Inshore– The gator trout are starting to show up on the Flats and along the mangroves of the back bay waters. Eric Whitted, from Pinellas Park, has been getting some monster gator trout using a Florida Fishing Products Osprey 3000 reel on a Bull Bay Rods 7’6″ Sniper and for bait he likes the Glad Snooker Jigs 1/8oz weedless hook with a Zoom Superfluke. The Sheepshead continue to be biting well along Johns Pass docks, jetty and bridge. This is a great time of year to pluck a few and they are great table fare, just a little challenging to clean due to their large bony ribcage. Lately the outgoing tide has been the best for the sheeps inside the pass. Silver trout still being caught from the beaches as well, Tom Green from Michigan caught a half dozen using a rental rod and squid casting into the surf of Madeira beach just north of the jetty.
Near shore– The hogfish bite still best on the all-day this past Tuesday we brought over twenty hogfish to the boat! On the half day were still picking a few, but the all-day gives you more time and the ability to get anchored up and dial in on them hogs. Lane snapper still biting fairly well too and we have been seeing some monsters sprinkled into the box. Red grouper bite near shore has been tough, we catch them but most are well under the twenty inch minimum. This time of year the keeper red grouper we do catch are well offshore, they are the opposite of Gags. In the cooler waters gags come in close and red grouper stay deep when the water is warm the reds come closer and get more aggressive while the gags push deeper.
Offshore– On the 12 hour extreme trips the Amberjack bite has been awesome. However, the weather hasn’t allowed us passage to get offshore to them very often this short season. When we were able we limited out the boat in a matter of one to two hours or less! Same with the trigger fish while they were open too. Now that they are both coming to a close the shift is to focusing on red grouper and scamp. Capt Anthony Belmonte reports that the scamp grouper are big and ready to chew small live baits. The red grouper are fat and we’ve been seeing quite a few but both of these reports are coming from fishing south of us and 150-200 foot of water. This past weekend the 39 hour came in with a monster pile of amberjack and one, caught by Roger Poulin, was over 100lbs weighing in at 100.7lbs! They also had some fat red grouper, scamp grouper, mangroves, yellowtail, mutton snapper, tuna, porgies, vermillions, and even a dog snapper! The mangrove bite was a little slower than we would’ve liked but the many other species filled the gaps and that monster 100lb amberjack was such an epic fish the whole boat had a great time. Next long range is a 44 hour full moon February 2nd for tons more great eating tuna, snapper, grouper and others!
Want to read the past reports? Check out this link: https://www.hubbardsmarina.com/hubbards-marina-fishing-reports/
Captain Jack’s dolphin corner
Bald Eagles have shown back up to our area and were spotting quite a few during our dolphin watching nature cruise and eco tours at Hubbard’s Marina. Plus, we see them often aboard the Madeira Beach water taxi or Egmont key ferry boats.
The baby birds are really showing up in force at the bird nesting island inside Boca Ceiga bay, and our dolphin watching nature cruise and eco tour is the best way to get an upfront view of this gorgeous local island rookery. We have baby blue herons, baby egrets, and even baby pelicans on the way!
What is great to see right now is that we have reddish egrets and tons of roseate spoonbills nesting on the island as well. This year is the most roseate spoonbills we’ve ever seen nesting and we have two reddish egrets roosting. These reddish egret nests are super special as they are on the endangered species list currently.
During the past few weeks, spotting dolphins has been very difficult. While the water is cold, they feed heavily to keep themselves moving and their digestion helps to warm their internal core temperatures. Also, they get in larger groups to hunt the outflowing mullet schools heading into the gulf from the back bayous. However, great news is that they are now much easier to find and spot from our trips and seem to be very playful right now too!
Shelling is awesome this time of year at the Island thanks to the cold fronts and winter weather it stirs up the bottom of the gulf and pushes plenty of fresh shells, sharks teeth and more onto our beautiful gulf beaches. Great time of year to visit Egmont key, plus the weather allows for enjoyable exploration in the interior of the island without the chance of any type of bugs to bother you.
This time of year the mating plumage is starting to show up on the local seabirds. This makes the views around the bird nesting islands even more unique and enjoyable.
Hubbard’s Marina Sea Adventures, Tampa bay ferry and taxi, and the Madeira beach water taxi are all now 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 beat that!
Upcoming up at Hubbard’s Marina
NEW SEMINAR DATE – Want to win a FREE 10 hour all day or FREE 5 hour half day at Hubbard’s Marina? Join Captain Dylan Hubbard (https://www.facebook.com/CaptainDylanHubbard/) for a great seminar at Bass Pro Shops Tampa Saturday February 17th at 2pm! For more information, check out the Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/2033606443521616/
Next long range specialty trip is a 44 hour full moon coming up February 2nd, and it has a SUPER light load. This is the trip if you want a chance at some great eating blackfin tuna! Also, it will give you a great opportunity for some mangrove snapper, yellowtail and vermilions and more while fishing overnight on the full moon.
2018 specialty trip schedule is now LIVE on the Hubbard’s Marina website! To see all the 12, 39, 44 and 63 hour trips for the next year check it out here: https://www.hubbardsmarina.com/specialty-fishing-trip-schedule/
We have changed around a lot of stuff on our website, you should check out the added material on our FAQs page to further explain bait options, best spots on the boat, rod rental options and lots more helpful information to hopefully help first time anglers with us have a more quality experience. To see the changes, check out the FAQs: https://www.hubbardsmarina.com/faqs/
Gag grouper also open up June first and remain open until the end of 2017 so get ready for some big grouper fishing action with us at Hubbard’s Marina.
PLEASE sign up for the 2018 clubs or renew your 2017 membership ASAP, we are doing our end of year cleaning of the club and your membership will be changed to inactive if you don’t renew soon!
Don’t let your membership laps and loose seniority, call us today and get set up for the 2018 regular’s club membership!
Remember, this is a loyalty program not a discount program so you got to go fishing often to make it worth it for yourself.
Captains Mark and Dylan Hubbard
Vice president and Regular’s club manager Hubbard’s Marina
(727)393-1947 ext 306