Inshore – More clear water again this past week with the beautiful weather makes finding the bait fish and predatory fish you’re targeting very easy. However, it does make it a little more difficult to get the fish feeding if you’re using tackle that’s a little too heavy. Similar to last week the live bait like greenback and glass minnows has been thick around the area in the bays, passes and along the beaches. These schools are making lots of fish excited and ready to cooperate with local anglers.
The snook action has been very good yet again this week around the area. Lots of anglers are doing well in the wee hours of the morning fishing the outgoing tides in the passes using live pigfish, pass crabs or big live shrimp for the snook. The lures that worked well this week were the wind cheater hard jerk baits and the flair hawk style jigs for these early morning snook. The biggest snook love the big cut dead baits on the bottom but they are definitely a little fewer and further between than the around slot sized snook that seem to be the most prolific. Here’s a great video of the snook loaded up around the docks eating shrimp and finger mullet like crazy: https://www.facebook.com/hubbardsmarina/videos/491378101414681/
If you want to target snook and don’t have a boat, the best place to get a great shot at them is around the local passes like blinds pass, johns pass, pass a grille, or even a bridges around the bay! For example, Johns pass has had snook so thick around before sunrise its nuts as you can see in the video above. The outgoing tide flushes all the bait and shrimp out of the pass and the snook stack up in the pass waiting to ambush flushing prey. This makes it really easy to catch a few as long as you are presenting your live bait or lure very naturally in the strike zone near the areas the snook are hiding in the lee of the current near structure.
Redfish bite is going well around the area too. Lately around the passes the redfish bite has gone very well at night, but were still seeing a few during the day cruising the passes. Along the beaches, passes or in the bay along the flats you can sometimes spot a school of hungry fish moving along together and this makes it catching not fishing. Redfish are schooling up for their brief migration offshore a ways to spawn before returning to their home in the back bay waters. During the day time they are more likely found along the mangrove shore lines, grass flats or the edges of the oyster bars in the back bays. However, at night they seem to be hanging below the active snook in the passes. Inside Johns pass the past few nights many anglers have caught some respectable redfish on crabs along the bottom, live pinfish or big live shrimp. Keep in mind, redfish are primarily going to be feeding on or near the bottom while the snook are up higher in the water column or on the surface.
On the beaches the whiting action is still going very well and they are tons of fun to fight on lighter tackle. Luckily on the beach there’s nothing you have to worry about as far as structure so using ultra-light tackle still enables you to land some decent sized fish. Besides whiting on the beach, there’s plenty of mackerel cruise the surf around areas that have the live bait present. Lots of fun to happen upon a school of aggressive mackerel while fishing light tackle for whiting along our beautiful gulf beaches.
Mackerel are also very active around the local passes and piers! The skyway fishing piers, the bay and gulf piers of fort de soto and big pier 60 all are holding plenty of hungry and aggressive mackerel ready to attack any free lined green backs, shrimp or live pinfish into the current. My favorite set up for the mackerel is a longer 7-8ft rod to give me plenty of casting distance with a 7/8th-1oz gotcha plug with 10-15lb braid and a 20lb floro leader. You cast as far as you can up current and let the jig sink to the bottom then start to retrieve very fast and occasionally give a brief pause and light twitch before starting to retrieve quickly again. I start very fast and then if the fish aren’t cooperating I will slow down a bit and as soon as I get one to bite, the goal is to continue to replicate that speed and retrieve that was successful into enticing a bite.
Still pretty early for active sheepshead and heavy pompano action around the jetties and bridges locally, but they should be on the way soon as water temps continue to cool off a bit. Luckily, there’s still plenty of mangrove snapper around ready to devour any chummers that you toss into the current. Light tackle in the 10-20lb range and a piece of shrimp or green back is my favorite method for targeting these fun to catch and great eating aggressive snapper.
Near shore – Big news near shore this week is the plentiful mackerel and the hogfish bite getting pretty darn good. The kingfish are around but not in huge cooperative numbers at this time. I am confident the next full moon will bring us a big push of kingfish and that’s only about two weeks away! The mackerel on the other hand are super thick around the area and very willing to cooperate whether your trolling, chumming and using live bait, or casting plugs into actively feeding schools near shore. If you are cruising along and find one of those ‘showering’ bait schools in the near shore waters from the beaches out to about 12-14 miles there’s most likely hundreds of mackerel underneath causing the bait to be forced up to the surface in a tight chaotic ball. This allows you an easy target as you want to work the edges of the bait ball for nice mackerel and perhaps the occasional early season kingfish. Trolling is tons of fun with the number one or two planners and the mackerel to kingfish spoons in the 3-8 inch range, and the rapla xrap plugs work well too in the 20 and 30 sizes. However, drifting around the school and casting the gotcha plugs with ultra-light tackle is super exhilarating as these are super-fast explosive fish when they strike the lure. Another great method is to anchor or drift along the school with a large amount of cast netted white bait, typically green backs. I will keep a bucket full or two of white bait without water specifically to chum with and then a live well full of live ones to use for bait. The dead ones are just thrown out around the boat to keep the school of fish close by while the live ones are casted along the edges of the chaotic school of fish. Occasionally I will sprinkle in a net full or two of the live white baits to keep the fish you’ve tricked to hang around your boat interested and feeding.
Besides the mackerel action, the hogfish bite is finally going well enough I would call it ‘good’ instead of just getting better and better. However, this will only improve until the hogfish bite gets ‘hot’ coming soon. Right now we are averaging a half dozen or so on most of our near shore trips and the amount of keeper sized hogfish varies from day to day and depth of water we can reach. We find hogfish from around 30-70ft of water typically but right now were catching more of them and most of those caught are keeper sized closer to 50-70ft of water. Hogfish love live shrimp, live fiddler crabs, sandfleas, or rockshrimp for bait. Keep in mind that fresh dead or fresh dead fiddlers will work as well. Often, because shrimp get used so quickly near shore around the active bottom species you need 20-60 dozen to go out and target hogfish with a group of anglers people will opt for the fresh dead shrimp since they are a little easier on the budget. Also, it’s hard to keep that number of shrimp alive unless you have a fancier live well set up. We will often use our fish box or a cooler to store small bait buckets stuffed with shrimp, while they are not getting fresh water they will not be lively when we start fishing the cold water preserves them nicely and they do live a surprising amount of time in cooler water. This also keeps them fresh as well. Something about the pink more rotten shrimp turns those hogfish off. The more natural colored typically brown or tan or lighter colored shrimp are the better option over the pink shrimp. Also, frozen shrimp seem to work well for chum to get the other fish fed and the hogfish excited but they don’t work well for hogfish bait as they come off the hook easy and they are typically more predominately not fresh. When targeting the hogfish lighter tackle is always better and lighter weight is always better because you want to most natural presentation possible.
We are seeing a decent red grouper bite on the HUB 10hr all day trips we are running right now when fishing around 70-100 foot of water. They love the live bait like pinfish or pigfish but my favorite bait for the red grouper are the cut strips of squid wing cut to mimic an octopus tentacle.
The lane snapper action is going very well near shore and were seeing some nice mangrove snapper bite mixed in with the lane snapper too around 80-110ft of water or the deepest near shore waters is the best place to target these great eating snapper and perhaps catch a red grouper or two along the way.
While bottom fishing near shore always have a pitch rod ready! We have been spotting some very large and great eating cobia cruising up to our boats the past week. We had a 60lb cobia last weekend and then another just over 70lb cobia caught this week. They love tail hooked live pinfish on 40-50lb floro leader with a 5ot circle with 30-40lb braid on a 5000-8000 series spinning reel.
Offshore -We unfortunately haven’t been offshore too much as of late since our boat is in dry dock we have not ran any recent 39 or 44 hour trips and the east breeze from the high pressures has been causing our offshore waters to be too rough for our Flying HUB 2 to ‘fly’ out to the offshore waters. Due to this, we haven’t been fishing past 20-30 miles this past week at all. However, we know the gag grouper bite is going pretty good out there and were excited to get back on them around 160-200 foot of water is the hot area still for the gag bite with some really nice scamp mixed in as of late. The red grouper bite out deep has been a little tough they seem to be cooperating better for us around 100-140ft of water. Mangrove snapper are pretty active throughout the offshore waters up to and just past 200 foot of water on the threadfin plugs and double snell rigs. Also, mixed in with the mangroves around 150-200 foot we have seen some very large and plentiful big vermillion snapper. Offshore the kingfish are already pretty thick and prolific and we are seeing cobia out there too like the near shore waters. The blackfin tuna are a little sporadic but still around. Never forget your flat line and a pitch rod while out offshore fishing this time of year!
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 October 19th 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! Stay tuned to our morning facebook and youtube videos fore more info and updates and don’t forget to check out this event link and help us spread the word by click ‘going’ or ‘interested’ and share it with friends! Event link: https://www.facebook.com/events/393341371269723/
Join us for one of our special live stream fishing shows Sunday nights at 8:30pm! Capt Dylan Hubbard and sometimes a special guest 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
AMBERJACK season is now open for three months and were seeing some big ones! Plus, we still have TONS of other great fish to catch too! Jacks opened August first and they will remain open until end of October, Hopefully! PLUS, we have gag grouper season running until end of December if you want to get out for some big grouper action. The gags bite best in October, November and December but we are seeing some good ones currently too. If you join us in the next three months you have a chance for ANYTHING in the gulf besides the red snapper and triggerfish! Join us for a 12 hour extreme, 39 hour, or long range private charter for the amberjack and gag grouper fishing! Call us at (727)393-1947 or book online at -> https://HubbardsMarina.com
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
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.
Even though it’s late in the year, we are still spotting some of the manatees around the area cruising the back bay waters. They are heading out of our area for the cooler months soon so were soaking up our manatee spotting while we can! Right now, most of the manatees we are spotting are moving in some decent sized herds around 4-8 manatees making it really easy to spot these unique creatures and cruise along near them watching the show! It is especially cool when we are able to find these animals cruising the shallower waters along the grass flats or shorelines to watching them much easier compared to when we find them in deeper waters. They can hold their breath easily for 6-10 minutes so in deeper waters if they are cruising it’s very difficult to spot them and follow them while in the shallower waters it makes it super simple to spot them and follow them!
This week we have seen lots of dolphin action around our back bay waters during our dolphin watching nature cruise and eco tour aboard the big blue boat at Hubbard’s Marina inside Johns Pass! The young juvenile dolphins that were born this year are all grouped together learning how to use their sonar, hunt and play together. Plus, many of these guys are being very acrobatic and playful around their friends and it makes for a great show aboard the dolphin tour at Hubbard’s Marina!
We have also been spotting some juvenile and even adult sea turtles cruising the back bay waters this week. The coolest spotting this past week was a large loggerhead sea turtle that popped up right between the boat and the mangrove shore line and cruised through some shallow waters right along the boat before making a beeline for the pass area most likely to head back offshore.
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
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!
We have been spotting some of the very unique spotted eagle rays on our trips out and back from the island from Fort De Soto County Park! These unique and beautiful rays really can jump quite high out of the water and they really are exciting to be spotting so consistently on our ride to and from Egmont Key island.
We have been spotting lots of the gopher tortoise and box turtles out at Egmont key as of late and it has been making the day at Egmont key island even more enjoyable for our tampa bay ferry guests while enjoying the island paradise!
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 offer 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
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