We are finally Re-Opened at Hubbard’s Marina and getting out fishing once again! This past week brought some great action inshore especially at the start of the week before the full moon and front that moved by yesterday. Best fishing weather coming up is going to be today and Saturday before a little system sets in Sunday that will be hanging over our area most of the week.
Snook action was impressive and should only continue to improve around the passes and along the beaches as summer continues to take hold in our area. These guys are loaded around the passes feeding most actively in the super early morning hours and just through sunrise. During the day, on the beaches or on the flats is the best places to find these hungry snook all trying to fatten up before their trek near shore to spawn. They love the soft plastic artificials, hard jerk baits, or the flairhawks work well in the passes. For live bait, snook will eat large live shrimp, white bait, finger mullet, pinfish or grass grunts which are also called pigfish. On the beaches and on the flats lighter tackle and smaller 1-2ot hooks are best. In the passes and around the docks adjacent to the passes heavier leader is key especially around the structures. You can get away with heavier line at night when you are not working the dock lights even up to 40-60lb floro for snook live bait or lure leaders.
Pompano action has picked up quite a bit at the early part of this past week. The water cleared up nicely and with that clear and calm water came lots of pompano feeding around our beaches, sandbars, and sandy edges of the channels. I love to target them in the morning just after sunrise from the beaches near the passes or drifting through sandy passes. Pompano will take those docs goofy jigs, pompano jigs, nekid ball jigz and smaller bucktails that have shortened hairs just behind the apex of the hook shank. You want to work these lures along the sandy bottom just barely popping the lure off the sand around 4-6 inches. Cast long and far up tide and let it hit the bottom, then retrieve any slack and start to just barely moving the rod tip in a popping action. It is best to try it in a pool or the shallows first to ensure you are not popping the jig too high off the bottom. Often, I will do 3-4 small pops followed by a double while slow retrieving any slack between working the lure along the bottom.
Redfish action around the area is still going steady, lots of these guys out on and around the flats, mangrove shorelines and oyster bars and still many up on the residential docks. We are starting to see those large congregations of redfish moving around the bay area. If you are lucky enough to encounter one, work carefully not to spook the school and set up ahead of where they are heading and get stealthy before they are in range if you want a chance to catch a few. Often schooling redfish can scatter or stop eating if one boat gets too close being loud or running its engine. The worst possible noise is an outboard engine’s lower unit going in and out of gear, that gear shift is incredibly loud under water and will shut down a bite in an instant. Using a trolling motor and power pole makes things easy, but if you don’t have the fancy stuff you can ‘coast’ into range and just shut down your motor while still clutch ahead to avoid shifting to neutral. Soft plastics are king for redfish artificials especially the white paddletails. These guys love live white bait, shrimp, and even small pinfish as well.
Trout action is going really well around the passes and on the flats of our area still as well. We are seeing some really big trout caught this past week especially around the bridges of our local passes. Nighttime around the bridge lights or dock lights near the passes have been producing lots of the speckeled trout as well. During the day on edges of the flats is best to find the trout feeding.
Black drum action has picked up this past week around our local bridges and larger dock areas. These big guys love to hang around the structure looking for crabs on the bottom. They will also eat big live shrimp too. However, crabs are best in my opinion for the black drum and even a dead crab will get them to chew. You can even get away with cutting larger crabs in half if you want to get more baits out. Right around the fender systems of the bridges or main pilings are the best places to find em right on the bottom.
Flounder action is going well too if you can find some sandy areas near the grass flats, docks, or other structure where flounder can cover up on the bottom and ambush passing prey items. Soft plastics worked slowly just on or above the bottom is best. I like the artificial shrimp lures like the DOA shrimp for the flounder, but you can use a soft plastic paddletail or fluke tail with good results too. Also, the pompano jigs have been known to catch flounder too and while drifting sandy bottomed areas of the passes you can sometimes catch flounder and pompano!
Triple tail are getting really thick around the mouth of the bays and passes and along our beaches. They hang right on the floating debris or structures and can occasionally be found in dock lights near the passes. Lately the triple tail along the beaches have been lower in the water column instead of easily spotted right below the buoys of our crab and pinfish traps scattered along our beaches. A live shrimp and light tackle and hardly any weight or no weight is best when targeting these triple tails. These guys are tricky to target but they are incredibly good eating!
Near Shore –
We are back up and running at Hubbard’s Marina and ran our first rounds of near shore fishing trips this past week since Mid-March when we closed due to the virus. Luckily, the fish were hungry and waiting for us to return at the start of the week. Later this past week we faced rough weather Thursday due to the front and the Tuesday all day had a little slower bite than we would have liked but we still caught some great fish.
Kingfish are still around pretty thick in our near shore waters if you can find the bait schools that are scattered around near shore. We are catching them on flat lines and while trolling from around 30 foot all the way throughout our near shore waters to the deepest point of 100ft. Kingfish have been a little leader shy as of late, so lightest possible wire is best when making up your kingfish rigs.
Snapper fishing has gone really well this past week from around 60-100ft of water. The mangroves were excited thanks to that upcoming full moon and we did really well finding the mangroves on our 8-10 hour private fishing charters and even caught a few on our 10 hour all day party boat fishing trips. The mangrove snapper were loving the thredfin plugs on the double snell rigs with around 30-40lb floro leaders. However, light knocker rigs or even jig head fishing for them with spinning rods is a definitely great way to target them too if they are being a little finicky with their cooperation.
Red grouper action is going well in the deepest near shore waters from around 80-100 foot of water on the live pinfish, pigfish or squirrel fish but a big dead threadfin or cut strip of squid will get em to eat as well. Red grouper love sitting around the potholes or flat hard bottom areas that is holding bait shows. They will often be right around the base of the bait shows on the hard bottom areas.
Cobia are really starting to show up in droves in our near shore waters from the beaches all the way through our near shore waters. They love to eat a tail hooked pinfish with around 40-50lb leader and 4-5ot circle hook. However, they will take soft plastic eel looking artificial baits too. One of my favorite cobia pitch baits is a small ¾-1 ounce white bucktail with around a 6-8 inch dark green eel shaped soft plastic on the hook.
Black fin tuna are around the deepest near shore waters still but they have gotten a bit more sporadic as of late. Around those cruise ships anchored outside the end of the Egmont channel seems to be the best place to find em, or around the deep water near shore wrecks.
Our first 39 hour after our re-open date went really well for us, and we couldn’t be more excited to be back offshore deep-sea fishing on our party boats and private charter boats here at Hubbard’s Marina!
The current on the full moon created some issues when we were in the Deepwater trying to catch our amberjacks Wednesday, but luckily with an adjustment into shallower waters we were able to continue red grouper hunting with great success. The start of the trip the current was not too bad out deep luckily and it allowed us to fish through the night catching plenty of big mangrove snapper, vermillion snapper, yellowtail snapper and almaco jacks! During the day, the snapper bite did not quit and once we moved into around 110-140ft of water the red grouper action kicked in for us nicely!
The red grouper action is definitely best right now a little more shallow in this 100-140ft range offshore. They love the big dead baits or frisky live baits like the pinfish or grunts. My favorite dead baits for them is cut strips of squid or bonita and especially octopus, but a big threadfin will work too. Around 60lb leader and about a 7ot hook works well with a medium gear ratio reel with around 30-35lbs of drag.
The snapper bite around the full moon was particularly good especially at night with nearly all our local snapper species ready to eat all night long. The daytime action was a bit slower, but we were blessed with some good fishing even through the day time period. Snapper were loving cut threadfin plugs on the double snell rigs with high gear ratio reels and around 40lb test leaders.
We even caught a nice cubera snapper that weighed in around 45lbs and a big African pompano when we targeted the amberjacks around sunrise in about 160-200ft of water on some big structure. If the current wasn’t so bad, I feel we would have pulled many more jacks out of the deep water but with heavy current making fishing difficult we didn’t get as many amberjack on this trip as we would have liked. We are hoping this weekend’s 44 hour full moon trip has a little better luck with that heavy current.
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 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