Snook fishing has been great around the area, they are the most active inshore species right now. From upper Tampa bay to our beaches and everywhere in between from mangrove shorelines, to grass flats, to the passes and on the beaches snook are feeding well on a variety of baits. Live bait, dead cut bait and artificials are all doing well to get you some snook action. At night, the best places seem to be around the passes or dock lights. During the day, the beaches are holding plenty of fish but the flats and mangrove shorelines in a little deeper water have been producing plenty of fish.
Mangrove snapper fishing has been really good throughout the area on the bridges, docks, piers, and jetties. Essentially if it holds bait it will hold plenty of hungry mangrove snapper. They must be ten inches to keep and your only allowed 5 per angler inside state waters. Light tackle is key and targeting them when the water is moving a bit slower helps you to feel their quick bites and be more successful for sure.
Trout fishing is going well around the deeper grass flats especially in sandy patches or on the edges, but deep cuts and holes adjacent to shallower flats are holding trout as well. The passes at night have attracted plenty of trout too! Great time to go get some summertime trout action if you got some light tackle and live shrimp or white bait. However, artificial soft plastics have been producing well too.
Redfish action was a little spotty this week as big schools of fish were harder to find, but there were a few smaller schools still spotted in upper Tampa bay. Around 3-6ft of water around the oyster bars, mangrove shorelines and grass flats you may be able to get some redfish action. Cut bait is a great idea as summertime temps continue to warm the water and make those redfish a bit more lethargic.
Mackerel are spreading out and are not so crazy prolific around the area, but the fishing piers like big pier 60, fort de Soto piers, Ana Maria piers and especially the skyway fishing pier all still producing some nice mackerel. You can find spotty pockets of them along the beaches too. Look for the bait action and the mackerel will be there at the edges working the bait to the surface.
Flounder have been a bit spotty overall this week, but some nice ones caught around the back bay waters on those sandy potholes or edges of the grass flats. They love small pinfish or live shrimp right on or just above the bottom. They will always be partial to sandy bottom adjacent to areas that are holding some prey items.
Tarpon fishing has been a little tough this week as many fish are heading near shore to spawn. However, the east wind days have really brought the fish to the coastline and have produced the best chances for catching cooperative Tarpon. Live pass crabs or blue crabs are the premium baits currently with around 40-50lb floro leader.
Triple tail have been around the markers of the bay from the mouth of the bay up into upper Tampa bay. These guys love live shrimp on light tackle casted right around the bases of the markers. They can also be found on the occasional floating debris you run across in the bay area.
Near Shore –
We are seeing a great bite of snapper species from around 60-100ft of water from lanes to vermillions and even a few mangrove snapper mixed in. Our ten hour party boat fishing trip has been landing huge numbers of these great eating snapper mostly on cut squid and light tackle in the 30lb range with 4ot hooks. However, if you fish the cut threadfin plug with double snells you can still catch these other snapper but your chance for a mangrove snapper will go up exponentially and we have been seeing a decent amount of nice mangrove snapper in this depth too. They are just much more leadershy and finicky to get chewing well. Lighter tackle works well, but your sacrificing the chance at landing anything bigger if you get lucky and hook into a grouper or larger fish. The knocker rig or jig head fishing on the spinning reels is super popular in the warm summer months especially on those flat calm super warm summer days when the fish seem to get lockjaw around mid-day. This method with some live shrimp is also a great way to get plenty of snapper and have tons of fun doing it with 20-30lb test and minimal weight in the ½-1oz range depending on current.
The red grouper action was a little tougher this past week, that moon phase and the high pressure I feel had a lot to do with the change in red grouper patterns but we have been seeing quite a few on our smaller boat private charters with less lines in the water we are able to utilize those smaller fishing spots and pot holes and that seemed to really help us dial in on some nice red grouper. Plus, a chance at some gag grouper but the near shore gags are very aggressive and you got to get on top of these fish and start cranking as hard and fast as you possibly can as soon as you feel the bite and don’t stop till he hits the deck. Unfortunately, that is not so easy for first time anglers to grasp on charter fishing trips, so we watch a lot of these aggressive grouper get broke off. The best thing you can do is to use around 60-80lb test near shore and around a 7ot hook and a big live bait or large cut dead bait and fish those smaller spots and be ready to pull the trigger and get more aggressive than the fish as quickly as possible. As the water cools, we will see more and more prolific grouper action.
The near shore pelagics are pretty few and far between. Right now, the main pelagic action we are seeing are those schools of chicken dolphin or schoolie sized mahi mahi that range in size from 14-30 inches. These guys will come up at any time and if you are ready for them you can pull up quite a few. If you are not ready you will simply watch them swim by. Do not forget your pitch rod with 20-30lb leader and 4ot hook and be ready to throw a chunk of threadfin or live shrimp out to them. I love using the 7/8th oz gotcha plugs for the passing mahi, you can sometimes even get em two at a time!
The offshore bite this past week has been a little picky during the day with the best action either early in the day or late in the day. Both the nighttime and daytime periods on both recent 39 hour trips have been steady but picky with no real crazy fish catching periods outside the first light and last light time frames. Luckily, the 12 hour extreme trips have been a little bit more steady with big piles of fish coming up all through the daytime for the most part but at the start of the week they were having the same issue of great fishing at first part of the day then once mid-day hit the bite would get more difficult. This is somewhat common during the warm summer months and we call it the mid-day doldrums. This is why we have those lighter tackle set ups when the fish want to shut down during the heat of the day when we don’t have anchor headings or current to hold the boat effectively over the fish.
Gag grouper fishing has been decent for the time of year. Normally, during the warm summer when gags first open, they can be tricky, but we have had great luck getting some nice fish out deep past 140-160 up to around 150ft of water. You get more and more chances at big gags once you get past 100-120ft of water but until you reach that cooler deep water you will not see the big boys stacked up on spots. As the water cools this late fall those fish will slowly work their way closer to shore making it even easier to find big gag grouper!
Red snapper are biting extremely well around 150-250ft of water. We are seeing a decent bite of quality fish from 120-150ft too. However, for big consistent red snapper you must go deeper and further from shore for sure. 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 do not see barotrauma and thus do not need to vent or descend until your deeper (around 90-110ft). Also, the longer the fish takes to get the surface plays a role 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 will not 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 affect 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
It’s been absolutely gorgeous weather out at the islands!
Last week we had Zack Perry of Taste and See Tampa Bay come out and feature our backyard – Fort Desoto and Shell Key Preserve! See the video here:
Have you snorkeled the ruins at Egmont Key with Tampa Bay Ferry yet? Take a look at the adventure here:
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