Snook fishing has been great around our area this past week! At night around the bridges and dock lights are best. During the day, the big girls are out on our beaches and we have plenty of smaller fish around the back bays around the flats. It was a little slow over this past weekend but as this week progressed the bite got better and better. We are seeing big numbers of snook congregating in our passes around the bridge lights and dock lights. Soft plastics and the flairhawk style jigs are preferred at night, during the day soft plastics and swim baits seem to work well. Whether at night or during the day white bait and live pig fish or grass grunts are great live baits for snook. More and more fish are moving into he passes and onto the beaches to stage up for their approaching summertime spawning period.
Trout fishing has been best the past week and were seeing them at night in huge numbers around the bridge’s lights and also around the dock lights where water is moving, and baits are present. During the day, the flats are holding plenty of trout along with mangrove shorelines and some bridges too. Soft plastics seem to be the best bet for trout fishing with artificial lures. White bait or live shrimp are the go-to live baits for trout.
Pompano fishing has picked up quite a bit this past week. We are seeing lots of these good eating unique fish just around first light around the jetties of our passes and along the beaches during the day. Fishing piers or bridges around the sandy areas also are great places to target these pompano. My favorite lures for these pompano are the doc’s goofy jigs or the nekid ball jigz. However, you can catch them on live shrimp or sand fleas weighted to the bottom with light tackle and minimal weight.
Redfish action has been a little pickier this past week unless you’re up in the bay. Upper Tampa bay has the best redfish bite around the area, but some other back bay areas are holding cooperative redfish around the oyster bars, mangrove shorelines and shallower grass flat areas. These guys love live shrimp, cut mullet, or small pinfish for bait but if you prefer artificials the soft plastics have worked best.
Flounder fishing has slowed a bit this past week but there’s still some around willing to eat if you are lucky enough to come across one of these unique good eating fish. They love those sandy areas adjacent to structures or grass flats holding shrimp or other live baits. They are right on the bottom covered in a bit of sand lying in wait to ambush passing baits. You have to work the bottom to get these guys to eat.
Cobia fishing is picking up in the bay and along the beaches right now. We’re seeing them take free lined pinfish or artificial lures like the soft plastics. Cobia love to follow dolphins, fevers of rays, or large schools of mullet or ladyfish. They prefer to eat eels so long skinny eel looking soft plastics with a small weighted jig head is my favorite way to sight cast em. Dark colors for the soft plastics work well like dark green, brown or purple. I like using the bass fishing senko worms in the 6-9” range on a 1/4oz jig head to sight cast inshore cobia.
Triple tail action is going well at the mouth of the bays, around the passes and along our beaches. These guys are hanging on or adjacent to the structure either on the surface or as deep as near the bottom. At night, you can sometimes even find them around residential dock lights. However, they are primarily targeted during the day on the buoys, markers or floating debris with super light tack and live shrimp for bait.
Tarpon are here now in force around the passes, beaches and sometimes even around the start of the bays. They love to smaller 3-6inch pass crabs or blue crabs, but they will also eat finger mullet, big threadfins or ladyfish. I would suggest an 8-12 inch lady fish or 4-6 inch crab for bait. Often you want to spot the fish and then set up ahead of them a good way away to ensure you don’t spook the fish. However, it is very tricky to know where they will be moving too. Chasing the fish and casting at them will only cause them to scatter and will make anyone fishing around you extremely angry very quickly. Stealthy approach is mandatory with natural presentation and lightest possible tackle key. When fishing in a pass, especially around Egmont key you will see tons of other boats doing drifts for tarpon. You want to ensure you work into the flow of boats and do not disrupt the drift of other vessels. Start at the very up tide side of the boats and give the boat nearest you plenty of room and get in the line, then once you drift out of the group motor all the way around giving as much room as possible to ensure you don’t cut anyone’s line or tangle any lines in your prop or scare the fish down to the bottom for everyone.
Near Shore –
Snapper fishing has been great around our deepest near shore waters this past week. Around 70-100ft of water we have seen some nice mangrove snapper action and some decent vermilions and bountiful lane snapper! Occasionally you can find a yellowtail or two around this depth too but most of the time they are going to be more common much deeper offshore. Nighttime is always best for snapper action but even the daytime has brought some cooperation as the water warms and the snapper species begin to congregate for their summertime spawns.
Red grouper fishing has been decent near shore from around 60-100ft of water as of late. They are even a little better offshore, but for the past few years we are seeing a good bite of red grouper near shore. These guys love octopus, cut squid or live pinfish for bait. We also have a lot of success on larger ‘plugs’ of grey snapper or white grunts or butterflied works well too. They love those potholes, hardbottom areas, and smaller ledges.
Hogfish action has been a little slow as of late. Now that the water is warming, and the spearfisherman are coming out in force and the water is becoming so clear the bite definitely slows down a bit for hook and line hogfish anglers. However, we are still getting a few on our 5 hour and a few more on our 10 hour trips but it’s a marked decrease from our cooler more murky water conditions we see in the cooler months of October-April where cold fronts keep them chewing and keep the spearfishing in their boats. The trick right now is the lightest possible tackle around 20lb floro and 3ot hook and lightest possible leads.
Kingfish are still around right now and were seeing these guys from around 30-40ft up to the deepest near shore waters into offshore waters. Most of the time we are seeing them while trolling, but still getting a few on the flat lines. However, with the clearer waters lighter wire is key and the kingfish stinger rig would need smaller hooks to ensure they are well hidden in or on the bait. You can visit our website, click ‘fishing trips’, then click ‘fishing tips and tricks’ to find a video on how to tie a kingfish stinger rig easily!
Mackerel are thick around the near shore waters still as well from the beach out to around 70-80ft of water we are seeing lots of mackerel around the bait schools. They love smaller trolling spoons like the squid spoons in the 2-6 inch range. They will also take free lined white bait or casting lures like the gotcha plugs. Lighter tackle is key for macks too, they maybe fast but they are still smart fish.
Tuna are slowing down near shore. We haven’t seen many if any near shore on the reports this past week near shore. Still seeing them offshore, but in shallower waters inside 100ft of water they are much less common now.
Cobia are picking up near shore where the tuna have left off. We are seeing some nice cobia cruising around our near shore wrecks, big rock piles and other structures holding bait near shore. Often you will see them swim up to your boats when you have been fishing a spot awhile too. Great time to have that pitch rod ready and rigged with that same lure we discussed in the inshore cobia section.
Red grouper action offshore has been decent this past weekend and week from around 100ft of water up to around 150ft of water we are seeing the nice red grouper. They are a little less fat than they were a few months back at the tail end of their springtime spawn. However, we are still picking up some nice fish.
Mangrove snapper fishing has been hot lately on our long-range fishing trips. Especially at night we are seeing the best cooperation from our snapper species but were even still picking them through the daytime periods out in this depth range. Light tackle in the 30-40lb range with around 3-4oz leads and double snelled 5-6ot hooks are king right now with a plug of threadfin or sardine to catch you plenty of these great eating and fun to catch mangrove snapper. We are also seeing some Yellowtail snapper around offshore too. They are most common a little deeper in the 140-180ft range of water and we again find them most commonly at night like the mangrove snapper. Yellowtail you can catch while fishing for mangroves with the same set up, but they really love a small strip of squid in the 2-3inch range cut around a 1/2 to ¾ inch wide. Vermillion snapper are also common out there with porgies and the occasional almaco jack mixed in with the mangrove snapper and yellowtails in that whole depth range. They will take either the cut squid or the threadfin plugs.
For pelagic action we are seeing kingfish most commonly with some nice tuna around with the occasional blackfin tuna too! Kingfish trolling was really hot over the weekend 39 hour at Hubbard’s Marina and we caught a nice tuna while flat line fishing just before sunrise during the nighttime period. We often see the most flat line action on kingfish and tuna right before sunrise in those early morning hours. Trolling is primarily only during the daytime periods. Cobia can be spotted offshore as well just like inshore and near shore so it’s always a good idea to have that pitch rod ready. We may start to see a few mahi showing up too very soon. Plus, the occasional sailfish is being caught once or twice so keep your eyes peeled offshore and be prepared for anything!
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 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 OPEN AND RUNNING TRIPS!!! We were able to start up again Monday May 4th at Hubbard’s Marina 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 THIS MONTH! 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
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