Inshore – The snook seem to no have realized its getting cooler yet they are still pretty thick and active around our passes and local waters in the area. The flats, passes and piers still have snook loaded up around the areas Plus, residential canals are starting to see them along with the mouths of the bayous and rivers. Great time to go target some snook with live bait or artificial. Live bait for snook can be pinfish, pigfish, big shrimp, pass crabs, or even finger mullet. They seem hungry no matter what your throwing and what the tide is doing. Definitely the most prominent catch in our local area this past week. You can find them best at night but early morning hours and around dusk is working well too. The only tough time to get them going is mid day hours when the sun is directly over head. Behind last weekend’s storm they were very active even when the winds were up after the rain cleared Sunday and Monday.
Along with active snook this past week the redfish are very active from upper Tampa bay to Fort De Soto to the flats in the intercostal too. They are scattered around a bit more now but seem to be very active at similar times to the snook. Residential canals are holding the redfish under docks during the day and along the light lines of dock lights at night. We are seeing them around the mangrove islands in the bay and also on the oyster bars and flats. They love the smaller pinfish, shrimp or white bait. For artificial baits soft plastic paddletails, mirror lures, DOA shrimp or the old gold spoon are my favorite options.
Sheepshead are starting to show up around the area more and more. They love the bridges, docks, piers and other structure but once they get thick in the area you can find em in schools moving around the flats as well. They love barnacles, fiddler crabs, shrimp, cut oysters or clams for bait. You typically can’t target sheepshead with artificial lures but I have seen them take them from time to time mostly the artificial shrimp when they are frenzy feeding around docks or bridges. The cooler the local waters get the better the sheepshead bite will become. Also, they seem to feed extra well behind the cold fronts when the water is stirred up and murky and the barometer just fell out it’s like the dinner bell ringing for sheepshead.
Lots of mackerel around the beaches, piers, passes and especially around the skyway. Mackerel love to eat the white bait and sometimes live shrimp too on the top half of the water column. However, I prefer to target them with a fast moving gotcha plug in the 7/8th oz to 1oz size or a casting spoon with a 1-2oz casting lead as far 4-10ft in front of the spoon. When the bite is hot you can add some 30lb wire in front of your lure or live bait but if you aren’t getting them chewing go with 20lb floro to start. Often when using live whitebait for them you can use that 20lb floro effectively if you use a extra long shank J hook. Mustad makes some good ones in this style but they are a little difficult to find sometimes.
Trout bite is good and shows signs of improving with the cooling temps. Trout are mainly loving the flats right now, but you can find them at night around the dock lights in the canals and also in many of the passes on the bridge lights and rocky shorelines hanging in the street light’s glow chasing any live whitebait or shrimp around. My favorite trout lure is a DOA shrimp hands down but some of the mirror lures are great options or the soft plastics too. However, live shrimp or green backs make great live baits for the trout too.
Mangrove snapper in the passes and around the Tampa bay bridges and rock piles, plus around the piers too! The mangroves are still very active inshore around the structure eating shrimp or greenbacks. It helps to hit them at the start or end of the tides so you can use lighter tackle and give a more natural presentation devoid of using any weights, or super light weights if you need any. They are very quick biting fun to catch fish on lighter tackle.
Great time of year for the triple tail in tampa bay and along the beaches. They hang just on or below the markers and buoys, but right now it seems they are hanging a little deeper. Sometimes you won’t be able to spot them right away so approach slowly and silently and try to present a bait to their floating hiding spot before you get too close to spook them. My favorite method for these guys is a free lined live shrimp. However, a little popping cork just above your live shrimp will give you more casting distance and accuracy if you need any help making sure your live bait is in the strike zone.
Also, in addition to all these species we have seen a few cobia caught inside tampa bay and around the local area. Most of those cobia have been caught on pinfish, crabs, and eel baits. I like using a jig head and one of those senko bass worms in the dark green or purple color for the cobia sight fishing.
Near shore – Lots of hogfish being caught lately near shore from around 30-70ft of water the hogfish bite seems to really be taking off finally. They love the live shrimp but fiddler crabs or rock shrimp work for them too. Around 20-30lb floro and 3-4ot hooks are best. A very natural presentation helps with minimal weight on your line. You can use one of three methods for them to be very successful. My favorite, but often the most difficult is the light knocker rig with 1oz of lead or less. Also, a nekid ball jig works well in the 3/4oz, 1oz or 2oz sizes. Finally, the most common method a lot of people use is the jig head method so just a bare jig head with the live shrimp or fiddle crab on the hook for bait. Just keep in mind, hogfish are often the last fish to bite so you have to fish through all the other more aggressive grey snapper (white grunts), seabass, juvenile grouper, vermililion, lanes, and mangrove snapper. Then finally some porgies will start biting and shortly after the first hogfish will come up. Once you get the first one you should get a few more every 5-10 minutes and then after you stop catching em with more than 15-20 minutes since your last hogfish its time to pull up anchor and move onto the next spot. The smaller ledges and rock piles seem to hold the most cooperative hogfish, while the larger ledges and spots often have more fish species and numbers eating your baits before the hogfish can. Plus, those larger areas typically have more fishing pressure from other anglers making it tough to get quality hogfish off those areas.
The mackerel are super thick near shore right now as well. We are seeing them from the beaches out to around fifteen miles from shore. They love eating the trolling spoons 12-18ft behind number one or number two planners or the smaller plugs like the rapala xrap 20’s or trolling feathers. You can also catch plenty of them near shore by getting up on a near shore wreck, reef or rock pile that’s holding bait and chum them over to your boat floating out live green backs using the methods of live bait we talked about in the inshore section.
Kingfish are finally showing up more and more and were catching them trolling the rapala xrap magnum 30’s or 40’s or the bigger trolling skirts. You can sometimes catch them trolling the spoons behind planners but often they like the big plugs or skirts more. We often catch them flat line fishing while bottom fishing near shore as well. Flat line fishing while drifting is easy as you can use a dead threadfin or sardine on a stinger rig with 30-40lb wire. When anchor fishing, if the current isn’t strong you may need to add a ballon around 4-10ft above your stinger rig to keep that threadfin, sardine or live blue runner up on the top of the water column dancing in the waves while you are bottom fishing. Often this will produce some kingfish action to compliment your bottom fishing fun!
On the bottom around 70-100 foot of water is where we have been finding lane snapper, vermillion snapper, mangrove snapper, some red grouper and a few gag grouper. The gags are starting to move into the near shore waters eating pigfish, pinfish, squirrel fish or dead threadfins. If you are lucky to sabiki up some live sardines they are killer near shore grouper candy too. Red grouper like live pinfish, pig fish, squirrel fish or baby octopus or squid wing strips cut to mimic octopus tentacles. For both of these grouper species around 60lb test and a 6-7ot circle hook is the best near shore grouper tackle selection. For the snapper species, I like using around 30-40lb fluorocarbon leaders with 4ot hooks and a cut threadfin plug on a double snell rig. However, live shrimp on a knocker rig or jig head or nekidball jig will work well with lighter tackle spinning rod set ups and it makes near shore snapper fishing a ton of fun.
Offshore – This past weekend we could not make it offshore due to the tropical storm that messed up our chances to go deep. However, we just had a mid week 39 hour return yesterday morning that had great mangrove snapper fishing action, a decent grouper bite and a few nice amberjack on board. We are seeing some of the kingfish out deep and the occasional blackfin tuna too. Out deep around 120-160 foot seems to be a great area to target right now when offshore fishing.
When targeting snapper species out here I like to use 40-50lb floro leader and a 5-6ot double snell hook set up with a threadfin or sardine plug. High speed conventional reels or larger 5000-6000 series spinning reels will work. I like sticking to conventional reels especially a two speed conventional that way if I accidentally hook into a grouper or bigger snapper while bottom fishing I have a shot to land that quality fish. With spinning rods you got little to no shot unless you get very lucky, and with a high speed conventional without the second lower gear ratio option it makes it tricky to get that bigger snapper or grouper up off the bottom without getting rocked up or broke off.
For grouper species out deep, strictly I stick to the conventional reels in the medium to low gear ration with 40+ lbs of drag like a 6ot reel for dead bait and smaller live baits with 80lb test and 7-8ot hooks. However, if I am dropping down a big bait I use more like a 9ot monster reel with 50-60+ lbs of drag and a 80-125lb leader and 8-12ot hook. Offshore live baits that work well are pinfish, pig fish, squirrel fish. For bit baits I may use a knobbed eye porgy, lizard fish or spadefish too.
Want to watch Capt Dylan Hubbard’s Daily video reports? Check out the Hubbard’s Marina YouTube channel and don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE! – Hubbard’s Marina daily fishing & boating report
Upcoming up at Hubbard’s Marina
We have another special bass pro shops seminar coming up Saturday November 16th at 2pm! Join Capt Dylan Hubbard at the Tampa Bass Pro Shops for this great in person seminar that will be covering anything you want to discuss or learn about near shore or offshore fishing related. Whatever you want to catch, learn about or discuss this is a great opportunity to spend time chatting with Capt Dylan Hubbard in person. PLUS, you get an opportunity to win FREE FISHING TRIPS. All you have to do to win is show up just before or right as the seminar begins to collect a free raffle ticket. Once the seminar concludes Capt Dylan will select some lucky winners! Check out this event link and help us spread the word by click ‘going’ or ‘interested’ and share it with friends! Event link: https://facebook.com/events/535557123668130/
Join us for one of our special live stream fishing shows Sunday nights at 8:30pm, we have a special trip coming up this Sunday October 27th! Capt Dylan Hubbard has a special guest, Joe Simonds with Salt Strong this Sunday night! We will be giving away tons of fishing tips, tricks, techniques and he 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/
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
Dolphins have been very actively lately around Johns Pass. We have seen lots of our local dolphins being playful around the area. They are moving in big pods together socializing the juvenile dolphins and enjoying the now a little cooler weather. Plus, our local waters are much more clear making spotting and enjoying the dolphins that much more fun. The incoming tides bring beautiful near crystal clear water into our back bay waters making that the best time to enjoy the great views from our dolphin watching nature cruise and eco tour at Hubbard’s Marina.
On our dolphin tours at Hubbard’s Marina, many of the trips have been lucky to spot a few of these big pods of dolphins. They are typically very active up on the surface making it a very unique view from our big blue boat that is located closest to the Johns Pass Bridge inside Johns Pass at Hubbard’s Marina.
Besides being playful and in larger groups our local dolphins have been very acrobatic as of late jumping out of the water nearly completely fairly often as we cruise through the back protected bay waters during our dolphin watching nature cruise and eco tour at Hubbard’s Marina aboard the big blue boat!
The local jack crevalle are moving in large groups around the area chasing big schools of active white bait. These hungry predatory fish make quite a spectacle when feeding on these schools of bait. The dolphins will often take advantage of these fish as they are feeding on the smaller bait fish. You can get lucky and watch these guys work together to start feeding on the jacks as they feed on the minnows. This is quite a great spectacle to experience and not something you will soon forget. This is a unique time of year for these types of experiences. It’s a great time to come join us at Hubbard’s Marina for a relaxing boat tour on the big blue dolphin tour boat inside Johns Pass!
We are still spotting manatees during our dolphin watching nature cruise and eco tour and our sunset cruise tours as well. It maybe late in the year, but the big cold snaps haven’t started quite yet. Once those begin our local manatees will make their way north out of our area for the ‘winter’ season. They hide out in the springs to our north during that short time of year when our local waters get cooler. However, for now we still have quite a few of them around looking healthy and showing off for our guests aboard our dolphin watching nature cruise and eco tour at Hubbard’s Marina!
This time of year is our favorite time of year for amazing sunsets unlike any other! Great time to join us for one of our sunset cruises at Hubbard’s Marian because the weather is making some outstanding colorful views for the lucky visitors and locals who join us for our daily sunset cruise that offers FREE beer and wine every night around 7pm.
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
This time of year is the best time of year to get out to Egmont key island for a day of fun in the sun and an awesome snorkeling opportunity. The snorkeling this time of year is the best it gets as the waters are really clear and the water temps aren’t too chilly yet as well.
Along with the beautiful waters we are seeing lots of shark’s teeth out at the island. One of our locals who goes out to Egmont key often found a huge tooth this week that was over two inches long and perfectly intact. He often finds large teeth like this while out at Egmont key island with us aboard the fort de soto to Egmont key ferry boat ride with us at Tampa Bay Ferry by Hubbard’s Marina
The local gopher tortoise that hang around Egmont key are out and about quite a bit during the day this time of year since the night time periods are a little chillier. They will come out during the morning hours to warm up and enjoy some sun as our guests explore the island!
The water clarity right now out at Egmont key and Shell key islands is out of this world! If you’d like to spend a day at the island with nearly perfect water conditions come out and join us sometime soon for a ride from Fort De soto’s bay pier to Egmont key island or from Fort De Soto’s boat ramp to beautiful shell key!
Besides nearly crystal clear local waters we are also enjoying more moderate temperatures. The cooler temps will make for a great opportunity to explore the island’s interiors without dealing with so much heat and the bugs will be significantly reduced as well the cooler it gets!
The Egmont key ferry from Fort De Soto offers 10am and 11am ferry rides to the island daily this time of year, plus on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday we offr a 2pm ferry ride from Fort De Soto out to Egmont Key Island! You get three hours on the island after around a 20-30 minute ride out and back to the island. 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/
Our Shell key ferry trips are a great way to spend the day and offer more flexible schedules compared to the rigid Egmont key schedule! We offer these trips DAILY from the boat ramp at Fort De Soto County Park and they run at 10am, noon and 2pm and the final return time is 4pm! You have much more flexibility during the shell key trips compared to our Egmont key ferry because you get to choose the time you return to fort de Soto from Shell key! If you’re looking for plenty of time on the island and great shelling opportunities then the shell key ferry trip is your best bet! Check out all the information on this special ferry ride at this link – https://www.hubbardsmarina.com/shell-key-ferry/
Hey guys, we have our 2020 clubs starting up around the end of November or Early December. If you are interested in signing up or learning more about our loyalty program that will make it more affordable for you to go fishing even more often then make sure to reach out to Capt Dylan at his email below!
If you are an existing regular’s club member make sure to start paying close attention to those special regular’s club email newsletters as the announcements start to come about the renewals for the 2020 clubs!
Captain Dylan Hubbard
Vice president and Co-Owner
(727)393-1947 ext. 306