HM Fishing Report 3-3-23

Inshore Report

Snook fishing is going well as we see the water warm and more fish pushing out of the Back Bay area. Generally this time of year those snook get more active towards the grass flats, and mangrove shorelines as they push out of the Back Bay areas like creeks, river, mouths and bayous. Snook are now more fixated on some of that white bait action that we’re seeing improved drastically as water temperatures continue to rise. We’ve had a big warming trend and it looks like the cold front that was for this one weekend has now dissipated to the point where it won’t affect our area heavily. That means the warming trend will settle in and continue and likely pull even more snook out of the Back Bay as more white bait become available. Snook should be really active on this upcoming full moon. That full moon will make more moving water heavier moving currents and should make those bait fish get flushed in and out with the tide providing plenty of ambush points for those opportunistic snook to ambush passing bait. We’ve seen snook even make it back out to the passes like their summertime pattern. But most of the area the snook are just starting to come out of the Back Bay back to the grass flats and mangrove shorelines out of the residential canals and kind of setting up into that springtime pattern. 

Redfish action is going well around the area too; we’re seeing a lot of those red fish pull out of the residential canals and start starting to stack up more around grass flats, mangrove shorelines, oyster bars. They’re starting to transition away from their crustacean feed. Like the snook these fish are on the move; transitioning from that cooler weather pattern to that warmer water springtime pattern. We’re seeing more redfish action on the white bait and less of the dead cut bait soaking on the bottom but still plenty of action on the shrimp especially around those dock lines still plenty of red fish hanging out.

Trout action still going well around the area too where you find one you typically find more than one and they are definitely on the move like the snook and the red fish to a little bit deeper water as the water continues to warm. During the winter months trout get up on those shallow grass flats and spend a lot of time in shallower water. But as we move into spring they go a little deeper and they tend to spend more time in deeper water. We see the trout moving around dock lights and bridge this time of year and into summer. Trout love ambushing small pin fish along with shrimp.

 Pompano action is going well out on our beaches. The Johns pass jetty has provided Pompano action for quite a few anglers as of late. Pompano action is typically best in the early morning hours prior to the foot traffic or swimmer traffic picking up. Pompano also like sand fleas and live shrimp on the bottom. We’re seeing some lucky anglers catch the Pompano using the live shrimp. We also carry Frozen sand fleas that have been working well as well.

 Sheepshead action is still going extremely well throughout the area we’re seeing those sheepshead biting around virtually any dock pier bridge jetty or rock. Sheepshead really like cut oysters, cut clams, sand fleas, small pieces of shrimp and anything that’s small and close to the structure. Typically lighter tackle and minimal weight is a great way to target those sheepshead. Sheepshead should remain concentrated around docks, piers, bridges, jetties and virtually any hard structure through the next few weeks. But as water continues to warm we’ll see those sheepshead concentrations dwindle and they’ll start to spread out throughout the area.

 Mackerel have started to pick up inshore we’re starting to see a lot of mackerel around local fishing piers like the skyway fishing pier, the rod and reel pier and other area fishing Piers. Mackeral will also hang out on those deeper grass flats where faster moving water is holding white bait. Mackerel like deep fast moving water in any concentrations of live bait. Fast moving flashy lures also work well to attract the mackerel into feeding.

nearshore report

Hogfish action is still the highlight of the near shore fishery. We should still have hogfish biting well throughout the area for the next few weeks. But as waters continue to warm and stay warm generally those hogfish will spread out and become a little bit more tricky to target with hook and line. Take advantage of the next few weeks and try to capitalize on the hogfish bite while it’s still good. If we don’t get another strong cold front that hogfish action will slow down even faster so it’s a good opportunity to get out on the water and capitalize on that near shore hogfish bite. They’re biting best around 30 to 70 foot of water.

Lane snapper action is going well. The lane snapper are a little deeper around 50 to 100 foot of water. Lane snapper are great eating fish and we generally see them in good concentrations especially on the 10 hour all day fishing towards the deeper half of the near shore waters. Lane snapper like small pieces of squid and live shrimp; they’ll even eat small pieces of threadfin as well.

Mangrove snapper have been super productive near shore we’re seeing a lot of the mangrove snapper on our 10 hour all day trips. We’re seeing mangrove snapper eating mostly those small chunks of cut threadfin with the double Snell rig. You can get mangrove snapper using live shrimp but the most productive way is using a small chunk of threadfin with a double snell rig. We’re seeing mangrove snapper up to six pounds even near shore which is a very large near shore mangrove snapper.

Red grouper action is still going well near shore, we’re seeing some of those keeper red grouper as we get to the deepest near shore waters closer to 100 foot. Red grouper will bite a hole threadfin with a tail cut. A large strip of squid and even a live pin fish. Red grouper have been a little bit picky and they definitely are a little bit difficult because you have to sort through a lot of smaller red grouper to find the keepers. 

Also near shore the mackerel have picked up. We started to see mackerel while trolling on our way out and way back during five hour half day fishing trips. It’s very early but it is a good sign of things to come. Hopefully The dirty water that we see along the coast won’t affect the mackerel near shore. But sometimes it’ll stop the bait from pouring offshore which tends to make the mackerel miss the area. Unfortunately, it’s one of those things we just have to wait and see.

offshore report

Big mangrove snapper have been welcomed offshore. We’re seeing some good sized mangrove snapper and some pretty decent concentrations. We’re fishing mainly right around 100 to about 160 foot of water right now while offshore. We have that deep water closure going on through the month of March which means we can only keep red grouper when fishing inside 20 fathoms or 120 foot of water. This means generally on our 39 hour trips we’ll fish a little deeper the first night the target mangrove snapper and 120 to 160 foot of water and then the second night and a majority of the day will spend in a little shallower water hunting those keeper red grouper and more mangrove snapper. The mangrove snapper action has been going pretty decently on our 39 hour trips especially at night the first or second night.  Some trips we do better in deeper water for the mangrove snapper and in some trips we’ve done better in the shallow water for mangrove snapper we haven’t quite dialed in on where the best bite is because we’ve only run a handful of 39 hour trips so far this year so it’s hard to say whether or not we will consistently fish a little deeper the first night or stay a little shallower depending on where we feel the mangrove snapper options are best.

The red grouper action has been going well. We’re seeing red grouper out there in offshore waters around 120 foot especially on those 12 hour extreme trips or 39 hour trips or long range private fishing charters. The red grouper are still biting well Despite that deep water closure we just have to work a little bit harder to play the game to make sure we’re in the right area when we can keep and hunt those fish. It’s a great time to get offshore and enjoy catching some keeper red grouper.

The yellowtail snapper action has been picking up offshore right now we’re seeing some pretty good sized yellowtail snapper. Yellowtail snapper are one of those fish we catch from time to time but lately it seems like we’re seeing more of them. The average size has been pretty large as well so it’s a welcomed addition to those long range adventures.

Blackfin tuna has been going well offshore too we’re starting to see more and more blackfin tuna while trolling or flat line fishing offshore. On a recent 39 hour trip we caught 9 keeper blackfin tuna while trolling between spots. We have even seen some really large kingfish start to show up it’s early but the kingfish don’t know that yet. We saw the biggest kingfish so far come up while fishing for mangrove snapper with a knocker rig. We have some super light load 39 hour trips and 12 hour extreme trips which offer plenty of room to try some unique styles of fishing and that has allowed us to really see some big fish.