Inshore-We have seen lots of hungry snook around the area this past week, especially just before sunrise on the outgoing tide they have been stacked around the structures in the passes. I have caught a snook every morning I dropped a line this past week nearly as quickly as I started fishing. Here’s an example of the action, a live video we filmed yesterday morning: https://www.facebook.com/hubbardsmarina/videos/1023941597997710/ this has been a common sight from Clearwater to south of Tampa bay in the passes where the water is flowing and the bait is present! We are catching them using live pass crabs, shrimp, and greenbacks for live bait. Artificial baits that have been working well are the live target mullet, flair hawk style jigs and the heavier artificial shrimp. The trick with the artificials is ensuring you are presenting your bait naturally with the current. You can’t work your lure against the current because a bait fish couldn’t naturally swim against the current like that. Also, make sure to get your lure in the strike zone of where the fish are feeding so they can ambush your lure just like how they are feeding on the natural bait.
Tarpon are still around the area as well, it maybe later in the summer and nearly fall but we still have some Tarpon in the area. Typically around Mid-September, but definitely by the end of September a majority if not all the tarpon vacate the area and head south for the cooler weather months until their late spring early summer return the following year. However, this year they seem to be hanging around and feeding very aggressively around the bridges of the passes where water is deeper and the bait is flowing. They love sitting on the light lines of the local bridges when the water is pouring out flushing all the bait and crabs into their feeding frenzies. We have had lots of local anglers fishing the jetties and bridge seawalls targeting these big fish using flair hawk style jigs. In Johns pass, the anglers have had lots of action this past week hooking and landing some nice tarpon nearly every day of the week with the largest a little over 6ft long! Fish so large they are spooling high end 6000 series reels with drags locked down!
Redfish are still biting well as well, mostly in the bays the past week around the mangrove shore lines and oyster bars but were still finding a few in the passes as well. Live pinfish still seem to be the best live bait for those redfish, but keep in mind they like to feed on the bottom so getting that pinfish to bottom when fishing deeper waters is super important to target these redfish. We have been seeing lots of good action on the redfish using artificial lures too like the paddle tail soft plastic lures with small jig heads to keep them weighted to the bottom as you retrieve them slowly with brief pauses on the retrieve to let them return to bottom.
We are still catching lots of the mangrove snapper around the area’s structures just inside the bay and in the passes too. Around the skyway and Howard Franklin are great target areas for these fun to catch and great eating fish. Also, the mitigation sites around the bay hold lots of these mangrove snapper. They love rock piles, seawalls, bridges, and jetties to call home and they can get frenzied up easily with just a little bit of chum. However, they are very quick biting and smart to it helps to use lighter tackle with hardly any weight or no weight at all. This means targeting them on the start or end of the tide is important so that you can feel the bite and get a natural presentation easily. Around Johns pass, we catch them most often on the deeper south side of the pass where there’s plenty of rocks like the west end of the gator’s dock to under the bridge area or around east end of that same seawall in that little municipal park area where the old bridge ruble is stacked up.
Lots of mackerel on the beaches and at the mouth of the passes like Clearwater pass, Johns Pass, pass a grill and also around the skyway to Egmont key. They love fast retrieved spoons or plugs. I love using a 7/8ths ounce gotcha plug or up to 1oz if I need more weight to stay under the water’s surface. Also, another great method is a casting spoon behind a 4oz lead so the lead will keep the light spoon under the surface of the water. Many expert pier anglers catch tons of mackerel by using a trolling lead or egg sinker with swivels on either side of it to keep the lure under the water. The recommended technique is tying on the lead and then keeping around 8-10ft of line behind it to the spoon. If needed you may want to add some 4-6 inches of lighter wire in front of the spoon to keep it from getting bitten off. However, I always start with just 20-30lb floro or mono and if they are biting well once I lose the first spoon I switch to the spoon with a bit of wire and if the bites stop and actions slows down I lose the wire and go back to straight mono and just risk losing a few spoons to keep them chewing!
Near shore –
Near shore fishing was again really good this week with lots of lane snapper caught a few mangroves, hogfish, and red grouper too. Plus, plentiful mackerel still abound near shore from the beach out to around 12-15 miles and we caught our first schoolie kingfish of the fall run this past week on the HUB 10hr all day fishing trip!
The hogfish bite continues to slowly improve more and more each week. The pace is slow, but were getting a few more here and there each week. This past week the best hogfish trips were the HUB private fishing charters landing 10-15 hogfish with around half of them or more being keeper sized fish. One hogfish this past week was in the 5-7lb range which is a monster for the near shore waters. As the water continues to cool off these guys will become more aggressive and easier to catch on hook and line. Plus, we typically find a more consistent keeper sized fish the cooler the water gets to be. Our half day fishing trips and the 10 hour all day trips are catching some hogfish too! The half day yesterday boated 15 hogfish and 5 of those were decent sized keeper hogfish. The trick to the hogfish is definitely live shrimp, light tackle and the most natural presentation possible which means the lightest possible weight. You want to target hard bottom areas like small ledges, rock piles or flat hard bottom with sea fans. They love to hang around seafans and they will feel more at home and aggressive in these areas. When targeting the hogfish the best depths are from 30ft up to around 70ft to catch them consistently. We are finding them most right now around 30-50ft of water.
The lane snapper are biting well this week too around 60-90ft of water we are catching lane snapper on live shrimp or small pieces of squid. Like the hogfish the best way to target lane snapper are with the lighter tackle like 4000-5000 series spinning reels with around 30lb floro leader and 4ot hooks. They are much more aggressive compared to the hogfish and much easier to catch around the ledges and rock piles near shore.
Tons of mackerel still around the area and were catching lots of them on the trolling spoons behind the planners. Plus, were catching quite a few larger ones on the flat lines while bottom fishing. Plus, we caught our first kingfish of the fall run this past week aboard the HUB 10hr all day using a flat lined threadfin on a stinger rig. We are expecting those mackerel to stay abundant and aggressive for a long while and more and more kingfish to show up slowly. Especially on the backside of this weekend’s cold front next week should bring us some more kingfish!
Deeper water has brought us the best offshore action this past week for the grouper and amberjack. Gag grouper, scamp grouper and amberjack are all more prolific and easier to catch the deeper you go. Up to around 280-300ft of water we are finding the jacks, gags and scamp biting well. Once you get closer to 150ft of water it gets much more difficult to find cooperative jacks, gags and scamp. The red grouper on the other hand can be found as shallow as 90-100ft and were finding them best around 120-160ft of water. The red grouper are tough though and we aren’t catching them like we did 5-10 years ago, but you can find em if you stick and move around the potholes and ledges out around these depths with live pinfish, strips of cut squid or octopus for bait. Mangrove snapper action is going well for us, this past weekend was one of the best mangrove snapper bites we have had in a long while. With the transitional period in full swing with the days getting shorter and things starting to cool down the fish are showing some excitement and aggression unlike we have seen through the hot summer time period. Those gag grouper will be moving closer to shore slowly as the cold fronts start rolling through and getting more aggressive as they start moving inshore. Jacks will become more concentrated and more aggressive as well. We see them mangrove snapper spread out a bit but the average size on those great eating fish seems to increase quite a bit with cooler temps too! All exciting things to come as we transition into the ‘cooler months’ and were looking forward to a great fall fishery for a few weeks.
Plus, we have been seeing some nice pelagic action offshore right now! We have caught some beautiful big mahi mahi this past week out in deeper waters around 150+ foot of water. They will swim up on us while were bottom fishing for grouper and snapper. You got to have a light tackle pitch rod ready with a bare hook and 30lb test floro leader to bait up with a piece of threadfin or live shrimp. However, I like using a gotcha plug or a buck tail style jig to cast out to them and retrieve quickly past their strike zone! Remember, once you hook one keep it in the water this will keep the school next to the boat while you are able to hook a second. Then remove the first one and leave the second one in the water next to the boat until you hook a third. You can repeat this process for quite a while before they catch on or someone pulls the fish holding the school near the boat out of the water unfortunately. Besides the mahi we have been seeing quite a few nice kingfish on the trolling lures or the flat lines. Also, a few blackfin tuna have been caught from time to time mainly on the flat lines at night time during our 39 or 44 hour trips.
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
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
AMBERJACK season is now open for three months and were seeing some big ones! Plus, we still have TONS of other great fish to catch too! Jacks opened August first and they will remain open until end of October, Hopefully! PLUS, we have gag grouper season running until end of December if you want to get out for some big grouper action. The gags bite best in October, November and December but we are seeing some good ones currently too. If you join us in the next three months you have a chance for ANYTHING in the gulf besides the red snapper and triggerfish! Join us for a 12 hour extreme, 39 hour, or long range private charter for the amberjack and gag grouper fishing! Call us at (727)393-1947 or book online at -> https://HubbardsMarina.com
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
This week we have seen lots of dolphin action around our back bay waters during our dolphin watching nature cruise and eco tour aboard the big blue boat at Hubbard’s Marina inside Johns Pass! The young juvenile dolphins that were born this year are all grouped together learning how to use their sonar, hunt and play together. Plus, many of these guys are being very acrobatic and playful around their friends and it makes for a great show aboard the dolphin tour at Hubbard’s Marina!
This past week we found what looked to be an ill bald eagle hanging on an oyster bar multiple days in a row. Luckily the audobahn society was close by and we were able to work with them to rescue that eagle during one of our trips. The bird did turn out to be sick and is being nursed back to health at a local bird sanctuary before being returned to the wild!
We have also been spotting some juvenile and even adult sea turtles cruising the back bay waters this week. The coolest spotting this past week was a large loggerhead sea turtle that popped up right between the boat and the mangrove shore line and cruised through some shallow waters right along the boat before making a beeline for the pass area most likely to head back offshore.
Even though it’s late in the year, we are still spotting some of the manatees around the area cruising the back bay waters. They are heading out of our area for the cooler months soon so were soaking up our manatee spotting while we can! Right now, most of the manatees we are spotting are moving in some decent sized herds around 4-8 manatees making it really easy to spot these unique creatures and cruise along near them watching the show! It is especially cool when we are able to find these animals cruising the shallower waters along the grass flats or shorelines to watching them much easier compared to when we find them in deeper waters. They can hold their breath easily for 6-10 minutes so in deeper waters if they are cruising it’s very difficult to spot them and follow them while in the shallower waters it makes it super simple to spot them and follow them!
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
Shelling is incredible right now out at Egmont Key and Shell Key islands, it’s a great time to catch one of our ferry rides from fort de soto out to the islands to go hunting for the great shells that are washing up from the cold front blowing through our area.
Along with the great shelling, the cold front is also bringing us 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!
We have been spotting some of the very unique spotted eagle rays on our trips out and back from the island from Fort De Soto County Park! These unique and beautiful rays really can jump quite high out of the water and they really are exciting to be spotting so consistently on our ride to and from Egmont Key island.
We have been spotting lots of the gopher tortoise and box turtles out at Egmont key as of late and it has been making the day at Egmont key island even more enjoyable for our tampa bay ferry guests while enjoying the island paradise!
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