Not Fishing

May, 2017

Now I know that many of you think all I ever do is fish.  And while I DO fish a lot, I actually, although admittedly not very often, do other interesting things - I just rarely ever blog about them. Cause, you know, this IS a fishing blog.

But to shake things up just this one time, allow me to admit something:  I love Keith Urban. I have a "man crush" on him.  He is just too sexy - not to mentioned ridiculously talented.  I have more Keith Urban songs on my Spotify account than any other artist.  It concerns my wife a little.

The only other person in my extended family who also likes country music is my niece Jenna. So she grudgingly agreed to accompany me to the Country 500 Music festival in Daytona (inside the Daytona speedway) this Memorial weekend.  I actually couldn't find anybody else to go as my wife and kids simply don't care for country music, let alone an ENTIRE weekend of it in the blazing heat.

So Jenna was stuck with me the entire Memorial weekend at a resort on the beach and then listening to country music in our VIP area next to the stage inside the Daytona 500 track.  Awful, right?

Here she is on the Daytona 500 track right before the police ran us off:

I'm pretty sure she hated every minute!  She is only smiling in this next picture to placate her aging Uncle:

Did I mention the venue lineup was amazing?!  Here is a list of a "few" performing artists:

Keith Urban (of course)
Blake Shelton
Miranda Lambert
Kip Moore
Kid Rock
Martina McBride
Chase Rice (Jenna's favorite)
Maddie & Tae

Anyway - there were more artists - lots more.  It actually started Friday afternoon and ended late Sunday night.  Tons of country bands!

Although she loves (lusts after) Chase Rice, Jenna and I were definitely there to see Keith Urban (sexy dude).

It was simply too hot to go to the concert at 1 p.m. when the gates opened so during the afternoons we either sat out by the pool and drank margaritas and some other type of "wine spritzers" served at the hotel pool bar, or we headed to local restaurants like Bubba Gump shrimp and ate seafood.

Once again, I'm certain Jenna hated it.  Here, she is obviously thinking, "When do I get to go home and back to work?"

After lunch, we would take Uber to the concert and prepare ourselves for some amazing country music. We may have even had a beer or two at the concert each day.  I'm not sure.

While there were over 50,000 people crammed in there, the cool thing about the VIP tickets was that we were allowed to go walk directly up next to the stage.   Everyone else was held behind barricades. We could almost touch every performer.  Like I said, the venue was within the Daytona 500 track so the entire venue was HUGE.  Pictures don't do it justice, but in this picture, I am only about 50% of the distance away from the stage (At least 25,000 more fans behind me):

Now we stayed at a hotel, but many people camped in the infield all weekend.  How they did that in 95 degree heat, I will never know.  It was hot, hot, hot!

In addition to being able to stand directly next to the stage, we also had covered seating:

Okay, to say we were a little spoiled is kind of an understatement.  Especially since we always had access to private bars and personal waitresses - and air conditioned bathrooms!


Here is Martina McBride.  And no, my camera is NOT on zoom.  I am only about 5 feet away.

Cameron and I love the song "Something about a Truck", which, if you haven't heard it, is about as Country as Country gets.  Great song!  An up-and-coming country artist named Kip Moore sings it. That guy is "ripped".  Here he is:

I loved these pictures in the sunset:

Blake Shelton also did an amazing job.  Favorite part of his performance:  Hearing him sing his first #1 hit "Austin".  Kind of ironic that our waiter's name that afternoon was "Austin".  

But the real reason we where there?  Yep, you know it.  Keith Urban, baby!

I took a few more pictures of him!  :-)


So my quick little ending story, but definitely the best part:  We had one lady between us, the stage, and Keith Urban.  She heard Jenna and I talking behind her about how much we loved him.  Right as Keith came on, she turned around and said to us,

"Go ahead, take my spot.  I am here to listen to Kid Rock."

Jenna got to stand right next to the stage - they even provided step stools to get a better view. Towards the end of his performance, Keith came by and shook our hands.

Yes, we touched Keith Urban.  OMG!  Later, I hugged the woman - twice.

Jenna, what can I say.  I know you didn't have a good time. I'm very sorry about that. I will work on being a better Uncle - and less shy and introverted.  I hear Keith is playing in Germany next year. Perhaps I could talk you into attending that?

Yeah, probably not.  :-)

Back to fishing soon folks!   Thanks for reading - all three of you.

(Thank you, god bless America and especially all our military who keep this country free - especially those who died for that freedom!)

Happy Memorial Day.



Who’s the New Guy?

That would be me - 2nd from the left in the picture above. My name is Josh and the "mighty" Capt’n Hook has made the somewhat questionable decision of letting me join in on the fishing (and filming) action. I will be following him and his crew(s) on their ventures out to sea this summer to attempt to capture some fun, exciting, and educational moments on video (keyword being “attempt”). A little about me: I’ve lived in Florida most of my life, with 4 years in Dallas, Texas. I’m currently attending FSU with a major in editing, writing, and media. I met Marc through my girlfriend, and his employee, Erica. Here’s the part that makes this all so exciting: I’ve never been on more than a pontoon boat and my life’s fishing experience peaked when I caught a white crappie. So this should be fun right?

Rock the Dock 2017 was the first event I attended in Panacea.
Erica and I hopped in her little Chevy Spark and headed south out of Tallahassee. After about 45 minutes of me trying to drive her go-kart/ car, we made it to Panacea. We parked and met up with Capt’n Hook.  He took us around to get some food, beer, and a seat. We ate for a little bit until I realized that I already wasn’t doing what I was hired to do, so I pulled out the camera and started filming. I eventually met Gene, Mike, Sam & SJ. We all hung out for a little bit; I made sure to periodically pull out the camera to catch Tobacco Rd. Band playing on stage and the crowd dancing.

As the night progressed, we headed to the local bars and had a few drinks out by the boat. Sufficiently lubricated, we returned to the Capt’n Hook Crack Shack, which, contrary to initial assumption, was actually really cool!  Erica left to head back to Tallahassee before crew bedtime. But things would be too easy if I didn’t mess up, so of course I had to let Erica leave with the camera’s battery. It’s okay though; she came back with the battery and only a little bit of animosity (okay, she was pissed…sorry Erica). I put everything to charge and we all passed out till morning.

5:30 am the next morning George Thorogood graced us with his "Bad to the Bone" presence as Sam’s phone ring-tone rang loudly from his pants pocket.  After kicking a couple bags Mike turned it off and went to brew some coffee. The morning was calm and quiet as everyone was reminded that we had been drinking the night before. Eventually, everyone managed to gather all their supplies, get some food, and take the short ride to the marina.

I had only seen the boat at night, so seeing it that morning gave me a whole new perspective. The Hook sure does know how to pick a pretty boat! I started walking around the dock, filming the boat at different angles when, through the camera lens, I see Sam kick the boat away from the dock. They were already leaving without me! I threw my bag on board and jumped (barely) into the boat. We eased our way out of the marina and el Capitan punched it. We headed out to the Gulf on a nice, near-flat, water highway. Unfortunately, the water didn’t stay flat for long. Out of the channel, we started hitting some waves. 1-foot waves turned into 2; 3 foot waves turned into 4; and steady legs turned into jelly against upward jolts.

Staying towards the back of the boat kept me secure, but, me being brilliant, decided I just NEEDED to get that shot of the water from the front of the speeding boat. How cool right? Wrong. Very wrong. Oh wow was I wrong. I slid past Mike on the left side of the boat-- wait, starboard… I mean port… yeah, the port side of the boat. I tried to time my jump to the bow of the boat when I hear Mike yell, “Now!” I almost flew off when I saw the wave hit the boat and jerk the bow 5 feet higher. Mike, behind me, laughed, after almost tricking me into being thrown off the boat just 10 minutes into our trip.  New guy hazing ritual?

Finally I made it to the front, which resulted in me death-gripping the boat railing while trying to film the water racing by us. It was like riding a bull up there. The hull would disappear from underneath me and then immediately show up again, but 3 feet higher than before. It was a ride. Don’t worry though, I only hurt myself a little; I didn’t need my right ankle anyway. After basically army-crawling to the back of the boat, the rest of the crew said they wished they had a camera to film me attempting to film them. That footage would definitely be AFV worthy.

The boat slowed to a stop and, while trying to make some course decisions, the GPS stopped working. I looked around wondering why no one was panicking. I was sitting there thinking, “Oh, okay, so we’re all going to die, awesome!” Around me everyone else was going about their regular business, planning the course, securing ropes, rods, etc. Even SJ, Sam’s 9 yr old son, just went back to sleep on the beanbag chair. I’m sorry, am I really the only one writing a note and emptying a bottle for potential rescue? Turns out having a certified captain on board is actually pretty handy. This guy knows how to get us just about anywhere without the instrument I deem as critical. And here I was ready to go out on this boat before I knew any of his credentials.

I regained my mentality, the GPS somehow started working again, and the guys re-plotted our course. We flew across the water for 15 more minutes to our first fishing spot. After all the anticipation, we were all let down when no fish came to hang out. We stayed at the spot for a bit longer, then moved on to a hopefully more prosperous location. And soon enough, we found one! After anchoring, the crew cast out into the water. After about a minute, fish came in the boat faster than I could keep track. I ran around the boat, doing everything I could to not knock something or someone else in the water. I’m not a massive guy by any means, but slipping a 5’11, 180 lb body around 7 other people, 20 something rods, and 100’s of sharp hooks, while filming and not interfering is amusingly difficult. Looking back at the footage I found myself, filming between legs, leaning off the side of the boat, and with both feet in the air holding onto the boat while fish flapped under me on the deck. It was definitely a challenge; like an obstacle course on a teeter-totter from grade school.

At one point in the journey, I noticed things that didn’t quite make sense. For example, I noticed Sam had been periodically laying down on the bean bag, breathing slowly. I also noticed Gene eating and drinking with less than a minute between bites and sips. SJ, with all the energy in the world, even slowed down a bit. Initially, these were just small things I noticed. Mind you, I was still gaining my sea legs, so I focused on that. Looking to try out a different microphone, I headed into the very small cabin where the equipment was stored. The little door shut behind me, I sat down, and began to rummage through cases, attach the microphone, and navigate through various screens to activate it. At some point while I was down there, my stomach decided it no longer appreciated the rolling of the waves. “Oh… So that’s what everyone else is getting hit with!” Crawling back out to the deck of the boat, I began a new battle of fighting my stomach. Lucky for me, I don’t seem to have too many issues when it comes to seasickness, but even the experienced guys were having trouble. I’m not sure who, if anyone, threw up off the side of the boat, but I didn’t and that’s what matters! I’m cool with being the new guy, but I didn’t want to be “that” new guy. By the end of the trip, only Capt’n Hook and Megan stood the test of time. I’m not saying he was lying, but the Hook wasn’t drinking all that fast when we got back to the marina…

We tried a few different things throughout the trip: bottom fishing, trolling and spin fishing. Trolling and spin fishing seemed ineffective so all of the glory came from the bottom. We would have pushed on for a bit longer but, like I said, seasickness becomes a huge factor when waves hit 7-8 feet. After a quick and unanimous poll on the matter, we headed back in early to enjoy the safety of stationary land. The waves were "with us" as we headed back in. I actually thought this would be a great thing, mentally picturing the boat acting like a surfboard riding the waves. Turns out this is actually, like, really dangerous. About this time is when I unfortunately learned what the term “broaching” means. I just thought we slid down a wave, no big deal. This left me wondering why everyone else on board was very concerned (I didn't like how this was exactly the opposite reaction of when the GPS stopped functioning). The captain slowed us down a little bit to keep us under control, only having to combat similar waves a few more times.

We all, obviously, made it back alive and wobbled onto the dock. Our ending take was mostly gag grouper, key west grunts and rock bass, with a few extra surprises. We all sat along the side of the bar and talked as the Marina moved the boat to the rack for cleaning.
After my first offshore fishing trip, I learned a few important things.

1.     Don’t forget things in the car or else you’ll have a very upset Girlfriend
2.     Don’t let go of the boat in 7 ft seas
3.     The horizon is your best friend when your stomach ain't right
4.     Only join a captain for offshore fishing if he/she knows more than you do
5.     Boats don’t go sideways at fast speeds.  (well they do, they just aren't supposed to)

Those are just a few of the big ones. After just one trip with Capt’n Hook I already feel significantly more comfortable on a boat. Not completely comfortable, mind you, I'm sure that will take many more outings. But all in all, they took a newbie somewhere potentially very dangerous, and kept me very safe. I look forward to more opportunities to blindly hop on a boat and miraculously survive while catching some cool stuff on film for all your readers (and viewers)

Thanks again to Capt’n Hook and his crew for keeping me alive and showing me the ropes - and for not messing with me - Mike. 

I'll be posting more videos soon of our latest trip, but I have finished editing a few of them and so I have posted a few new ones on the Capt'n Hook You Tube channel.  You can see at least three new ones by clicking here.

I'll be back.

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Rock The Dock 2017

The Panacea Rock The Dock Fishing tournament was held recently.  That tournament is always a lot of fun for us because it is held in Panacea, the Crak Shak is in Panacea, my boat is in Panacea, the Mad Anthony's bar is in Panacea and that bar serves a lot of beer.  Add all that up, and it equals a great weekend for us and everyone else.

The only problem:  6-8 foot seas scheduled for Saturday and 8-10 foot seas scheduled for Sunday. That is NEVER good.  Pictures NEVER do seas justice.  In fact, as I look through these pictures, the seas don't look very rough, but trust me, they were bad.  I was attempting to head to S Tower about 50 miles offshore to look for red grouper, but we never made it.  Because of the wind and waves, we were forced to stay in State Waters about 9 miles offshore.

The night before, our favorite country rock band, Tobacco Road performed a concert for everyone. In fact, Paul Consulting Group just completed the website for Tobacco Road.  Check it out here.

Tobaccro Road Band

Tobacco Road Band

Tobacco Road Band

There were several of us on the boat this Saturday.  In addition to those of us fishing, we also had "new guy" Josh taking videos and photographs all day.  He did a great job.  In fact, we will VERY SOON be posting more videos of this latest trip on the Capt'n Hook YouTube channel.  Look for those videos in the next week. You can get to our YouTube channel by clicking on the link at the top of the CaptnHook website.

And our presence on Google is increasing.  If you have fished with me, go to Google and type in "Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast" - and click on Images. See if your picture comes up towards the top.  It probably will.

So Josh did a great job of taking photos and videos all morning.  I would like to say that we caught HUGE fish, but we didn't.  Huge fish are very difficult to come by in State Waters.  But Josh did get some fantastic photos along the way.  Some of my favorite ones are his shots of SJ.  Who knew the little kid was so photogenic.

For the most part, I think the pictures speak for themselves, and since there are so many photos, I think I will comment less in this blog and just let you enjoy the shots with only short comments scattered through.  Also, I am behind in my work duties :-)

SJ - First thing in the morning (what a great shot):
 Capt'n Hook Capt'n Hook Panacea

Crab?  No idea here.  Perhaps our new photographer is a little odd.  I know his girlfriend is.

The Coast Guard Foundation sent me a new hat and FlardaFish, as you already know, is our sponsor for apparel.  Personally, I think they look great together:

Marc Paul

Looks even better with the Capt'n Hook visor on Sam.
Marc Paul


You're killing me wind:
Marc Paul

This is where I decided to get the crew's opinion.  Remember that my goal was to head to S Tower about 50 miles offshore.  I told everyone that I would make the final decision to head there (or not) when we reached the 26 buoy which is about 10 miles away from Rock Landing.  Well, right before we got to the 26 buoy, we hit a cresting 6 foot wave.  Now, my boat is about 5000 pounds, and with a full fuel tank, that adds another 1000 pounds, and with 7 people on board, that adds another 1000 pounds. Simply said, my boat is heavy.  But for the first time EVER, after we hit that wave, the entire vessel, including the engines, went airborne.  When we slammed back into the ocean, Mike said, "I gotta go see a chiropractor on Monday".

Needless to say, we made the decision to only go another mile to my state water waypoint(s) instead of heading another 30 miles into deeper, much rougher, federal waters.  The Gulf was bad, bad bad!

Marc Paul

Group meeting.  Decision time.  Skyler's hat was facing down when we started.  He didn't move it on his own.
Capt'n Hook

Okay, so the water doesn't seem to be bothering Gene much:

Again, pictures never do the seas justice, but you can see by Gene's shirt that the wind is blowing like a banshee.  After a few hours, even Gene had had enough.

Rock The Dock?  No, Rock the Gulf!
Capt'n Hook

I'll give everyone credit.  Even though it was rough, we caught LOTS of fish.  In this case, none of them exceptionally large, but we did put about 35 fish in the box.  Way to go guys!  And girl!
Capt'n Hook


Great shot of Mikey.
Sunrise Gulf of Mexico

Conditions never seems to bother Megan.  That girl loves to fish!  And she looks great doing it.

Dang Mike.  The gym is paying off.  You are a beast!   You know, I do find you physically attractive.

 Gene not as crazy here as another wave slams into us.


Sam watching Megan fish?  Yeah, that makes sense.   :-)

Another great shot of Mike and SJ.


Are we boring you SJ?

Cute couple.

I like these GoPro shots!

 Capt'n Hook

Some of the fish we caught were pretty good sized.
Capt'n Hook

I think just about everyone took a turn on the bean bags.
Capt'n Hook

Capt'n Hook

Capt'n Hook

Capt'n Hook

Lots of key West grunts, lots of Rock Bass.  We also caught a LOT of gag grouper and even a few red grouper, but none of them were large enough to keep.  In fact, at one point in time, we had a four-person hookup of gag grouper, but we had to throw them all back - except one - thanks Gene.

Capt'n Hook

Thanks again FlardaFish!  We all look good on camera!  If you want to give us more shirts, we won't stop you.
Capt'n Hook

Josh, what exactly are you taking a video of here??  :-)
Capt'n Hook

 Fish box starting to fill up.  That is what Josh was filming, btw.
Gulf of Mexico Fishing

Mr. Photogenic:
Capt'n Hook

I have no idea what I am doing here, or that I was being photographed.  I actually was trying to have some fun riding the waves without holding on.  I wasn't very successful.  Mike is simply ignoring me.
Marc Paul

I'm definitely not as photogenic as SJ.
Marc Paul

So even though the weather was rough, I still think everyone had a good time.  We parked the boat Saturday afternoon, started drinking beer and never even considered taking it back out again on Sunday.  We were all pretty exhausted.

I have asked Josh, who was our photographer, and who had never been offshore fishing, to give us all his opinion of the day.  So the next blog post, which will be in a day or so, will be his perspective on the day.

And we will be posting new videos to our YouTube channel soon.  A couple of them are kind of funny.

Thanks for reading everyone.  Oh, and Caroline, I have a surprise for you.

I hope to be back soon - although almost EVERYTHING (all species) in the Gulf are closed right now for recreational fishermen.  Don't get me started.  In fact, lots of locals want me to create a non-profit lobbying corporation to represent recreational fishermen in Florida.  Commercial versus recreational rights and quotas have become quite skewed - with recreational fishermen losing out at every turn. Apparently, red snapper, for recreational fishermen, will only be open 3 days this year.  3 days!  And two of those days are weekdays.  Gag grouper are closed all year as well as AmberJack. What do you think I should do?

Gotta go.

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