Man catches 33-inch fish off Florida coast using Publix fried chicken as bait


  • Screenshot via Red Eye Film Productions/Facebook
Update, April 9 | The man in the video responded to this story on Facebook, saying, "I was social distancing ... All those people flocked to our boat. 😂"

One "Florida boy" visiting home from Georgia might just become an honorary Florida Man, after catching a 33-inch snook off the Tampa coast – using only Publix fried chicken as bait.

He earned double "IDGAF" points by ignoring social-distancing rules in the process.

A Savannah, Georgia, film production company posted a video to their Facebook page on Sunday, showing their president reeling in the nearly three-foot-long fish off the coast outside of Tampa Bay. As he hauled in his catch, onlookers from other boats could be seen congregating around the man.

"Fried chicken! Fried chicken!" a woman in the video exclaims from the boat, while the man is seen scooping up in the fish from waist-deep water. "Nothing but fried chicken."

"Did he hook the whole thing?" a man on the boat asks. The same woman responds, "No, just a piece of the fried chicken."

Later specifying it came from Publix, the poster refers to their unusual bait as "the state food of Florida."

"A little background to the story," said the post's caption. "The snook around this popular sandbar are known to not bite on ANYTHING. Well, being the Florida Boy JT is, he figured he'd try throwing the state food of Florida on the hook. 10 seconds later this happened..."

The fisherman, 26-year-old John Taylor Timmons, was born in Tallahassee and graduated from FSU, before moving to Savannah to study design at SCAD and start Red Eye Film Productions in 2009. He runs the company with his CEO brother, Kewaan Kenneth Drayton, and his girlfriend, lead producer Madison Abernathy.

They produced a documentary last year called I Will Not Say His Name, about an Annapolis police chief who refused to repeat the name of the mass shooter who killed five employees of Maryland's Capital Gazette in 2018. One of the five victims was journalist Rob Hiaasen, brother of famed Miami Herald writer Carl Hiaasen.

"I will believe it when I see him cast it out," said one commenter from Lakeland on the fishing video post.

"I was there," responded another commenter. "I can attest to the fact. Another one hit on it but snapped the line when it wrapped around the ladder."

"We had no idea it would work so well and that is why we began filming it once it hit," Timmons responded. "For all it’s worth I can personally promise you that snook hit fried chicken skin 😂"

Responding to a post about this story on Reddit, Timmons' mom, Hillary, added more details:
I’m his mom. Friends and I kept going out to the sand bar (just a small, secluded area about 5 miles offshore). We always bring Publix fried chicken for lunch. I noticed that when I cleaned my hands in the water after eating, huge snook would surround our feet within 5-8 minutes. I tested this theory for 4 weeks straight. My husband (who is a good angler) laughed and blew me off. My son, who was just diagnosed with a brain tumor, came home to see the neurosurgeon and we wanted to take his mind off things so we took him with us on the boat. He too, is a pretty good angler and didn’t hesitate to try the chicken. The neat part, which I didn’t post, is that my husband immediately grabbed some chicken and baited his hook.. with 5 seconds, he caught one also. (I have that on video also).

As long as the Sunshine State's shores are still packed, you never know what Florida Man might catch.
  • Screenshot via Red Eye Film Productions/Facebook

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