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 23, 2021.
We are coming up on a particularly important FWC meeting yet again this coming May 12 and 13. This meeting, commissioners will be discussing goliath grouper regulations -- perhaps an extremely limited season on them -- shark issues and interactions with fishermen, and finally the issue on snook, redfish, and trout and perhaps reopening these species.
Remember, anyone can attend these meetings and you even have a chance to speak during the meeting if you so choose by following the prompts given during the meeting. However, if you do not feel comfortable talking on the issues or you won’t have time to attend the meeting, you can always write in with public comment letters ahead of the meeting too. On the agenda page, you will find a link to the public comment form that allows you to write in your comments to the commission prior to the meeting.
Remember, you have to do so about 4-6 days prior typically, but no date has been set yet for this deadline. You can view the agenda, reports, and make advanced written public comment on these items by visiting this link.
The redfish have been hot this past week with a great bite at night, around the passes, and also during the day around the flats, mangroves, oyster bars, and also around the docks of the passes and bridges.
The soft plastic paddle tails remain the go-to artificial bait while live shrimp is working well around the docks with small pinfish. On the flats, the white bait is a go-to for most anglers’ live bait-wise, but the big ones love those medium live pinfish.
Snook action is only getting better at night around the passes on the bridge lights and dock lights. More and more snook are showing up in the passes as the water warms up.
However, the continued fronts are really keeping the fish spread across the area and prolific most anywhere you target. It is a great time to take advantage of the active snook bite around the area.
At night in the passes, the flairhawk jig is a popular option, while during the day a lot of people utilize that soft plastic paddle tail for all around artificial.
Pompano along the beach are biting well but around those sandy cuts of the passes and local bridges and jetties were seeing plenty too. It's a great time to get out there and bounce those pompano jigs along the sandy bottom areas for a great chance at these good eating fish.
Trout action remains steady this past week around the area. We're seeing plenty of these fish around the bridge lights and dock lights of the area. During the day, the flats have been producing well along with those points, pocket, and cuts of the bay adjacent to areas holding bait. Trout will stack in areas they can feed easily on passing prey items.
Mackerel have been active around the mouth of the bay up to the Upper Bay and along the beaches. Many local fishing piers are seeing plentiful mackerel in the early part of the day. The bait schools will attract in these fish to virtually any area adjacent to the deeper moving waters.
Fast-moving flashy baits are key to attracting these aggressive fast-moving fish. Look for them using the gotcha plugs or casting spoons around those birds feeding on the bait the mackerel are pushing to the surface.
Near shore and offshore
We have seen some turbulent weather this past week and over the past weekend, but we're coming up on a full moon and we are going to try to capitalize on that the best we can this weekend on our 44-hour full moon trip despite the weather conditions.
We have seen some great red grouper action out in the deeper waters when weather has permitted us to make it out to these fish, especially beyond around 150 feet of water looking for them on the potholes and smaller ledges. Even up to 250 feet of water, we have pushed out to find exceptionally large and highly active red grouper.
This past week, we got one nearly 18 pounds out there in the deeper water. Live pinfish have been working well but also larger dead baits like squid wing strips, 6-9 inch octopus, threadfins, and bonita strips all great options when fishing deep for red grouper.
Closer to shore in the near shore areas we are seeing the red grouper occasionally, but it’s been much pickier and more spread out compared to the bite out deep for these red grouper. Start looking for them around 60-80 feet and start expecting bigger more consistent action beyond around 150 feet of water for the red grouper.
While fishing deep for fat red grouper, we are seeing some big scamp grouper. Some as large as 10-14 pounds lately have been seen while fishing beyond 150 feet of water. The deeper we go, the more we see these great eating fish. However, you have a chance to start finding scamp grouper in keeper sizes around 80-100 feet of water.
Scamp love those medium sized pinfish with around 60lb test and about a 6-7ot hook. Also, the smaller hammered diamond jig in the 4-6oz range bounced right along the bottom is a great option to find the aggressive scamp while fishing deeper beyond 100 feet of water. Casting this jig out as far as you can and working it back to the boat at the very start of each spot is a great way to try and target any hungry scamp around the spot.
Mangrove snapper action has been a little soft for us this past week but were hoping this weekend’s start of the full moon will change that for us. We have been doing extremely well this year on our 12-hour night snappers averaging more than 100-120 of these great eating fish targeting them around 25-35 miles from John's Pass around 90-120 feet of water.
On longer trips, we have seen overall a bite slower of a bite on the mangroves but the plan this weekend is to start close to 250 feet of water where we have caught some monster mangroves in the past and work our way in to around 160 feet during our 44-hour. We're hoping with the full moon on our side, the mangroves are ready to eat.
Threadfin plugs are a go-to option for the deeper water mangrove bite especially at night when the feed best. Closer to shore, we are using mostly the live shrimp to target the mangrove snapper with knocker rigs or the jig head method on lighter tackle typically.
Kingfish and mackerel are the most active lately near shore pelagic-wise, but some cobia are showing up in the mix too. Mackerel are best around the beach up to around 80 feet of water on those areas holding bait like big rock piles, ledges, and artificial reefs. Kingfish will get around those areas but also roam between.
It's a great idea to have that flat line out while bottom fishing to perhaps catch that passing kingfish who may come investigate any action. Cobia are more leader shy and typically will not bite the kingfish flat line rigged with that lighter number 3-4 wire.
However, if you have a pitch rod ready with around 40-50lb leader and about a 4-5ot circle hook to tail hook a live pinfish and present that to a passing cobia you have a great shot at capturing that incredibly good eating fish.
We are seeing some great blackfin tuna action lately too out deeper, but this is mainly beyond 100-120 feet of water. If you are out there and spot active bait on the surface it is a great time to troll around for them or vertical jig or even flat line the similar rig you would use for cobia pitch bait fishing.
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!"