgers. I am still trying to figure out which I liked better. Guess more test are needed. Early Saturday morning Tammy's, fresh off the grill, grilled cheese sandwiches really hit the spot. Breakfast time, Country sausage gravy over biscuits, was most welcomed. Not to be left out, chili cheese dogs and chicken sandwiches for lunch were a hungry fisherman's delight. And then the show stopper, dinner. A very fresh tossed, all you could eat, green garden salad followed by shrimp and yellow rice. And, some how, we even found time to actually do some fishing.

One A.M. Captain Hubbard eases back on those diesels, we hear the anchor chain being released. Time to challenge the Florida Middle Grounds. And that we did. Beautiful mangrove snapper immediately came over the deck of the Florida Fisherman. What a sight, full moon over the Grounds, beautiful snapper, and, get this, many very respectable gag grouper were gracing the decks of the Florida. As usual, we had Butch and crew, FWC biologist, with us. These dedicated scientist would immediately vent our grouper, both gags and red, tag them for future study, and send them home, home to fight again. We caught numerous grouper with tags in them. These fish had been caught before and survived. Venting really works.

The fishing, was never really fast, but steady. We had many experienced, dedicated anglers on board. Mister William Tippett, Richard Sipple, Leo Smith, and Tony Baker, just to name a few, represented many years of fishing experience. Jim, Peahlada, Chris, Roger, Benny Brown, Richard Sipple, and Brittany, what a fisher-girl, and many others, challenged the Florida Middle Grounds. Even Master Dylan Hubbard, Captain Mark's son, home for Spring Break, joined us. Some battles were won, some lost, a great time was had by one and all. And, speaking of battles won, Mister Dan Jackson fought the battle of his life. Dan fought, and landed a huge black tip shark. What a fight, what a monster. Dan was equal to the task.

As the sun sinks into the Western horizon, we are still catching mangrove snapper and gag grouper. Mister Derek Jones, late Saturday evening, finished his trip with a most respectable gag, what a beauty!
It was very choppy the entire trip. That big old cat, Florida Fisherman, handled the rough water very well. I saw no one sea sick, I saw nothing but happy, tired, stuffed, thanks to Tammy, Miss Tammy Koota, chef supreme, anglers. Anglers ready for a good nights sleep. Oh! were those bunks ever appreciated. Next stop, Madeira Beach, Madeira Beach, home of Hubbard's Marina, home of the Florida Fisherman, Friendly Fisherman, and the Hub. Next 39 hour trip April 6, and then, April 20, a deep water trip. Deep as in 200-400 foot. Chances are very good of seeing fish we do not normally see. Is April here yet?

The fabulous Florida Middle Grounds, just one of many reasons why Florida is highly recognized as, 'The fishing capital of the entire world.'

Bob Harbison,
Native Florida Recreational Sportsman,
member Florida Outdoor Writers Association.



August 6, 2011


My brother and his family really enjoyed the evening at John’s Pass…dinner at the “Fisherman” was terrific (thanks for the round.. that was very nice) and the sunset cruise was enjoyed by all…Kathy and I never get tired of it or of Captain Jack’s narrative! The boat was almost full…good folks! Capt. Jack and Kyle were most hospitable to everyone. Of course, we tipped like crazy, but Jack seemed to be really thrilled at the “Night at Barefoot” certificate I left for Lani and him.

As you can see, we had a great time and a sensational sunset…I promised Jack and Kyle I would send along a few shots….

Thanks to all of you for making our guests always feel welcome. You KNOW the “gang at Barefoot” send our guests to a tourist favorite, John’s Pass!

Best regards,


Bill Priakos
Barefoot Beach Resort
19417 Gulf Boulevard
Indian Shores, FL 33785
fax 727-593-5414
cell 479-461-8368



August 1, 2009

Dear Leslie,

This note is too long in coming to you.  I have meant to write earlier, but for some reason it has been forgotten.

I would like you to forward this to Mark Hubbard and to anyone else in management at Hubbard’s so that these people can get the recognition they deserve.

I have been on you 39 hour full moon trips for the past several months and I have nothing but praise for the entire staff – THEY ARE THE REASON I KEEP COMING BACK!!!!!!!!

Your entire crew Capt. Garrett, Capt. Mike, Tammy, Jason and Will all work very well as a team.  They each do their assigned tasks, but are also aware of where and when they might be able to help one another.   Capt. Mike does much of the behind the scenes work in getting us where we are going and back safely.   I have also seen Capt. Mike help other passengers (including me) in untangling lines, etc when things get hectic.   Capt. Garrett is there to put us on the fish which our trips are witness to – he also does well at communicating what he is planning to do, so we can get a rest or get something to eat.  Tammy does a wonderful job in the galley and where would you find someone coming around with coffee in the AM or sodas in the PM???   In my opinion, she goes above and beyond what is expected of her in addition to cooking delicious meals.  Both Jason and Will go out of their way to be aware of what is going on with the fish catching and providing assistance in getting me unstuck from the structure on the bottom.  Jason and Will are our primary interface with the crew and they provide excellent service and are very aware and concerned about their passengers.  On occasion, fishing gets pretty hectic and Capt. Garrett and Capt. Mike have assisted with gaffing fish.

I am not sure the preceding paragraph does justice to the job this crew does, but it is my attempt to recognize each and every  one of them for the outstanding job they do.  Thanks to each of them for the fond memories I have of fishing at Hubbard’s!!!


Chris Bowlby      


August 2,  2009

I posted this on Captain Mel's Offshore Fishing Form.

After two weeks of suffering from NMG (no middle grounds), finally, the Florida Fisherman (transmission trouble) was back in action, with a vengeance, this last week end. Captain Garett Hubbard guided us to a  very good catch of different kinds of snapper, AJ's', grouper, etc. Unfortunately, my two biggest American Reds managed to get away. They will pay next weekend. I am anxiously awaiting next weeks extended 39 hour trip to the Grounds. Red snapper season is coming to a close. Sure hope we all get to go at least a few more times. I love catching mangos; however, they cannot compare with the aggressiveness of the American Red.

I have enjoyed the privilege of being able to fish all over Florida, and to hunt as far North as Maine, and as far West as New Mexico. However, to me, nothing can compare with catching fish while enjoying the full moon over the Middle Grounds. It is an awesome sight.


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