We are unfortunately closed due to the COVID-19 issues around our area, and we will remain closed through April. Tentatively planning and hoping to Open up Friday May 1st but time will tell. However, we still have some great fishing report information from our area to share with you guys!
Snook action continues to heat up as summer approaches with lots of snook moving into the passes and onto the beaches. However, we still have plenty of fish up in the bay being cooperative on the flats too. Most of the bigger adult fish are the ones who migrate to the passes and beaches and ultimately near shore to spawn while the smaller schoolies stay back up in the bays and on the flats. The best snook fishing in the passes happens at night at the start and end of the outgoing tides, but incoming works well too. The early morning hours are just as good as the night if the tide is right as well. During the day, the best action is around the beaches and on the flats. Soft plastic paddle tails and flairhawk style jigs are great artificial lure options for snook. Live white bait, finger mullet or grass grunts also called pigfish are awesome live bait options.
Redfish action has been hot this past week around the docks, oyster bars and other structures. We are seeing quite a few around residential docks still even as the water warms up a bit, typically this is more of a cooler water hangout for the redfish. The flats have held lots of redfish this past week too, but they like to find those ambush points to feed on passing baits. Live white bait, live shrimp and smaller sized pinfish are great live bait options for redfish. While they love the soft plastic paddle tails, gold spoons and swim baits for artificial lures.
Trout action has been great at night throughout the area on the dock lights and bridge lights, but around the passes where water is moving has them feeding heavily. During the day the grass flat edges, potholes and cuts are great places to find feeding trout. There is still some large trout being caught throughout the area despite the warmer weather, but they are starting to thin out.
Mackerel action is great around the mouth of the bay, the passes and right along the beaches. Plenty of fish feeding on bait fish schools throughout the area. They love the faster moving baits especially if they have some flash to them as you retrieve them quickly along the edges of the bait schools or structures the mackerel have the bait pinned up against. Look for diving seabirds to find the mackerel feeding heavily below. It is a great time to go get some good eating mackerel to take back home.
Flounder bite has improved this past week. Seeing some nice ones towards the tail end of the outgoing tides in our passes. However, throughout the area adjacent to the flats on the sandy bottom and around bridges, docks, and seawalls you can find these guys waiting to ambush baits right on or near the bottom. Flounder love the slow-moving soft plastics for artificials, or the small pinfish, mud minnows or live shrimp for live bait.
Jack crevalle are not the highest food quality fish, but they are tons of fun to catch and they are easy to find this time of year on occasion. These guys are nicknamed ‘canal tuna’ because once you hook up, they take you on quite the ride. Pound for pound probably one of the hardest fighting fish you can catch inshore, and do not get me started on accidentally hooking a big boy offshore. These fish travel in massive schools around the flats and along the shorelines of our area about this time of year searching to devour any bait schools they come across in piranha type form. You can literally hear it before you see it on most occasions and the birds will help you find them too. Look for massive splashes on the surface well above and beyond what you’d see when the bait is being pushed to the surface by mackerel. These guys go wild thrashing and flopping about at the surface as they tear apart bait populations. You can literally throw ANY lure you have rigged into the mess and just hold on tight, but make sure you have your drag backed down because they will break your line, your rod, or your hook in a hurry with their frantic and blood pumping runs!
Mangrove snapper are starting to pick up around the bay area as the water warms and were seeing a little increase in their average size around the bridges, docks, jetties and passes. These guys love when the water warms, and they get in massive schools and love to eat just about anything small passing by the structure. Small hooks, light tackle, and minimal weight and a small piece of shrimp is a great way to target them. However, many are caught right now while targeting trout and redfish around the residential dock lines.
Near Shore –
We are unfortunately closed due to the COVID-19 issues around our area, and we will remain closed through April. Tentatively planning and hoping to Open up Friday May First. Looking forward to getting back out on the water near shore for some great fishing fun. However, we still have some great info for you if your able to make it out on your own boat.
Hogfish action still going okay near shore, but it has definitely slowed a bit lately as the water is clearing up and warming up too. They get more leader shy and less aggressive and they see more divers swimming down and shooting their buddies this time of year. You can still catch them all through the year from around 30-40ft up to around 70-90ft of water fairly consistently, but the best action is around October until early April depending on the cold fronts and weather. Lighter tackle is important this time of year to get em to cooperate. When we start fishing again around 20lb is going to get you the best opportunity for bites while 30lb would be the max you would attempt for hogfish. During cooler months typically 30-40lb is what we use for these fish on our leader strength. Around 3-4ot hooks still best with the lightest possible weights for the most premium natural presentation.
Snapper fishing has been good near shore in the deeper area past 60ft of water. Typically, near shore is up to 20 miles or up to around 100ft of water by definition so its great to see snapper fishing so hot inside that area. Offshore they get bigger for sure, but the lane snapper fishing is best near shore. Mangroves are biting well too around this depth range of 60-100ft.
Red grouper action is going well around the deepest near shore waters, but they are bigger and more plentiful a little deeper offshore. However, were seeing some good numbers and action inside the 100ft mark as shallow as around 70ft of water on squid strips, live pinfish, big threadfins and the occasional buck tail large soft plastic. Hard bottom potholes and swiss cheese is the best places to hunt these red groupers where you see the bait shows up in the water column.
Cobia are showing up more and more around the area near shore and offshore. These guys love to eat a tail hooked pinfish that you flip out there to them on a pitch rod you have rigged and ready in a rod holder while bottom fishing. Never forget your pitch rods when near shore or offshore fishing but spring and fall its even more important as pelagic action is typically at its peak.
Tuna action is going well near shore around the deeper parts. However, they can be sporadic and tough to find super consistently but those cruise ships sitting in 60-100ft have been a great place to start off the Egmont key channel. These guys love the rapala xrap magnum trolling plugs in the more natural color patterns, but you can catch them vertical jigging or flat lining the tail hooked pinfish or threadfin too. For cobia and tuna, around 40-50lb floro leader with around a 4-5ot single circle hook is my favorite set up for the flat line/pitch rod. Many use the kingfish stinger rig for all flat line or pitch rod set ups but for the cobia and tuna a floro leader is best, but your playing a dangerous game if a kingfish grabs it because it won’t stand up often to their toothy mouths.
Kingfish and mackerel are still thick near shore too, but we are approaching that time of year when they start to dwindle. Each front prolongs their stay a bit longer but as the fronts get further apart and weaker and weaker the water will continue to warm and the kingfish will move north out of the area, or west to deeper water where they can find the right temperatures to chill out for the hottest part of our summer before they run back by us to head south for the winter.
We are unfortunately closed due to the COVID-19 issues around our area, and we will remain closed through April unfortunately. Were hoping to re-open May first with some 39-hour action!
Triggerfish are getting ready to close for harvest starting May 2nd making end of day May first the last time to land them for 2020, unless the season gets extended due to lack of quota being landed. This is a discussion I have heard among the private rec and charter for hire fleet often as of late with all that’s going on in the world, but unfortunately I am here to say that it will most likely NOT be extended. Due to the virus the dockside intercepts and other integral parts of fishery surveys for the state and fed fisheries managers have ceased. That coupled with the fact the season was set based on projections of landings there is likely no possible way that the federal mangers will extend the gray triggerfish season this year. Hopefully, it will just mean more fish stay in the water and we get a stronger spawn for more fish down the road in the next stock assessment. Triggerfish are the biggest in deeper waters around 150-250ft of water, but you can catch them even near shore as shallow as 60-80ft of water. However, with their newly increased minimum size limit of fifteen inches to the fork you need almost a seventeen inch over all sized fish to be able to keep it which is a large triggerfish typically your going to get these guys in 120+ foot of water on small strips of squid or chunks of threadfin on your snapper set ups.
Mangrove snapper action has been going very well offshore with some truly large mangroves coming up around 120-180ft of water mixed in with big vermillions and the occasional yellow tail snapper too. Using the lighter tackle is a great option this time of year since gag grouper and red snapper are both closed. Around 30-40lb test and 5-6ot hooks would be my go-to set up for mangroves with double snelled hooks and a chunk of threadfin for bait.
Amberjack season is right around the corner! Jacks open up for the month of May only for a short period and were looking forward to going deep around 150-300ft to target these big fish on wrecks, springs and huge ledges or peaks once May rolls in. Big baits in the 1-3lb range and massive reels with 40-50lbs of drag or more and 100-120lb test and 10-12 ot hooks are the set ups I would look towards to land me a massive 70-100lb amberjack during this short season. They will also be open August, September, and October too but they bite best in cooler months so early May is going to be the best time to target the jacks.
Red grouper fishing around 100-140ft of water has been great this time of year on the backside of their spawn they are fat and hungry. However, now they are starting to thin up and move around a bit more. The biggest fish are around 120-180ft on the big potholes and smaller ledges and flat hard bottom with the bait shows.
Pelagic action with Tuna, kingfish and the occasional sailfish still going well offshore too. Never forget the flat line like mentioned in the near shore section while offshore fishing this time of year.
For more fishing reports, photos, videos and more check out Hubbard’s Marina on facebook, Instagram, Youtube or SnapChat just simply search @HubbardsMarina and don’t forget our family motto, “If You’re too busy to go fishing, You’re just too busy!” Thanks for reading and checking out our report – Capt Dylan Hubbard, Hubbard’s Marina – Call or Txt me anytime at (727)393-1947 | https://HubbardsMarina.com
Upcoming up at Hubbard’s Marina
Corona virus & Hubbard’s Marina: Unfortunately, we have made the tough call to entirely shut down due to the virus, we plan to re-open Friday May 1st. However, while were closed you can go on our site and book trips, buy gift cards or find tons of info in the meantime. We hope to see you once we re-open!
HOWEVER, WE HAVE 20% OFF GIFT CERTIFICATES right now online on our site with coupon code ‘Hubbards’ during our closure due to COVID-19. If you would like, you can get up to $1,000 in gift cards per person at 20% off if you use coupon code ‘Hubbards’ and buy them NOW online via our site at this link -> https://www.hubbardsmarina.com/gift-certificates/
However, make sure to note the policies and also that they are for future trip fare only. You can use these discounter certificates for a future 39 hour, 44hour, dolphin tour, sunset cruise, island trips OR ANY FUTURE TRIP fare you take with us at Hubbard’s Marina. Plus, this tremendously helps our family’s business during these tough times and as a thank you were able to offer the discount. Keep in mind, when you book online or buy a gift certificate online there is a 6% fee charged by our booking company. Normally you can avoid their fees by calling us or coming in to book or buy certificates but since we are closed there’s only the online option so it’s still a discount but if you equate in this 6% fee charged by another company its only a 14% discount but still a great deal!
Red snapper season 2020 has been FINALIZED for the federal for hire recreational anglers! We will have red snapper season open for our boats at Hubbard’s marina starting June first until midnight August 1st! This is a 62 day season exactly like what we had last year for the 2019 red snapper season. Were looking forward to plenty of great 12 hour extreme, 39 hour or 44 hour trips for red snapper.
FWC did announce the private recreational red snapper season for PRIVATE anglers meaning those fishing on their own boats or a boat with friends where no money changes hands. This season will start June 11th and will continue through July 25th with a possible fall extension if quota isn’t filled in the 45 day season in the summer time.
DON’T FORGET, YOU CAN ALSO WIN FREE FISHING TRIPS if you Join us for one of our special live stream fishing shows Sunday nights at 8:30pm! We will be giving away tons of fishing tips, tricks, techniques and 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://www.hubbardsmarina.com/live-q-and-a-fishing-shows/
Don’t forget about our brand new system that allows you to now TEXT OUR OFFICE if you’d rather not call us! Now you can call or text us at (727)393-1947 so for quick questions or updates or anything you can reach out even easier.
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
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
We have many visiting seabirds this time of year, our local birds are dawning their mating plumage and the dolphins are playful! Great time to join us at Hubbard’s Marina for a fun filled and relaxing hour and a half dolphin watching nature cruise and eco tour through our back protected bay waters!
We have spotted some roseatte spoonbills lately around our local oyster bars in the back bays. These guys are super cool to spot and so unique looking when they get nice and pink from all the shrimp they eat.
Due to the wintertime weather up north many of the bald Eagles head south for the winter to stay warm. We have a huge number of bald eagles hanging around area now and the last few days we have had a few relaxing on the sand bars at low tide to sun themselves and rest up for more fishing fun as the water starts to flood back into the bays with the incoming tides.
White pelicans showing back up to our area for their wintertime retreat, great time to go cruising our local back bay waters to spot these beautiful and unique birds while they are in town for a short time!
Also, due to the awesome temps its nice and cool and not so hot on the water. However, for us Floridians it maybe a little chilly so make sure to have a light jacket if you are a local with friends attending our on the water adventures!
Call us today to book your dolphin tour at (727)393-1947 and get more information on this trip at our website here -> https://www.hubbardsmarina.com/dolphin-watching-cruises/
Tampa bay ferry News
Right now with the barrage of the cold fronts makes shelling out of this world out at Egmont key with us aboard our Egmont key ferry boat ride from Fort De Soto’s county park. We have 11am tours leaving Wednesday-Sunday this time of year that offer 2 hours out on the island after a 30 minute ride out and 30 minute ride back. 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://www.hubbardsmarina.com/egmont-key-ferry-cruise/
While out on the island, you can go shelling around the perimeter or trek through the interior of the island to the western side where the shelling is even better! Plus, you have a great shot at sharks’ teeth and more. Plus, this time of year is awesome for exploring the island’s interior a bit more on your way to the gulf side of the island. There are cooler temps and hardly any bugs after the cooler weather sets in on the island.
The shark’s teeth have been the highlight lately out at the islands with some very large teeth found out at Egmont key and a few at shell key recently. Behind the cold fronts the islands get fresh rounds of great shells and a few of these sharks’ teeth too!
We are seeing lots of active seabirds around the islands with the cooler temps some of our norther friends like bald eagles come down to join us on our beautiful beaches as well!
Plus, the dolphins have been very active as of late adding a special bonus to our ferry guests as they ride from Fort De Soto out to Egmont key or Shell Key islands!
We are officially into the 2020 year and our 2020 regular’s club is solidifying. If you have not renewed your membership has become inactive and your discount is no longer working. Please make sure to call me and get set up again when you have time so that way your 2020 bookings will have your discount attached when you show up for your trips! We can sign you up via phone or in person, and it is always easier ahead of your trip.
If you are not a member, but you’d like to be we are doing our NEW member sign ups. Give me a call or email and we can talk about the clubs and get you signed up ASAP. Once you sign up your discount becomes active and stays active until December 31st, 2020!
Remember, you can now call or TEXT our main office line – (727)393-1947
Captain Dylan Hubbard
Vice president and Co-Owner
(727)393-1947 ext. 306