HM Fishing Report 3-23-24

Inshore Fishing Report

The sheepshead bite has seemingly staying strong despite the warming trend we have seen. There are still plenty around the docks, piers, bridges and jetties. We are hoping to see that continue a bit longer as these winter time cold weather pattenrs try and persist into mid to late spring depending on water temps and weather.

Trout action, speaking of more winter time patterns, still seems pretty strong but has taken a bit of a dip overall. We are still seeing quite a few on soft plastics and some live bait like shrimp and white baits. Lighter tackle is key. During the day hitting the edges of the flats, potholes and pockets. At night, we are still seeing quite a few around the dock lights and bridge lights.

Redfish action concentrating around the area too. We are seeing more and more often bigger schools of these fun to target and catch fish. They are hitting on shrimp around the pass right now and a variety of soft plastics.

Snook have flooded back into the pass and have even spilled out onto the beaches already too. We are finding them in the early morning sifght casting small live pinfish and even live shrimp. They love some grass grunts or pigfish around the docks too!

Tarpon have started to show up quite a bite around the bridges. We see a few rolling through the passes in the morning too. Plus, a few local anglers have hooked a few while dock light fishing the passes too!

Mackerel are here in force around the passes and jetties. Some local fishing piers especially the skyway fishing piers are inundated with the mackerel. There’s a huge amount of bait around and with the bait comes a lot of the bonita and mackerel. There’s even been a few kingfish caught at some of these bigger piers!

Pompano have showed up in force on the beaches and around the passes too. We are seeing quite a few pompano caught around the sandy edges of the passes. We are seeing a good number of pompano being caught on the pompano jigs and live shrimp on the bottom.

Nearshore Fishing Report

Hogfish action has started to slow a bit, but not too badly. We are still catching quite a few on our all day trips and a few on the half days too. However, we are starting to see things slow down a little. They are being replaced with big lane snapper and more commonly caught mangrove snapper. We are still picking a few up here and there on shrimp and while targeting them catching plenty of other great eating fish too. However, as the water warms up they will spread out and be a bit more tricky to target with efficacy on hook and line. Plus, as the water clears they get a bit more leader shy and tricky due to that.

Lane snapper action as mentioned has really picked up and should stay high through the summer. We see them most around 60ft of water or more but we still seem them a bit shallower too. They will bite just about anything but we see them most with shrimp, then cut threadfin, and finally even squid will work too.

Mangrove snapper are starting to become more common too. They are biting well on small pieces of cut threadfin. We see them on live shrimp too while targeting the hogfish as well.

Mackerel are starting to get thick for us near shore. We are catching a good number of them while trolling on the way out and back during our 5 hour half day. We are seeing them most while trolling, but you can catch a few while bottom fishing by accident or if your fishing the water column with white bait or chunks of dead bait without any weights.

Kingfish have started to become a thing near shore. While they haven’t hit full swing yet, we are starting to see them come up around our area more and more. They are coming on the trollers some, but mostly lately on the flat lines or even pitch rods when folks are spotting them skyrocketing bait schools.

Offshore Fishing Report

Fat red grouper are the focus right now and especially behind this weather we will be approaching that deep water closure ending. That should allow us a ton of freedom to run around where we want to target what we want depth wise. We are seeing some good red grouper right now despite that closure, but once that ends we will have even more areas to target and catch those fat red grouper. Right now were seeing a few here, a few there, and work hard bouncing around to find them chewing

Triggerfish are open too, and were seeing some nice ones well offshore in that deeper water. They love smaller strips of the squid or bonita. They are great eating, and really fun to catch, and great fighters!

Scamp grouper, strawberry grouper, and more quality fish like the African pompano, vermillion, porgies, almacos, and others are coming up too offshore while bottom fishing. However, our focus outside the red grouper and triggerfish are the bigger mangrove snapper. We are seeing some good consistency on some large mangroves!

Pelagic action will be heating up offshore as we continue to move into spring. We typically see a big upturn in the blackfin tuna action, and we see fat kingfish, occasional wahoo and maybe even a billfish this time of year. Cobia would normally be common too but the last few years we haven’t seen the cobia with any consistency in our area or even region.