This week the inshore fishing has been pretty darn good with some very active and hungry snook, redfish, trout, and some tarpon around the area day and night. The passes have seen the same species very active at night before sunrise. The mouth of Tampa bay has held some very prolific and aggressive mangrove snapper and those can be found during the day time in most passes too around the structure. The bay’s mitigation sites and rock piles and the ledges adjacent to the shipping channel has produced some nice gag grouper. Plus, mackerel are all over the beaches, local piers, passes, the skyway and all around the mouth of Tampa Bay!
The live bait has been very prolific around the area on the flats, on the bridges, in the passes and on the beaches too. We are seeing some nice sized green backs, plenty of glass minnows and some big threadfins on the beaches. These big schools of bait are holding plenty of predatory fish and making fishing more like catching if you can find them when the tide is moving and the fish are feeding. If the school of bait isn’t excited up on the surface that is a good sign the fish aren’t feeding underneath them. Typically when predators are feeding actively around a school of bait they will be in a tight quickly moving formation right up on the surface or against structure or a shoreline. They will be ‘showering’ which resembles heavy rain on the surface of the water, this is a very clear sign that the bigger fish are going after them under the surface of the water. Keep an eye out for this around the bay, on the flats, or on the beaches this time of year for lots of fun filled fishing action.
If you are looking for something to take home and eat the mackerel and mangrove snapper are your best bet since the snook, redfish and trout are all catch and release only until end of May 2020. Plus, they are lots of fun to catch with the whole family on lighter tackle.
Mangrove snapper are typically around the bridges, piers, jetties or rock piles in the bay. They love shrimp, greenbacks or pieces of clam. You can use cut shrimp or greenbacks too for these aggressive quick biting snapper. They are great eating too, but they are very smart. Due to this, they are a little tricky to get dialed in on as they are a little leader shy and if it’s not looking natural they will not cooperate. This is why lightest possible tackle is always best for these mangrove snapper. I like around 15-20lb floro to start with a 2ot hook and if you struggle to get them going you can even go lighter on the leader and a little smaller on the hook. The best method is free line fishing for these guys as they often will eat your bait as it makes its way to bottom, but if the current is strong sometimes it requires a split shot or super light egg sinker. I like to target these guys at the start or end of the outgoing or incoming when the water is moving but it’s not quite cranking yet because once it’s cranking you can still catch them but it’s much more difficult to present naturally and also tougher to feel the bite as well.
Mackerel are all over the passes, piers, beaches, and mouth of the Bay. They love the free lined greenbacks or the fast moving flashy lures like a Gotcha plug which is my favorite or a casting spoon with a casting weight in line ahead of the lighter spoon. The trick with these guys is covering a large area with a longer rod for big long casts. Let your lure sink deeply before starting a very quick retrieve. We often catch these guys at 7-9kts or around 8-10mph trolling near shore and along the beaches so when fishing for them around the local area you can’t really retrieve too quickly unless you’re pulling your lure out of the water and skipping it on the surface. These guys hang from the bottom up to the surface, but I find often the bigger ones are a little deeper just like their big cousins the king mackerel. This is why a heavier 7/8th oz or 1oz gotcha is my favorite and why I cast it out and let it sink nearly to the bottom before starting my retrieve.
Snook have been very active around the area both day and night, but typically snook are even more cooperative at night and that has held true again this past week. We saw them stacked up in the mornings around Johns Pass and most local passes have reported the same. Plus, the docks with lights around the passes that have plenty of water moving past them have held plentiful snook too. During the day, we are still seeing some smaller male snook out on the beaches in the 18-25 inch range. The bigger female snook can be found around the deeper areas of the passes during the day looking for opportunistic dead chunk baits on the bottom. Were also seeing some great snook action around the flats and mangrove shore lines around the bays and intercostal. Typically, by this time of year the snook start making their way back into the bays and around the mouth of the rivers to hide out for the winter. However, this year we haven’t had our first real big cold snap. In my opinion, this is why we are still seeing plenty of fish around the beaches and passes still. IN the coming weeks these fish will start heading further up into the bays and finally into the rivers and bayous for the winter where temps are more regulated.
Redfish have been just as active if not a little more active this past week compared to our local snook population. At night, were seeing them around the passes hanging on the bottom feeding around the edges of the dock light lines. Also, around the sandy bottom of the bridges on the light line is a great place to find them. Lots of local anglers have been successful on these guys bouncing a soft plastic paddletail with a weighted jig head along the sandy bottom adjacent to our local bridges for these redfish. In Johns Pass, we have seen the north side of the bridge on the west side holding plenty of redfish on the outgoing tide through the night time period, but dusk has been the prime time just after sunset. During the day, redfish are typically found around oyster bars and mangrove shore lines or the grass flats too. However, this time of year typically during the day you can find large schools of these guys moving together around the flats or out along the beaches or even just near shore for their spawning time. When you are lucky enough to happen upon a school take care not to spook them with your motor! If you don’t have a trolling motor I like to coast up ahead and try and predict where they school will be and shut off the motor and catch them while you’re in position. Once they start moving away let the school move well past you and then you can start your motor and give them a very extra wide birth around them before trying to set up for another hit on the school before they pass you again. This leap frog technique will prevent you from chasing them and spooking the fish and shutting down the bite.
The trout have been a little tougher but you can find them during the day on the flats, I like to target the sandy patches around the flats they seem to hug the edges of those sandy patches. Also, often when you find a trout there’s typically a handful more in the exact same area. If you hook a trout on the flats and you want another I always cast nearly in the same exact spot and try to replicate my previous action of the lure or the same live bait. At night, were seeing these guys around the lights of the bridges and dock lights around the passes too. They love live shrimp or the green backs free lined out or the DOA shrimp lures work well.
Tarpon are still around the area too, this warmer October has held them around our area much later than normal. We spot a huge number of tarpon around the Johns Pass bridge nearly every morning hanging fender lights right in the middle of the pass. Clearwater pass has had the same large number of tarpon feeding around the bridge lights once the water gets moving. The Dick Misner bridge and also the Skyway are also holding plenty of these large fun fighting fish! However, if you want a shot a nice tarpon the time to go try is now. I like a small ladyfish, big finger mullet, pass crab or large threadfin for the live bait when targeting the tarpon. However, if you want to use a lure the flairhawks have worked for some of the pass fisherman and also lures like the rapala xrap or bomber windcheater.
Near shore –
The mackerel are still very prolific around our near shore waters, plus now the kingfish are being more and more cooperative around the near shore artificial reefs and bait schools moving along our beautiful beaches. This past Tuesday afternoon our afternoon half day pulled in around a 12-15lb kingfish as we approached the Johns Pass sea buoy which is only a mile from the bridge. Brian Harris, our live bait expert at Hubbard’s Marina, has been catching plenty of mackerel around the beaches and out to around 3 miles lately fishing hard bottom areas that are holding bait. Plus, this time of year the stone crab traps have been placed along our coast line. These guys are essentially a chum block marking a hard bottom area. Plus, they have a line running from the trap up to a buoy to mark the trap’s location. This line often will hold white bait from green backs to threadfins to sardines and more. Between the chum in the trap, the bait hiding around the line, and the sea life hiding under the buoy the mackerel and sometimes even the kingfish will be often found around these crab traps. Also, crabbers will only put their crab lines along the harder bottom where the stone crabs are crawling. They even make it easy by often placing their traps in a straight line! This makes trolling adjacent to the trap line very easy and typically very productive this time of year. However, you have to be super careful not to drag any lures into the crab trap lines. This will make you lose your lure and it’s super dangerous for the crabbers trying to retrieve their traps from the bottom. Around the mackerel are the kingfish, its still a little early and we aren’t seeing them everywhere like we should be soon but we are definitely seeing more and more each week.
The mangrove snapper have been pretty cooperative this past week as well near shore in the deepest near shore waters around 80-100ft of water were seeing some fairly active mangrove snapper bites. Also, many of the fish we are landing are fairly good sized mangrove snapper for how shallow we are catching them.
Hogfish action continues to heat up each week and this week was the same. We saw some really nice hogfish on our private fishing charters and a few on our 5 hour half days and 10 hour all days additionally too. The hogfish love the live shrimp, fiddle crabs, sand fleas or rock shrimp. However, I like to primarily use shrimp because it gives you a shot at a little of everything out there near shore and you have more action and fun while out fishing. Plus, occasionally you can find some lane snapper, mangroves or sea bass while targeting the hogfish around that 30-70ft area where they primarily are found most often. You find plenty of other fish while hog fishing with shrimp too like porgies or the grey snapper (white grunts) and it makes it very active and fun while near shore fishing. Those shrimp can be a little tricky out there in the deeper waters since they come off the hook with the smallest nibble and fishing in 30-70ft with shrimp is a whole lot more challenging than fishing a dock or a flat with shrimp which is already pretty challenging when pinfish or snapper are around.
Lane snapper are very active in the deeper near shore waters around those mangrove snapper and the deepest part of the hogfish territory from around 60-100 foot is where we are seeing the lane snapper. They love the live shrimp, but they will take squid too and they are so good eating. Plus, we have been seeing those lanes more and more often as of late.
Similarly to last week we have unfortunately not been offshore this week due to the weather and not having our big boat back from dry dock. However, that is going to change this weekend as our 44 hour full moon trip will be leaving the dock by the time you read this email. We are very excited to get them offshore and see how the fishing is after a long pause of these long range deep sea fishing adventures.
HOWEVER, RED SNAPPER SEASON DID GET EXTENDED that is the big news offshore right now but this was not applicable to our boats at Hubbard’s Marina unfortunately. This was a private recreational red snapper season extension. This means you have to be on a private boat not any type of charter boat to fish for red snapper during these extra days in federal waters. State water for hire anglers can fish in state waters for red snapper these extra days but in our area that means nothing since we don’t have red snapper of any size or consistency inside state waters which are from the beach out to 9 miles. Federal waters start at 9 miles and extend out to 200 miles from shore. All our boats at Hubbard’s Marina and most any offshore charter boat in the gulf that is running legally is going to be a federally permitted vessel. If you are federally permitted then you are under federal regulation and this means our red snapper season is over and is not being extended like the private recreational red snapper season. All this means, to catch red snapper on these extra days you cannot be on any type of charter boat so no consideration of any kind can be exchanged to land a red snapper legally. If you got your own boat, or if you can join a buddy on his boat then you can get out there after these deep water snapper. The extra days are Fridays and Saturdays only October 12-13th, October 19-20th, and finally October 26-27th. Six extra weekend days to land you some red snapper.
For us, we have everything open to catch out there except red snapper and triggerfish so even not being able to participate in the extra days we still have TONS OF FISH to catch!
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 October 19th 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! Stay tuned to our morning facebook and youtube videos fore more info and updates and don’t forget to check out this event link and help us spread the word by click ‘going’ or ‘interested’ and share it with friends! Event link: https://www.facebook.com/events/393341371269723/
Join us for one of our special live stream fishing shows Sunday nights at 8:30pm! Capt Dylan Hubbard and sometimes a special guest 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