Due to weather the inshore waters have been very stirred up and dirty around the beaches and around the passes. Luckily the back bay waters haven’t gotten too bad further up in the bay. However, we do have a little warming trend this weekend and things have started heating up a bit. Should be a pretty good bite over the next few days in this little weather window before the next front blows in around the start of the coming week.
Snook right now can be found around the structures, bridges, and jetties near the start of the bay, but most are up in the bay especially around the residential docks and entrances to the bayous and rivers. The redfish and trout are a little more prevalent around the residential docks and canals, but you can find some snook mixed in as well. Snook are moving a bit more slowly due to the chilly water temps so remember if your working an artificial to slow down the retrieve this time of year. Typically, soft plastics are a go to option moving slowly near the bottom, but many love those flairhawk jigs for snook you just got to remember to slow em down as the water cools.
With the dirtier waters this week around the beaches, passes and channels the silver trout, small sharks and sheepshead are biting well on the live shrimp. Sheepshead seem to be very plentiful around the structures like docks, bridges, piers and jetties while the small sharks and silver trout are cruising more open waters and sandy bottom areas.
Redfish bite seemed very good this past week around Fort De Soto and up and down the sides of Tampa bay all the way to the very north end of the bay to Safety Harbor. This time of year, the cut bait works well for redfish, small pinfish or even slow-moving gold spoons and soft plastics. They are cold just like the snook, so you got to slow down the retrieve of any artificial lure option.
Nice trout action right now around the area from the flats to the edges of the flats to the passes and residential docks. Pretty much anywhere you go you can find some trout ready to cooperate and most of the time they are fairly large this time of year. They love the live shrimp or white bait but will also take a myriad of soft plastic artificial baits or slow-moving smaller jerk baits like the Mirror Lures.
Near Shore –
Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to do much near shore or offshore fishing this past week due to weather. Yesterday was our first day fishing hard again near shore since the end of last week. This weather has really messed up our ability to keep those fish coming into the boats. However, luckily once the weather cleared the fish were hungry and were hoping that great bite continues through the weekend. We have a very narrow weather window for the next few days that you must capitalize on if you want a chance for a last-minute gag grouper before their season ends at the end of this year. Gags are little tough near shore of our area as of late because they can be spotty, but once you find em chewing there’s typically a few in that depth range and area. Especially around the mouth of tampa bay and smaller ledges in 20-40ft of water you can find some large bruisers if you know where to look with some frisky live bait and lots of aggression you may get lucky enough to pull one out. We are also doing well on these guys out deeper around 60-100ft of water on those live pinfish and smaller ledges. The biggest trick to gag grouper is a natural presentation meaning that you are holding bottom naturally, making sure your bait is hooked so it appears natural, and ensuring your leader is nice and stretched out on the bottom. Then hold on tight and be ready for the hit because once they bite you have to be on the trigger ready to start slamming that reel into action and lifting up hard and fast as you crank as hard and fast as humanly possible because those gags are heading to break you off as soon as they bite that bait and its your job to stop them. Gag fishing is tons of fun but typically in most settings for each one you successfully catch you will lose 2-3x that many to the rocks and that’s if you know what you are doing!
Hogfish bite is still going well and will only get better through this weekend as the waters clear up a bit behind this barrage of fronts this past week before the next little front at the start of the coming week. Hogfish will remain open through 2020 so after gag grouper close these guys will become the focus of many near shore anglers. Great time to go get them on the live shrimp using one of three methods. The first and most common is the knocker rig with 30lb leader, 1oz lead and a 3-4ot hook. The second is just a simple jig head and the third is using some type of ball jig but our favorite is the Nekid Ball Jig. Any of these three methods you will still need some live shrimp to use for bait. Fresh dead shrimp do work well as well, but the frozen shrimp is a no go and any shrimp that’s been dead awhile and is turning color doesn’t work either. Fresh live shrimp or fresh dead shrimp are best as they appear more natural and they stay on the hook well when targeting hogfish. One thing we have found to enhance our hogfish bites and catches has been adding a few small red beads to our knocker rigs. This really goes against conventional hogfish wisdom but Capt Frank and Smokey from our 10hr all day truly believe in this hogfish sorcery and I have to say after trying it that it works well around 3-5 8mm red plastic beads between your egg sinker and hook on your knocker rig paired with some live shrimp will often see a better result than a knocker rig without the beads. We are calling this the smokey special around Hubbard’s Marina, but you can’t knock it until you try it.
Keep in mind lane snapper remain closed until after January first, but then they will re-open just in time for us to be catching plenty through the spring!
We miss the offshore waters and we haven’t had a chance to get back out there since last week due to weather. We look to have a chance only Saturday and Sunday this weekend and were going after it with all our boats and options. Looking forward to a Sunday 39 hour trip too for the last chance at gag grouper. We have a little front coming through what looks to be Monday afternoon or night that will make the second half of this upcoming 39 hour trip a little nautical but were hoping the first half of the trip we can load down with plenty of mangroves and gag grouper before the weather gets a little sporty. Our last 39 hour did very well on the gags, mangroves, and even hooked a few big wahoo catching one over 40lbs and some nice tuna too. Plus, there’s plenty of heads and tails like vermillion, porgies, smaller jacks and some red grouper mixed in as well.
Make sure to watch the weather closely and if you have a large boat the best chance at last minute gags looks to be over the weekend. However, this time of year and especially this weekend with all the frontal boundaries coming through make sure to double and triple check the forecasts and play it smart offshore. That water is cold and its not a good idea to risk it. Always make sure to log a float plan, have a ditch bag, back up marine radio, sat phone and epirb when heading out behind 20-30 miles in your own boat or a buddy’s boat. If you book a charter, make sure they have the required safety gear and properly licensed captain before embarking.
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
2020 Specialty trip is open NOW and spots are filling FAST! Make sure to give us a call or book online for 2020 12, 39 or 44 hour trips sooner than later for 2020 as those trips will fill quickly! Especially our 2020 red snapper season trips they will fill quickly so book your trips early and book often. However, keep in mind the cancelation policies which are located in your confirmation emails. The 2020 fishing year will have strictly enforced policies due to issues we have seen as of late with last minute or nearly last minute cancelations.
WIN FREE FISHING TRIPS at our next Bass Pro Shops seminar event coming up TOMORROW Saturday December 21st at 2pm! Hope you can join us for another great fishing conversation and event at the Tampa Bass Pro Shops located on Palm River road in Tampa/Brandon area. Here’s more information on the event, please check it out and click ‘going’ or ‘interested’ to help us spread the word: https://business.facebook.com/events/2553481141433967/
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. PLUS, we have completely re designed our website too, make sure to check out the new site and let us know how we did. Any issues, comments, feedback or anything in relation to the website redesign please email me at CaptHubbard@HubbardsMarina.com and remember if you have visited our site often you may have to clear your cache before getting the full new site to show up. You can do this easily via computer by hitting CTRL and then F5 while holding the control key, once the cache clears the site will refresh with all the new updates!
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 that Sunday Dec 29th we will NOT have our live stream show but we will have our show the Sunday before and after Dec 29th**
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
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
Captain Jack’s dolphin corner
White pelicans showing back up to our area for their winter time 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, the mullet are heading out of the back bay waters to spawn near shore with these cold fronts so due to this we have huge schools of fish moving together which causes large pods of dolphins to aggregate and actively feed heavily on these moving schools. This creates a great show for our dolphin watching nature cruise and eco tour guests and our sunset cruise guests alike when we are able to come across these actively feeding and aggressive pods!
Due to the winter time 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.
Our local bird nesting island called Dog Leg Key is getting very active this time of year as the temperatures cool our local seabirds are starting to show winter plumage. This shows they are getting ready to nest at the island to have the next generation of local seabirds coming soon! You can view all the nest and most of the birds during our daily dolphin watching nature cruise and eco tour aboard our big blue boat at Hubbard’s Marina inside Johns Pass, Madeira beach.
Due to this, and the earlier sunset time it’s a great time for bird watching on our sunset cruise this time of year since we are able to cruise by Dog Leg Key just as the sun is getting ready to set which is when most of our local seabirds return home to the island for the night!
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!
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 permiter 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’s 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!
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
We have finished our regular’s club renewals for 2020. We have officially called and emailed all the guests who were active members this year to see if they are ready to renew. If you are an active member and have not renewed, there is no big rush but it helps a lot to get resigned up for next year sooner than later.
If you are not an active 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, 2019!
Remember, you can now call or TEXT our main office line – (727)393-1947
Captain Dylan Hubbard
president and Co-Owner
(727)393-1947 ext. 306