Inshore- Right now the inshore bite has been pretty steady and we have had a great week of action, but the coming weekend’s weather is going to mess that up a bit for a brief period. This past week we have seen lots of sheepshead, decent numbers of snook and redfish and plentiful trout. Pompano are showing up in the area too and should only get better through the early spring time. Keep in mind with the incoming weather I would suggest focusing on sheepshead through the later part of the weekend and the start of the coming week before shifting back to the redfish, snook and pompano after the start of the coming week behind the big blow this weekend.
Snook fishing has been best around the mouth of the bayous, rivers and up in the bays but we are seeing snook hanging tough in the passes even with the cooler temps. The past few days we have even had snook hanging around the dock lights and bridges like they do in the summer time, however, the numbers are just much less impressive. While back in the bay where water temps are more regulated and water gets warmer during the day in the shallows there are definitely higher concentrations of snook hanging out. They are taking the slower moving artificial baits, shrimp and live pinfish right now pretty well.
Redfish action has been steady lately around the back bay and upper bay waters around the mangrove shorelines, oyster bars, residential docks and canals too. They love the smaller pinfish, shrimp and cut baits. However, they will take the slower moving artificials like the gold spoons and soft plastics working slowly around the structures and shorelines. Especially up in the shallows when the water is moving we are finding the best redfish cooperation.
Trout bite very well this time of year. During the day we find them biting best across many areas but especially around the edges of the flats, potholes up on the flats. At night we are finding them best around the structures and lights of the passes at night but residential dock lights where water is moving hold plenty of trout too. Live shrimp or white bait are the best ideas for trout this time of year or slow moving artificial lures that mimic what these guys are eating best.
Sheepshead fishing has been very easy lately especially around the docks, bridges, jetties, piers and seawalls through the areas. They love the small pieces of shrimp, cut clams or oysters, fiddler crabs, and also barnacles too. They are right on the structures so when you are targeting these fish you got to make sure your bait is right on or very close to the structures as well. Often lighter tackle and minimal weights are best to target these great eating unique looking fish that love cooler, murkier waters. However, we do catch them almost anytime this time of year when the waters are cooler.
Near Shore – The gag grouper have closed as of January first, but the lane snapper have opened back up for harvest. Plus, right now we are doing very well on some nice hogfish action around 40-70ft of water. Also, a few mackerel are still around right now too. Biggest problem near shore this time of year is timing your trips around the weather. We get these large low pressures, strong high pressures and pre frontal activity that can really affect our abilities to get out on the water to get after these hogfish.
Lane snapper love the small pieces of squid or live shrimp on the lighter tackle like mangrove snapper. These guys are great eating fish and they are typically fairly thick in an area and tend to cooperate well. I like to use around 20-40lb test leader with around 3-4ot hooks and lighter leads with a 4000 series spinning reel. They are most commonly found a little deeper in our near shore waters from around 60-100ft of water.
Mangrove snapper action has been a little hit and miss mostly due to weather, but when they are biting well we are seeing some larger fish being caught in the 2-3lb range. The true big boys 4-9lbs are out deeper but we can get some nice near shore mangrove snapper action closer to 60-100ft of water but the deeper you go the bigger and more prolific they seem to get this time of year. These guys need the double snell rig, cut threadfin and around 30lb floro leader with 4ot hooks.
The hogfish action is on point right now near shore around 40-70ft of water. It’s a great time to get out there between these weather ridges and fronts to enjoy some hogfish hunting on our 5 or 10 hour trips or a private fishing charter or you own boat! The best way to target them is using live shrimp or very fresh dead shrimp on lighter tackle and lighter weights around ½ an ounce to 1 oz weights. The 4ot hook seems to be the best size to use when hog hunting but the 1-2oz Nekid ball jigs are a great secondary option if you aren’t comfortable using the knocker rig style set up.
Red grouper are biting decently too, but they are little difficult as of late as they can be spotty and tough to find in good numbers. They love squid strips, small octopus, live pinfish and also whole threadfins. I typically use 40-60lb test and a 6-7ot hook when targeting these red grouper near shore. Closer to 80-100ft of water is where I would suggest starting to look for red grouper this time of year on the flat hard bottom, potholes, rock piles or smaller ledges where the gags are not as thick.
The gag grouper season has ended offshore too, but we still have tons of fish to go target like red grouper, scamp grouper, mangrove snapper, vermillions and MORE. This next month we will be fishing a little deeper to get the biggest mangrove snapper and fat red grouper with hopefully a side of the scamp grouper too. Closer to 160-200ft of water is where we plan to target to find these fish.
Red grouper love the squid strips, live pinfish and whole threadfins on those deeper water potholes or cracks in that flat hard bottom area. They are more ‘grazers’ across the hard bottom areas so finding a big concentration can be tough, especially this time of year but luckily the mangrove snapper are often mixed in with these guys too.
Mangrove snapper are moving a bit deeper offshore but they are going to hopefully bite very well in a large average size like they did for us last January. The double snell rig with around 40lb test and double snelled 5-6ot hooks are a great way to target these larger mangrove snapper offshore.
This time of year we see cobia, tuna, occasional kingfish and wahoo offshore too for the pelagic species so make sure to have some rods rigged in case something happens to swim by your boat while you are offshore fishing!
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Upcoming up at Hubbard’s Marina
WIN FREE FISHING TRIPS at our next Bass Pro Shops seminar event coming up Saturday January 18th at 2pm! Hope you can join us for another great fishing conversation and event at the Tampa Bass Pro Shops located on Palm River road in Tampa/Brandon area. Here’s more information on the event, please check it out and click ‘going’ or ‘interested’ to help us spread the word: https://www.facebook.com/events/2551787704940547/
DON’T FORGET, YOU CAN ALSO WIN FREE FISHING TRIPS if you Join us for one of our special live stream fishing shows Sunday nights at 8:30pm! We will be giving away tons of fishing tips, tricks, techniques and 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/
2020 Specialty trip spots are filling FAST! Make sure to give us a call or book online for 2020 12, 39 or 44 hour trips sooner than later for 2020 as those trips will fill quickly! Especially our 2020 red snapper season trips they will fill quickly so book your trips early and book often. However, keep in mind the cancelation policies which are located in your confirmation emails. The 2020 fishing year will have strictly enforced policies due to issues we have seen as of late with last minute or nearly last minute cancelations.
Don’t forget about our brand new system that allows you to now TEXT OUR OFFICE if you’d rather not call us! Now you can call or text us at (727)393-1947 so for quick questions or updates or anything you can reach out even easier. PLUS, we have completely re designed our website too, make sure to check out the new site and let us know how we did. Any issues, comments, feedback or anything in relation to the website redesign please email me at [email protected] and remember if you have visited our site often you may have to clear your cache before getting the full new site to show up. You can do this easily via computer by hitting CTRL and then F5 while holding the control key, once the cache clears the site will refresh with all the new updates!
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
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
Captain Jack’s dolphin corner
White pelicans showing back up to our area for their winter time retreat, great time to go cruising our local back bay waters to spot these beautiful and unique birds while they are in town for a short time!
Also, the mullet are heading out of the back bay waters to spawn near shore with these cold fronts so due to this we have huge schools of fish moving together which causes large pods of dolphins to aggregate and actively feed heavily on these moving schools. This creates a great show for our dolphin watching nature cruise and eco tour guests and our sunset cruise guests alike when we are able to come across these actively feeding and aggressive pods!
Due to the winter time weather up north many of the bald Eagles head south for the winter to stay warm. We have a huge number of bald eagles hanging around area now and the last few days we have had a few relaxing on the sand bars at low tide to sun themselves and rest up for more fishing fun as the water starts to flood back into the bays with the incoming tides.
Our local bird nesting island called Dog Leg Key is getting very active this time of year as the temperatures cool our local seabirds are starting to show winter plumage. This shows they are getting ready to nest at the island to have the next generation of local seabirds coming soon! You can view all the nest and most of the birds during our daily dolphin watching nature cruise and eco tour aboard our big blue boat at Hubbard’s Marina inside Johns Pass, Madeira beach.
Due to this, and the earlier sunset time it’s a great time for bird watching on our sunset cruise this time of year since we are able to cruise by Dog Leg Key just as the sun is getting ready to set which is when most of our local seabirds return home to the island for the night!
Also, due to the awesome temps its nice and cool and not so hot on the water. However, for us Floridians it maybe a little chilly so make sure to have a light jacket if you are a local with friends attending our on the water adventures!
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
Right now with the barrage of the cold fronts makes shelling out of this world out at Egmont key with us aboard our Egmont key ferry boat ride from Fort De Soto’s county park. We have 11am tours leaving Wednesday-Sunday this time of year that offer 2 hours out on the island after a 30 minute ride out and 30 minute ride back. 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/
While out on the island, you can go shelling around the permiter or trek through the interior of the island to the western side where the shelling is even better! Plus, you have a great shot at sharks teeth and more. Plus, this time of year is awesome for exploring the island’s interior a bit more on your way to the gulf side of the island. There’s cooler temps and hardly any bugs after the cooler weather sets in on the island.
The shark’s teeth have been the highlight lately out at the islands with some very large teeth found out at Egmont key and a few at shell key recently. Behind the cold fronts the islands get fresh rounds of great shells and a few of these sharks’ teeth too!
We are seeing lots of active seabirds around the islands with the cooler temps some of our norther friends like bald eagles come down to join us on our beautiful beaches as well!
the dolphins have been very active as of late adding a special bonus to our
ferry guests as they ride from Fort De Soto out to Egmont key or Shell Key
We have finished our regular’s club renewals for 2020. We have officially called and emailed all the guests who were active members this year to see if they are ready to renew. If you are an active member and have not renewed, there is no big rush but it helps a lot to get resigned up for next year sooner than later.
If you are not an active member, but you’d like to be we are doing our NEW member sign ups. Give me a call or email and we can talk about the clubs and get you signed up ASAP. Once you sign up your discount becomes active and stays active until December 31st, 2019!
Remember, you can now call or TEXT our main office line – (727)393-1947
Captain Dylan Hubbard
president and Co-Owner
(727)393-1947 ext. 306