We are seeing yet another week of great snook action around our local passes. Especially at night, the snook are most actively feeding around most any bridge light or dock light near or inside the local passes. During the day still plenty of snook action along our local flats, mangrove shorelines and islands of the bay. Look for them where water is moving, and they can find a little reprieve from passing currents to ambush bait pushed past them. You must remember to retrieve any artificial with the currents not against the current to provide and enticing natural presentation. For live bait, you want to get it up current and let it slowly drift into that strike zone. Many are still doing well around the local residential dock lines especially those adjacent to the flats, mangroves or passes where water is moving, and bait is present.
Pompano action has picked up this past week around the area, but unfortunately my 19 month old son was more interest in releasing our sand fleas than using them for bait this past Wednesday on our beach adventures. Sandfleas are their number one prey item along the sandy shorelines of our beaches, passes and channels. We are seeing them caught from local fishing piers, beaches, and jetties. Plus, in the bay some are catching them around the local bridges. They have been around but this past week it seems they picked up intensity some around the area.
Black drum are still present along our local dock lines, bridges, and some cruising the flats. They love those shrimp on the bottom or crabs and look for easy meals. Typically cracking an older dead smelly crab and sending it to the bottom adjacent to the bridge structures is the number one way to get one of these large and good fighting fish. The smaller ones are decent table fare, but most will catch and release larger ones, but I have heard they are eaten too.
Mackerel action is steady around our local fishing piers along the beaches, skyway fishing pier, local bridges where water is moving, and bait is thick. Plus, along our beaches you can find active mackerel too if schools of bait get pushed up along that outer sand bar. The markers of Tampa Bay are popular places to catch bait in the early morning for local fishing guides and after they depart, and the sun comes up they make great areas to target mackerel with fast moving flashy lures like the Gotcha plugs or casting spoons with a little weight 8-10 feet out front to keep em down as you quickly retrieve them. This is why gotcha plugs are a little easier since you can cast them more easily but fishing high off the water from a bridge or pier the other method is a great way to do it too if you can underhand cast with 10-15ft of clearance.
Sheepshead are still around, but the bite has slowed considerably. They are giving way to super active and aggressive mangrove snapper around the local docks, bridges, jetties, rocks and virtually any structure in or around the bay. Plus, even along the flats you can find pockets of hungry mangrove snapper. These are fun to catch and on light tackle put up a decent fight and are great fun for younger anglers to master the feel of the bite and setting the hook. Even local seawalls near the passes or bridges or flats will hold these aggressive fish and a little piece of shrimp and a small hook with light line and hardly any weight is a great way to target them. You can even get lucky and get some quality snapper around the rock piles of Tampa bay or around the gandy or skyway bridges. Cruising the bases of the bridge to locate the bigger structures and on the right tides you will see more active schools of hungry snapper.
Redfish have been steady through the area some of them at night, but a majority are during the day around our local dock lines near the passes or around the flats, oyster bars, mangrove islands or shorelines. They are loving the live shrimp or green backs for live bait but as water warms cut dead baits works better and better like threadfins or pinfish on the bottom. Soft plastics are a common artificial choice that offer great success in enticing the redfish to chew.
Trout action is thick around the dock lights and bridge lights near the passes at night. During the day we are still seeing plenty of larger fish active around those ambush points. Salt strong has tons of amazing video series and courses but one of my favorites that I have seen was about the 90/10 rule that couldn’t be more significant. Essentially 90% of the fish are in 10% of the area and you have to find those ambush zones where they will stack up to get them to eat or you could just become a salt strong member to get all their tips and tricks and experience gifted to you. However, I can’t give away all their secrets, but my person experience is looking for those points, pockets and passes and any cuts or drop offs around the flats or edges to find where the trout are stacked waiting for baits to pass too closely. Remember, once you find one you will find plenty more.
Don’t forget that we are coming up on a particularly important FWC meeting yet again this coming May 12th and 13th. This upcoming meeting will be discussing Goliath grouper regulations and perhaps an extremely limited season on them, shark issues and interactions with fisherman, and finally the issue on snook, redfish, and trout and perhaps re opening these species. Remember, anyone can attend these meetings and you even have a chance to speak during the meeting if you so choose by following the prompts given during the meeting. However, if you do not feel comfortable talking on the issues or you won’t have time to attend the meeting. You can always write in with public comment letters ahead of the meeting too. On the agenda page you will find a link to the public comment form that allows you to write in your comments to the commission prior to the meeting. Remember, you have to do so about 4-6 days prior typically, but no date has been set yet for this deadline. You can view the agenda, reports, and make advanced written public comment on these items by visiting this link: https://myfwc.com/about/commission/commission-meetings/may-2021/
Near Shore & Offshore-
Things have really shifted near shore and offshore for us this past week. We are now transitioning ourselves from that near shore close to shore shallow water fishing on our intermediate trips to fishing more like the deepest near shore waters. For example, our ten hour all day has focused a lot around 40-60ft through the past few months on the hogfish bite. However, now the hogfish bite has really slowed considerably, and we get that shallow water ‘slime’ going this time of year. This year it seems earlier and more thick virtually everywhere along our coast until your 14-16 miles or more from the pass. This is again something we see each year, but it does seem thicker and earlier this year which is hopefully nothing more than a coincidence. That definitely seems to affect our shallow water bite as the fish must struggle to get through it, plus your baits disappear into it and your line catches it and your weights get covered in this seaweed slimy green stuff that really makes your tackle obvious to the fish too. All this to say, we are pushing deeper and doing very well just outside that area all the way to around 80-100ft of water.
Our ten hour all day today fished up to just over 100ft of water and caught a good number of red grouper. Not really crazy compared to historic levels but compared to recent history some fat red grouper inside 100ft of water on a party boat trip is something to celebrate. Plus, they had a good amount of mangrove snapper despite many still not targeting them. Those mangroves were loving the cut threadfins around 80-100ft of water on the double snell rigs with 30-40lb leader and around a 4-5ot hook. The red grouper love those live pinfish with around 40-60lb leader and about a 6ot hook in that shallower water they can be pickier for sure. Plus, with gags not open you can lighten up and have a shot at the occasional big mangrove while targeting the red grouper with live pinfish.
We are still seeing some hogfish even as deep as 100ft of water, but they have slowed throughout the area. We are still using our hogfish approaches and live shrimp to target the lanes, vermillions and nice mangrove snapper. However, the white bait, cut threadfins and live pinfish work very well too and stay on the hooks a little easier when the bite is going well. However, if the bite slows those live shrimp are always a great idea to fire down before moving areas.
Today’s 5 hour half day fishes closer to shore than our ten hour due to time constraints and around 40-50ft right now due to that slime. The grey snapper or white grunt bite was slower than we would have liked but that enabled us to catch quite a few hogfish only five ended up being keepers but that is a great number of hogfish on that shorter close to shore trip with primarily first time anglers on board. Still, this is much slower than a few weeks ago but a little bit of a welcomed sight. We attribute this to that slime too, much like that red tide (not an issue currently) the fish aren’t completely dumb they will move away from areas that are affected by things out of the ordinary and we feel many fish are moving around trying to stay away from that thick area along the coast of this season springtime green slimy grass/algae.
The HUB private charters fishing around 60-90ft of water have been crushing decent numbers of red grouper with some big lanes, mangroves, and porgies mixed in. Plus, they have more flexibility to flat line and troll around with private fishing charter guests on board who typically are more flexible and willing to target what the captain suggests. We are also seeing a huge uptick in the number of sharks from our beaches through the near shore waters. This trend will continue to increase in intensity as the summertime heats up local waters and attracts more and more hungry sharks to the area. From the inshore flats to the beaches and beyond we see a large population increase locally in our shark populations this time of year and our private charter boat has really seen a ton of the bull sharks, a few tiger sharks, blacktips, spinners, dusky sharks and more!
The Flying HUB 2 private fishing charters and 12 hour extreme trips along with our 39 hour fishing trips are fishing more offshore beyond 100ft of water and mostly even beyond 150ft of water. We are seeing plentiful fat red grouper out there in the deep water with some nice big scamp mixed in. Plus, big mangrove snapper have been more and more common place with some steady kingfish action and occasionally some thick tuna action that is extremely spotty. This is a great time of year to take advantage of those lighter load trips and starting may first you can even join us on these trips to target a monster greater amberjack.
TERMS OF REFERENCE-
INSHORE – from the back bays out to the bridges and including right on the beaches
NEAR SHORE – From the beaches out to 20 miles, or up to 100ft of water
OFFSHORE – from 20 miles or 100ft and beyond
For more fishing reports, photos, videos and more check out Hubbard’s Marina on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, or Snap Chat just simply search @HubbardsMarina and do not 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
RED SNAPPER 2021 FINALIZED… Our American red snapper season will be the same start date as past 8 years or so for federally permitted for hire vessels who are federally managed (including us). Our start date will be June first and our season will end when the quota is projected to be caught and currently that is August 3rd at 12:01am so August 2nd is the last day to legally land them before midnight…. BOOK NOW! SINCE our schedule opened up Dec 1st 2020 for our 2021 trips and many of those June, july and early august trips are filling fast! The best trips to catch red snapper would be a 12 hour extreme trip, 39 hour trip, or 44 hour trip! Plus, we have private charter options to get you a customized private trip to get out there far to those red snapper too. Remember, this is our busiest season of the year, so you want to reserve TODAY and please mind the cancelation policies. There’s TONS of other great fish to be caught in slower times of year if you want to avoid crowds of our busiest summertime season too!
**KEEP IN MIND, the FWC season for private recreational anglers HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH US, that is for private anglers fishing PRIVATE boats! That season is completely different from ours and was announced last week to be June 4th until July 28th, but remember anything announced from FWC on red snapper DOES NOT APPLY TO US**
MAY AMBERJACK SEASON CONFIRMED! We are now 100% certain we will have greater amberjack open for harvest for the month of May. This means on 39 hour trips, 12 hour extreme trips and the 44 hour in May we will be able to target and keep Amberjack. You could also do a long range private fishing charter for them aboard the Flying HUB 2 as well!
12 hour extreme, 39 hour, 44 hour & all Specialty trip dates for 2021 are listed under the ‘specialty trips’ tab of our website. To see all the dates for those trips click this link and BOOK NOW FOR 2021!
Want to learn more about fishing & have a chance to WIN FREE TRIPS! Don’t forget to join Capt Dylan Hubbard each Sunday night at 8:30pm for the LIVE Q&A fishing show on the Hubbard’s Marina Facebook channel! We normally live stream to YouTube too but unfortunately, we are not able too until mid to late January due to some issues. Here’s a link to the past live shows on our site if you want to see past shows and learn more now -> 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
Our regular’s club is still open for people to join, but we do not pro rate memberships so likely we see little sign ups at this point in the year as you would only have around ¾ of the year long membership you would have gotten if you signed up at start of December when our membership opens. You can always wait till December of this year to sign up for our 2022 clubs then you’d get the full bang for your buck!
This loyalty program is a great way to make fishing more affordable if you are fishing more than 10,15 or 20 times a year!
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