We are still closed due to the virus issues, but luckily, we get to re-open for business starting Monday morning May 4th which is this coming Monday! We are pumped for the upcoming week as we have beautiful weather ahead a full moon approaching Thursday May 7th. Should be incredible fishing at the beginning of the coming week especially Tuesday.
Snook action has been great this past week, but especially during the start of the week when weather was a bit more cooperative. Yesterday’s weather was not so conducive to fishing, but the snook still chewed around the passes. Many local anglers hardcore enough to fish through any conditions love that turbid condition for some nice snook action around sunrise. The big snook seem to be stacking up in the passes and along our beaches already gearing up for their summertime near shore spawning run. However, there is still plenty of snook back up in the bay areas too. They are active around the flats and docks throughout the area, but the bigger fish seem to be more plentiful around the passes and on the beaches already. Each morning prior to sunrise you can see big numbers stacked around the dock lights and bridge lights near the passes. Snook love live white bait, shrimp or soft plastics on the flats and in the shallows. In the passes, live pigfish, big white bait, finger mullet, flairhawk jigs, larger jerk baits like bombers or soft plastics work well.
Redfish action was stellar last week, but this week it seemed to be a bit slower but still steady. Especially around the flats and shallow shorelines the redfish seemed the most active and cooperative. These guys love the white bait, shrimp, smaller pinfish or soft plastics. Make sure to work the structures, pockets, or potholes where these redfish lie in wait for passing prey items. It is important to ‘think like a fish’ and present your bait as naturally as possible. If you know redfish are sitting on the edge of an oyster bar and the tide is rushing over the bar, then those fish are hitting prey as it gets washed over the bar. You would not be as likely to catch them pulling your lower up current, you got to cast over the fish and up on the bar and work your lure with the current. So often simply ‘thinking like a fish’ and putting yourself in their position seems so silly but will help you catch exponentially more fish. This approach is helpful when fishing anywhere on a lake, inshore on the flats, or in 300ft of water offshore too.
Trout action has been steady throughout our bays, passes, and dock lines. These fish love this time of year and are just finishing their spawn actively feeding. Trout action around the passes is definitely best at night around the lights of the bridges and docks. During the day you can find them best on the flats or around the residential docks or on the beaches even too. Trout love live shrimp, smaller white bait, and soft plastic slower moving artificials. Often when you find one trout, there is a few more in that same general area still ready to eat.
Flounder action throughout the area has picked up quite a bit. These guys love to hit passing prey right on the bottom or moving very slowly just above the bottom. They camouflage themselves on the sandy bottom areas adjacent to structures, grass flats or passes to eat what ventures too close to their sandy hide outs. They are particularly good eating fish, but a little tricky to learn how to fillet. My favorite method for flounder is drifting a shallow sandy pass like blinds pass with an artificial shrimp passing incredibly slowly just on and off the bottom. Also, working the potholes and edges of the flats will work too to find you some great eating flounder. This same approach can be used around the docks where sandy bottom and bait is present as well. Flounder will also love live shrimp, live mud minnows, super small pinfish, or a variety of soft plastics.
Mackerel action is still heavy around our local passes, beaches and around the flats close to the mouth of Tampa bay and any local pass. Primarily they are feeding in schools on heavy congregations of bait or minnows, but you can sometimes find them in sporadic numbers on the flats or around the passes. Flashy fast-moving lures are best when targeting these mackerel with a steady quick retrieve. Casting spoons or gotcha plugs are my favorite go-to lures for these fast moving and good fighting fish.
Mangrove snapper start to fill the void left behind by the sheepshead around the local docks, jetties, passes and structures of the bay area. These guys are in big schools around the bridges, docks, jetties and rock pile areas. They swarm like piranha when there’s some chum in the water, but you can get them going too but cutting up white bait or shrimp into small pieces and peppering that around the rocks adjacent to local docks, bridges or jetties. They are tons of fun on light tackle with small number one hooks and often I use the same bait for them that I would use to attract them, being those small pieces of shrimp or white bait.
Tarpon really showed up early to our area this year in good numbers. The west winds last week kind of pushed them off the shore a bit, but we should see them return to our beaches, passes and mouth of Tampa bay this upcoming week with the hill tides of the coming full moon. Great time to get out super early and hunt these fish along the beaches as they pour out of our passes on the early morning outgoing tides to hunt along the beaches in big groups. You can also find them around Egmont key on the north side around that big hole or on the south side where the water chokes on its way into the gulf. These fish love to eat pass crabs, large shad, or big lures and they put on quite the acrobatic show once hooked.
Near Shore –
As stated in the inshore section, we are finally able to resume operation this coming week starting Monday May 4th and we could not be more excited with a beautiful start to the week ahead. Plus, that full moon coming Thursday should have the near shore fishing hot 1-3 days prior to that full moon.
Red grouper action has been pretty good lately in the deepest near shore waters and just inside of that. Around 80-100ft of water is a great place to look for these hungry grouper. Flat hard bottom with lots of cracks and crevasses holding lots of bait and crustaceans called ‘swiss cheese’ bottom is my favorite area for the red grouper near shore. Swiss Cheese bottom is followed closely by the potholes and small ledges for red grouper hangouts near shore. These guys can be targeted with 60lb test and around 6-7ot hooks using a long strip of cut squid wing, live pinfish, or big dead thread fins with the tail cut so they don’t spin on the way to the bottom. Red grouper fishing is even a little better offshore in a little deeper water, but we are seeing some good numbers coming near shore too. Would be a perfect time to target them this coming Monday-Wednesday ahead of that full moon.
Snapper fishing has been good this past week but should be even better at the start of the coming week due to that full moon. Lane snapper are feeding well from around 40ft of water up to around 100ft. We are seeing more mangrove snapper a little deeper from around 60ft up to the deepest near shore waters of 100ft. As the water warms, these snappers get more aggressive and more prolific on the rock piles and ledges near shore as they congregate for their summertime spawns. Light tackle and high gear ratio reels with around 4-5ot hooks is best for snapper fishing. I personally like the double snell rig and a chunk of threadfin and 30-40lb leader for these fish with a 3oz egg sinker on a fish finder rig. An exceptionally light and sensitive rod with a good backbone and light tip works well. I like a slower action tip going into a faster action back bone when picking out my snapper fishing stick. I love my two speed daiwa reels like the saltiga or saltist for near shore and offshore snapper fishing. Many people prefer the spinning reels for near shore snapper fishing but if the bite is on, I always stick to conventional so I can get them up fast and get back down fast to catch more fish. If the bite slows down, I will pick up a spinning reel with even lighter 20-30lb test leader and a light 1oz knocker rig set up for more action and bites.
Hogfish action has slowed a bit in the near shore waters, but they are still cooperative you just have to work a little harder and be a little more patient. We catch these fish year around out of our central west Florida area, but they definitely bite best in cooler months with the peak coming March/April each year. We are looking forward to getting back after them upon re opening this coming week on our 10 hour all day Tuesday. With great weather and being a few days prior to the full moon we are expecting a great bite, especially since our fishing spots have had nearly two months rest due to this incredibly brutal closure at the peak of our hogfish catching time. This past week local anglers were doing well on the hogfish early in the week from around 40-70ft of water on live shrimp and light tackle. Smaller ledges and flat hard bottom areas adjacent to ledges are great places to look for this crustacean eating wrasse. Many call them ‘hog snapper’ but they are not in the snapper family at all, and they act much less aggressive then snapper and have a very different biology and life history. They will often be just above the bottom looking down for crustaceans moving along the bottom so 20lb or up to 30lb leader and extremely light weight and 3-4ot hook and a live shrimp is the best approach to catch yourself an amazing tasting hogfish!
Pelagic action is going well near shore right now too. We still have kingfish and some blackfin tuna around the area with tons of mackerel, but the big news this past week was the uptick in the number of cobia cruising around up top. Never forget the flat line and pitch rod when heading out near shore or offshore fishing this time of year.
We are extremely excited for this upcoming week for our first 39hr right before a full moon leaving Tuesday May 5th and our Friday May 8th 44hour full moon trip right on the moon. Its been too long since we were well offshore chasing big grouper, snapper, pelagics and more! PLUS, we have the opening of greater amberjack season that kicks of TODAY Friday May first. The only negative thing to report today offshore is that the gray triggerfish season is coming to an end today. As triggers close, amberjack is opening though.
Amberjack are open the entire month of May and the first few weeks of May will be the best time to get them this year. They will also open in August, September and October but they bite best in cooler months and due to this, were pumped that we have had some late season fronts to keep water temps a little more moderate. Thanks to the slower warm up offshore we should have a killer start to our Amberjack May season. These guys can be found as shallow as 100-120 ft of water but if I were trying to get a big dog, I would look more like 150-250 on big ledges, peaks, springs or wrecks. The biggest jacks often are deepest or right on top of the ‘school’ when you get anchored up on your fishing spot. We have caught them as deep as 350ft of water, but most will be caught in that range of 150-250 on our upcoming May fishing trips. Big baits, big tackle, big patience and even bigger strength and grit is needed to land one of these deep-water behemoth fish. I will often use a 9ot slow speed monster reel with 40-50lbs of drag or one of those nice 50 wide lever drag reels with that same drag strength to target these fish. 80lb test is the minimum for jacks but I would use 100lb main and 125lb leader to start. My father uses 130lb mainline and 150lb leader on his heavy duty electric reel for these fish! When I said big baits, I mean HUGE baits, like the 1-3lb fish work well. The amberjack candy are those spadefish you can catch inshore around docks, bridges and passes but blue runners, mullet, and porgies work well too. If you can find the mutant pinfish that looks like it is a world record setter that is a killer bait too. We utilize the 10-12ot circle hooks and tail hook these or nose hook these monster baits on a 6-10ft leader with a heavy 10-16oz lead for the amberjack fishing in deep water. One trick you want to remember too is to properly set your drag. When grouper fishing for big gags you would essentially lock down your drag but for jacks you only want 75-80% of your drag in use. You should be able to wrap your mainline around your hand once and with extreme effort and some pain in your hand you should be able to pull out some line. Once done, your hand should have deep indentions from where the line dug into your skin as you pulled out that little bit of drag. This is the optimal setting for those jacks since they fight so hard and sporadically you got to give em a little room to run with a smooth drag pull. However, they gotta work super hard for it… too light and he’ll run you around the wreck or your buddy’s line and off he goes.
Grouper fishing has been good offshore as well. The red grouper is the most coming targeted species right now from around 100-140ft of water we are seeing some great fish coming up on the potholes and ledges and flat hard bottom swiss cheese areas. Offshore grouper fishing this time of year since gags are closed, I would be using around 60lb test and a 7ot circle hook with a big frisky live bait.
Mangrove snapper fishing has been hot lately too with some big girls caught around these fat red grouper in that same depth range of the red grouper. Like near shore, the go to move is the high-speed conventional reel with around 30-40lb test leader and a double snelled threadfin plug. Again, since gags are closed there is no reason to use 50-60lb leader when snapper fishing even offshore. When gags are open I would use heavier snapper fishing leaders if the bite was still coming because in the off chance a gag hit my snapper set up I can use my two speed reel and heavier leader to give myself a glimmer of hope when trying to land that fish. If you were using a single speed high speed reel or lighter weight leaders it would be just dumb luck to land a gag that happened to take your snapper fishing bait.
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
WE ARE OPENING UP AGAIN!!! Starting Monday May 4th Hubbard’s Marina is once again resuming operations and we couldn’t be more excited. We are so super pumped to get back out on the water. HOWEVER, we do have some NEW policies and procedures that we need your help with if you plan to visit us during the month of May. Check out the new policies and procedures listed on our new website page under the ‘info’ tab. Here’s the link: https://www.hubbardsmarina.com/covid-19-operating-policies-and-procedures/
If you do join us in May, we strongly encourage you to wear a mask and you MUST respect the social distancing rule of a minimum of 6ft between your group and the next. This means fishing trips, dolphin tours, island trips and others will be a little unique upon finding a spot to sit or fish. However, we are confident we can all work together to keep our Hubbard’s Marina family and friends healthy and safe as possible during these uncertain times.
AMBERJACK SEASON OPENED UP TODAY MAY FIRST! The entire month of may is Amberjack season this year and it’s a great time to join us for a 12 hour extreme, 39 hour or 44 hour full moon trip or a 10 or 12 hour Flying HUB 2 private fishing charter to get a shot at landing one of these big amberjack.
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.
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
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