Inshore- Doug Bryan, a St Petersburg local, and his buddies fish the Johns Pass Jetty and Johns Pass bridge area nearly daily. This past week they have been catching pompano, sheepshead, speckled trout, and whiting using live shrimp and a variety of lures. The water has been very murky this past week due to the strong cold front that blew past us this past weekend, but that didn’t slow down the sheepshead bite at all. Normally behind the fronts, if anything the sheepshead seem to turn up a bit and really cooperate well and seem to flourish in the muddier murky and cooler waters behind a front. They love shrimp, fiddler crabs, sand fleas, cut pieces of clam, barnacles, and even oysters right around the structure inside the pass with 15-20lb leader, 1-2ot hook and just enough weight to hold your bait against the structure. You can also get lucky and nail them as they cruise the sandy areas along the jetties looking for sand fleas or shrimp or their next pile of structure to hide out in and feed on. Pompano love the live shrimp, fiddler crabs, or sand flies around the sandy areas adjacent to our jetties, bridges, or especially the beaches using 10-15lb line and a 2ot hook with little to no weight, but the bait has to be on the bottom so whatever weight you need to hold bottom is imperative. The pompano will also hit artificial lures like doc’s goofy jigs or Nekid ball jigs or the pompano jigs which is essentially a small flair hawk style jig with a much shorter skirt. Speckled trout are much like the pompano in the type of tackle to use while bait fishing for them, but they love mostly live shrimp or the live greenbacks. My favorite lures for them would be the DOA shrimp or the Mirror Lures, but a spro jig will also work too. Whiting is fairly easy to catch all you need are some live shrimp weighted to the bottom around the surf of the beaches and you can do pretty well on these good eating fish that forage the bottom looking for an easy meal. The red fish or red drum have been feeding around the passes too reports Brian Harris, our bait catching extraordinaire at Hubbard’s Marina, he’s been getting some nice ones around the dock lights of Johns pass at night working lures very slowly along the bottom on the edges of the dock lights.
Near shore- This week the near shore action has been a little deeper due to the stirred up conditions caused by the rough weather from last weekend’s front. We have had to fish closer to 11-13 miles to get out past that dirty water the second half of the week, but directly behind the front the fishing was very poor. Keep in mind it does take a few days behind a big front for the waters to calm down, clear up and all the variables to return to normal before the fishing turns back on. However, when everything does calm down the bite really gets hot because the fish haven’t fed for a while. On the flip side, as a front approaches the bite gets super-hot that’s why we had such great fishing yesterday as today’s front approached our local waters. This week we saw some hogfish action, some kingfish action, lots of lane snapper, and as always the grey snapper or white grunts, porgies and a few seabass were pretty steady through the week once we were able to get past the dirty, murky and sandy waters that hugged the beach this week due to the rain, wind and waves of the last cold front. The bite on the kingfish has been a little slower this week, but the blackfin tuna made up for it. Yesterday’s 10 hour all day was fishing the deepest near shore waters and they brought in a couple very thick blackfin tuna caught on the flat lines. Plus, the red grouper bite turned on for us nicely during yesterday’s all day with the biggest catch of fat red grouper we have seen aboard then ten hour all day in a while. Plus, we got a few hogfish, lane snapper, vermillion snapper and then some heads and tails like the grey snapper and porgies to fill out the box. Overall this past week started very slow but the fishing got better and better and better until today’s front ruined our fishing opportunities due to weather rolling in.
Offshore – The bite offshore has been great all week, these offshore waters are less affected by the fronts since the water isn’t as easily disturbed due to its distance from shore and its depth. Early this week the waters were still a little bumpy so it prevented us from getting as far as we would have liked but we still got plenty of nice red grouper, scamp grouper, mangrove snapper, monster vermillion snapper, some yellowtail and the kingfish too aboard the Flying HUB 2 filming trip with salt strong. The scamp grouper bit the small pinfish, squid strips and even the cut threadfins. Once you find one scamp there’s typically a few more down there ready to eat. They are mostly found at depths of 180-220 foot as of late. The red grouper have been eating a bit of everything from the flat fall or slow pitch jigs to the live pinfish, to the squid strips and even the cut threadfins. The secret weapon for a fat red grouper is double threadfins hooked through the eyes but you have to drop that very slowly to prevent it from spinning on the way down and tangling your main line. The red grouper and scamp grouper tackle of choice would be 60-80lb leader, 6oz lead, and a 7ot circle hook. However, the red grouper have bit best in 170-200ft of water and also around 90-120 foot of water. The deeper you get the harder it is to get your baits past the hungry, aggressive and prolific red snapper to the bottom where the red grouper hang out. The triggerfish love a small piece of squid on a 6ot hook and 40-60lb test. The huge vermillion we are finding were high up in the water column hitting strips of squid on the way to bottom on the similar tackle that we were landing the triggerfish on. Tuesday the weather was a bit better and that allowed us to get to the deeper waters and the bite was great again but we were targeting the red snapper for salt strong for their upcoming ‘red snapper mastery course’ but while targeting those we landed dinosaur sized vermillion, a boat limit of triggerfish, and a GIANT 80+lb amberjack on a bonita strip. Mid-week the bite slowed a bit offshore as the high pressure settled into the gulf of Mexico but the big red snapper, gag grouper and the vermillion snapper kept us busy while we were able to land a few nice keeper red grouper too. Unfortunately Thursday when the bite was the hottest as that front approached we did not have a boat fishing the deeper offshore waters, but I would assume based on the crazy good near shore bite that Thursday was probably an epic bite offshore too! The good news is that offshore the pelagic action is off the chain. Lots of kingfish out there biting well, blackfin tuna are fairly thick, plus wahoo and the occasional sailfish are starting to show up and be caught too!
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
2019 RED SNAPPER TRIPS FILLING FAST Book your 2019 RED SNAPPER 12 hr extreme, 39 or 44 hour trip TODAY while there’s still some open spots! These trips will fill quickly so book NOW. Last year red snapper trips were filled up early and we had to turn lots of last minute bookings away, so don’t miss your chance at securing your favorite trip TODAY. Here’s the link for all your 2019 specialty trips – https://hubbardsmarina.com/specialty-fishing-trip/
Our spring break busy season is slowly fading away on the backside of easter until late may we reach a little ‘lul’ time of year where the weather isn’t too hot yet and the crowds have relaxed a bit. It makes for a GREAT time to join us for a 5,10,12 or 39 hour trip before the chaos and sold out trips of the June and July months begin. We have lots of light loads on our 12 hour extreme trips, 39 hour long range overnight trips and 10 hour all day party boat trips plus lots of private fishing charter spaces opened up for bookings!
This coming Sunday April 27th is next LIVE SHOW join us if you want to learn more about fishing locally and WIN FREE FISHING TRIPS without leaving your house! Don’t forget we have the Weekly fishing conversation or seminar by Capt Dylan Hubbard LIVE on the Hubbard’s Marina Facebook & YouTube page if you don’t want to leave your house to catch a seminar! This is weekly on Sunday nights from 8:30pm until 9:30pm, check out the event page and PLEASE LIKE AND SHARE the event if you have a Facebook page, and invite your friends as well! Here’s the page to find the Facebook event link, and view all the past LIVE Q&A fishing shows – https://hubbardsmarina.com/past-qanda-live-streams/
LIGHT 39 HOUR TRIP COMING UP next Friday May 3rd if you want to join us for some red grouper, scamp grouper, mangrove snapper, yellowtail snapper, porgies, vermillion, tuna, kingfish and much more! The fishing on these long range 39 hour trips have been very good and this coming week the load is light so it’s a great opportunity to join us for plenty of room on board and great fishing! FOR MORE INFO, or to book your 39 hour NOW click this link: https://hubbardsmarina.com/39hr-overnight-fishing-trip/
We have another great Bass Pro Shops seminar coming up Saturday May 18th at 2pm if you want to join Capt Dylan for a chance to win FREE FISHING TRIPS! The fishing seminar or fishing conversation will be about an hour long of fishing conversation, tips, tricks and more! Plus, at the end of each seminar Capt Dylan gives away a FREE 10 hour all day for two guests and a FREE 5 hour half day for two guests to two lucky winners of the FREE raffle. To be entered in the raffle you just have to show up just before 2 pm and stay for the hour seminar.
12 hour night snapper trips started up, and the next one is May 10th.
If you want a chance to join us for some night time snapper fishing action for
mangrove snapper, vermillion snapper, lane snapper, porgies and more! These are
great trips with plenty of night fishing time 25-35 miles from Johns Pass for
around 7-8 hours fishing time and only for $129 but book now because these
trips do fill fast especially around the full moon. We only offer them on the
quarter and full moon phases Friday nights from 7p to 7a Saturday! Here’s all
the information on these special night time snapper fishing trips – https://hubbardsmarina.com/12hr-night-fishing-trip/
Captain Jack’s dolphin corner
It’s the beginning of bird nesting season at dog leg key our local sea bird rookery. We cruise by this island on every dolphin watching nature cruise and eco tour and also during some of our sunset cruises too. We are seeing baby pelicans and baby egrets at the island currently, plus we are seeing nesting pairs of Roseate spoonbills and the great news is the fact that we are seeing more and more of these unique pink birds every year the past 4-5 years.
Last year’s newborn dolphins are now juveniles and we are seeing them play together often in the back bays and getting very active at the surface while even showing off some of their acrobatic displays.
The dolphin watching nature cruise and eco tour has been spotting lots of manatees as of late recently too. It’s a little early in the year for manatees, but the clear waters help us to spot them easily and they have been in big groups which make it easier to find them too. This past week during one cruise we spotted a group of nine manatees cruising the back bay waters. However, these guys can hold their breathe nearly 10 minutes and they only come out of the water with their snouts and sometimes their tails too so it makes is very difficult to spot them and when you do its difficult to follow them around. This makes it a very unique treat to spot them during our cruises and this time of year is a great time for them as they return to the area from their winter vacation. Here’s all the information on our dolphin watching nature cruise and eco tour – https://hubbardsmarina.com/dolphin-watching-cruises/
Our local resident dolphins are back in the area and with the beautiful spring conditions we are seeing huge pods of dolphins grouped up together feeding and playing and teaching their young juvenile dolphins more about hunting and using their sonar by playing ‘catch’ with the plentiful jacks and sheepshead.
On top of all this great news and unique sights we are also spotting a few sea turtles cruising the back bays. It’s a little early for sea turtle nesting season but they are definitely starting to show back up in the area.
The sunset cruise right now is a great time due to the GORGEOUS spring sunsets we have been having as of late, this past week we even saw the elusive ‘green flash’ at the end of the sunset! Great time of year to join us for a sunset cruise that offers FREE BEER AND WINE, learn more here -> https://hubbardsmarina.com/sunset-cruise/
Marina Sea Adventures and Tampa Bay ferry are both proudly power by Honda
Marine! If you come visit us for a dolphin tour, sunset cruise, Egmont key
island trip, snorkeling, shelling, water taxi ride or any type of ferry or
pleasure cruise trip then you will be riding a boat powered by Honda Marine!
These new motors look great, are super quiet and are great on fuel economy! It
was tough to get four boats re-powered with new engines but it was well worth
the change and were very happy! Hope you get a chance to see these brand new
super cool engines at work on board one of our pleasure cruise and ferry boats!
To learn more about Honda Marine engines for your boat, check out their
website: https://marine.honda.com/ they have the best
warranty in the industry right now, you get a full 5 years and you just can’t
Tampa bay ferry News
The shelling and sharks teeth hunting around shell key and Egmont key has been out of this world as of late! The March weather has really blown up some great shells and the occasional shark’s tooth. Plus, when the weather is nice it’s a great time to spend the day having some fun in the sun on the islands!
Snorkeling has started once again during the ferry to Egmont key, you have the option to do the snorkeling trip once on the island with us during the Ferry to Egmont key from fort De Soto with us at Hubbard’s Marina! Check out all the info here -> https://hubbardsmarina.com/egmont-key-ferry-cruise/
Water temps are perfect right in in the mid 70’s to cool you down from the hot sun but not too chilly to snorkel or swim and enjoy the water too!
PLUS, the water clarity right now is INSANE around shell key and Egmont key! Join us for a ferry ride to paradise today to enjoy the crystal clear waters between the storms fronts, when a front blows by the waters get a little murky for a day or two then it clears up to gorgeous once again shortly after the waters calm down.
Great time to visit us for a ferry ride to Egmont key or shell key since the temps are too hot and the temps aren’t too cold to explore the island! Plus, the bugs aren’t too bad yet in the warmer summer months.
Since its still a little chilly at night, it’s also a great time of year to spot the plentiful gopher tortoise at Egmont key when they are out sunning themselves in the morning sun trying to warm up from the chilly overnight temps!
We even saw some manta rays this past week around the Shell key and Egmont key islands along with dolphins, manatees, seabirds and the occasional sea turtle! Come join us for a day at the island, more info on both ferry ride options below.
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/
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/
We have finished 2019 regular’s club renewals and we are starting on signing up NEW MEMBERS, if you are interested in becoming a 2019 regular’s club loyalty program member please reach out to Capt. Dylan Hubbard by sending him your name and cell number via email to [email protected]. He will be in touch in the coming few weeks about the loyalty program that offers discounted trips if you fish more than 10,15 or 20 times a year with us at Hubbard’s Marina. It also comes with some free gifts and other benefits too besides discounted trips, but it’s NOT simply a discount program. It’s a loyalty program and it requires fishing often and being a model Hubbard’s Marina guest and showing the passion shared by all of us at Hubbard’s Marina for fishing and our fellow anglers.
PAST AND PRESENT MEMBERS: be sure to renew your membership before 2018 ends!
Captain Dylan Hubbard
president and Co-Owner
(727)393-1947 ext. 306
Preferred partner spotlight
Try one of our new menu items at the Friendly Fisherman!
Fried Oyster appetizer $11.79
Fresh Oyster fried crisp and served with a spicy Cocktail sauce.
In Shore Platter $18.49
Flounder fillet, hand breaded clam strips and crispy bay shrimp.
Served with fresh made cole slaw, corn fritter and fries. (fried only)