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 April 1, 2022.
Weather effects of fishing
With a new moon today, there will be lots of moving water over the weekend. However, we do have a weaker front moving through the area over the weekend sometime late Saturday into Saturday night.
That will increase our chances of rain through the later part of Saturday. Luckily, besides the rain chances, it does not seem to have much adverse weather associated with the front, and we are looking at a gorgeous four-day weather window with some reprieve from the wind and seas.
LINK: FOX 13 weather forecast
However, once that front moves past our area, just south of us, it will stall and linger through the middle of the coming week. This will bring with it a tighter pressure gradient and increase southern flows as the next front pushes down.
So, after Monday, winds will increase out of the south until next Friday when that next front is forecasted to impact and pass through our area making the winds shift out of the north. That one, unfortunately, looks like it could be a decent one bringing with it some increased winds and seas. If you want the best weather conditions, get out on the water Friday or through Monday just be cautious of the possibility of the occasional shower or thunderstorm.
Snook fishing has steadily increased over the past week, especially around the passes and even starting along the beaches.
We are seeing an increasing amount of these fish pouring out of the back bay area along dock lines, grass flats, mangrove shorelines and anywhere they can stage up to eat on their way to their summer haunts along with our passes and beaches before heading near shore to spawn.
Snook (Credit: Hubbard's Marina)
It’s a wonderful time of year to watch the currents and target those solunar tidal periods to capitalize on a great snook bite around that moving water and structure that will hold bait and allow the snook to feed opportunistically without wasting much energy. This includes grass flats, islands, mangroves, and other areas that provide areas to congregate bait and where the tidal flushes can make little eddies or swashes that allow staged snook to feed easily as bait is flushed towards their staging areas. Lots of fish moving around with plentiful bait and that combination has led to remarkable success for local anglers.
Redfish action has been going well lately around the area too. We are seeing some good numbers of redfish caught around the docks, mangroves, grass flats, and even local passes. Most of the redfish are around the flats, oyster bars, and mangrove islands hitting on the soft plastics or live whitebait.
Redfish (Credit: Hubbard's Marina)
Shrimp will still work, but warming weather and the presence of pinfish and greenbacks have really changed their diet preferences lately. A smaller pinfish is a great option around the flats right now, especially free-lined on lighter tackle around those cuts, potholes, and edges. From big redfish to snook to monster trout, they all love a lively pinfish.
Speaking of trout, we have seen some big trout caught recently, which was a welcomed sight this past week. We look forward to more opportunities to capitalize on this great trout bite through the early part of the coming week.
Trout (Credit: Hubbard's Marina)
Mackerel are back around the mouth of Tampa Bay and along our beaches and local fishing piers. They’re not super thick in the bay yet but will only increase in numbers through the coming weeks. The Skyway fishing piers are really seeing enormous numbers of them showing up, and we should see more around that area too.
Jack crevalle are super active in the mornings around local back bay areas, like canals and the mouths of local rivers, creeks, and bayous. It’s an exciting time to get out there early and fish for redfish, trout, and snook right around sunrise, and then hit these areas for some rod-bending fun with some good fighting jack crevalle.
Jack crevalle (Credit: Hubbard's Marina)
Crazy winds close out this week, but prior to the wind picking up, we had a nice little weather window at the end of the past weekend and into the workweek. This allowed an opportunity to push out there and do some great near shore fishing at the start and into the middle of this past week.
The start of this past week was some of the nicest weather we have had in a great while near shore.
The hogfish bite is still steady out there near shore around that 40 to the 90-foot area. However, it has become more difficult overall to produce big numbers of keeper hogfish, so you could say the bite has slowed. We are still catching them but not in the two dozen or more range like we did through the end of our ‘winter’ months and the start of the spring.
Hogfish (Credit: Hubbard's Marina)
Now that the waters are warming up, they spread out and become much less concentrated on the ledges. They are also seemingly more leader shy as well. We will see this trend continue until summer when it really becomes increasingly difficult to find good concentrations of hungry hogfish.
If you want to get out there and take a chance at some of them, now is the time before it becomes even trickier. We do catch them year-round, but we see them in the highest numbers around October through the beginning of April -- depending on the weather patterns.
In cooler waters, they get more concentrated and aggressive around the smaller ledges, rock piles, and hard bottom areas.
Kingfish are here in a big way! This past week we saw a huge influx of the kingfish to our beaches and near shore areas. Many people reported catching them as shallow as 30 feet of water.
We were seeing them on the trollers, flat lines and even a few caught while dropping baits to the bottom. They are really moving in and hanging out around any large structures that will hold bait. However, you can catch them while trolling between spots too.
Kingfish (Credit: Hubbard's Marina)
It’s a wonderful time of year to remember that flat line while out there bottom fishing at virtually any depth. We have a great video on how to tie up a kingfish wire leader on our fishing tips and tricks page on our website.
Mackerel are also here. Like the kingfish, we are seeing big numbers of mackerel coming up trolling around the near shore reefs, wrecks, and hard bottom areas. You can really do well trolling a number 1 or 2 planners and a 4–6-inch drone spoon or really any trolling spoon.
We typically use around 15-18 feet of 40-60lb mono between the planner and spoon with snap swivels in front and behind the planner. Trolling around 6-9kts is a great speed with these hardware options, and you can even troll the crab trap buoy lines along the beaches for opportunities for mackerel and a kingfish too.
Even the Egmont Key channel from the Skyway west is a great option to target these fish as well.
Black sea bass have been very thick near shore lately, and we are still seeing a good number of larger black sea bass caught recently. These guys only get to be around 16 inches in our area, but they are extremely good eating.
Most will be around 12-14 inches for solid keeper sizes, but we have seen some larger ones pushing even past 16 inches. These guys love live shrimp, but you can get them on squid, sardine chunks, and a variety of other baits too. They love structure and this is the time of year we see them most often near shore.
Red grouper have been around near shore, but we’re only really seeing decent options at catching keepers closest to the deepest near shore waters. We should start to see more come shallower as the water warms, but for now, targeting them closer to 80 feet. It is the best way at having a chance at catching a keeper red grouper.
We are finally on the backside of our deep-water closure that runs each year for the month of February and March. This closes the opportunity to keep any shallow-water grouper complex species past twenty fathoms or 120 feet.
Now that this closure is over, you are once again able to fish any depth and keep those red grouper, scamp grouper, and other grouper species. We are extremely excited for this 39-hour trip later Friday to push out to 160-200 feet of water and really get after these fat red grouper and scamp that have had a two-month reprieve to spawn.
Red grouper have been tougher lately with that deep-water closure going on. We have had to really work at them and bounce around grinding together a nice catch of red grouper around the inside of the ‘fence’ or closure line. However, with that restriction being lifted today we should see a huge influx of big fat red grouper from waters beyond 140 feet.
Mangrove snapper action has been really good to us lately and now that we do not have to worry over the depth, we should see some even more mangrove snapper catches coming up! We’re looking forward to a great few weeks here as we push deeper and catch those 7-10lb mangroves out there around 160 – 200 feet. They love that double snell rig and around 40lb test and a double snelled 6ot hook.
Strawberry grouper (Credit: Hubbard's Marina)
Scamp grouper fishing has been tough inside 120 feet of water. They definitely are most often caught once we get closer to 200 feet, and they get much bigger too.
Looking forward to getting some big boys this weekend out there deep. They love the cut threadfins, small to medium pinfish, and also the vertical jigs close to the bottom.
Kingfish are thick offshore right now and should be ready to chew this through this moon phase where water is moving, and things are stirred up. Plus, we have seen some big blackfin tuna caught lately as well.
Finally, this is the time of year when we see an increase in the opportunity to run across a sailfish, and the wahoo show up in good numbers too. Keep the flat line out and the pitch rods ready while offshore this coming week!
Sailfish (Credit: Hubbard's Marina)
TERMS OF REFERENCE:
INSHORE – from the back bays out to the bridges and including right on the beaches
NEAR SHORE – From the beaches out to 20 miles, or up to 100ft of water
OFFSHORE – from 20 miles or 100ft and beyond
For more fishing reports, photos, videos and more check out Hubbard’s Marina on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, or Snapchat. Just simply search "HubbardsMarina" and do not forget our family motto, "If you’re too busy to go fishing, you’re just too busy!