Snook, redfish and trout are going to be catch and release only until end of May 2021 in our area but that hasn’t stopped them from cooperating. The weather has been tough but the fish are biting when your able to get out there in between the weather fronts dodging the high winds, rain and sea conditions. The bite should be best throughout our area during this weekend and the start of the coming week outside of Saturday when another small front will pass through our area.
Sheepshead bite is definitely the highlight this past week even through the more turbulent weather the sheepshead are continuing to bite well. They seem to be at their height of the spawn which has them biting well around the flats, on the bay side and gulf side structure, and even on the near shore hard bottom areas in big aggressive aggregations. These guys are taking live shrimp, fiddlers, clams, oysters, barnacles and pretty much any crustacean presented to them. Sheepshead technique is very similar to the hogfish technique you want to use lighter tackle and lightest possible weight with a natural presentation. The only difference for the sheepies is that you are fishing right on or adjacent to the structure while the hogfish tend to be just outside or alongside the structure areas.
Redfish bite is a little tougher this past week but that didn’t stop some experienced anglers from catching decent numbers around the back bay mangrove shorelines, the dock lines in the residential canals and even some out on the flats. Smaller live pinfish, soft plastic paddle tails and some medium to large shrimp seemed to be the best baits for them this past week. Weather has been tough, and you got to find that weather window with moving water to get these guys to eat. When its colder out the early to mid afternoon time in the shallower 2-4ft areas are good places to target these redfish. They tend to be aggregated pretty well along the seawalls and underneath residential docks trying to soak up some heat too.
Snook action has been pretty good despite the weather. Most of these guys are coming up around the flats of the back bay and upper bay areas, residential dock lines, and a few on the beaches and in the pass prior to the bad weather. When it warms up for a few days in a row they tend to start spreading out into the passes and slowly onto the beach but then as a front approaches they quickly head back up into the bay looking for warmer shallow water in the residential canals and the bayous and river mouths. Large live shrimp, white bait on the flats and soft plastic paddle tails were the hot baits this past week for snook in our area.
Speckled Trout bite has been great during the nice weather and pretty good during even the tough weather if you could find a wind protected shoreline to target them. We saw some really large speckled trout this past week as well around the grass flats during the day and at night around the dock lights and bridge lights throughout the area. These guys love the artificial shrimp or soft plastics and if you prefer live bait the live shrimp or white bait work well.
Silver trout and whiting are biting pretty consistently around the passes, channels and along our beaches right now. Great time to get out there with the family and target these fun to catch fairly aggressive species. Whiting and silver trout both can be caught just outside the surf on the beaches, from the local beach piers, and around the local jetties. At night the silver trout will even cooperate in the passes. They both like feeding closer to the bottom on slower moving soft plastics. However, you need a little heavier jig head to get casting distance past the surf and to allow you to keep it right on or just above the bottom.
Flounder bite has been decent around the sandy potholes of the grass flats, the sandy edges of the passes, and even a decent amount just off the beaches adjacent to hard bottom areas. We are doing really well on the flounder using our mud minnows or creek chubs we now have at our bait shop, but live shrimp on the bottom will work or slower moving plastics. My favorite flounder lure has to be a DOA shrimp.
Mackerel before the recent front were active around the mouth of the bay and along our beaches and in the passes. Hopefully as the weather calms down and the waters clear up that action will pick right back up for us.
Triple tail were thick along the beach and around the bay hitting live shrimp around the crab traps and markers prior to the weather at the end of the last weekend. Similar to mackerel they should pick back up once the water clears back up.
Near Shore –
Hogfish are biting well still near shore, but the trick right now is finding the weather to get out there to the fish. We are getting a small weather window today and then again Sunday and Monday and I would bet the BEST time to go get em will be Monday because that will give the most amount of time for the water to calm down and clear up and barometer to stabilize and it will be right ahead of the next incoming weather disturbance which will hopefully have the hogfish foaming near shore! The best area to target the hogfish is around 40-70 foot of water but you can catch them as shallow as around 30 foot and we see them fairly consistently up to around 90 foot of water. We even catch them offshore in deeper waters in excess of 120 foot but they become much more difficult to target as you get deeper on hook and line because theres often so many more aggressive fish around ready to eat your bait. This is why we seem to catch the most of them around 40-70 foot of water using around 1-2 inch pieces of live shrimp or fresh dead shrimp. Avoid using frozen shrimp or anything that’s been dead long enough to turn pink. These guys like the fresh dead shrimp or live shrimp with the most natural coloration. Lightest tackle you can muster around 30lb floro and 3-4ot hooks with lighter lead around ¾ – 1oz is best. I prefer to knocker rig for them myself, but we have tons of success using the nekid ball jigz or even jig heads for these hogfish.
We are also seeing plenty of mangrove snapper around 60-100 foot of water and around that area some really nice lane snapper numbers too. Great time to get out there and target hogfish while enjoying a nice side of mangrove snapper and lane snapper and tons of the great eating grey snapper or white grunts.
While near shore don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for floating debris because we are seeing plenty of triple tail near shore under floating debris and crab trap buoys. The weather needs to be a little clearer to spot them easily but we should get this opportunity by the start of this coming week.
There’s some nice numbers of mackerel around just off the beach into the near shore waters right now. Plenty of big bait schools around that are making these mackerel feed aggressively and it makes it super easy to find them in cooperative aggregations.
Also, we are seeing tons of sheepshead near shore around the artificial reefs and large rock pile and ledge areas. These guys are out there in spawning aggregations so you can find some massive sheepshead by happenstance while targeting hogfish or snapper.
Don’t forget the redfish too! These guys head offshore in huge schools to spawn off the beaches 3-50 miles. We have seen these schools as deep as 150 foot of water offshore but they are mostly spotted right on the beach up to around 15 miles. Keep in mind these are spawning aggregations so we often try to avoid them and don’t target them but occasionally you can’t avoid them. We often find that when were anchored up fishing near shore and one of these schools passes close by they will inundate our boat trying to steal all the food they can allowing us some fun catch and release fishing in the meantime but you got to make sure to hook and release them as quickly as you can not causing undue stress or harm to a fish in the process of proliferating a species that is in some trouble.
Right now, offshore fishing has been nearly non existing around Hubbard’s Marina. Unfortunately, due to weather we have been stuck near shore fishing or at the dock. However, we are looking forward to the March first opening of triggerfish and as soon as the weather breaks were heading deep around 150-250 foot of water to get some massive triggerfish on the ledges and potholes. While out that deep we should see some big vermillion snapper, cooperative good-sized mangroves, possibly some yellowtail, big porgies and maybe some grouper. However, keep in mind the deep water closure still is going on in the month of March so any grouper caught beyond the 20 fathom closure line (120ft of water) you have to release back after venting the fish or using a descender device. Make sure to NEVER release a fish offshore and let it float away. We always ensure to vent or descend fish if they need it to avoid them floating off to die. Typically, when we get started on a spot the first fish we release will let us know if we need to vent or descend at that fishing spot. If the first fish caught and release swims down quickly and healthy no need to vent or descend fish at that fishing spot. However, if the first fish released floats off and can’t get to bottom, we will net him up and vent or descend it and every subsequent fish after. If you don’t know how to use a venting tool or descender device, YOU SHOULD NOT BE OFFSHORE FISHING!! However, its easy to learn how check out this helpful link and click what state you want more info about and there’s tons of helpful videos and info on how to vent or descend fish to ensure your released fish will survive another day for you to catch in the future when they are larger or their season is open -> http://gulfcouncil.org/fishing-for-our-future/
For more fishing reports, photos, videos and more check out Hubbard’s Marina on facebook, Instagram, Youtube or SnapChat just simply search @HubbardsMarina and don’t forget our family motto, “If You’re too busy to go fishing, You’re just too busy!” Thanks for reading and checking out our report – Capt Dylan Hubbard, Hubbard’s Marina – Call or Txt me anytime at (727)393-1947 | https://HubbardsMarina.comPage Break
Upcoming up at Hubbard’s Marina
Trigger fish opens march first! Starting march first we will be able to harvest triggerfish once again offshore if this weather ever allows us to get out there deep again! They will remain open until May second so we don’t have much time to get deep and catch our fill of these great eating fish.
Red snapper season 2020 should be finalized shortly for the federal for hire season, but we do have news from NOAA stating that our season should be 7-8 days longer than the 2019 season meaning we should see around a 70 day season from June first till around August 9th. However, that season will be announced in final form shortly and we will update you through our videos and email newsletter.
FWC did announce the private recreational red snapper season for PRIVATE anglers meaning those fishing on their own boats or a boat with friends where no money changes hands. This season will start June 11th and will continue through July 25th with a possible fall extension if quota isn’t filled in the 45 day season in the summer time.
**DO NOT WAIT for season to be finalize though, as I have been saying since our scheduled opened these red snapper dates fill FAST and if you aren’t booking now you run the risk of missing the opportunity to catch a trip for these fish!
WIN FREE FISHING TRIPS at our next Bass Pro Shops seminar event coming up Saturday March 21st at 3pm! 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. More information and an event link will be in next week’s email newsletter!
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/
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.
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
We have many visiting seabirds this time of year, our local birds are dawning their mating plumage and the dolphins are playful! Great time to join us at Hubbard’s Marina for a fun filled and relaxing hour and a half dolphin watching nature cruise and eco tour through our back protected bay waters!
We have spotted some roseatte spoonbills lately around our local oyster bars in the back bays. These guys are super cool to spot and so unique looking when they get nice and pink from all the shrimp they eat.
Due to the wintertime 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.
White pelicans showing back up to our area for their wintertime 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, 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!
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
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 perimeter 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 are 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!
Plus, 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 islands!
We are officially into the 2020 year and our 2020 regular’s club is solidifying. If you have not renewed your membership has become inactive and your discount is no longer working. Please make sure to call me and get set up again when you have time so that way your 2020 bookings will have your discount attached when you show up for your trips! We can sign you up via phone or in person, and it is always easier ahead of your trip.
If you are not a 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, 2020!
Remember, you can now call or TEXT our main office line – (727)393-1947
Captain Dylan Hubbard
Vice president and Co-Owner
(727)393-1947 ext. 306