Inshore- Yet again snook are dominating the inshore catches right now around the passes and beaches. However, tarpon season is in full swing and those big silver kings are definitely here in droves now. We have started selling pass crabs at Hubbard’s Marina and daily we have lines of captains, private boat anglers and shore fisherman stopping by for more pass crab tarpon candy sharing stories of the monster tarpon they have been chasing and landing. Along with the snook and tarpon the occasional redfish is being landed, lots of speckled trout, sprinkle in some mackerel and whiting and that has been our week this week. Flounder are being slow to kick off this year but were hoping they start popping off here soon. Lots of white bait in the passes right now and they are fairly decent sized holding lots of jack crevalle, ladyfish, some mackerel and the occasional gamefish like snook or tarpon working the schools with the plentiful birds. Especially in the early morning’s right inside, right in the middle or just outside the pass a huge school of bait with lots of birds is easily spotted and there’s always lots of predatory fish action on them below the surface. For tarpon, the tides have been a little lame lately so the Egmont key area and Clearwater pass area have been the hotbeds for tarpon that call those deep passes home. They love to flush out with the outbound tides chasing the crabs, ladyfish and mullet and big whitebait. However, many tarpon are also caught at night on those same outbound tides. The water is pretty hot right now so they will take some big dead baits off the bottom of the deeper passes too like cut ladyfish, mullet or any fish carcass really. Will McClure, our 39 hour first mast, hooked one this week in one of the boat slips using a grey snapper or white grunt carcass on the bottom targeting monster snook. The hotter the water becomes the lazier the big and smart predators get and they opportunistically feed on any easy meal sitting on the bottom. For snook, most of the big ones are still most actively feeding at night around the passes and structure of the passes on bigger tackle like big artificial or bigger live baits with heavy gear like 60lb test leader or even up to 80lb fluorocarbon. They seem to hold the bridges, docks, jetties and rocks and ambush passing bait being pushed by the tide, so when working artificials its important to present that bait with the tide not against it so those fish are able to ambush your lure the same way they would with the live fish being pushed out with the tides. Smaller snook in the 25-35 inch range are very active during the day too along with at night, but the big boys over 35 wait until its dark and cooler to feed it seems lately. During the day the beaches and deeper parts of the passes are best but they are very spooky during the day requiring much lighter tackle like 15-20lb test making it harder to land these hard fighting and smart fish. Speckled trout love the DOA shrimp lure, or live shrimp or smaller live greenbacks along the edges of the shallow grass flats along the drop offs or the deeper grass flat beds. Were also seeing them fairly often along the jetties hunting the sandy drop offs along the passes. Also, they love those glass minnow and white bait schools in the early morning time but they are harder to get to eat when there’s so much bait action and other more aggressive fish like ladyfish, mackerel and jacks around. Whiting hang on the beaches just beyond the second sandbar hunting the bottom for live shrimp or even dead shrimp weighted to bottom with lighter tackle 15-20lb test and lighter more natural weight presentations.
Near shore– The bite this week has dropped off a bit compared to last week, the solunar’s were weaker and the moon phases were not as conducive to great fishing. However, Tuesday’s 10 hour all day did pretty well regardless of the adverse variables that took a greater toll closer to shore. The 35-50 foot of water areas that we fish on our 5 hour half days were tough this past week overall with a very picky slower bite while the deeper 60-100 foot areas we were fishing on our half day private fishing charters and the ten hour all days did much better. Water clarity has fallen a bit as the near shore waters continue to warm up but it’s still impressively clear around 30-50 foot of water but it’s not the top to bottom visibility we had for the past 2-4 weeks or so. A few good things the warmer waters did was it seems to have turned on the red grouper bite a bit more for us they seem to be getting better and better in the deepest near shore waters plus we are starting to see the return of the mahi mahi to our local waters for the summer time season. Every year starting late may until around the end of September we occasionally run into the mahi mahi or dolphin fish around the 60 foot of water areas or deeper. They do venture shallower occasionally but around 60-70foot seems to be the area where they become more common. As you get deeper the probability of running into them becomes higher and the chances you will find a big one become better and better. Also, the snapper bite is picking up too since nearly all our Gulf of Mexico snapper species spawn around may through September we see a big increase in prolific and more aggressive lane snapper, vermillion snapper, mangrove snapper and occasionally yellowtail snapper in the near shore waters. This past week aboard the ten hour all day the lane snapper bite continues to impress, with the vermillions mixed in and we did get some very nice mangrove snapper too. Mangroves are the smartest and quickest biting fish and they are definitely pickier at what they will chew. Live shrimp, greenbacks, small pinfish and the threadfin plug seem to be their preferred baits of choice. However, my favorite mangrove snapper special is always and will always be the threadfin plug bait on a double snell rig with the fish finder rig. This means egg sinker on the mainline, swivel, and then 4-5ft leader with two hooks double snelled at the end of the leader. For the plug, I cut the head and the tail off a threadfin herring and then trim the belly cavity of the bait to make a very hydrodynamic and enticing plug of straight threadfin meat with an open belly cavity expelling lots of great scent and oils. For near shore fishing inside of 100 foot of water I would opt to use 4ot hooks inside of 60-70 foot and 5ot hooks from 60-70 foot up to 100 foot. Leader strength around 20-30lb test in shallower and 30-40lb test out deeper. The lead size depends on my mainline but I typically am using 1-3oz leads as I opt for the most sensitive and natural presentation possible as those super smart mangroves will not feed if that bait isn’t presented naturally, holding bottom perfectly, and that leader is nice and straight. Then as soon as you feel the slightest bump, you have to use your high gear ratio reel to start cranking as fast as you possibly can and if you don’t feel them hooked up STOP and drop it right back down to bottom to wait another 30-60 seconds before lifting up slowly to see if you can still feel the ‘weight’ of your bait dragging through the water before reeling up your leader to check your bait as often when you miss the fish the first time they will come right back to try again giving you a second or third shot at that fish before they can steal the plug off your double snell rig. This method will catch you a large variety of snapper species and occasionally even some grouper species too!
Offshore – The bite offshore this week has been good for the red grouper, mangroves, yellowtail and more! We didn’t get to get out there as much as we would like as many of our long range trips this week didn’t go out as we took a short break and reprieve gearing up for the chaos that will ensue with the opening of gag grouper and red snapper season this Saturday. However, we did have a 39 hour trip out there this past weekend that brought home a very nice bounty of mangrove snapper, a few red grouper, some nice vermillion, a few lanes, bunches of porgies and even a kingfish or three! However, all eyes are focused on the opening day of gag grouper this Saturday and that season will extend until December 31st of this year. While red snapper opens June first and closes August 2nd at 12:01am making August first the last day to get em before midnight. This 62 day red snapper season is for federally permitted for hire charter boats and party boats like all the boats we have here at Hubbard’s Marina. While the FWC’s private recreational red snapper season starts June 11th and runs until July 12th at 12:01am making July 11th the last day to get them before midnight! Super important to distinguish your season before heading out for red snapper, but they make it easy. If you are on a personal boat like your buddies boat or your own boat follow the FWC private rec red snapper, but if you’re on a charter boat or party boat anywhere in the gulf with the federal reef fish permits (orange sticker on the side of the boat for proof) that means your following the federal for hire season. Red snapper fishing is lots of fun and it’s super easy because they eat just about ANYTHING and EVERYTHING from live pinfish, to threadfin plugs, to live pigfish, live squirrelfish, live lizardfish, just about most any live bait really, plus a myriad of vertical jigs and even bottom jigs, and then strip baits too. My favorite bait that I hold close to the vest for big red snapper has to be the bonita strips. You take a bonita and fillet it out like you were going to eat it, then take the fillet and lay it skin side down on the cutting table and cut it into long strips running the length of the fish. You need a sharp knife since the skin can be tricky to cut through easily, but the very low strips that were around the belly cavity is by far the premium cuts of strips as they are a bit tougher and the meat isn’t as thick making it easy to hook and I feel it’s a bit more oily too. However, all the strips are great smelly, oily, stinking red snapper crack they just can’t resist. Hook the bitter end of one of the strips (sink the hook through the skin is most important) and send that strip to bottom and most of the time before you even hit the bottom it will get sucked up by the biggest baddest red snapper in the water column. Keep in mind the biggest and baddest fish are always at the top and bottom of the schools of fish. You can use your depth finder to find the approximate depth of the school too! I like to drop the strips down more slowly by putting more pressure on the spool with my thumb allowing the descent to be slower and controlled preventing that long strip from tangling with my mainline and giving that big boy a chance to slam my bait and sink my hook into my trophy red snapper! Red snapper can be found starting around 80-90 foot of water but are most common beyond 120 foot of water and We like to target them around 150-200 foot of water up to 300 foot of water. During the warm summer gag grouper are found best in the deeper waters around 200-250 foot of water so If I was running a fun trip for my family out there for gags and red snapper I would be fishing around that 200-250ft area for monster red snapper and some big deep-water summertime gag groupers.
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Upcoming up at Hubbard’s Marina
Red snapper season is opening up June 1st at 12:01am here at Hubbard’s Marina! It will not end on our boats until just after midnight August 1st meaning that is the last day to bring them home! The BEST options are the long range private fishing charters or the 12 hour extreme trip or the 39 hour long range overnight trip! We do have two 44 hours for them but both have been sold out awhile. If you want to hop on one of these trips BOOK NOW spots are filling fast and June is nearly full, still some room in July but it will not last long! Call us at (727)393-1947 or book online at -> https://HubbardsMarina.com
We have TONS of room on our 39 hour trips on the Tuesdays in June and we have good amounts of room on the Sunday trips in June too! Including 5 open spots on our Sunday June 2nd 39 hour that is the SECOND EVER red snapper 39 hour this season so it’s a great opportunity to get out there and score some big dogs before they close up again very soon!
The June 12 hour extreme trips are more full but we have a few spots left towards the end of June on these trips and then in July there’s plenty of 12 hour extreme trips with room left to book.
The Flying HUB 2 is booked up every day in June for private fishing charters but there’s some room left in July. The Flying HUB 1 which is just as fast just a little smaller of a boat that can only do up to six passengers is open most of June just the weekends are booked up while July is still fairly wide open including some weekend bookings too! Keep in mind you can get red snapper even on a 8-10 hour private fishing charter on these fast boats, but the best route is looking at booking a 12 hour trip to fish the same areas as our 12 hour extreme and 39 hour trips!
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 to 8:30am! 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
Sunday night June 9th at 8:30pm is the 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 Facebook event page please check it out and click ‘going’ or ‘Interested’ to get reminders and stay tuned for updates, plus it helps us spread the word! https://www.facebook.com/events/303974027187430/
Captain Jack’s dolphin corner
Summer time is a favorite time of year for us for dolphin watching fun because there’s tons of baby dolphins around the area from new born dolphin to the juvenile dolphins that are found in our protected back bay waters.
Recently we have had two newborn dolphins spotted in our area, just about two weeks ago we spotted the first one of the year that was cruising with a small pod of out of town travelling dolphins that ducked into our protected back bays to give birth and raise the newborn to a bigger more intelligible size before heading back out of our area presumeably to where they live.
This week we had a brand new newborn dolphin that was born in our local waters and was born to one of our local native dolphins. Due to that, there’s a huge pod of local dolphins squaded up protecting this newborn native dolphin. They are playing together and teaching this new dolphin how to survive the world. Due to it being local we feel that is why they are less skittish and more friendly with our dolphin cruise route and schedule and every day this week so far we have spotted this big pod with the newborn playing close to our boat!
It’s the end of the seabird nesting season, but we still have lots of baby brown pelicans hanging in the nests they were born too over the past few weeks. This year we have tons of brown pelican nests which is a welcomed sign, and its great enjoying these new juvenile birds along our dolphin watching nature cruise and eco tour routes.
Tons of manatees around the area right now, they have made it home for the summer and the super clear bay waters right now make it super easy to spot them in the shallow waters of our local bay! Join us soon for a relaxing dolphin watching nature cruise and eco tour from Johns Pass at Hubbard’s Marina aboard the big blue boat closest to the bridge for lots of fun on the water and a great opportunity to spot lots of local wildlife! Here’s the link to learn more and book now – https://www.hubbardsmarina.com/dolphin-watching-cruises/
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/
Tampa bay ferry News
Right now they are doing beach re-nourishment on the west side of Egmont Key Island right now which inhibits exploring the full north end of the island like normal. However, that does make it a killer time for sharks teeth finds as the sand they bring up to the beaches and set down on the existing sand is ripe with great fresh shells, fossils and huge sharks teeth even the big pristine megladon teeth that people find as trophies during their visits to Egmont Key island!
If you enjoy snorkeling NOW is the time to get out to Egmont Key Island for some snorkeling fun. The waters are super clear right now especially on the incoming tides, but once the water continues to warm and the summer time afternoon rain storms become normal occurrences daily then the local waters lose their super clear appearance. Come join us asap for a day of island fun with a side of snorkeling adventure aboard the Tampa Bay Ferry from the Bay pier at Fort De Soto park to Egmont Key Island.
Our Shell Key ferry ride aboard the Tampa Bay Ferry from Fort De Soto’s boat ramp to Shell Key Island is spotting tons of manatees right now along their route to their island. It’s a great time to visit that island too for great shells, crystal clear waters on the west side of the island and great exploring on the west side of the island.
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
Hubbard’s Marina sweatshirts only $20 while supplies last!
We have a variety of sizes and colors and styles, get em’ while they last!
Expiration – when they are gone!
Preferred partner spotlight
Try one of our new menu items at the Friendly Fisherman!
Fried Oyster appetizer $11.79
Fresh Oyster fried crisp and served with a spicy Cocktail sauce.
In Shore Platter $18.49
Flounder fillet, hand breaded clam strips and crispy bay shrimp.
Served with fresh made cole slaw, corn fritter and fries. (fried only)