Redfish bite improved quite a bit this past week with all the freshwater runoff behind the weekend weather from tropical storm Cristobal. That freshwater outpouring made the first part of this week made the redfish spread out and excited around the mouth of the bays where brackish waters spilled out into the bays. We saw some big fish caught around the passes near the start of the outgoing tide. The back bay had great action around the mangrove shorelines, oyster bars and structures around higher tides in the shallow waters between 2-4ft.
Snook were biting very well at night around the passes and on the beaches adjacent to the passes. During the day the beaches, flats and mangrove shorelines held plenty of active snook as well. The biggest fish are around the pass at night or on the beaches during the day. They love paddle tails and jerk baits all the time but at night flair hawks are working well too. They love the live pigfish or big live shrimp for live baits.
Trout are biting well during the day in a little deeper water around 3-6ft and around the edges of the flats, holes, and cuts. At night, were seeing a lot of trout around the bridge lights and dock lights near the passes where water is moving, and bait is congregating.
Black drum action is going well around the passes and up in the bay especially around bridges and big dock structures. We saw some nice ones around Johns Pass this past week when the water was murky behind the storm. They are good eating in smaller sizes, but they are more fun to catch when they get big!
Flounder fishing has been good around the flats especially along the holes of the flats where that sandy bottom they like to hide out on is exposed adjacent to the grass. They are also active along dock lines and seawalls where they can ambush passing baits.
Mackerel fishing was a little slow at the start of the week, but as the water cleared up and normalized the mackerel action picked up quickly. They are all over the local fishing piers, but especially thick around the skyway fishing piers and mouths of the passes.
Mangrove snapper are all over the skyway shipping channel rock piles, local bridges, docks and most any structures. These guys swarm any small pieces of shrimp or cut pieces of white bait on lighter tackle.
Sheepshead are still around mixed in with the mangrove snapper on bridges and docks but they are definitely a little more sparse as the water warms up.
Whiting & silver trout are thick along our beaches right now just past the surf we are seeing lots of these guys on live shrimp weighted to the bottom. They will also hang out at the edges of sandy channels of the back bay waters too.
Tripletail and Cobia are around the markers of the bay. You can also find them around floating debris if you get lucky in the bay too. Cobia will also trail large schools of fish or pods of dolphins too.
Near Shore –
Right now, in the deepest near shore waters we are seeing some good snapper action and some decent red grouper bites too. Right around 60-100ft of water is definitely a good place to start looking for nice mangrove snapper, lane snapper, vermillion snapper and the occasional nice red grouper. Gags are tough right now near shore but there’s a few around the ledges if you can get them up off the bottom before they rock you up or break you off. Mangrove snapper have been pretty consistent and large as of late. Our ten hour all day this past Tuesday was fishing around 70-100ft and caught some big ones in the 6-8lb range but most were in the 2-4lb range. The double snelled threadfin plug, live shrimp or small live pinfish are the best bets for nice mangrove snapper. You can catch lane snapper and vermillions on live shrimp, cut threadfin or even small chunks of squid. Red grouper love the live pinfish, pigfish, or strips of squid. Gags like large live baits or big dead baits like bonita strips or large dead threadfins, and we will see more and more of them as the water cools near shore.
Pelagic action has been tough near shore, but we are seeing a few cobia and plenty of mackerel. The tuna, kingfish and occasional sailfish have all moved offshore now that waters are warming, and summertime weather is here.
The fishing offshore has been STELLAR behind the bad weather of the weekend, that tropical storm weather has really stirred up the active offshore species and got them congregated and feeding heavily. Big low pressures like cold fronts or tropical systems make the offshore fishing really good up until the storm comes and then once the weather calms behind the storm too! Near shore and inshore the weather has to calm and waters have to clear up before fishing recovers and gets hot behind a low. However, offshore the water is deep and it won’t get stirred up on the bottom out deep unless it’s a MASSIVE storm like a cat 4-5 hurricane.
Red snapper season is HERE and we have a big section below about the season lengths and the importance of taking care of our offshore species. This was included in last week’s report but we felt it was necessary to run this again to make sure more people saw it and passed around that information as much as possible. However, for a fishing report on these red snapper I would suggest starting around 100-120ft for a chance at catching them. The best and most consistent bite on keeper sized red snapper will start around 140-160 and we will chase them as deep as 300ft of water. The deeper you go, the better the size and the more you will find. They will eat just about anything but large threadfin plugs or even whole threadfin work. Bonita strips or strips of squid work very well too. Large live pinfish, squirrel fish and small lizard fish are all great live baits too. 60-80lb test and around 6-8ot hooks are good tackle options for red snapper and you’d want bigger hooks and heavier leader the bigger the bait or the deeper you go. These guys will even hit vertical jigs too.
Gag grouper action is going okay offshore, were definitely seeing them the most consistently offshore vs. near shore or inshore. However, with the warm water you have to get out deep before you will get a good shot at some big gags in any numbers. They are around 150-300ft of water in the best concentration.
The private recreational red snapper season is OPEN NOW along the west coast of Florida for private recreational anglers on private boats (no consideration given for the trip) is June 11th until July 25th. Plus, Red snapper has been open on the federally permitted for hire charter boats and party boats across the Gulf of Mexico. This season is June first until end of the day August first. For both seasons, the limits are the same with a 16-inch minimum size limit and only two fish per person. You MUST know how to take care of these fish offshore. So often we find that people will try and high grade their two fish limit and this is really the worst conservation tactic because so often fish caught offshore have a low chance of survival. I would recommend NOT high grading, but so many will not even begin to listen to this advice so in the least everyone MUST use a descending device or a venting tool when fishing beyond 70-90ft of water. If you do not know what these devices are or how to use them then you really should not be offshore fishing until you get familiar. Here’s some great information on how to learn to be a better angler offshore and preserve your undersize or out of season and other regulatory discards: https://gulfcouncil.org/eastern-gulf-barotrauma/
That link above will show you all about how to vent a fish or how to descend a fish. Descending is super easy for anyone and if your not super familiar with the biology of the fish and you are not comfortable poking a sharp object into a fish’s stomach cavity where all his important organs are housed then descending devices are your best bet. If you are a very experienced angler or if you have a good guide or mate who is got the experience to show you firsthand, then venting may be a better option. Here is the page we designed with the help of our friends at salt strong to talk about how to vent fish. We prefer this method on our boats due to high catch rates and more anglers fishing, but we are actively teaching and supervising this method to ensure its utilized properly which is why it works so well for us: https://www.saltstrong.com/articles/how-to-vent-fish/
The biggest question in regards to venting or descending comes in the form of ‘when do you have to do this?’ Well unfortunately there is no clear answer. In the summer when water is hot there is less dissolved oxygen in the water, this means barotrauma occurs in even shallower water (as shallow as 70-80ft). While during the cooler months the water is more oxygenated and then you don’t see barotrauma and thus don’t need to vent or descend until your deeper (around 90-110ft). Also, the longer the fish takes to get the surface plays a roll in the barotrauma effect and every second that fish is on the surface exponentially increase these effects and lowers its survival rate. Our general rule of thumb is on the first fish of the day get it up fast, de-hook it quickly (use a dehooker like this one – https://www.hubbardsmarina.com/product/barracuda-8-5-inch-dehooker/) and then toss it back next to the boat. If it floats and won’t return to the bottom that means every subsequent fish will need to be vented or descending the remainder of your day in that depth of water. If we all work together, we can greatly effect our fishery for the positive. Nothing makes me more angry and frustrated when we see people babying snook and trout inshore then they go offshore to have a 2 mile long train of floating dead undersized or out of season fish behind their boat because they don’t bother to take care of their discarded fish and prevent barotrauma by either venting or descending! Don’t post a photo to social media with dead floating fish behind you in the water or else you are going to get roasted by yours truly and hopefully many more anglers who care enough about our fishery to do their best to preserve it and educate others on how to do the same.
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 in PHASE TWO, that means we have UPDATED policies and procedures and NEW CAPACITIES! Unfortunately, due to the virus, we do have some NEW policies and procedures that we need your help with if you plan to visit us during the month of June. Check out the new policies and procedures listed on our new website page under the ‘info’ tab. Here’s the link: https://hubbardsmarina.com/covid-19-operating-policies-and-procedures/
Red snapper season is HERE starting June first until end of day August 1st! We are excited about our red snapper season and now we are finally able to open back up capacity on our 12 hour extreme, 39 hour and 44 hour trips that are able to target these red snapper with the latest announcement from our Governor about the start of phase two! We now have lots of added spots on these trips, but BOOK NOW as they are already filling quickly!
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://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
Lots of playful dolphins around the area right now in large groups. Plus, we are spotting lots of groups of juvenile dolphins hanging around together getting to learn how to hunt and interact in their groups.
We are seeing active seabirds around the bird nesting islands too. There’s lots of seabirds hanging around the grass flats and mangrove shorelines during our dolphin watching nature cruise and eco tour!
Sunset cruises have had some spectacular sunset views lately, but we are back in that summertime weather pattern where afternoon thunderstorms will threaten our area daily. Keep this in mind when booking a sunset tour that we are very dependent on the weather to make the cruise happen. However, we often get lucky with storms to our north or south to make a great cloudy view which makes for a more spectacular sunset view!
Call us today to book your dolphin tour at (727)393-1947 and get more information on this trip at our website here -> https://hubbardsmarina.com/dolphin-watching-cruises/
Tampa bay ferry News
If you don’t already know, we officially entered sea turtle nesting season on May 15! Friends of Tampa Bay have already reported 15 nests so far as of June 4th!
You’ll start to see more and more nests on the beaches of Egmont and Shell Key, and we want to point out a few friendly reminders about protecting our sea turtle friends here in Tampa Bay:
• Do not disturb any sea turtle nests
• If you see an old, unused beach umbrella hole please fill the hole up with sand! This hole can become an impediment to the baby sea turtles making it across the sand to the Gulf!
• If you see a sea turtle nest that hasn’t yet been reported and protected, please report it to FWC at 888-404-FWCC (3922).
Come out to visit Egmont and Shell Key, it’s never too hot to visit the islands!
As we enter summertime in Florida, we somehow always forget how HOT it gets. A day out at Egmont or Shell Key is actually quite the respite for the summer heat – cruising in our open air boats, taking in the daily phenomenon of the “sea breeze”, and swimming in the Gulf of Mexico all feel delightful compared to being in the concrete jungle back on the mainland.
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 tropical storms like Cristobal the islands get fresh rounds of great shells and a few of these sharks’ teeth too!
The Shell key ferry departs DAILY from Fort De Soto’s county park at the boat ramp at 10am, noon and 2pm with the return to the dock at 4pm. You can go out at 10am and return at 12:20pm or you can return at 2:20pm or as late as 4pm etc. This is a very customizeable day at the island. This is much different from Egmont key ferry that does not have flexible return times like we do at shell key! For more information on the shell key ferry, visit this page of the Hubbard’s Marina website – https://www.hubbardsmarina.com/shell-key-ferry/
The Egmont key ferry departs from Fort De Soto’s county park at the bay pier. We have 10am and 11am tours leaving daily this time of year, Plus, we have 2pm Egmont key trips on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday too! These trips offer 3 hours out on the island after a 30-minute ride out and 30 minute ride back so you get a four hour trip total! 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://hubbardsmarina.com/egmont-key-ferry-cruise/
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