Inshore- Sheepshead continue to impress around the area right now. This coming week we have a couple weather events that should only continue to cool the area while heating up the sheepshead action. These guys don’t mind the bad weather and when the water gets murky, they seem to get more active while other species calm down. Sheepshead are virtually everywhere on any structure from the shipping channels and rock piles of the bay to the seawalls and bridges of the back bay and everywhere in between. Docks and piers are popular hot spots but if it can grow barnacles or hold a crab or shrimp the sheepshead will be around this time of year ready to eat. Shrimp is an easy bait to get and target those sheepshead but fiddler crabs is one of their favorites. I also like the cut clams or oysters for great sheepshead action. These guys have very hard mouths so you have to set the hook on them well, but they are also very small mouths so smaller hooks are required. They are right on or near the structure so making sure your bait is in their strike zone is particularly important. Using minimal weight while being able to keep the bait on or near the structure is the key. Also, being able to feel that quick bite is tricky but a lot of fun to master. Plus, these guys are one of those great eating inshore fish you can take home to eat too! Sheepshead must be twelve inches total length to keep and your allowed up to eight fish per person.
Trout on the other hand along with redfish and snook are all three still catch and release only. However, we are seeing plentiful and active trout on those deeper edges and cuts around the flats through early morning and during the heat of the day they are moving around the open flats. You can find them a little deeper on the flats this time of year too hanging around 4-6ft. We are seeing them around the bridge and dock lights at night as well still too. These guys love those soft slow-moving plastics when choosing artificials. For live bait free lined shrimp or pinfish are great options. Do not forget those residential canals this time of year as those dock lines have that dark bay mud that radiates heat well in the afternoon which attracts trout, snook, redfish, sheepshead, and others to the comfort of the dock lines.
Redfish action is steady around the area, but the weather does move them around a bit. We are seeing these fish around the dock lines and bridges in the passes all the way up to the flats, mangrove shorelines and oyster bars of the upper bay and many places in between. Residential canal dock lines are a great place to find redfish too! They love those small pinfish, white bait or live shrimp but will also take dead cut bait like pinfish or threadfins.
Snook action is still happening around the docks in the passes but the cooler temps this coming week may slow that down a bit as many move back into the bay to retreat from the cooler waters. We see plenty of these fish around those creeks and river mouths this time of year hiding around the docks and bridges and marinas with structure for them to ambush passing prey. These guys are still active on the flats, mangroves shorelines and cuts during the day too. Remember all these fish get cold just like me and you and they can’t bundle up so when it gets cold, they move more slowly and feed more lazily so remember to slow those lures down this time of year as they will not chase baits around like the warmer weather months.
Whiting and silver trout are being caught around local passes and along our beaches. Great time to drift a sandy pass working those tandem rigs for silver trout and whiting or have a live shrimp out on or near the bottom. You may even find a redfish during the day with the shrimp. The surf areas of the beach will hold whiting and those guys will take shrimp and those pompano jigs too! Local beach fishing piers like fort de Soto piers, ana maria pier or the clearwater pier are great places to catch plenty of whiting.
Flounder action is going well around those sandy areas adjacent to the structures of the area or even around the flats. If there is a place for the flounder to hide next to an area that will hold bait the flounder will stage on the down tide sides on the bottom to take baits that get pushed off the structure. Bouncing an artificial shrimp like a DOA along the bottom of these areas are great ways to produce flounder. Also, this time of year a popular way to target them is gigging for them at night.
Black drum are active around the local bridges, dock lines and piers. These guys will eat crabs, shrimp, and sometimes even white bait but they mostly prefer crustaceans. They will be on the bottom right around the structures and the smaller ones are great eating. However, they do get large and they are not bad either.
Near Shore & Offshore- Hogfish action is going extremely well around our near shore rock piles and ledges and even that flat hard bottom around those structures. These guys are most active around 40-60ft, but you can catch them well as shallow as 30ft and as deep as around 80ft. We catch them much deeper up to 140ft but its most common near shore. Since they are so incredibly leader shy and slow to bite its extremely hard to realistically target them offshore in deeper water with so many other more aggressive fish around competing for the bait. Plus, using their favorite live shrimp out there offshore is extremely hard since they can be picked off the hook so easily. While near shore in shallower waters it’s much easier to feel that live shrimp and avoid it getting stolen without you having a chance to feel the bite and get that hook up. We see the best success on hogfish using around 20-30lb floro and about a 3-4ot hook. They will love a fiddler crab, sand flee or even a rock shrimp too, but the common live shrimp is the most preferred bait as it gives you plenty of chances at not only hogfish but plenty of great eating by catch too.
Lane snapper and mangrove snapper are continually active near shore up to around 100ft of water if you start to look for them around 50-60ft. We are seeing some incredibly large lane snapper and seemingly more and more of them even as shallow as 40ft of water. However, their hot spot seems to be closer to around 70ft. These lanes are great eating and will take squid, shrimp, or even cut threadfins. The mangroves are a bit pickier and they will be an option much deeper while the lanes seem to stop around that 100-120ft area. Mangrove snapper bite well out into the deep up to around 250ft. Mangrove snapper love those cut threadfins on the double snell rig out deep or live pinfish that are a little smaller. While near shore we commonly target them using that hogfish set up with live shrimp and a single hook to give us chances at those hogfish and lanes too. However, the mangrove snapper are much more aggressive that hogfish and we are seeing some nice sized fish mixed in near shore.
Red grouper action has really been going well offshore. Near shore the red grouper action is a little more tricky but were catching some nice ones. The best action seems to be around 80-140ft of water on the deepest end of our near shore waters and shallower end of the offshore waters. We’re seeing some fat ones up to around 180ft too but this coming month starts that 20 fathom closure so we will be targeting those red grouper through February and March around this 80-120ft depth. Beyond 120ft or 20 fathoms you will not be able to harvest any of the shallow water grouper complex so essentially all grouper are closed beyond that line except the deep water species like yellow edge and snowies we get out there past 400-500ft of water deep drop fishing. Red grouper love those long squid strips around 6-12 inches and they love live pinfish and even some nice cut bait. I like dead bait fishing for them this time of year to try and avoid the heart ache of catching a big gag that is closed this time of year. We have seen some really nice gag grouper lately we have had to catch and release and it’s always a heart breaker but fun to land!
Scamp grouper action has been going extremely well for us in January. However, now with the deep water closure starting that 140-180ft depth we have been targeting and seeing that bigger scamp becomes impossible to target for them since they are closed to protect their spawn in that area. However, you still have a shot form them and decent chance inside the open area but it’s just hard to see those six plus pound fish in shallower but some great eating 16-20 inch scamp are a welcome sight and much more possible inside 120ft.
Blackfin tuna action has been going well out there offshore and were looking forward to seeing them for the next month or too like this too. They should push in a little shallower for us too as that water temp continues to stay cool. You can find em flat line fishing while anchored up bottom fishing or while trolling from spot to spot. Often, many are caught by chance while dropping down or retrieving baits from the bottom targeting grouper and snapper.
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
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