Good Catch: Full moon is a good time to go fishing

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 September 13, 2019.


There are lots of white bait around the area lately, and we are seeing some very active inshore fishing action around those white bait schools. Plus, we are on the front side of a full moon and the inshore action has also been very good with the increase in water movement.

The moon phases definitely have a big impact on our fisheries because the moon will dictate our tides. When the water is moving, the fish feed well so the new and full moons really get waters moving and thus, the bite is very good around these moon phases. We find that the few days leading up to the full moon, or the few days behind the full moon, make for great day time fishing. If fishing on the day of the full moon, the daytime bite can be a little slower.

Fish are able to feed all day and night when we have large full moons, casting plenty of light into the water allowing predators to be more active for longer periods of time. As the full moon approaches, the fish get excited and start taking advantage of the more powerful tides and more time to feed.

Once the full moon gets to full swing, the fish have been feeding hard for a few days and nights, and they seem to get more sluggish and less aggressive. On the backside of the moon, they get excited and hungry again like they know the moon phase is changing.

Take advantage of this increase in activity while you can on the front side of the weekend or the start of this coming weekend. Luckily, this bad weather is coming right around the peak of the moon phase so it works perfectly to allow you to fish before the weather. Once the weather calms down and the water clears up -- sometime Sunday afternoon into Monday -- the moon phase will be getting right again for great fishing. Also, that low pressure in the Gulf should make it a great time to fish at the start of the weekend, and start of this coming week. We have seen redfish, snook, trout, mangrove snapper, mackerel, jack crevalle, tarpon, and some whiting caught this past week around the area.

The most memorable part of this week has been the very large schools of jack crevalle moving through the area from around sunrise until mid-morning. We are finding these things feeding very aggressively and actively on the live bait schools. They work as a team to get them concentrated, then the water erupts with white water foam as the school attacks the greenbacks along the beach, jetties, dock, bridge, seawalls, shorelines, sandbars or whatever else the jacks can use to concentrate the baits against.

Plus, the snook seem to follow these aggressive jacks to pick off the outliers and the bait the jacks stun and don’t eat. Great opportunity for great catches and stellar action when these schools have the fish in big frenzies. This time of year this type of action is pretty common in the early parts of the day when the live bait is present.

The redfish are still feeding well around the nighttime period, hugging the bottom on the edges of the dock lights, bridge lights and jetties. We are seeing some caught during the morning hours too, but definitely the best redfish action as of late has been at night or the first part of the morning. Live pinfish, large live shrimp or the soft plastic paddletails have been the best bait options for the redfish yet again this week. 

Snook have been more active this week for our local anglers. We have seen them at night and throughout the daytime periods too. This week, anglers have been catching them on the beach, from the jetties, from the docks, from the piers and back inside the bay along the flats, as well. Live shrimp, green backs, pigfish, and smaller pass crabs are all great live bait options for snook. They are feeding well on the flairhawk-style bucktail jigs or the hard jerk baits too. 

Mackerel and mangrove snapper are still very active around the white bait schools too. We're mostly seeing the mackerel around the jetties and piers around passes or the mouth of the bay. The mangrove snapper hang on the bridges, docks and piers or along the rocky shorelines and seawalls. Live greenbacks free-lined into the tide have been the hot baits for these species, but shrimp will work as well in a pinch.

The speckled trout action has been really good at night around the bridge lights, and during the day we have been seeing those along the beaches mixed in with the snook. Plus, you can find them during the day in the back bays. Some nice-sized trout are being found along the deeper sea grass beds along the mangrove islands just inside the passes and in the bay.

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Near Shore
The action near shore has really been picking up this week. We have seen quite an increase in the mangrove snapper action around 60 to 100 foot of water near shore this week. We are thinking that has a lot to do with the approaching full moon coupled with the approaching low pressure.

However, we are doing all we can to capitalize on it while they are biting well -- mostly on the 10-hour all day. We are getting out there deep enough to see decent numbers, but even the 5-hour half day has been catching a handful of some nice mangrove snapper during their trips too. Mangrove snapper love the live shrimp or cut threadfins or sardines. 

Hogfish action continues to slowly get better and better each week. This week, we have caught a nice number of keeper hogfish along with just as many shorter fish that we had to catch and release. As the waters cool, we should see more and more keeper-sized hogfish and less of the smaller undersized hogfish as they become more prolific and more aggressive.

The trick with hogfish is using the lightest possible tackle, lightest possible weight, live shrimp and the most natural presentation possible. I like 30-pound floro carbon, 20-pound braided mainline, 4000-5000 series spinning reel, 1/4oz-1oz weight, and a 4ot hook. 

Along with the hogfish and mangrove snapper, we have seen a little more red grouper action around the deeper nearshore water and the same steady action on the lane snapper. We are definitely having a great year for plentiful lane snapper which are great eating snapper.

The mackerel are getting more and more prolific nearshore from the beach out to 50 to 60 feet of water. We are seeing big areas of mackerel feeding on any bait they can find out there. Plus, they seem to school up around the nearshore artificial reefs and wrecks.

If you enjoy having lots of action on fast good fighting fish, it’s a great time to head to one of the public reefs like the south county artificial reef to troll around some number one and number two planners with 4 to 6 inch spoons, 12 to 15 feet behind the planner on 40 to 60-pound mono. If you get tired of trolling for them, you can anchor up and chum them up to the boat with plentiful green backs.

I like starting with cut pieces of the greenbacks throwing them off the stern of the boat in handfuls every few minutes. Once they start to show up, throw some handfuls of whole dead greenbacks. Then, follow that with some scoops of live greenbacks off the back of the boat. This will get them foaming around your boat and it makes for memorable times for the whole family using lighter tackle spinning reels with gotcha plugs or free lined whitebait.

If you need some weight to your free-lined whitebait to make casting easier for the kids, I like to use a bobber with the bait 3 to 4 feet under the bobber.

Kingfish will be showing up soon, just need a cold front or two to get our area a bit cooler before the kings make their fall appearance.

The grouper bite was good this past week offshore. We had a great weekend of fishing this past weekend and good start of the week. Unfortunately, it’s gotten a little too bumpy towards the end of this week to take advantage of the approaching low pressure making fishing hot and the start of the full moon for most of our boats.

Our larger Florida fisherman is uninhibited by the weather, thankfully, and were looking forward to the 39-hour leaving today, coming back with a big pile of grouper, amberjack, snapper and, hopefully, a few pelagics.

We had some good pelagic action as of late around our area’s offshore waters. We had a monster -- nearly 70 pounds -- wahoo caught during a Flying HUB 2 private fishing charter. They were anchored up doing well on the bottom catching some jacks, grouper and snapper when the hoo was spotted circling under the boat. Luckily, Capt Anthony and Rich had a flat line rod rigged and ready, so they hooked on a Boston mackerel dead bait and tossed it ahead of the big wahoo. He came up and inhaled it immediately and it was off to the races.

After a pretty long run they were able to turn him and get him within eyesight to confirm it was a monster wahoo only to have him make another big run. This happened twice before he was in range of the gaff and by that time, unfortunately, had a few lines wrapped around the light tackle kingfish set up they were using. Luckily, fate was on our side, and we were able to stick and successfully haul up this wonderful eating fish into the boat and into the box. 

Wahoo are some of the best eating fish we encounter around the area, and, by far, my favorite pelagic fish to eat. They are super easy to overcook, but when prepared properly you cannot beat a fresh piece of wahoo fillet.

The red grouper bite cooperated for us pretty well this past week with some big boys caught around 160 to 200 feet of water on the ledges, potholes and hard bottom areas in the deeper offshore waters. 

A little deeper around 200 to 250 feet of water, we found the gag grouper action doing pretty good with the mixed in scamp grouper a welcomed surprise. 

Amberjack are not in big numbers, but you can find them on big ledges, peaks and the deep-water wrecks around 200+ foot of water.

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