Inshore- This past week we have seen the larger snook showing back up to the passes in great numbers. They are really picking up as the water warms more and more are pouring into the passes at night and cruising our beaches during the day. The nighttime snook action in the pass can go after the live shrimp, white bait, or pass crabs on a free line. They will take pigfish or grunts weighted to the bottom around the structures too. Plus, for artificials they are biting well on the flairhawks once again especially if you are looking for the big boys. Soft plastics, jerk baits, and lipped plugs will get you more action in a larger variety of sizes. During the day, there is plenty of snook cruising the beaches especially in the morning and around dusk. Look for them in that swash channel that runs parallel to the beach in between the sand bars as they hunt for the small bait fish along the beach. We are still seeing plenty of snook caught up in the bay too around the flats, mangroves, and islands. However, as summer heats up the passes and beaches are the more popular snook fishing locations. Nothing beats sight fishing nice snook along the beaches in the morning period on light tackle like 20lb floro and a 2ot hook and a large live shrimp.
Redfish action has been steady lately too. We are seeing active redfish action along the flats, mangroves, and oyster bars. Look for them around those schools of mullet disturbing the bottom and stirring up the shrimp, crabs, and small bait fish. We often will see them around the schools of rays moving through the bay this time of year and you might even get lucky and run into a cobia following the rays too.
Trout have been spreading out a bit, but still biting well. Look for them around the flats or dock lines right now. Plus, were seeing some of them along the beaches in the early morning period before the sun gets too high up in the sky. Slow moving soft plastics or live shrimp or white bait are best when looking for trout.
Pompano still biting well along the beaches on those pompano jigs or using sandfleas or live shrimp on the bottom. Like I mentioned for snook, look for them in those swash channels of the beaches. Plus, were seeing them around the sandy channel edges of local bridges too and around those sandy bottomed passes.
Mangrove snapper action is really going well around local docks, piers, bridges, jetties, and rock piles. Lighter tackle, small hooks, small chunk of shrimp or white bait is a great way to target them. Around the rock piles of Tampa bay even a smaller pinfish will work too. Some of the larger mangroves have been impressive in size as of late.
Tarpon are a big part of the inshore report right now they have really gotten prolific in the area now. Look for them around the passes and mouth of Tampa bay and at night around the bridges. Especially this full moon we are having will get that water flowing and start flushing those pass crabs, threadfins, mullet, and big white baits the tarpon are looking for. If you want to target the tarpon a boat is most common, but some land-based fisherman can land them from local jetties fishing the bridges if they get lucky and the tarpon runs away from the structures. Plus, we see them caught around local docks and piers when using appropriate tackle. My favorite bait for them is the ladyfish, even cut ladyfish seem to work well around 10-16 inches is prime tarpon candy sized. However, pass crabs or blue crabs are the most well-known tarpon bait especially for those drift fishing them around the mouth of the bay or sight fishing them along the beaches. Remember to be courteous to other boaters and do not chase or spook the fish with your motors. They are very weary fish and if spooked they will not feed at all.
Near Shore & Offshore-
Finally, we got a great week of weather for some near shore and offshore fishing. The bite was great for us too! We are seeing a good amount of pelagic action along with a steady bite on the bottom as well.
Red grouper action remains steady near shore and offshore. Nothing crazy, but not terrible either. We are seeing a few of them in the deeper near shore waters around 70-100ft of water. However, offshore the bite has been better around 100-160ft of water around those potholes, cracks, and flat hard bottom. Now that we are going to fish deeper closer to around 160-200ft with red snapper and gags opening we expect much larger red grouper mixed in with those red snapper and gags. Especially when you are fishing those monster shows of red snapper on that shell or flatter hard bottom areas that are schooled up tearing up a bait show. If your bait makes it past the aggressive ARS, your bound to have a shot at a monster red grouper. Plus, those deep-water potholes are great to target red snapper with less pressure and have some big fat red grouper on them too.
Red snapper season is just a few days away. We are pumped to get out there and exact our revenge on these fish we have had to release for the past ten months. These guys are extremely aggressive and will bite just about anything. The trick is getting out there to them in the deepest possible water as quickly as you can. Then once season wears on, we fish deeper and deeper to keep ahead of the fleet and find fish without so much pressure. You got to start around 120ft of water to really find them in decent sized consistently. Then around 160ft+ if you are looking for bigger fish and if you want the sea monsters 200ft plus up to as deep as 300ft we will go after those American red snapper. Around 60-80lb test and about a 6-8ot hook depending on the size bait were using and depth we are fishing.
Gag grouper season is about to open too. They are most prolific and aggressive for us in months ending in ER except September. So, October through December is really the best time for them. However, in the summer when we are fishing deeper further from shore for those red snapper, we find some big gags out in that deeper water on the big ledges, springs, wrecks and other areas we target the red snapper. Gag groupers need the biggest baits, biggest tackle, and big patience with a super natural presentation. Then once you get that bite it is all out war to win the battle off the bottom. Once you get a solid twenty cranks or so in and your confident, he is away from the bottom then it’s all about finesse. You really want to just steady crank and ease that fish the rest of the way and letting him drive the bus to the surface. Often trying to win the battle at the bottom you will stress your hooks, leader, knots and all your components to the max so once he is away from the bottom where he can break you off or rock you up its time to ease up and make sure nothing breaks or fails.
For both gag grouper and big red snapper big live baits or large bonita chunks are great options.
Mangrove snapper action has been steady lately too, plus were seeing nice yellow tail snapper along with them when fishing beyond around 100ft of water. Inside 100ft we are still seeing some mangrove snapper, but they are more picky and fewer and further between.
Pelagic action seems to really be excited as of late offshore. We are seeing plentiful blackfin tuna, kingfish and now mahi mahi and even big wahoo! The 39 hour mid-week trip this past week brought home a 73lb wahoo in waters much shallower than you would expect. Along the beaches were still catching mackerel too. Great time to remember that flat line, pitch rod and even troll between spots when offshore bottom fishing.
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**
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