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 16, 2019.
This week we had some big schools of breeder redfish found around the shorelines of Tampa Bay with some massive fish being caught off the edges using live or cut dead pinfish for bait. For this type of fishing, you cannot chase the fish; you've got to let them come to you. Often they are working a shoreline or a grass flat and you have to set up ahead of the fish and try and guestimate where the school is heading so you let the fish come to you. If you chase them or try to go right at the school, they will disperse and not feed. Often there's other boaters targeting them too; that's why it's courteous to go a bit further up in line and get set up there and wait for the fish to move to you. Lately though, the pinfish have been the secret weapon; they haven't been wanting any other live baits.
Big black drum around the bridges inside the bay, too, you can see some monsters caught with a big live shrimp on the bottom. Or, my favorite method is half a crab for bait on the bottom. These big bruisers live, eat and hang out right on the bottom so you want to keep your bait, you guessed it, on the bottom! Heavier tackle can't hurt to help ensure you are able to pull these large fish away from the structure you're fishing on.
The snook and tarpon, too, are stacked around the passes right now. This past week around the lights of the John's Pass bridge, the anglers have been tearing up nice-sized snook and even some juvenile tarpon. Keep in mind with the tarpon you can't remove them from the water unless they are under 40 inches and even then it's not recommended. However, the snook can come out for a quick picture while in the process of de-hooking the fish, then released quickly. Early morning on the outgoing tide seems to get these guys fired up best.
Keep in mind, most of these game fish like snook, redfish and tarpon are all breeding right now so if you are lucky enough to get a big fish that means exponentially more fish in the future from that breeder you caught. Make sure to take extra care this time of year to get them quickly and safely back into the water and not have them out of the water much time at all. Don't handle them with towels or let them flop around on a dry dock, deck or sidewalk. Keep them controlled, get them unhooked and get them back swimming again as soon as possible.
Hogfish bite is slowly picking up. We are seeing them more and more often with one of our half-days this week pulling in more than a dozen of these unique looking and great eating fish. However, a majority of the ones we are seeing in the area are still fairly small but the bigger fish and better bite is just around the corner as the water continues to cool down for us.
Plus, while targeting the hogfish were always seeing plenty of those great eating ‘grey snapper' or white grunts that are so underrated as table fare. These, in my opinion, are one of the best eating fish we see out there and they are so easy to catch. Great way to get your kids ‘hooked' on their tackle box instead of their xBox!
The mackerel are returning pretty well to our near-shore waters and within a month or so we should be seeing our first few small schoolie-sized kingfish of our fall kingfish run depending on the weather. Keep in mind those kingfish love around 73-78 degree water temps and they will be heading back south along our coast as the ‘winter' weather approaches and cools down our local waters.
This is an exciting time of year for near-shore fishing because those kingfish and mackerel make the near-shore bottom fishing even more exciting as you're bottom fishing and you hear that flat line scream as a kingfish skyrockets out of the water with your stinger rig in its mouth! Don't forget a flat line the next few weeks near-shore or offshore fishing! Trolling the near-shore artificial reefs and wrecks is a great way to catch plenty of these aggressive fast-moving fish. We love that number one or two planner with a 15- to 18-ft piece of 60-lb line between the back of the planner and your spoon. You can also mix in a few rapala xrap lures into your trolling spread too to keep those kingfish and mackerel excited!
Red grouper bite near shore has been very hit and miss, out deeper they are biting a lot better but we are finding some around that 100-ft mark near shore on the strips of cut squid wing or the live pinfish.
The amberjack season is in full swing now while red snapper are a distant memory! We are seeing some nice jacks around 150 to 300 ft of water while our primary depth is around 200 ft of water. We use huge tackle like 100-125lb test and 10-12 ot hooks with the biggest live baits you can find like spadefish, mullet, blue runners, or big knobbed porgies. You can vertical jig for them too but that's a lot like work because the bigger heavier jigs work really well but they can be labor intensive to work consistently for the jacks. We have been catching a few while trolling by our fishing areas with rapala xraps or the nomad design dtx minnows.
We have been seeing decent gag grouper catches around that 180-200ft mark. Plus, mixed in with the gags we have seen some good action on the scamp grouper too! Red grouper bite has been a little tough offshore but we have been seeing a few mixed in offshore while targeting the gags or mangrove snapper.
The mangrove snapper bite has been a little hit and miss but we are finding some decent numbers when the current isn't making catching them effectively harder than it already is. Plus we saw some nice mutton this past week as well out there in that deeper water.
The tuna bite offshore has been going well too seeing those guys on the flat line, vertical jigs and also the trollers too!