Pompano have really shown up in force this past week! We are seeing pompano along the beaches and around the passes all over our area. They love a live shrimp weighted to bottom on super light tackle and minimal weight. The most common approach for them though is bouncing a jig along the sandy bottom to find them chewing. Once you find the fish they are easy to pick off a few while they continue to bite. However, they can be tricky because they move around so much and only bite at opportune times. Pompano are one of my favorite eating inshore fish. It’s a great time to go get a few at the sky way approaches, around fort de soto or drifting through the outside of one of our sandy passes like pass a grill, blinds pass, or the SW side of Johns Pass.
Snook action is going very well this past week as they spread out with the warmer weather. These guys are moving back into the passes and even a few early season snook heading onto our beaches. However, we are still seeing quite a few on the flats, on the mangrove shorelines and throughout the bay as well. We even spotted plenty stacked up in the lights around the docks, bridges and jetty of the passes in the lights like we see so often in the summertime. They are easily chummed up out on the flats with some live white bait. Also, many anglers are catching them in the passes at night on the soft plastics, swim baits, and the flairhawk style jigs.
Redfish action has been steady this past week as well. Many of the redfish are still around the back bay areas holding to the structure like they were last week. Around the mangrove shorelines, oyster bars, residential docks and other places they can hide out are great areas to find these redfish. There’s a few out on the flats but right now the big numbers of snook are outweighing the redfish. Small live pinfish, live white bait or even shrimp work for live baits for the redfish. However, they love those soft plastics worked slowly in their strike zone.
Trout bite has been great once again this week. Both silver and speckled trout action has remained steady the past few weeks. The silver trout we are seeing most often on the beaches during the day and occasionally in the passes. At night silver trout are easily caught around the bridge lights and in the docks adjacent to the passes. Speckled trout are all over the grass flats and at night around the dock lights, bridge lights and anything that will hold the bait. Looking for the edges of the grass flats, potholes, or anything that gives a trout an ambush point is a great way to target them during the day out on the clear water grass flats.
Mackerel are thick around the beaches, passes and mouth of the bay. We are even seeing them push up into the bay in areas that are holding bait like the shipping channel edges. Look for diving birds and big areas of white bait that are pushed up to the surface. These mackerel are very fast, very aggressive and tons of fun to catch. Plus, they bite easily if you have a flashy fast-moving bait like a casting spoon or gotcha plug. The casting spoons take a weight out front to keep it under water while you retrieve quickly that’s why I prefer a heavier gotcha plug like 7/8 ounce or up to one ounce in silver or gold. Cast as far as you can and work the edges of the bait school to get your fill of these fun to catch fish. The skyway fishing piers, fort de soto fishing piers, rod and reel pier and pretty much any fishing structures where water is moving will hold mackerel right now.
Triple tail are back in action around our area in a big way. We are seeing good numbers of them along the beaches, at the mouth of the bay and through the bay on the markers, buoys, and pretty much any floating debris they can find some shade and structure. Live shrimp pitched in striking distance is the best way to get them to come out and play, but you can trick them with an artificial shrimp if that’s what you got to use. Remember to over-cast your target if you’re not confident on placement because if it plops onto the water too close they will spook easily. I like to overcast by a few feet to let my bait sink a bit before retrieving some line and pulling it in front of that waiting predator.
Tarpon are starting to show up early in our area. We have spotted quite a few cruising through Johns Pass. I nearly fell off the dock this week trying to help a pelican that was tangled when a monster 6-7ft long tarpon swam out from under the dock and spooked me. There’s been plenty of mornings where we see them rolling through the pass just around sunrise on the outbound tide. More and more will be arriving as the summertime approaches. Were looking forward to a great spring and summer run on these beautiful big fish.
Near Shore –
Right now the big news near shore is the return of the kingfish! They are back in our local waters once again for their spring run and they are joined by thousands of big mackerel that have been around a few weeks. We are starting to catch quite a few kings while near shore fishing on our private fishing charter boats and public party boat fishing trips like the 5 or 10 hours. However, its still early there’s not a ton here yet and the water is so darn clear they are being very tricky. We are seeing them most often from around 50ft of water out to around 80ft of water. They are also staying down deep closer to the bottom, so it takes some large planners and light tackle to get them on the troll. While bottom fishing we were able to get some to eat but only after dropping down the smallest hooks and lightest wire and small chunks of bait to match what we were chumming with. As more kings show up and the water gets warmer and a little murkier it will be easier to get them to cooperate. Right now, anchoring up and chumming hard is the best way to get them excited and ready to eat the best. Most of the guys catching tons of them are utilizing this method. Once anchored on hard bottom structure or near shore artificial reef areas, start chumming with small chunks of cut threadfin, sardines or white bait. Then work your way to bigger chunks then start throwing in a half dozen or so stunned live ones. Once they really get going, half net fulls of live bait keep them excited and near the boat. However, be careful because these guys are rocketing out of the water around you once you get them chummed up and excited and actively feeding. They become Ariel hazards very quickly and you don’t want a 10-15lb toothy kingfish landing in your boat green, trust me!
The hogfish bite has been tricky once again this past week due mostly to the clearer waters they are requiring much more stealthy approach and lighter tackle to get them to eat. However, we were able to pull quite a few from around 30-70ft of water on the live shrimp and 25-30lb test floro leaders.
Lane snapper and mangrove snapper are cooperating well right now from around 60-100ft of water near shore. We are seeing more lanes than mangroves for sure, but both can be found around this depth range on live shrimp, cut threadfin and the lanes will even take cut squid too. Vermillion snapper are mixed in deeper closer to 80-100ft and were seeing some good size to them too.
Red grouper action has really improved compared to the last few years, but they still aren’t chewing the bottom out of the boat like they did 5-6 years ago. However, its great to see the improvement in their action from around 70-100ft of water. Most of the time squid strips, whole threadfins or the live pinfish are the baits of choice to get the red grouper chewing near shore.
The weather is gorgeous right now for an offshore fishing adventure. We are seeing a great bite of big mangrove snapper around 120ft of water. These guys have been a little weird as of late actually biting best in the later afternoon compared to the nighttime which is typically the best time to get them chewing. However, despite the change our 39 hour has pulled in some nice big mangrove snapper hauls.
Along with the mangrove snapper we are seeing some really big and cooperative vermillion snapper. These guys love live shrimp, cut squid and cut up threadfins on the same tackle the mangroves like. Those lighter tackle snell rigs are the way to go. Right now, with the clearer waters and fishing around 120ft due to the deep water grouper restriction most of us are using around 40lb leaders and that’s helped us improve our snapper catches immensely. Even around 30lb is used when the bite slows down with around double snelled 5ot hooks. These plus a chunk or plug of those cut threadfins make a deadly combo to get you plenty of mangrove snapper and big vermillion snapper right now offshore.
We are seeing some big lanes, porgies and even almaco jacks mixed in with the mangroves and vermillions around this depth too! Great time to go get you some snapper and other good eating heads and tails out deep.
Plus, while offshore we are seeing some decent grouper action too. The red grouper bite hasn’t been record setting but were seeing some steady action around that ‘fence’ of the closure area. Also, the scamp grouper are there too. Granted we see mostly 16-24 inch scamp around 120 foot of water so nothing monster in this shallow but between the red grouper and scamp grouper were able to catch enough grouper to make it worth staying inside where the grouper are legal to harvest until the deep water closure ends come April first!
The pelagic action is going well offshore too. We are seeing some big kingfish and the occasional blackfin tuna as well. Plus, the cobia are around once in awhile and as the spring wears on you may even see the occasional unicorn in the form of a sailfish or two.
For more fishing reports, photos, videos and more check out Hubbard’s Marina on facebook, Instagram, Youtube or SnapChat just simply search @HubbardsMarina and don’t 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
Corona virus & Hubbard’s Marina: Right now, we are doing our best to continue to operate and feed our families and our staff’s families. However, with the ever-changing landscape of today’s world things could change. Our guest’s safety and our Hubbard’s Marina family safety is our utmost concern. Today starting at midnight, they are planning to close our Pinellas county beaches (the sand, not the road and entire barrier island like they do in hurricanes). Due to this, we are meeting today to discuss future operating plans. We are hoping to be able to operate limited capacity trips while limiting the number of people permitted in our shop to prevent any undue harm or possible issue. However, time will tell what is possible and we are heavily weighing recommendations and issues coming out of DC and Tallahassee right now. Stay tuned to our facebook, Instagram, snap chat, and youtube for updates!
Trigger fish opened up march first and will stay open until May 2nd! You don’t have much time to get out there on a 12hour extreme, 39 hour or 44 hour trip to go deep for some great eating triggerfish!
Red snapper season 2020 has been FINALIZED for the federal for hire recreational anglers! We will have red snapper season open for our boats at Hubbard’s marina starting June first until midnight August 1st! This is a 62 day season exactly like what we had last year for the 2019 red snapper season. Were looking forward to plenty of great 12 hour extreme, 39 hour or 44 hour trips for red snapper.
FWC did announce the private recreational red snapper season for PRIVATE anglers meaning those fishing on their own boats or a boat with friends where no money changes hands. This season will start June 11th and will continue through July 25th with a possible fall extension if quota isn’t filled in the 45 day season in the summer time.
Bass pro shops CANCELLED tomorrow’s seminar! Due to the corona virus issues our Tampa Bass Pro Shops has decided to cancel all seminar events until Mid April that means we will not be holding out Saturday March 21st 3pm event tomorrow as scheduled unfortunately. I was informed of this Wednesday and have been trying to pass along word as best I can.
DON’T FORGET, YOU CAN ALSO WIN FREE FISHING TRIPS if you 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 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
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
We have many visiting seabirds this time of year, our local birds are dawning their mating plumage and the dolphins are playful! Great time to join us at Hubbard’s Marina for a fun filled and relaxing hour and a half dolphin watching nature cruise and eco tour through our back protected bay waters!
We have spotted some roseatte spoonbills lately around our local oyster bars in the back bays. These guys are super cool to spot and so unique looking when they get nice and pink from all the shrimp they eat.
Due to the wintertime 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.
White pelicans showing back up to our area for their wintertime 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, 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!
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
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 perimeter 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 are 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!
Plus, 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 islands!
We are officially into the 2020 year and our 2020 regular’s club is solidifying. If you have not renewed your membership has become inactive and your discount is no longer working. Please make sure to call me and get set up again when you have time so that way your 2020 bookings will have your discount attached when you show up for your trips! We can sign you up via phone or in person, and it is always easier ahead of your trip.
If you are not a 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, 2020!
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