Inshore- This past week we have seen some great fish caught around the area like Tarpon, snook, redfish, flounder, pompano, whiting, sheepshead, mackerel and more! Eric Lhopitault from Ruskin was fishing around the Bradenton area early morning using light tackle from his kayak and soft plastics on a weighted twist lock hook to catch snook, redfish and flounder. He found the snook biting best before sunrise around the dock lights but most were smaller schoolie sized fish and he was using a number 3 sixteenth ounce owner twist lock hook and Z-man diesel minnow in the white pearl color. At daylight Eric found the tide low and starting to come in and he targeted the shallow areas around a school of mullet and worked hard to be stealthy and finally found a school of tailing redfish and used a five inch Z-man jerk shad in the redfish toad color to pull up a thirty two inch redfish and a few others in the mid-twenties range. As the tide rose and the waters got deeper he changed his plan of attack and Eric Lhopitault started fishing the deeper water structures like docks and pilings and picked up a really nice flounder before ending his trip just before the mid-day heat started. Another local angler, Eric Whitted, has been night fishing for the big snook that are heading to the local passes slowly to gear up for their summer spawn along the beaches. Now Eric Whitted has been catching big snook for a long time and is very experienced at landing the monsters. He suggests using jigs like the first lights flair hawks, the Bomber wincheaters, or the big Rapala xrap 20’s with heavy fishing gear like a 6000 series spinning reel and a heavy eight foot rod with 40-50lb braided line and 60-80lb floro leader to avoid these big fish from breaking you off on the structures around the passes that are holding these big snook.
Keep in mind snook bite best at night since they are primarily a nocturnal feeder and the start of the incoming and end of the outgoing tides have been working best for most all of the snook fisherman around the passes of Pinellas county. Around the South shore of Tampa Bay the snook bite is also going well as the fish start to head out and around the southern mouth of the bay. Alex Ruiz and his buddy Joe McFadden both from Winter Garden, Florida were catching nice snook using live pinfish, lizard fish and mullet for bait mostly on the outgoing tide during the day and surprisingly being very successful doing it despite snook being primarily night time predators. The outgoing tide was working best for Alex and Joe and the artificial lures and live white bait wasn’t cutting it but once they switched to larger live baits like the big pinfish, 6-8 inch lizard fish and up to a ten inch mullet that’s what got the snook turned up ready to eat. The largest of the snook that they were able to land was caught by Joe using that big mullet for bait around the bridges and docks with good water flow. They lost many fish they just couldn’t stop or couldn’t pull from the structure straightening out some 4ot hooks. After two days of fishing this around on the south shore of Tampa bay near the mouth of the bay in the super clear waters they caught and released in total thirty snook using the methods and baits above. However, due to being daylight and super clear waters they had to use lighter tackle to get the bites going so they lost quite a few fish understandably as well. Clinton Marks, From Land O Lakes, Florida was fishing the upper tampa bay area around the grass flats and mangroves and he was catching some nice upper twenty inch redfish and even hooked some big snook that broke him off in the mangroves using a five inch long gulp jerk shad on the start of the outgoing tide during the day. Like Alex Ruiz and his buddy Joe due to working daylight hours in clearer waters he was forced to go with lighter tackle which caused some lost fish. While Eric Whitted’s approach of night fishing allows heavier tackle to be utilized since the fish won’t be spooked by spotting the heavier leader. Around the northern mouth of Tampa bay the snook bite is hot as well! Bruce Crooke and his wife Norma were on a Fishing charter with Capt Tyler Kapela using live threadfins for bait catching plenty of healthy sized snook around the docks and bridges of the south western tip of Pinellas county’s urban area on the start of an outgoing tide. Plus, on the very last live bait of the trip Bruce Crooke was able to catch a nice sized juvenile tarpon to put icing on the cake of a great day on the water with his wife Norma during their charter with Capt Tyler Kapela. On another side of things, along the beaches the bite is going well right now too for snook and speckled trout.
Butch Knieriem has been fishing along the beaches just south of Johns pass doing well on both of these species using free lined live shrimp along the surf during the day time on the incoming tides, but when the water gets too bumpy the fishing is tough this free line method really is primarily effective when the surf is very calm or non-existent. At Johns Pass, Eric Flores and Donald Boggs have been catching monster snook using the glad snooker flair hawk style jigs along the bottom retrieving them slowly during the night with similar tackle to what Eric Whitted recommended above. Their friend Jimmie Whiteside nailed a nice juvenile tarpon just inside the bridge using the same flair hawk style jigs too! The fishing around the pass has been a little slow on the back side of the new moon but it seems to be picking up now that the tides are starting to look better during the prime snook feeding time at night. Plus, the waters are calm and clearing up and there’s tons of bait holding the predator fish inside the pass.
Near shore- The near shore bite is going well right now as well, but the weather has been a little wild this week with great forecasts that turn into a little more than we bargained for. We have had some wild storms come out of virtually no where this week with lots of winds and rain but on the nice weather days the fishing has made the bad weather days’ worth the wait. We are seeing the red grouper bite pick up nicely in the deepest near shore waters, overall still pretty slow but we have seen a marked increase in the amount of keeper red grouper ready to chew on the double threadfins, live pinfish and the squid strips cut to mimic the octopus tentacles. Also, in the deepest near shore waters the lane snapper bite has been going well on pieces of squid or the live shrimp. Targeting the lanes is a ton of fun on lighter tackle setups like the ones we utilize for the hogfish around a 4000-5000 series spinning reel 30-40lb braid and 30lb floro 10-15ft leader with a jig head, light knocker rig or nekid ball jig and the shrimp for bait. Lanes and red grouper action is mostly around 80-100 foot of water near shore. Around that depth we are still seeing the kingfish and a few blackfin tuna as well, but they are more few and far between as of late near shore. Seems like the big rush of kingfish is behind us at this point but we still have a few out there to play at this time.
The kingfish are mostly hitting the live sardines on the flat line using the number four wire and the double treble stinger rigs. The live sardines we are catching for bait just along the bottom with the sabiki rigs, the trick to the sardines is not adding bait to your sabiki. If you tip the rig and drop it near the bottom you will end up with more snapper species and squirrel fish and less of the desired live sardines. Plus, those live sardines have been killer red grouper baits too, and of course the occasional gag grouper is ready to slam a live sardine while targeting the red grouper which makes for a fun fight and good photo before you have to release it before their June first opening date approaches. The hogfish are still around, and we are catching a few, but its definitely much slower than the cooler months of the year at this point and they are very spotty. However, we are getting lucky from time to time with some nice hogfish in the 40-70ft range of water using live shrimp, fiddler crabs, rock shrimp or sand fleas for bait.
The live shrimp has always been our bait of choice on the charter boats and party boats because it also offers a great chance for plenty of other action, but if you want to go target the hogs utilize some of the other options listed that will help you avoid unwanted bycatch while targeting the hogfish. Triple tail are still pretty prevalent in the near shore waters hiding under the crab trap buoy balls, but as season comes to an end the flotsam that holds these fish is going to be harder and harder to find. We are seeing the occasional cobia as well near shore but most of that action is fairly close to shore around the shipping channel and Egmont key at the mouth of Tampa bay around the structures. However, when near shore fishing an area with good amounts of bait we are seeing the occasional cobia swim up the chum line so have your pitch rods ready with an artificial bait and they love the eels so a soft plastic bass lure in dark brown, dark green or purple seems to work well with enough of a weighted jig head to give you the casting distance you need when you spot a cobia circling your boat.
Offshore – Offshore fishing this past weekend was awesome during our long range 39-hour overnight fishing trip at Hubbard’s Marina. The fish we caught were so diverse and the catch was a large one for the few anglers on board. This time of year, just before red snapper season you have tons and tons of room on the water and on our boats due to most people waiting for red snapper season to begin. We saw plenty of lane snapper, mangrove snapper, razor fish, big vermillion snapper, a few yellowtails, creole snapper, porgies, rock hinds, red hinds, some kingfish, some tuna, some red grouper and even a few scamp groupers too! It had to be one of the most diverse hauls of fish we have seen in a while. Plus, on the back side of the new moon the daytime bite was hot the whole day while the nighttime bite was slower than we would have liked.
This is typical of the new moon cycles since the fish don’t have much light to hunt with at night they feed more heavily during the day. Plus, the new moon gets the tidal flows going and that really gets the bait and crustaceans moving and the predators all get more actively feeding on these new and full moon cycles. It seems to be best to fish just before them or just a day or two after them for the best results. The twelve-hour extreme trips are also doing very well on some fat red grouper in the 170-200 foot of water areas and were also seeing nice scamp grouper and big triggerfish in this depth of water too. However, on both the 39 hour and the 12-hour extreme trips we are having to wade through lots of the aggressive and plentiful red snapper before getting to our targeted species. Luckily starting this coming month, we will be able to start exacting our revenge on these aggressive American red snapper and taking them back to the dock with us once again!
Red snapper season for the federally permitted for hire vessels like charter boats and party boats begins June first and ends August 2nd at 12:01am meaning that August first is the last day to harvest them and you have to be back by midnight that night. Private recreational red snapper season for those anglers who have their own boats or fish with their buddies starts June 11th and runs through July 12th at 12:01am. Red snapper love to eat just about anything but our secret weapon for the big boys is cut bonita strips or live squirrel fish. I would suggest around a 6ot reel and 60-80lb test and a 7ot hook for these aggressive and strong fighting fish. The big boys sometimes will even break you off on this heavier tackle and the deeper you get the bigger the red snapper seem. Right now we are seeing the largest red snapper around 200-250 foot of water and that’s the area during the summer that will also have some gag grouper ready to eat because as the waters get warmer and warmer those gag grouper seem to move deeper and deeper or at least seem to cooperate better out in the deeper offshore waters. Wahoo will be back in the area soon as well, we are already seeing a few offshore but they will be back in for by mid may for their summertime visit in the area. Plus, we see the sailfish occasionally out there this time of year as well. It’s a great time to go trolling or put out the flat line if you are fishing deep past 150 foot of water.
Want to watch Capt Dylan Hubbard’s Daily video reports? Check out the Hubbard’s Marina YouTube channel and don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE! – Hubbard’s Marina daily fishing & boating report
Upcoming up at Hubbard’s Marina
We have another great Bass Pro Shops seminar coming up Saturday May 18th at 2pm if you want to join Capt Dylan for a chance to win FREE FISHING TRIPS! The fishing seminar or fishing conversation will be about an hour long of fishing conversation, tips, tricks and more! Plus, at the end of each seminar Capt Dylan gives away a FREE 10 hour all day for two guests and a FREE 5 hour half day for two guests to two lucky winners of the FREE raffle. To be entered in the raffle you just have to show up just before 2 pm and stay for the hour seminar. Here’s the link to learn more and help us spread the word by clicking this link and click ‘going’ -> https://www.facebook.com/events/355624161963149/
Fox 13’s Good Day Tampa Bay show has picked up a fishing segment with Capt Dylan Hubbard Scheduled for every Friday morning starting around 8:30am to 8:40am! These segments will have tons of fishing tips, tricks, updates and more. Please tune into Fox 13 on Friday mornings to watch the show and if you are not local, you can watch it LIVE on their website -> http://www.fox13news.com/live
LIGHT 39 HOUR TRIPS COMING UP on Friday May 24th plus we have two super light Tuesday 39 hours on May 14th and 21st if you want to join us for some red grouper, scamp grouper, mangrove snapper, yellowtail snapper, porgies, vermillion, tuna, kingfish and much more! The fishing on these long range 39 hour trips have been very good and this coming week the load is light so it’s a great opportunity to join us for plenty of room on board and great fishing! FOR MORE INFO, or to book your 39 hour NOW click this link: https://hubbardsmarina.com/39hr-overnight-fishing-trip/
All our trips seem SUPER LIGHT right now around Hubbard’s Marina due to that little ‘lul’ time of year where the weather isn’t too hot yet and the crowds have relaxed a bit. It makes for a GREAT time to join us for a 5, 10, 12 or 39 hour trip before the chaos and sold out trips of the June and July months begin. We have lots of light loads on our 12 hour extreme trips, 39 hour long range overnight trips and 10 hour all day party boat trips plus lots of private fishing charter spaces opened up for bookings!
2019 RED SNAPPER TRIPS FILLING FAST Book your 2019 RED SNAPPER 12 hr extreme, 39 or 44 hour trip TODAY while there’s still some open spots! These trips will fill quickly so book NOW. Last year red snapper trips were filled up early and we had to turn lots of last minute bookings away, so don’t miss your chance at securing your favorite trip TODAY. Here’s the link for all your 2019 specialty trips – https://hubbardsmarina.com/specialty-fishing-trip/
This coming Sunday May 12th is next LIVE SHOW join us if you want to learn more about fishing locally and WIN FREE FISHING TRIPS without leaving your house! Don’t forget we have the Weekly fishing conversation or seminar by Capt Dylan Hubbard LIVE on the Hubbard’s Marina Facebook & YouTube page if you don’t want to leave your house to catch a seminar! This is weekly on Sunday nights from 8:30pm until 9:30pm, check out the event page and PLEASE LIKE AND SHARE the event if you have a Facebook page, and invite your friends as well! Here’s the page to find the Facebook event link, and view all the past LIVE Q&A fishing shows – https://hubbardsmarina.com/past-qanda-live-streams/
Our 12 hour night snapper trips started up, and the next one is May 10th. If you want a chance to join us for some night time snapper fishing action for mangrove snapper, vermillion snapper, lane snapper, porgies and more! These are great trips with plenty of night fishing time 25-35 miles from Johns Pass for around 7-8 hours fishing time and only for $129 but book now because these trips do fill fast especially around the full moon. We only offer them on the quarter and full moon phases Friday nights from 7p to 7a Saturday! Here’s all the information on these special night time snapper fishing trips – https://hubbardsmarina.com/12hr-night-fishing-trip/
Captain Jack’s dolphin corner
It’s the beginning of bird nesting season at dog leg key our local sea bird rookery. We cruise by this island on every dolphin watching nature cruise and eco tour and also during some of our sunset cruises too. We are seeing baby pelicans and baby egrets at the island currently, plus we are seeing nesting pairs of Roseate spoonbills and the great news is the fact that we are seeing more and more of these unique pink birds every year the past 4-5 years.
Last year’s newborn dolphins are now juveniles and we are seeing them play together often in the back bays and getting very active at the surface while even showing off some of their acrobatic displays.
The dolphin watching nature cruise and eco tour has been spotting lots of manatees as of late recently too. It’s a little early in the year for manatees, but the clear waters help us to spot them easily and they have been in big groups which make it easier to find them too. This past week during one cruise we spotted a group of nine manatees cruising the back bay waters. However, these guys can hold their breathe nearly 10 minutes and they only come out of the water with their snouts and sometimes their tails too so it makes is very difficult to spot them and when you do its difficult to follow them around. This makes it a very unique treat to spot them during our cruises and this time of year is a great time for them as they return to the area from their winter vacation. Here’s all the information on our dolphin watching nature cruise and eco tour – https://hubbardsmarina.com/dolphin-watching-cruises/
Our local resident dolphins are back in the area and with the beautiful spring conditions we are seeing huge pods of dolphins grouped up together feeding and playing and teaching their young juvenile dolphins more about hunting and using their sonar by playing ‘catch’ with the plentiful jacks and sheepshead.
On top of all this great news and unique sights we are also spotting a few sea turtles cruising the back bays. It’s a little early for sea turtle nesting season but they are definitely starting to show back up in the area.
The sunset cruise right now is a great time due to the GORGEOUS spring sunsets we have been having as of late, this past week we even saw the elusive ‘green flash’ at the end of the sunset! Great time of year to join us for a sunset cruise that offers FREE BEER AND WINE, learn more here -> https://hubbardsmarina.com/sunset-cruise/
Hubbard’s Marina Sea Adventures and Tampa Bay ferry are both proudly power by Honda Marine! If you come visit us for a dolphin tour, sunset cruise, Egmont key island trip, snorkeling, shelling, water taxi ride or any type of ferry or pleasure cruise trip then you will be riding a boat powered by Honda Marine! These new motors look great, are super quiet and are great on fuel economy! It was tough to get four boats re-powered with new engines but it was well worth the change and were very happy! Hope you get a chance to see these brand new super cool engines at work on board one of our pleasure cruise and ferry boats! To learn more about Honda Marine engines for your boat, check out their website: https://marine.honda.com/ they have the best warranty in the industry right now, you get a full 5 years and you just can’t beat that!
Tampa bay ferry News
The shelling and sharks teeth hunting around shell key and Egmont key has been out of this world as of late! The March weather has really blown up some great shells and the occasional shark’s tooth. Plus, when the weather is nice it’s a great time to spend the day having some fun in the sun on the islands!
Snorkeling has started once again during the ferry to Egmont key, you have the option to do the snorkeling trip once on the island with us during the Ferry to Egmont key from fort De Soto with us at Hubbard’s Marina! Check out all the info here -> https://hubbardsmarina.com/egmont-key-ferry-cruise/
Water temps are perfect right in in the mid 70’s to cool you down from the hot sun but not too chilly to snorkel or swim and enjoy the water too!
PLUS, the water clarity right now is INSANE around shell key and Egmont key! Join us for a ferry ride to paradise today to enjoy the crystal clear waters between the storms fronts, when a front blows by the waters get a little murky for a day or two then it clears up to gorgeous once again shortly after the waters calm down.
Great time to visit us for a ferry ride to Egmont key or shell key since the temps are too hot and the temps aren’t too cold to explore the island! Plus, the bugs aren’t too bad yet in the warmer summer months.
Since its still a little chilly at night, it’s also a great time of year to spot the plentiful gopher tortoise at Egmont key when they are out sunning themselves in the morning sun trying to warm up from the chilly overnight temps!
We even saw some manta rays this past week around the Shell key and Egmont key islands along with dolphins, manatees, seabirds and the occasional sea turtle! Come join us for a day at the island, more info on both ferry ride options below.
The Egmont key ferry from Fort de soto offers 10am and 11am ferry rides to the island daily this time of year, plus on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday we offer a 2pm ferry ride from Fort De soto out to Egmont key island! You get three hours on the island after around a 20-30 minute ride out and back to the island. Plus, we often see dolphins, seabirds and sometimes even sea turtles on the ride out and back thus the ride time can fluctuate a bit depending on what we spot during the cruise out to your island oasis! For more info on the Egmont key ferry, visit this page of the Hubbard’s Marina website – https://hubbardsmarina.com/egmont-key-ferry-cruise/
Our Shell key ferry trips are a great way to spend the day and offer more flexible schedules compared to the rigid Egmont key schedule! We offer these trips DAILY from the boat ramp at Fort De Soto County Park and they run at 10am, noon and 2pm and the final return time is 4pm! You have much more flexibility during the shell key trips compared to our Egmont key ferry because you get to choose the time you return to fort de Soto from Shell key! If you’re looking for plenty of time on the island and great shelling opportunities then the shell key ferry trip is your best bet! Check out all the information on this special ferry ride at this link – https://hubbardsmarina.com/shell-key-ferry/
We have finished 2019 regular’s club renewals and we are starting on signing up NEW MEMBERS, if you are interested in becoming a 2019 regular’s club loyalty program member please reach out to Capt. Dylan Hubbard by sending him your name and cell number via email to [email protected]. He will be in touch in the coming few weeks about the loyalty program that offers discounted trips if you fish more than 10,15 or 20 times a year with us at Hubbard’s Marina. It also comes with some free gifts and other benefits too besides discounted trips, but it’s NOT simply a discount program. It’s a loyalty program and it requires fishing often and being a model Hubbard’s Marina guest and showing the passion shared by all of us at Hubbard’s Marina for fishing and our fellow anglers.
PAST AND PRESENT MEMBERS: be sure to renew your membership before 2018 ends!
Captain Dylan Hubbard
Vice president and Co-Owner
(727)393-1947 ext. 306
UPDATED Coupon information
Hubbard’s Marina sweatshirts only $20 while supplies last!
We have a variety of sizes and colors and styles, get em’ while they last!
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Preferred partner spotlight
Try one of our new menu items at the Friendly Fisherman!
Fried Oyster appetizer $11.79
Fresh Oyster fried crisp and served with a spicy Cocktail sauce.
In Shore Platter $18.49
Flounder fillet, hand breaded clam strips and crispy bay shrimp.
Served with fresh made cole slaw, corn fritter and fries. (fried only)