HM Fishing Report 3-10-23

Inshore Report

Redfish action has been going super well inshore. We’re seeing a lot of red fish around our Back Bay areas. They’re coming out of those residential canals and dock lines and being more active on the grass flats, mangrove shorelines and areas that we typically find them more commonly in the spring and summer. Red fish action is going well on soft plastics, live white bait and even the live shrimp. But overall the warming trend has those fish more active and more keyed into the white bait than they have been recently.

Snook action is going well as a lot of those fish pour out of the Back Bay areas out of the creeks, river mouths and bayous and start to get more active and prolific around the dock lights, bridge lights in areas like our local passes. The snook have definitely gotten more active feeding on white bait and pin fish. Snook are also starting to chase baits around more and get more frisky in the warming water. It will be interesting to see how the coming cold fronts affect those fish and if we see a big move of the snook retreating back to the rivers bayous and creeks or will those fish stay fairly set in their springtime pattern that we’re already seeing. Fake spring might have tricked us and potentially the snook too.

Trout action has been going really well around the area this time of year where we see still those big winter time trout mixed in with plentiful other average sized schooley trout. The trout have made quite a resurgence back to our bridge lights and dock lights. We’re seeing a lot of trout around the Johns pass islands the VA hospital and also around the dock lights and bridge lights of John’s pass. Trout are loving the white bait, live shrimp, soft plastics swim baits and virtually anything you throw if they’re present and hungry they’re gonna eat.

Sheepshead are still pretty concentrated around the area but they have definitely dialed back from how they were the last few weeks. Again; like the snook it’ll be interesting to see the outcome and effect on this week’s cold fronts and what they’ll do to the sheepshead population. We have been seeing the sheepshead retreat more and more to the back bays and get less and less concentrated around docks Piers bridges and jetties with the warming water but this cooling trend that we’ll see this week might stir those sheep’s head back to those structures.

Black drum have been super prolific around the area and they continue to be pretty concentrated around local bridges and areas that may concentrate the fish as water flows. Black drama especially have been prolific around passes cuts and channels. We’re also seeing some schools of black drum out on the beaches too. Black drum love crustaceans on the bottom slow moving swim baits or soft plastics as well.

Jack creville remained very active around the area. The Jack creville especially around early morning late afternoon have been most active. While these fish aren’t highly sought after table fair they make a really fun fighting fish that are easy to catch and target with little to no effort in the Back Bay area.

Pompano have been around on our beaches around the jetties and around local passes as well. Pompano action seems to be best when wave action and boat traffic is less. We have some really clean clear water areas like John’s pass right now that seemed to be holding the most amount of Pompano action. We’re seeing Pompano on the free lined live shrimp the minimal weight Pompano jigs and small feather jigs.

Nearshore Report

Near shore right now the exciting news is the return of the mackerel and kingfish. We’re seeing mackerel and kingfish on our five hour half days trolling on the way out and way back. We’re seeing some kingfish on our 10 hour all day while flatline fishing as well. Remember we typically troll on the way out during our five hour half day, 39 hour and 44 hour trips. Typically our 10 hour all day and 12 hour trips are moving too fast to troll. Mackerel should be hanging around through the month of March and hopefully into April. They’re all very keyed in to the water temperatures really looking for that temperature gradient of around 72 to 78 degrees. We typically catch them trolling planers and spoons that we carry in our office and you could pick up prior to your trips. Typically a number one planner with around 40 to 60 pound mono around 12 to 18 feet long between the back of the planer and the spoon. For spoons we like the drone spoons in that 6 inch range. But we also use mackerel spoons that are a little smaller as well. Remember to use a snap swivel behind the planer and In front of your spoon to provide the most action, most flash and prevent tangles. You do not need a snap swivel between your main line and the front of the planer.

Also, near shore we’re seeing some good hogfish action as well. Hogfish action should remain well for us until that water really starts to warm. Luckily this week’s cold front should hopefully extend the stay of hogfish around the area. The hogfish are biting best around 30 to 70 feet of water and we’re seeing them keyed in most commonly to the live shrimp. Remember minimal weight and a three to four ot hook with around 30 pound fluorocarbon with about a one to two oz egg sinker.

          Lane snapper action still going extremely well too we’re seeing a lot of lane snapper around that 50 to 100 foot mark near shore so about half of the near shore waters is covered nicely with lane snapper and they continue well into the offshore waters too. We see lane snapper biting threadfins, small chunks of squid and large shrimp too. Lane snapper typically are mixed in while targeting the hogfish, mangroves and other species near shore. Lane snapper’s generally like hard bottom areas but will venture on to that hard flat bottom shell and Swiss cheese bottom two. Lane snapper also love bait show similar to the red snapper cousins.

          Mangrove snapper is still going well near shore too on areas of hard structure and nice ledges rock piles we’re finding good concentrations of mangrove snapper and some pretty awe-inspiring sizes for near shore waters. Our ten hour all day is really dialed in on those keeper mangrove snapper. We’re seeing a lot of mangrove snapper on our private fishing charters fishing deeper near shore as well. Typically you have to be past 40 to 60 foot you really have a chance at some decent mangrove snapper action. So while fishing shallower a little bit tougher to get into good concentrations of mangrove snapper.

Red grouper action is still going well near shore too. We’re seeing those red grouper most commonly in our deeper near shore waters past about 60 foot of water while we still see red grouper inside of that generally they’re smaller and not keeper size. For those bigger keeper sized red grouper you have to be patient; use the live pin fish. large strips of squid or whole thread fins with the tail cut generally work well to target those red grouper.

offshore Report

Offshore right now we’re really targeting those red grouper and hopefully catching plenty of big mangrove snapper, porgies, verrmillions, almicos, and many others while targeting red grouper too. The pelagic action has been going really well for us offshore too we’re seeing nice numbers of kingfish, tuna and the occasional wahoo plus the opportunity for sailfish is happening now as well. Great opportunity offshore at this time to hopefully catch plenty of good eating fish but you definitely have to time your trips around the weather the next seven days the best opportunities would be end of the work week and the end of the weekend as well.

  The red grouper bite has been going best once we get closer to that 120 foot mark we did catch 1 red grouper recently that was over 20 pounds on a whole threadfin with the tail cut and a double Snell rig while targeting mangrove snapper. This was a big red grouper surprise on our 39 hour trip recently caught by one of our regular lady anglers Estelle. We’ve been seeing some pretty good numbers of red grouper but nothing of that size generally most are in the six to 12lb range. 

  Mangrove snapper action has been a little spotty and a little hit and miss but we’ve been catching some nice mangroves. The double Snell rig and the cut threadfin. The mangrove snapper action is definitely going better as we get deeper offshore. We also are seeing big Vermilion snapper mixed in with some solid porgies amicos and other heads and tails.


  The pelagic action has been mostly trolling we’ve been using the nomad DTX minnows with great success but also the yosri Bonita rapala X raps are good options too.