MADEIRA BEACH, Fla. - 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 Dec. 25, 2020.
Sheepshead bite is impressive right now around any local structure! They are biting well in good numbers on a variety of baits but the best bet is those fiddler crabs, or cut clams or oysters but even a small piece of shrimp works well on some light tackle and a small hook.
Getting minimal or no weight is best, but you do sometimes need a split-shot or two to keep the bait right against the bridge or dock or pier pilings you are fishing on. The sheepshead will even cruise local seawalls too, and it’s a great time of year to get plenty of them!
The trout action is going well right now too. We are seeing the silver trout around the passes, along the beaches, and even the sandy areas around the bridges. The speckled trout are biting well on the flats and around the dock and bridge lights at night. Slow-moving soft plastics or free-lined shrimp or whitebait are great options for these guys.
The black drum are thick right now along the beaches and local bridges. We are seeing plenty of these guys caught along the surf line of the beach mixed in with whiting, silver trout, and the occasional redfish. Plus, lots of bonnethead sharks along the beaches right now too.
Snook action has slowed down to a crawl in the passes but we're still catching a few at night around the bridge and dock lights. There are more snook moving up into the bays right now for their wintertime stay. Look for them on those dark mudflats adjacent to mangrove or oyster bar areas waiting for bait to venture out of the cover. The flats still have plenty of juvenile snook feeding well too.
Redfish action is going well around the flats, mangrove shorelines, dock lines, oyster bars, and even around the passes.
Pretty much anywhere you can find a good area there will be some hungry and active redfish. These guys hang right on or along the bottom looking for small live bait, crustaceans, or slow-moving soft plastics. Behind these fronts when the water is murkier the dead cut bait is a great option too.
Flounder love this cooler weather and we're seeing some good action on the flounder if you can find those sandy spots on the flats or next to the flats, shorelines, or structures. They hang on the bottom waiting to ambush passing baits that are on or near the bottom.
Mackerel are still pretty heavy around the mouth of the bay, around the passes, and along the bridges if there’s bait around. They are also around the deeper edges of the grass flats. Great time to go get you a few fun to catch mackerel before they thin out as the water cools.
Near shore and offshore
The hogfish bite right now is super hot! We are seeing these guys from around 30 feet up to around 80 feet of water -- mostly on live shrimp and lighter tackle, but you can get them on fiddler crabs, sandfleas, and even rock shrimp. Around 20-30lb floro leader and about a 3-4ot hook is best.
They are the more timid smart and leader shy fish around so they are one of the last ones to bite on a spot. It takes a lot of patience and practice to get them dialed in. However, once they start to bite, typically you have a narrow window of a few more biting too before the bite shuts down and you gotta adjust areas and get them chewing again!
The gag grouper are still fired up and this is your last chance to get them before they close at the end of the month. We are seeing them from Tampa Bay all the way offshore biting well around those ledges, rock piles, bridges, and even some docks.
The guys in Tampa Bay are having great catches free lining pinfish over the rock piles adjacent to the shipping channel and Skyway.
Near shore, we are seeing them best around 50-80 feet of water. Offshore, the big boys are biting around 120+ feet. We saw some 30-40lb gag grouper on our last 39-hour and were going again the Tuesday after Christmas to get some more!
Red grouper bite is steady right now from around 70-140 feet of water. These guys will be our focus after the gag season close and we will move deeper to target the scamp and the red grouper out there around 160-200 feet of water where the fat red grouper roam. Big cut baits like large strips of squid or bonita are my favorite red grouper options.
Mangrove snapper are biting well around 80-140 feet of water right now on those cut threadfin chunks with double snell rigs. We are seeing them really get fired up and we're coming up on that full moon which should have them feeding even better too.
The pelagic action on blackfin tuna should really heat up as the water continues to cool off. We are seeing them best around those new and full moon cycles and right around sunrise and sunset is the best time for them for sure on the free lined tail hooked pinfish or the free lined threadfins.