Inshore– The pompano bite is really hot right now along the jetties of Johns Pass and the beaches. They are loving live shrimp along the bottom or Nekid ball jigz bounced along the sand. These pompano are great eating too, and bite best in the early morning or just before dark. The snook action has been hit and miss, they really fire up but then as quickly as they start it ends. We’ve seen some monsters caught inside the pass along the beach behind our office. White bait is making its return to the area in big numbers along the beach and there’s not much time till they flood the passes again bringing the mackerel into the bay and making our trout, snook, tarpon and redfish get fat again. Tarpon will be everywhere soon as the spring time waters warm and the bait returns the silver kings won’t be too far behind the large bait schools.
Near shore- The red grouper bite has really picked up for us with the warming waters. We’re seeing them start to be more aggressive and moving a bit closer to shore. They love long strips of squid strips cut to imitate octopus tentacles, this is our favorite bait to drift for red grouper. Since red grouper are foragers that move over large areas of hard rock bottom drifting is a great technique to show your baits to more red grouper and increase chances of catching plenty. Gag or black grouper are very different they hide under specific structures so they require you to anchor and present your baits naturally calmly on the bottom so they can approach after everything has settled. Red grouper are more reactionary feeders and are much more aggressively hunting areas of hard bottom for food. Hogfish bite is going very well as well and were seeing monsters on the 10 hour all day and private charters we caught two in one trip this past week over the 8lb range!
Offshore– Amberjack is closing and were very sad to see this happen with so much time left in our promised ten month season. However, there’s plenty of fat red grouper, scamp grouper, mangrove snapper, tuna, kingfish, wahoo, yellowtail and more ahead for us to catch. This past week we’ve been catching up our last few jacks before they close and catching plenty of tuna, red grouper and pig mangrove snapper too. The Flying HUB 2 extreme trips have been catching big African pompano out deep this time of year as well. We typically catch them while targeting mangrove snapper over large wrecks or springs up off the bottom. You should really see the latest videos on Facebook as we have been doing video updates after each long range trip returns: https://www.facebook.com/hubbardsmarina/videos
Want to read the past reports? Check out this link: https://hubbardsmarina.com/hubbards-marina-fishing-reports/
Tampa Bay Ferry and Taxi news
Spring break has sprung, definitely a great time to utilize the water taxi and avoid the chaotic beachside traffic jams and struggle of finding and baying for beachside parking. If you park at stop number seven called Jungle Prada you can get free parking and it’s easy to access from Park Street. Then you can hop on the ferry and water taxi and enjoy your ride to the beaches instead of fighting the traffic. Also, stop number four Madeira beach Municipal marina also offers free parking and that stop is well away from beach traffic on Gulf Boulevard. For more info on these stops like their address, check this link: http://www.tampabayferry.com/madeira-beach-taxi-route/
The Water taxi now runs Wednesday until Sunday 10am until 10pm so with the newly expanded schedule it makes it much easier to utilize our ferry and water taxi by Hubbard’s Marina.
Captain Jack’s dolphin corner
We think there’s more local baby dolphins coming to Johns Pass and surrounding areas. The main reason we think this is that were spotting our local females grouped up together with the more experience females leading the pods. This is typically a sign that one female is pregnant and the other ladies are helping her get ready to give birth. We may see newborn bottle nosed dolphins any day now around Hubbard’s Marina.
Dog Leg key, our local island Rookery, has plenty of baby seabirds on the island right now. The most visible ones are the baby pelicans they are all white with brown feathers along their backs. Also, we have lots of baby egrets on the island too. The Roseate spoonbills have nested and eggs have hatched but they roost so deep in the island you won’t spot their juveniles until they start leaving the nests. All this to say it’s a great time to join Hubbard’s Marina for a dolphin watching nature cruise and eco tour to spot all the baby birds at the nesting island.
Manatees are back in the area, were starting to see the first groups of manatees returning from the northern springs. Great to see the water has warmed enough to allow these beautiful marine mammals to return home to our Boca Ceiga bay waters. They feed in the back bays on our plentiful and healthy turtle grass beds.
Pelicans are very active right now around Johns Pass and unfortunately due to increased number of spring break anglers were spotting many pelicans wrapped up in fishing lines. Luckily our crew and captains really love our local wildlife and we are all very well trained in catching, untangling, and freeing these pelicans that are becoming wrapped in fishing line after being hooked by unsuspecting and inexperienced anglers. Whenever you hook a seabird you must reel the bird in, cut the line close to the hook then unhook the bird. You can never let the bird fly away with line then cut it, this means the bird not only has a hook in it but then has a long piece of line following behind it that will quickly tangle around the bird itself, or tangle in the branches it rests on keeping it tied down and unable to feed.
Great time of year to visit Egmont key! The weather isn’t too hot quite yet, plus during spring break the Egmont key alliance has been opening the island’s guard house to the public and it acts as a museum. This is a great additional value to any island visitors that want to learn more about this pristine nature preserve and historic island paradise.
The gopher tortoise population at Egmont key has been very active lately and it’s great to see them all over the beautiful island. They are very populated now around Egmont key and you can spot them sunning themselves all over the island.
The local bald eagle that seems to be roosting atop a cell tower along the route of the dolphin watching nature cruise and eco tour boat here inside Johns pass is getting fat with the many mullet we have spotted him swooping up along the back bay waters.
Want to learn more about dolphins this winter? Check out the new great Johns Pass dolphin facts series on our Hubbard’s Marina YouTube channel to check out to see them all watch our dolphin playlist here: https://goo.gl/2mYjX2
Upcoming up at Hubbard’s Marina
Amberjack is CLOSING today at midnight and won’t reopen until January first 2018! This comes as a shock since they increased the limit of amberjack from 32 to 34 inches at the start of 2016 claiming this would allow us to have a 10 month season for AJ’s. Well in 2016 they only ended up allowing a 5 month season, and now this year we didn’t even get three months! NOAA’s National Marine fisheries service has just announced that they will be closing amberjack more than seven months early with just seven days’ notice. This is very disappointing, especially since they use out dated phone surveys to collect the data they use to close our gulf fisheries. Who has a home phone anymore and what offshore angler is at home to answer an automated phone survey? Not only that, but there’s no oversight, checks and balances, or governing body over this government Bureaucracy that is funded by millions upon millions of dollars of fed money. Doctor Crabtree is the leader of NOAAs national marine fisheries (NMFS) and his signature is all it takes to shut down an entire fishery based on flawed data, poor science and without oversight. As anglers, if you are passionate about fishing and you want your kids to be able to enjoy offshore fishing too you must wake up and get informed, educated and involved! We recommend starting by joining the Coastal Conservation associate of Florida (CCA) or the Florida guides association (FGA) or the Fishing Rights Alliance (FRA). These groups will use your membership fees to fight for your rights to fish, plus they will keep you up to date on meetings, fishery issues, and what the NMFS next move is. Once you get informed, stay on top of things and attend meetings or at the very least submit your public comments online. Contact your congressional representatives and speak with your friends. Let’s stand up, unite and fight for our rights to fish! We believe we should have an open access, public fishery for the entire Gulf of Mexico that is sustainable and managed by catch hard data and great science that can be verified and agreed upon by the majority.
Spring has sprung inside Johns Pass at Hubbard’s Marina that means we are now staying open until 8pm and starting April first we will be staying open until 9pm! This also means we are running 1pm afternoon half days more frequently, plus offering our spring and summer trips again like the 3 hour shelling trip, 2pm Egmont key trips, and tons more offerings.
The Tampa bay ferry and water taxi service has expanded to 5 days a week! It’s a great way to see the area and get to the beaches while avoiding traffic and beach parking chaos. For more info about the routes, stops and schedule check out this link: http://www.tampabayferry.com/madeira-beach-taxi-route/
To book trips on our site, check out this link: https://hubbardsmarina.com/reservations/
Want to stay up to date with the latest catches, reports and more from Hubbard’s Marina? Follow the new live video segments that Hubbard’s Marina is posting daily to Facebook! Also, more Instagram photos and videos are popping up too! Plus, were on the FishBrain app now too and they were nice enough to add Hubbard’s Marina as a fishing location so now on your future trips you can upload your catch to our location. If you have questions or want more info about all this message Dylan Hubbard on the Hubbard’s Marina Facebook page or shoot him an email: [email protected]
Amberjack closing after just over two months of being open has us hot for fishery rights. We hope you all are ready to stand up for your rights. Stay tuned for a regular’s club email calling you guys and gals to action to stand up for your rights to fish. Please read that paragraph in the beginning of the ‘upcoming at Hubbard’s Marina’ section to get a little more briefed on the situation. We hope you all can join us in the fight for your rights to fish.
If you have not renewed yet for 2017, please do so before booking your 2017 trips and you definitely want to get it done before January first. If you do not, we will be changing you to the FREE Johns Pass club which does not give you benefits you’re used to. Once in this club, you can always upgrade again to a paid club but if you book using your number while it’s a FREE Johns Pass membership you will not have your discount tied properly to your trips so get renewed before you book!
Captains Mark and Dylan Hubbard
Vice president and Regular’s club manager Hubbard’s Marina
(727)393-1947 ext 306
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