Looking out at the quiet, moonlit waters of the Gulf of Mexico, it?s impossible to know what?s on the line, other than that it?s big. Word has spread around the deep-sea-fishing boat, and now a crowd has gathered on either side of you. You pull the fishing pole back and guide whatever is snagged on the other end of the line nearer and nearer. The splashes gradually become louder. A few fellow fishermen help pull the creature onto the boat, and proudly hold the fish up for the crowd.
There are countless deep-sea-fishing tales like this one to be told at Hubbard?s Marina. During its many day or night fishing trips, its crew and guest fishermen board the US Coast Guard?certified vessels for excursions into the Gulf to reel in fish of all sizes. Not only does Hubbard's Marina offer fishing trips, but they also allow opportunities for people to visit and observe Florida wildlife in their natural habitat. Animals such as dolphins, pelicans,manatees, and bald eagles can bee seen from the boat. After cruises, visitors can go shopping along the picturesque boardwalk and enjoy the local culture and history in the quaint fishing village.
They also captain sunset cruises, dolphin-watching cruises, kayak tours, rent kayaks and paddle boards, and even take to the streets during segway tours.
Sky Pirate Parasail's U.S. Coast Guard–licensed captains slip through John's Pass between Madeira Beach and Treasure Island while towing parasailers on a 1,200 foot tow rope, who glide under kaleidoscopic chutes tethered up to 500 feet in the air. After fastening their passengers, who range from school-aged kids to grandparents, into a secure harness, they fill the parachute's canopy with air and shuttle the skyward rider over the saltwater waves for an aerial jaunt. As the captain slackens the line and traces the coastline from offshore, the parasailer floats over the beach, the dolphins, and the gelatinous blob monster waving at sunbathers.
In 1962, Charles Redington commissioned a 1,200-foot-long fishing pier to be built in the Gulf, one of eight others like it in the area. Today, this long wooden walkway represents the last of its brethren, preserved and restored by the current owners, the Antonious family, who treasure its historic significance and excellent fishing. The waters surrounding the pier teem with sea life, such as flounder, eels, sharks, dolphins, and kingfish who burble "checkmate" when they get hooked. The crystalline Gulf waters provide a view of the vibrant reefs below, best seen and fished from the very end of the pier, which is reserved for those who purchase VIP passes. Since The Long Pier requires no fishing license, both amateur and professional fisherfolk can enjoy its sunny lengths and salty breezes by simply renting a rod and buying bait from the onsite tackle shop.
When he turned 40, Christian Cook decided he wanted to try something new: the Molokai 2 Oahu Paddleboard Race, a 32-mile sprint between the two Hawaiian islands. A self-described “eternal optimist,” Christian formed his own workout regimen and trained for 365 days straight to prepare, finally competing in the race in 2009 and 2010. Now, he shares his experience, teaching new wave riders how to paddle as a fun fitness activity. He is joined by NRG Salt Stand Up Fitness's staff of trainers, who cater their programs to match clients’ needs, whether students wish to learn the sport for leisure, exercise, or commutes between riverboat casinos and oil rigs. The gurus also rent out their boards for joy rides in the water around Madeira Beach.
Overhead Water Sports's hoverboards make visions of the future into a reality, albeit a wetter one than predicted. The craft strap to the riders feet, then project a powerful stream of water capable of propelling people through the air in twists, turns, and leaps. The hoverboards draw the water from engine of a personal watercraft, which pressurizes the liquid and feeds it to the hoverboard through a hose. The hose also allows the hoverbaord to drag the personal watercraft along in its wake, giving the rider the freedom to fly in any direction they wish, as long as they don't veer too close to land or try to soar to the North Pole to peek in on Santa.
Eric, Mitch, and Julie Audit head up a crew of "wannabe pirates and friends" at Island Life Charters. Their armada of kayaks are equipped with quiet electric motors, carries visitors out on self-guided excursions and tours, where they can take in views of mangrove trees teeming with birds, as well as manatees and dolphins. For a different boating experience entirely, the fleet's crown jewel is Islandicity, a 30-foot Chaparral boat that comfortably seats 12 passengers on a deck equipped with a powerful stereo system, a wet bar, and a Coast Guard-deterring scare-Poseidon.