Mangrove snapper and snook are thick throughout the area. We are seeing good numbers of trout and a few redfish as well. The pompano have slowed a bit but are still around with the flounder hiding in the sandy patches around the flats. Mackerel are biting well around the morning time following the bait along our piers and passes. Tarpon are around the area still but are thinning out. Sheepshead are around but are not feeding well at all.
Snook are super active at night around the passes and along the bridges, ambushing passing baits around the surface with moving currents. The love the live free lined shrimp, white bait or pass crabs. The lures of all varieties work, but the soft plastics, swim baits, jerk baits and lipped crank baits are some of the favorites with the flairhawks being favored around the passes. During the day, were still seeing them in the passes but the beach, flats, or mangrove shorelines are the hottest spots. During the day, the same baits will work but most will use the free lined pinfish, shrimp, or white bait and hardly anyone uses flairhawk lures during the day.
Mangrove snapper action is crazy around the area with any structures were finding big schools of hungry mangrove snappers clouding the waters ready to be chummed up in mass. They love cut white bait or shrimp on lighter tackle. They make a great target for anglers of any age or experience. Their quick biting fun to catch behavior is a great way to get someone ‘hooked’ on fishing. Look for them around local bridges, jetties, piers, docks or rock piles. Essentially any structure holding bait and providing a place to hide and ambush passing bait will be holding plenty of mangrove snapper this time of year.
Trout action at night around the bridge and dock lights is fierce. During the day we are spotting them around the flats, especially on the deeper flats or edges of the shallower flats trying to stay in cooler deeper waters. They love slower moving artificials like the soft plastics or slow retrieved swim baits or jerk baits. Also, live shrimp or white bait will work to get those trout feeding well.
Redfish action is tougher over all compared to snook, trout or mangrove snapper. However, we are seeing a few out around the mouth of the bay around the passes and dock lines. The upper bay has the best redfish action right now around the flats and mangrove shoreline. The cut dead bait on the bottom around the flats right now is best for the redfish. However, the catfish bite is also epic this time of year as well, so you must contend with those from time to time when fishing cut bait.
Pompano are around the bays and passes and along the beaches, however, they have definitely slowed down around the area. Still a few around the skyway approaches the big bridge of fort de Soto and around most any pass along the beaches. The ones being found are larger fish for the most part.
Flounder bite is spotty but were finding a few in the sandy patches around the flats hitting the passing shrimp, white bait or small pinfish that travel too close to their sandy bottom hangouts. The slow-moving plastics right on or just above the bottom will also secure a flounder bite now and again.
Mackerel are around the passes and local fishing piers especially in the morning hours just following sunrise busting on the bait schools and looking for fast moving flashy artificials or free lined white baits. Were finding a few off the beaches and around the flats but they are starting to get tougher around the area.
Tarpon are also thinning out as the water continues to warm but we have some resident tarpon that hang all year in our area up in the bay around the bridges. We are spotting a few around the local passes as well. Mostly cut bait on the bottom in the passes during the day while live bait works well at night when they are more active.
Near Shore –
This past week brought us some good red grouper action around 60-100ft of water around the ledges, potholes, and hard bottom areas. The squid strips, live pinfish and the whole threadfins with the tail cut worked well on these guys. We had one 10 hour private fishing charter on the HUB nearly limit out on the red grouper this past week using a variety of dead baits and around 60lb test and 6-7ot hooks. The bite has been finicky this past week though with some days producing well while others we struggled to get them to cooperate at all.
The lane snapper action continues to be impressive around the same depth range as the red grouper and even a little shallower to around 50ft. We are seeing them on the live shrimp, squid pieces, and white bait on the lighter tackle and smaller 3-4ot hooks. These guys are mixed in with the mangrove snapper throughout that depth range and some vermillions and the occasional yellowtail closer to 100ft of water. The shrimp and around a 30lb leader is working well to get the snapper feeding actively near shore. However, this time of year shrimp can be very tricky to get ahold of due to the lack of supply.
The gag grouper bite is nearly nonexistent near shore this time of year. We catch a few here and there, but you should really focus on the red grouper more while fishing near shore in the heat of the summertime. When it starts to cool down that is when the gags start their move in shallower and make them easier targets near shore.
Mahi mahi are still around near shore. Never forget the rigged and ready pitch rod while out there fishing near shore or offshore this time of the year. Those Mahi swim up without warning and will be gone often times faster than you can rig up a rod to present them a bait with.
The bite offshore has also been a bit finicky like our near shore waters this past week. The extremely hot temperatures and occasional complete lack of a breeze make it extremely treacherous out there in the heat. Plus, without a breeze or chop it can make positioning on top of the fish even more challenging for a captain or boat handler. There is truly such a thing as weather that is ‘too nice’ and we saw that a few times this past week. The start of July has been tricky with either extremely high seas and winds or hardly any wind and no see whatsoever. Hoping we get a nice balance of 5-10kts and 1-2ft seas here this coming week. Just enough to get an anchor heading and keep us a little more cool is all were asking for here.
The red snapper bite is going well. Even if the weather is ‘too nice’ we can often scrape together a nice pile of red snapper by sticking and moving and trying new areas and new depths. The trick for the most part is getting out past where the bottom has been carpet bombed since the opening of the season. Many are fishing around 100-140ft of water and if you can make it out there past around 140-160ft then the fishing becomes more like catching for the red snapper if the weather cooperates. These guys will eat just about anything you throw at them, but the dead bait has been working best as of late. I like to fish the double snelled threadfin plugs on 50-60lb test leader and a double snelled 6ot hook set up this time of year that way I can target my mangrove snapper but still have a fighting chance if a gag grouper bites and I will be able to man handle any red snapper too. This is a great set up that you can also fish a squid strip or bonita strip on as well both of which will pull you up big red snapper in any depth of water.
The gag grouper fishing has slowed down quite a bit out there offshore, were still picking some nice ones and its still pretty good for a summertime bite of gag grouper. However, when you compare that to our exceptional June catch of gag grouper has definitely slowed down and looks to be slowing down more each week as the water warms. We are looking forward to it picking back up offshore as the water cools just like the near shore waters.
The red grouper luckily haven’t quit offshore like the gags did. We are still seeing a good bite of red grouper from around 100-150ft of water. They love the bigger dead baits or the live pinfish on the bottom with around 60lb test and a 7ot hook.
Pelagic action has been going well offshore with some big kingfish, occasional tuna, and the lone wahoo or too around. Plus, the mahi mahi are out there just like they are near shore so be ready for action if they happen upon you while deep sea fishing!
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
Red snapper season is STILL GOING until end of day August 1st! We do not have too much time left in this short season to get after these hungry red snappers. There are still quite a few 39-hour trips with some decent room left. We are pretty much full up on the 12-hour extreme trips but there is the occasional cancelation if you don’t mind checking in often on the online booking system.
Amberjack open up staring August first! These guys are tricky in the warm months of August and September but were hoping they pick up for us in October before they close again at the end of October.
WE ADDED NEW 39 HOUR TRIPS in for the end of October on Friday October 23rd and also Tuesday October 27th and the Tuesday 10/27 trip is right before the full moon as well! Hoping you guys can book it up and join us for some great chances at gag grouper, amberjack, red grouper, mangrove snapper and MORE!
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
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