Inshore – Snook are definitely on the move at this point. With temperatures going lower and lower and water temps following the air temps the snook are making their way into the rivers and bayous for the ‘winter’ time. The residential canals on the way into the back bays are great areas to find the snook hiding out in the shallow waters sitting on that warmer dark bay mud under the docks and around the structures. Around the passes we are still catching snook but most of the ones in the passes are the small juvenile snook that aren’t as seasoned or smart as the wiser bigger snook that have already moved further up into the bays. River mouths, start of the bayou and residential canal docks will be the best areas to find the bigger snook over the coming weeks. Especially at night around the dock lights on the residential docks the big snook are going to start really loading up to ambush passing shrimp and other baitfish. Lately around the area the white color soft plastic paddletail has been working really well for our pass anglers from the bridges, jetties and docks.
Redfish like the snook are on the move as well trying to avoid the cooler waters along the beaches and passes. We are seeing very active smaller 20-30 inch redfish around the flats and back country but the bigger fish are scattered and don’t seem to be feeding as well. They are mostly recovering from their spawning journeys and some are still out along the beaches head back into the bays slowly. The small pinfish or greenbacks are great options for the redfish.
Trout are moving into their winter time areas on the flats and they love some live shrimp or green backs or a slow moving artificial lure like a DOA shrimp. These guys love the cooler waters and they will really be active and fairly large over the coming weeks as the waters continue to cool down. Look for the deeper flats around 3-4ft on the high tide and about 1-2ft on the low tides to be holding some nice sized trout in decent concentrations. Typically once you find one there’s more in that same general area ready to feed too. At night we are seeing lots of trout on the dock lights or bridge lights ambushing passing shrimp and baitfish. Lots of great action on them around the local piers, bridges and docks fishing the lights at night. During the day, the flats is where you want to be for the trout action.
Flounder bite is really picking up, we saw some big flounder caught this week around the area from Tampa bay to the passes to the back bays and everywhere in between the flounder are really becoming more aggressive and prolific. You can find them adjacent to structure hanging on the softer bottom waiting to ambush smaller pinfish, mudminnows, shrimp or greenbacks. Slowly moving artificials bouncing off the bottom is a great method to target the flounder too. These guys are right on the bottom and they are ambush predators, you have to have your bait on or literally just above within 4-6 inches of the bottom. They are great eating fish and fun to catch but take a little work to consistently catch. When working artificials for them, it’s a good idea to try it in a pool or the clear shallows first to make sure you are not raising the lure too high off the bottom out of the strike zone of a waiting flounder. DOA shrimp, DOA terror eyez, Soft plastic paddle tails, soft plastic flukes, and even Nekid ball jigz work well for these great eating bottom feeders.
Sheepshead bite is also picking up like the flounder as our waters cool. They love the structures like bridges, docks, jetties, piers and anything that will hold barnacles, oysters, crabs or other crustaceans. My favorite bait for a sheepshead is a fiddler crab or a cut oyster but even small pieces of shrimp will work or a barnacle to get these guys to eat. You can even scrape off some barnacles from the pilings your fishing around to get these guys hungry when targeting the sheeps. Oddly enough, these guys seem to flourish behind the fronts when the water is murky and stirred up. Unlike other species that seem to shut off a bit directly behind a front the sheepshead actually heat up!
Near shore – The hogfish bite is going well near shore from anywhere from 30-70ft is where we are finding the majority of the cooperative hogfish. We have caught them a little deeper too, but you can find them more consistently and often in this depth range. They love the live shrimp, fiddlers, rock shrimp or sandfleas on the lighter tackle. Around 20-30lb floro leader and around 3-4ot hooks with 1oz or less leads seem to be the best approach for those great eating hogfish.
We are seeing a great bite of the mangrove snapper and lane snapper especially right before the fronts these guys cooperate well. This past week we had a big front blow in Tuesday night/Wednesday morning and those fish chewed the bottom out of the boat on the Tuesday 10hr all day. We had nearly 400 snapper between the lanes and mangroves in the box after around 6 hours of fishing time with cut threadfins and live shrimp for bait. Around 70-100 foot seems to be the best area to target these fun to catch and great eating fish.
The red grouper bite went really well for us this past week too right before the front like the lanes and mangroves we had a great catch of red grouper on a few different trips. The biggest red grouper was over 30 inches and was just about 15lbs which is a huge fish for the near shore waters caught on live pinfish with 60lb test and a 7ot circle hook. The red grouper are a little spotty, but they really seemed to cooperate well for us this past week. The good part about this bad weather from the fronts is that it really condenses the best time to fish and the fish typically cooperate well for us.
We have seen some great action on the mackerel near shore too. The kingfish have been tougher but we are seeing them on the beaches or just off the beaches within 3-4 miles from shore seems to be the best area to find the kingfish chewing unless you get way offshore.
Offshore – The gag grouper bite is really picking up for us offshore. These fronts have the gags chewing out there deeper from around 120-160ft of water on the live pinfish, bonita strips, whole threadfins with the tail cut or other large live baits. The bigger tackle is a necessity when targeting the gags because they will rock you up or break you off quickly if you aren’t tackled up and ready to put the hammer down when they bite.
The red grouper are spotty but they are biting too, just seem to be less aggressive compared to the hungry and plentiful gag grouper right now. They are biting the same baits that were catching the gags on. You don’t need quite the same large tackle for the red grouper but 60lb test is a good idea.
The big mangrove snapper are out there in good numbers too right around the same depth were finding the gags the mangrove bite has been going well. They love the threadfin plugs on the double snell rig with 40-60lb test floro leader. I like using a little heavier leader this time of year in case you accidently hook a gag while targeting a mangrove you have a shot at landing the gag if you’re using a little heavier leader. Especially a two speed reel helps give you even a better shot at the gags, because a high speed snapper reel makes it really tough to get those gags to stop taking you to the rocks. With a two speed, you can hit a button and adjust your lever drag a little and it’s like you have a whole new reel in your hand to battle those gags off the bottom!
The pelagic bite has been pretty darn good this past week offshore, as the water cools we seem to get more and more blackfin tuna biting well for us. We are seeing them on the rapala xrap magnum 30’s or 40’s and some of the nomad design DTX minnows too. We are catching some nice kingfish out there in the deep waters too, but mostly incidentally while knocker rigging or dropping dead bait to bottom on a fish finder rig and getting lucky on landing them without the wire.
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 special bass pro shops seminar coming up Saturday November 16th at 2pm! Join Capt Dylan Hubbard at the Tampa Bass Pro Shops for this great in person seminar that will be covering anything you want to discuss or learn about near shore or offshore fishing related. Whatever you want to catch, learn about or discuss this is a great opportunity to spend time chatting with Capt Dylan Hubbard in person. PLUS, you get an opportunity to win FREE FISHING TRIPS. All you have to do to win is show up just before or right as the seminar begins to collect a free raffle ticket. Once the seminar concludes Capt Dylan will select some lucky winners! Check out this event link and help us spread the word by click ‘going’ or ‘interested’ and share it with friends! Event link: https://facebook.com/events/535557123668130/
Join us for one of our special live stream fishing shows Sunday nights at 8:30pm, we have a special episode coming up this Sunday November 3rd! I will have Capt Frank Bacheler on the show with me this Sunday night and perhaps we will have Smokey joining us too! We will be giving away tons of fishing tips, tricks, techniques and he will be answering your questions LIVE during the show! Plus, there’s plenty of FREE FISHING TRIPS to win as well! The shows last for about an hour, and you can find them on the Hubbard’s Marina Facebook page or the Hubbard’s Marina YouTube page. We recommend following the Facebook event link for show info including what’s being discussed, who the guests are, and any changes! Check out the past shows on this page, and find the Facebook event link on this page too -> https://hubbardsmarina.com/live-q-and-a-fishing-shows/
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 8:15am! 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
Enjoy learning more about fishing? Attended a seminar or watched our LIVE Q&A show Sunday nights but want to see the tips and tricks in action on the boat? We have filmed a mangrove snapper, grouper and red snapper mastery course with Salt Strong and they built me my own private page to give my fishing friends steep discounts on these crazy cool courses… PLUS, you also have the opportunity to become an insider member and join the community with great giveaways, raffles, the strike score tool, spot dissections, tons of free fishing videos and tips for inshore, near shore and offshore and MORE this is a super cool family of anglers and the positivity and openness of anglers is wild in this group… in the community people share what they caught, when the caught it, what tide they caught it, what bait or lure they caught it one and often WHERE they caught it too… you HAVE to check this out if you like fishing: https://SaltStrong.com/Hubbard
Captain Jack’s dolphin corner
Dolphins have been very actively lately around Johns Pass. We have seen lots of our local dolphins being playful around the area. They are moving in big pods together socializing the juvenile dolphins and enjoying the now a little cooler weather. Plus, our local waters are much more clear making spotting and enjoying the dolphins that much more fun. The incoming tides bring beautiful near crystal clear water into our back bay waters making that the best time to enjoy the great views from our dolphin watching nature cruise and eco tour at Hubbard’s Marina.
On our dolphin tours at Hubbard’s Marina, many of the trips have been lucky to spot a few of these big pods of dolphins. They are typically very active up on the surface making it a very unique view from our big blue boat that is located closest to the Johns Pass Bridge inside Johns Pass at Hubbard’s Marina.
Besides being playful and in larger groups our local dolphins have been very acrobatic as of late jumping out of the water nearly completely fairly often as we cruise through the back protected bay waters during our dolphin watching nature cruise and eco tour at Hubbard’s Marina aboard the big blue boat!
The local jack crevalle are moving in large groups around the area chasing big schools of active white bait. These hungry predatory fish make quite a spectacle when feeding on these schools of bait. The dolphins will often take advantage of these fish as they are feeding on the smaller bait fish. You can get lucky and watch these guys work together to start feeding on the jacks as they feed on the minnows. This is quite a great spectacle to experience and not something you will soon forget. This is a unique time of year for these types of experiences. It’s a great time to come join us at Hubbard’s Marina for a relaxing boat tour on the big blue dolphin tour boat inside Johns Pass!
We are still spotting manatees during our dolphin watching nature cruise and eco tour and our sunset cruise tours as well. It maybe late in the year, but the big cold snaps haven’t started quite yet. Once those begin our local manatees will make their way north out of our area for the ‘winter’ season. They hide out in the springs to our north during that short time of year when our local waters get cooler. However, for now we still have quite a few of them around looking healthy and showing off for our guests aboard our dolphin watching nature cruise and eco tour at Hubbard’s Marina!
This time of year is our favorite time of year for amazing sunsets unlike any other! Great time to join us for one of our sunset cruises at Hubbard’s Marian because the weather is making some outstanding colorful views for the lucky visitors and locals who join us for our daily sunset cruise that offers FREE beer and wine every night around 7pm.
Call us today to book your dolphin tour at (727)393-1947 and get more information on this trip at our website here -> https://hubbardsmarina.com/dolphin-watching-cruises/
Tampa bay ferry News
This time of year is the best time of year to get out to Egmont key island for a day of fun in the sun and an awesome snorkeling opportunity. The snorkeling this time of year is the best it gets as the waters are really clear and the water temps aren’t too chilly yet as well.
Along with the beautiful waters we are seeing lots of shark’s teeth out at the island. One of our locals who goes out to Egmont key often found a huge tooth this week that was over two inches long and perfectly intact. He often finds large teeth like this while out at Egmont key island with us aboard the fort de soto to Egmont key ferry boat ride with us at Tampa Bay Ferry by Hubbard’s Marina
The local gopher tortoise that hang around Egmont key are out and about quite a bit during the day this time of year since the night time periods are a little chillier. They will come out during the morning hours to warm up and enjoy some sun as our guests explore the island!
The water clarity right now out at Egmont key and Shell key islands is out of this world! If you’d like to spend a day at the island with nearly perfect water conditions come out and join us sometime soon for a ride from Fort De soto’s bay pier to Egmont key island or from Fort De Soto’s boat ramp to beautiful shell key!
Besides nearly crystal clear local waters we are also enjoying more moderate temperatures. The cooler temps will make for a great opportunity to explore the island’s interiors without dealing with so much heat and the bugs will be significantly reduced as well the cooler it gets!
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/
Hey guys, we have our 2020 clubs starting up around the end of November or Early December. If you are interested in signing up or learning more about our loyalty program that will make it more affordable for you to go fishing even more often then make sure to reach out to Capt Dylan at his email below!
If you are an existing regular’s club member make sure to start paying close attention to those special regular’s club email newsletters as the announcements start to come about the renewals for the 2020 clubs!
Captain Dylan Hubbard
Vice president and Co-Owner
(727)393-1947 ext. 306