MADEIRA BEACH, Fla. (FOX 13) - Every Friday morning, Captain Dylan Hubbard of Hubbard's Marina joins Good Day to fill viewers in on his fishing forecast as we head into the weekend. Here is his fishing report for August 30, 2019.
What's biting now
Inshore, right now, we are seeing a lot of redfish in the passes and bays. The major inshore action this past week has really moved the redfish away from snook. We are still seeing snook -- they are just seemingly less prolific and aggressive compared to redfish, as of late.
Near shore, the mackerel are really picking up and hogfish are really starting to gain momentum
Offshore, the amberjack season is still in full swing and grouper are biting well out deep with the occasional blackfin tuna mixed in on the surface flat lines
How this hurricane impacts fishing
A hurricane is a big low pressure, and low pressures have a huge impact on our fishing from inshore to offshore.
The fish have lateral lines to sense movement underwater and those also act as a barometer -- that is why the barometric pressure has such an impact on our catch rates. When these huge low pressures approach, the fish really get excited and feed well. They know bad weather is coming in, and they know that it will be getting too rough, and stirred up, to feed well for a while. Therefore, they really get active ahead of low pressures, whether it's a cold front or tropical system.
Once the system approaches and the barometer drops and the weather gets bad, then the bite dies off and it takes time for the system to move away and the weather to stop. Then, it'll be even a bit more time for the waters to clear back up, and the barometer to start rising once again. That rising barometer behind a big low, once the waters have cleared up and calmed back down, is once again a very great time to get out on the water and capitalize on great fishing action.
Keep in mind behind the storm, most of the time, you will find the fish congregated in larger numbers around the biggest structure. Just like us, when it's rough and weather is bad, we all would flock to cover -- and so do the fish. When the weather finally slows down, and fish start feeding, the first person to the biggest structure will find an insane bite.
Inshore, that would be things like potholes on the flats, bridges, rock piles in the bay. Near shore and offshore, that would be bigger ledges, wrecks, springs, even artificial public reefs. If you're the first one there, behind some big storms, you can really catch awesome fish -- even on public, big structures.
Tips for preparing your boat for the storm
If you can, get your boat out of the water get in on a trailer and move it to a well-built and protected marina. This prevents it from sinking due to bilge pump issues, batteries dying out on you, or the self-bailing deck from being clogged by debris while the storm is dumping water into the boat.
If your boat is on a lift, you want to raise that lift as high as possible, and get it tied off to the polls surrounding the lift. With this storm, high water shouldn't be a huge issue but it's always better to be safe than sorry.
The idea here is to ensure, even if the water comes up high enough to lift the boat off the lift, that the boat will still be secured to the poles surrounding the vessel. Also, you will want to tie down the boat to the lift because as the waters rise, the waves come up high enough to lift the boat off the lift a bit. It would slam it back down which can cause it to crack the hull, make it fall from the lift, or, worse, sink below the lift. If the boat is secured down to the lift struts, then when the waters come up, the boat and the lift will be tossed around together, preventing damage to the vessel. The boat being tied to the pilings around the lift will keep it from getting beat up on the pilings.
If you have a larger vessel that isn't on a lift and can't get out of the water, then you want to find a safe harbor where there will be as little wind and waves as possible. You will want to spiderweb as many extra lines as you possibly can to the vessel with very long lengths of line. Short lines don't give much travel and as waters go up or come down. They will get tight and, perhaps, capsize the vessel or tip it. Enough water could fill one side and sink the boat.
Long lengths of line allow more travel time up and down before lines must be adjusted. Also, keep in mind when securing the vessel, you want to ensure all the lines are receiving the weight of the vessel at the same time. For example, if you have three lines on the starboard side of the boat, to keep it from moving to port side of its slip as you push off those starboard pilings, you should be able to clearly watch all three of these lines tightening up at the exact same time.
If one is getting tighter more quickly, that will defeat the purpose of having the extra lines as that single line will be taking the bulk of the shock. Be watchful of what types of line you choose to use as well as certain types or synthetics, which have more stretch than others. You want a line that has some stretch but not enough to allow the vessel undue movement.
If you have a few more shock absorbing lines with a few stiffer lines, and they are all getting tight at the same time, then the more stiff lines are taking all the force. Plan it out, use the proper lines, use long lengths of line, and whenever possible, periodically check the vessel as water levels rise and fall to ensure the lines don't need adjusting.