Sheepshead bite continues to dominate the inshore report, they are prolific through the area hanging out around the structures, oyster bars, and even sometimes around the flats. Dock lines and bridges are the most common areas to target them. They love those small pieces of fresh dead shrimp, barnacles, fiddler crabs, and cut clams or oysters. The sheepshead rig is simple with lighter 15-20lb floro and super lightweight even a small split shot around 8-12 inches above the hook will be enough weight to keep your bait adjacent to the structure in the sheepshead hunting area. The bulk are often on or near the bottom, but you can sometimes find them hanging up in the water column around the pilings around deeper bridges or docks.
Redfish action is going extremely well around the passes during the day on the live shrimp weighted to bottom around the docks. Were also seeing plenty caught in the bay around the flats, mangrove shorelines and dock lines too. Oyster bars are a great option for redfish action as well. These guys love live shrimp, green backs, and even small live pinfish. Cut bait also works well for the redfish like cut threadfins or pinfish.
Trout action around the passes has been a little hit and miss due to weather, but when they are biting, we are seeing a mix of silver and speckled trout around the bridge lights and dock lights near the passes. During the day, we are seeing a bunch of trout around the local grass flats, mangrove shorelines and mangrove islands. Even dock lines have held good numbers of trout mixed in with some redfish, snook and sheepshead. Trout have extremely soft mouth so having a slower action rod with light tackle is a great idea if you are targeting these guys while on the water.
Snook are virtually gone around the passes, but still a few being caught from time to time at night and through the day. One of the biggest snook I have seen caught in a while came this past week from under our main dock on a live shrimp at the bottom. This was a super thick fish pushing 40 inches too! Most of the snook population has moved out of the passes and pushed back into the bays and are staging up at the mouths of creeks, rivers, and bayous. There are also good numbers hanging around those back bay dock lines where that dark bay mud radiates heat in the afternoon sun.
Mackerel action is not crazy but oddly enough were still seeing mackerel around the area especially in the outer bay area around the edges of deeper flats and structures like bridges, piers, and docks where bait gathers.
Near Shore & Offshore-
Hogfish action is insane right now around the area near shore waters from around 30ft of water up to around 70ft of water seems to be the hot zone. We are averaging around 15-25 keeper hogfish on our ten hour all days and sometimes more! Our 5-hour half days are also catching around 4-6 keeper hogfish as well. Both trips have many more caught but are just under that keeper size of 14 inches minimum to the fork. Often people do not realize that they must be measured from the start of their jaw to the middle of their tail, those long whisps do not count and you cannot pinch the tail it must be laid flat when measuring. This means you do run into some undersized fish and those hogfish are the most sensitive species we run across when it comes to barotrauma issues so please keep in mind you have literally seconds when you get one you plan to release up to the surface before his chances of survival exponentially decrease. Make sure to get any smaller ones up and into the boat and off the hook and released if they do not measure in record time. Each second at the surface will severely hinder their chances for survival and growing to that keeper size and spawning and helping the population to continue to flourish. These guys love lighter tackle like 20-30lb floro leader and around 3-4ot hooks and live or fresh dead shrimp. The 1-2 ounce white nekid ball jigs have worked well for us and we often will take the smaller trailer hook without the teaser off and replace it with little stronger short shank 4-5ot hooks and add a dab of super glue to the teaser on the main hook. The super glue will make the teaser last for a few more fish. Once it falls off replacing that hook too is a great idea. The knocker rig method with around a 1oz hook and around 4-5 of those red beads between the slip lead and the hook is another great hogfish targeting method.
Mangrove snapper action has been pretty decent near shore but offshore were getting the big boys. Near shore were seeing them around 60-70ft and beyond to the near shore border of around 100ft of water. Offshore were targeting them with the red grouper and scamp out deeper around 140-180ft of water and seeing some good numbers of some large mangroves with some in the 7-9lb range. Near shore we use live shrimp to target them and pull them up while targeting hogfish. Offshore we use a heavier 40lb leader and a double snell rig of around 5-6ot hooks and a chunk of threadfin. However, that offshore rig can be scaled down to target mangrove snapper near shore. Around 30lb leader and double snelled 4ot hooks can work on a ten hour or any trip fishing around 60-100ft for mangroves.
Lane snapper are also prolific in the deeper near shore waters out to the shallow offshore waters. From around 60-120ft of water were seeing some good lane snapper action. These guys will take the live shrimp when we are targeting hogfish deeper and they will also hit the mangrove snapper rig too. However, you can target them well with a small piece of squid as well with lighter tackle and hook setup like your targeting hogfish or mangrove snapper.
Red grouper action is steady near shore and is going well offshore out deeper. We are seeing a few of these guys around 60-100ft near shore on cut dead bait and a few on live pinfish. Offshore were seeing good numbers starting around 120-140ft and beyond. Big chunks of cut dead bait like bonita, mullet, mackerel or squid are great bait options for the red grouper while helping you avoid those pesky big gags, we must release this time of year.
Scamp grouper action is awesome out deep mixed in with those red grouper. We start to see them most beyond 140ft when fishing for those red grouper on potholes or ledges or atop big plateaus. They love a small live pinfish but will take dead threadfins too. We have seen a few up to the 12-14lb range while fishing deep this time of year.
Blackfin tuna action is at its best this time of year. Especially around the new and full moons of January and February and especially through the night time period. If we sit on a spot awhile doing well on snapper fishing we will often catch a few black fins while knocker rig fishing or if we set out a flat line. We will also see them trolling during the day from time to time between fishing spots on those diving plug trolling lures like the rapala xrap magnums or the nomad DTX minnows.
For more fishing reports, photos, videos and more check out Hubbard’s Marina on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, or Snap Chat just simply search @HubbardsMarina and do not 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
We are getting a live show studio location set up early February! We are super pumped to report that we have been able to secure a private studio location for our Sunday night live internet shows. These Sunday night live shows are 8:30pm eastern time each and every Sunday and we give away a TON of free stuff during the show for those who are watching and have commented one time on the Hubbard’s Marina facebook page’s live stream of the show. You can text in your questions LIVE during the show to our main office number (727)393-1947 and we will answer them live during the show and if we miss it we will follow up the next morning to answer them! This new studio will enable us to spread out and have more guests on the show and we plan to have some of YOU on the show too! Going to be a big step to really improve our live shows and we hope you will join us for our Sunday night fun! Also, don’t forget to join us as a supporter if you want to help make this possible and also get the supporters badge and access to the private supporters group with more behind the scenes information and my personal cell phone number too! Become a supporter today at this link -> https://www.facebook.com/becomesupporter/147347365309728/
Now that gags closed, were focused on Red grouper & Scamp offshore with BIG mangroves & some yellowtail! The long range trips will have extremely lighter loads in January and were going to be fishing deeper for more big scamp and fat red grouper and big mangroves. Plus, this time of year we see some big yellow tails! The last 39 hour caught a ton of yellowtail snapper with big vermillion, a mutton snapper, big scamp (one 12lbs) and lots of big fat red group! In January every weekend 39 hour has less than 25 people and the last two have less than 20! The Tuesday 39 hour in January is less than 20 people too so tons of options and plenty of room.
Also, we have the extreme trips Wednesday and Sunday and Capt Joe Drew and Capt Rich are killing the big red grouper, scamp, mangroves and even seeing some tuna!
Nearshore the hogfish bite is HOT!! Ready for a 10 hour all day or 5 hour half day with a chance for hogfish? They are biting really well right now and it’s a great time to go get them when the weather cooperates! I would suggest the 10 hours as the BEST chance for hogfish but you get a decent shot at them on the 5 hour half days too! Live shrimp and lighter tackle is key and for more hogfish tips check out the hogfish tips video on our fishing tips and tricks page -> https://www.hubbardsmarina.com/fishing-tips/
12 hour extreme, 39 hour, 44 hour & all Specialty trip dates for 2021 are listed under the ‘specialty trips’ tab of our website. To see all the dates for those trips click this link and BOOK NOW FOR 2021!
Want to learn more about fishing & have a chance to WIN FREE TRIPS! Don’t forget to join Capt Dylan Hubbard each Sunday night at 8:30pm for the LIVE Q&A fishing show on the Hubbard’s Marina Facebook channel! We normally live stream to YouTube too but unfortunately, we are not able too until mid to late January due to some issues. Here’s a link to the past live shows on our site if you want to see past shows and learn more now -> 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
We have started NEW MEMBER sign up and have already signed up quite a few new guests to the clubs. If you are thinking about joining now is the time to call or email me to get the info! The best way to get all the info is to text me your email or reach out via email then I can send it all over and we can talk on the phone after you have had a chance to get an idea of what club you want to join!
This loyalty program is a great way to make fishing more affordable if you are fishing more than 10,15 or 20 times a year!
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