Inshore- The sheepshead are biting well this past week around the pass. We’re seeing great action on the pompano still. Lots of mackerel in the pass and just off the beaches. Plus, the snook are still very prevalent around the passes and starting to head onto the beaches. Finally, the red fish are showing up on the flats and the bigger reds are hanging around the bottom around the dock lights of johns pass areas at night. Trout action has been pretty steady around the flats and around the lights of Johns pass at night. The sheepshead are the biggest story this past week especially with the little cold front that came this past Tuesday and Wednesday they were really fired up. The fiddler crabs are the best bait recently for these great eating unique fish that hang around the docks and structures of Johns pass. They will also eat small pieces of shrimp, cut pieces of clams or oysters and even some barnacles. Scraping the barnacles off the poles is a great way to get the sheepshead chummed up and feeding hard. Pompano have also been fairly prolific from the wester tips of the north and south Johns Pass jetties hitting fiddler crabs on the bottom or live shrimp. However, the pompano will hit artificial lures too like the Nekid Ball Jigz, pompano jigs, or the Doc’s goofy jigs. When fishing for pompano with bait you just leave them still on the sandy bottom. When fishing artificials for pompano you want to just skip the lures just off the sandy bottom areas around 4-8 inches off the bottom as you slowly retrieve the excess line into your reel. Mackerel are really thick around the pass especially on the incoming tide that pushes the live white bait around the bridges and into the pass the mackerel move in a bit and it makes it easy to target them inside the pass. We recommend the 7/8th oz gotcha plugs worked fast through the current, or you can free line a live shrimp or live white bait into the pass for them too and if you need it a bobber can help give you some weight to cast those free lined live baits.
Near shore- Kingfish and mackerel still super prolific from the beaches all the way throughout the near shore and offshore waters. However, near shore the beset action seems to be between 30-60ft of water areas from 3-10 miles from shore following the large bait schools that can be found by spotting the flocks of birds feeding on the bait that ‘shower’ on the surface when being chased by predators below the surface. Trolling through these bait schools will produce tons of mackerel and some decent kings too. However, the trick is to do a figure 8 pattern dragging your spoons through the school but NEVER your boat through the action. Your boat will spook the fish and the bait and make them swim down and spread out, if your boat stays off the school and just your lures go through the edges of the action that is your best bet to pick off lots of those fun to catch mackerel and kingfish. We love the rapala xrap magnum 20, 30 or 40 lures to troll near shore along with a few planner and spoons combos. The trick when trolling is to create a ‘spread’ that attracts the fish to bite your lures. This technique means you want to keep the lures looking like a school of fish or bait following your boat, meaning you want to keep them in a pattern as close as you can while not getting them tangled. That’s why it’s helpful to have some planners and spoons mixed with the rapalas, the deeper diving planner can be placed right next to a shallower diving rapala and from the bottom it looks like two fish following close to each other and you keep building your ‘school of bait’ or spread like this and make sure once you have the lines out you don’t do any narrow turns, as long as you’re doing very wide angle turns and your spread is properly spaced you will never get tangles in your lures.
The hogfish bite has been a little more hit and miss lately and they are very leader shy right now due to the ridiculously clear water clarity we have right now near shore. When targeting the hogs as of late the 20-30lb floro has been important with around 4ot hooks in 30-50ft of water using fiddler crabs or live shrimp and the 20lb has been the most productive but it’s hard to get them up off the bottom with that lighter tackle sometimes. The other snapper species like the lanes and mangroves have been a little more slow lately but we are still catching them from time to time!
Offshore – The deep water closure of grouper is now over and we have been doing VERY well on scamp grouper, red grouper and even some big trigger fish out there past 140-150ft of water all the way out to around 200ft of water. The scamp grouper bite best past around 140ft of water and we like small live pinfish for them in the 4-5inch range or the 4-6oz hammered silver diamond jigs bounced just around the bottom nearly touching bottom or squid strips seem to work well too. Scamp love the ledges, potholes or hard ‘swiss cheese’ style bottom up to around 350-400 foot of water. The deeper you go the more often you see larger scamp and they are one of my most favorite eating grouper for sure. Right now on our 12 hour extreme, 39 hour or the 44 hour full moon trips or the longer range flying HUB 1 or 2 private charters like 10 or 12 hours you have a great shot at targeting these great eating scamp grouper, triggerfish and the super fat deep water red grouper. Plus, were seeing lots of big pelagics out there past 120-140ft of water with big kingfish in the 35-45lb range and plentiful blackfin tuna.
Most of the pelagics are being caught on the flat lines or the vertical jigs around sunrise or sunset this past week aboard our long range fishing boats. However, we are picking a few tuna and some smaller ‘schoolie’ sized kingfish on the trollers too. The sailfish are around the area as well a few boats in the area have spotted a few and one boat did hook up this past week on a rouge sailfish just off our coast around 40 miles from shore. The mangrove snapper bite has been a little soft as of late but we have been able to pick up some nice quality fish working hard for them and sticking and moving until we find a cooperative pile of those great fish. The vermillion snapper however have been super large and very willing to chew for us in the deeper 130-150ft of water areas. The red grouper are finishing their spawn and they are slowly starting to cooperate shallower, but the majority of the fish seem to be biting best from 110-160ft of water still for now.
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 great Bass Pro Shops seminar coming up TOMORROW April 13th at 2pm if you want to join Capt Dylan for a chance to win FREE FISHING TRIPS! The fishing seminar or fishing conversation will be about an hour long of fishing conversation, tips, tricks and more! Plus, at the end of each seminar Capt Dylan gives away a FREE 10 hour all day for two guests and a FREE 5 hour half day for two guests to two lucky winners of the FREE raffle. To be entered in the raffle you just have to show up just before 2 pm and stay for the hour seminar. Check out the Facebook event for this upcoming seminar here – https://www.hubbardsmarina.com/bass-pro-fishing-seminars/
You can also view all the past bass pro shops seminars at this page too!
LIGHT 39 HOUR TRIPS COMING UP -> In April we have THREE super light 39 hour trips one is Tuesday April 16th (only around 18 booked) and the other two are Friday trips TODAY April 12th (only 25 people booked) and then April 26th (only 15 booked right now) FOR MORE INFO, or to book your 39 hour NOW click this link: https://www.hubbardsmarina.com/39hr-overnight-fishing-trip/
Our spring break busy season is slowly fading away on the backside of easter until late may we reach a little ‘lul’ time of year where the weather isn’t too hot yet and the crowds have relaxed a bit. It makes for a GREAT time to join us for a 5,10,12 or 39 hour trip before the chaos and sold out trips of the June and July months begin. We have lots of light loads on our 12 hour extreme trips, 39 hour long range overnight trips and 10 hour all day party boat trips plus lots of private fishing charter spaces opened up for bookings!
BAD NEWS: We have some seriously shortened seasons on the horizon for 2019, Amberjack’s May season will NOT BE OPENED! Jacks will only be open August-October 2019 and not include the spring May season. Triggerfish will also be closing sometime in May and NOT RE-OPENING anytime in 2019! This comes as a huge surprise and is super frustrating, the whole idea of the new amberjack season was to have at least some spring component. However, since the fishing year opens August first and ends May the following calendar year our August, September and October 2018 fishing year landed the full quota so may 2019 will not be re-opening. However, August first 2019 we will for sure open because it’s the start of a NEW fishing year for amberjack thus we start with a brand new full quota and HOPEFULLY that will allow for a spring MAY 2020 season!
Our 12 hour night snapper trips started up, and the next one is April 19th if you don’t want to join us TONIGHT April 12th. If you want a chance to join us for some night time snapper fishing action for mangrove snapper, vermillion snapper, lane snapper, porgies and more! These are great trips with plenty of night fishing time 25-35 miles from Johns Pass for around 7-8 hours fishing time and only for $129 but book now because these trips do fill fast especially around the full moon. We only offer them on the quarter and full moon phases Friday nights from 7p to 7a Saturday! Here’s all the information on these special night time snapper fishing trips – https://www.hubbardsmarina.com/12hr-night-fishing-trip/
April 14th is next LIVE SHOW join us if you want to learn more about fishing locally and WIN FREE FISHING TRIPS without leaving your house! Don’t forget we have the Weekly fishing conversation or seminar by Capt Dylan Hubbard LIVE on the Hubbard’s Marina Facebook & YouTube page if you don’t want to leave your house to catch a seminar! This is weekly on Sunday nights from 8:30pm until 9:30pm, check out the event page and PLEASE LIKE AND SHARE the event if you have a Facebook page, and invite your friends as well! Here’s the page to find the Facebook event link, and view all the past LIVE Q&A fishing shows – https://www.hubbardsmarina.com/past-qanda-live-streams/
2019 RED SNAPPER TRIPS FILLING FAST Book your 2019 RED SNAPPER 12 hr extreme, 39 or 44 hour trip TODAY while there’s still some open spots! These trips will fill quickly so book NOW. Last year red snapper trips were filled up early and we had to turn lots of last minute bookings away, so don’t miss your chance at securing your favorite trip TODAY. Here’s the link for all your 2019 specialty trips – https://www.hubbardsmarina.com/specialty-fishing-trip/
Captain Jack’s dolphin corner
The dolphin watching nature cruise and eco tour has been spotting lots of manatees as of late recently too. It’s a little early in the year for manatees, but the clear waters help us to spot them easily and they have been in big groups which make it easier to find them too. This past week during one cruise we spotted a group of nine manatees cruising the back bay waters. However, these guys can hold their breathe nearly 10 minutes and they only come out of the water with their snouts and sometimes their tails too so it makes is very difficult to spot them and when you do its difficult to follow them around. This makes it a very unique treat to spot them during our cruises and this time of year is a great time for them as they return to the area from their winter vacation. Here’s all the information on our dolphin watching nature cruise and eco tour – https://www.hubbardsmarina.com/dolphin-watching-cruises/
Our local resident dolphins are back in the area and with the beautiful spring conditions we are seeing huge pods of dolphins grouped up together feeding and playing and teaching their young juvenile dolphins more about hunting and using their sonar by playing ‘catch’ with the plentiful jacks and sheepshead.
It’s the beginning of bird nesting season at dog leg key our local sea bird rookery. We cruise by this island on every dolphin watching nature cruise and eco tour and also during some of our sunset cruises too. We are seeing baby pelicans and baby egrets at the island currently, plus we are seeing nesting pairs of Roseate spoonbills and the great news is the fact that we are seeing more and more of these unique pink birds every year the past 4-5 years.
SUPER Clear water right now in and around Johns Pass and upper Boca Ceiga bay, making it a great time to go cruising on our dolphin cruise or sunset tour! Especially between the cold fronts, right behind a wind event the water gets a little stirred up but a few days later the water clears back up beautifully.
Last year’s newborn dolphins are now juveniles and we are seeing them play together often in the back bays and getting very active at the surface while even showing off some of their acrobatic displays.
On top of all this great news and unique sights we are also spotting a few sea turtles cruising the back bays. It’s a little early for sea turtle nesting season but they are definitely starting to show back up in the area.
The sunset cruise right now is a great time due to the GORGEOUS spring sunsets we have been having as of late, this past week we even saw the elusive ‘green flash’ at the end of the sunset! Great time of year to join us for a sunset cruise that offers FREE BEER AND WINE, learn more here -> https://www.hubbardsmarina.com/sunset-cruise/
Hubbard’s Marina Sea Adventures and Tampa Bay ferry are both proudly power by Honda Marine! If you come visit us for a dolphin tour, sunset cruise, Egmont key island trip, snorkeling, shelling, water taxi ride or any type of ferry or pleasure cruise trip then you will be riding a boat powered by Honda Marine! These new motors look great, are super quiet and are great on fuel economy! It was tough to get four boats re-powered with new engines but it was well worth the change and were very happy! Hope you get a chance to see these brand new super cool engines at work on board one of our pleasure cruise and ferry boats! To learn more about Honda Marine engines for your boat, check out their website: https://marine.honda.com/ they have the best warranty in the industry right now, you get a full 5 years and you just can’t beat that!
Tampa bay ferry News
The shelling around shell key and Egmont key has been out of this world as of late! The March weather has really blown up some great shells and the occasional shark’s tooth. Plus, when the weather is nice it’s a great time to spend the day having some fun in the sun on the islands!
Water temps are perfect right in in the mid 70’s to cool you down from the hot sun but not too chilly to snorkel or swim and enjoy the water too!
PLUS, the water clarity right now is INSANE around shell key and Egmont key! Join us for a ferry ride to paradise today to enjoy the crystal clear waters between the storms fronts, when a front blows by the waters get a little murky for a day or two then it clears up to gorgeous once again shortly after the waters calm down.
Snorkeling has started once again during the ferry to Egmont key, you have the option to do the snorkeling trip once on the island with us during the Ferry to Egmont key from fort De Soto with us at Hubbard’s Marina! Check out all the info here -> https://www.hubbardsmarina.com/egmont-key-ferry-cruise/
Great time to visit us for a ferry ride to Egmont key or shell key since the temps are too hot and the temps aren’t too cold to explore the island! Plus, the bugs aren’t too bad yet in the warmer summer months.
Since its still a little chilly at night, it’s also a great time of year to spot the plentiful gopher tortoise at Egmont key when they are out sunning themselves in the morning sun trying to warm up from the chilly overnight temps!
We even saw some manta rays this past week around the Shell key and Egmont key islands along with dolphins, manatees, seabirds and the occasional sea turtle! Come join us for a day at the island, more info on both ferry ride options below.
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/
We have finished 2019 regular’s club renewals and we are starting on signing up NEW MEMBERS, if you are interested in becoming a 2019 regular’s club loyalty program member please reach out to Capt. Dylan Hubbard by sending him your name and cell number via email to CaptHubbard@HubbardsMarina.com. He will be in touch in the coming few weeks about the loyalty program that offers discounted trips if you fish more than 10,15 or 20 times a year with us at Hubbard’s Marina. It also comes with some free gifts and other benefits too besides discounted trips, but it’s NOT simply a discount program. It’s a loyalty program and it requires fishing often and being a model Hubbard’s Marina guest and showing the passion shared by all of us at Hubbard’s Marina for fishing and our fellow anglers.
PAST AND PRESENT MEMBERS: be sure to renew your membership before 2018 ends!
Captain Dylan Hubbard
Vice president and Co-Owner
(727)393-1947 ext. 306
UPDATED Coupon information
$50 off a 5 hour private charter
$75 off an 8 hour private charter
$100 off a 10 hour private charter
$125 off a 12 hour private charter
**VALID ONLY FOR APRIL OR MAY PRIVATE CHARTER BOOKINGS, SO YOUR TRIP MUST OCCUR IN APRIL OR MAY FOR THIS DISCOUNT TO BE APPLIED AND YOU MUST MENTION THIS COUPON WHEN BOOKING YOUR TRIP AT (727)393-1947 EXT 306 AND IT WILL NOT APPLY TO CHARTERS YOU HAVE CURRENTLY BOOKED, ONLY ON NEW CHARTER BOOKINGS CREATED FROM THIS COUPON OFFER**
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