Fishing Report: August 7, 2020

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 7, 2020.

Inshore

The full moon has had the inshore waters moving and we have had some great fishing around these tidal flows. The water moving gets bait moving and fish feeding well. We have had some negative tides which help to congregate fish and further increase ease of targeting a variety of species. 

The snook fishing has been incredible this week with multitudes of snook stacked up in the passes through the nighttime periods. Before sunrise, around John's Pass, the docks are just choked with snook ambushing passing shrimp, crabs or white bait being pushed in or out of the pass in the tides.

Also, most any pass in the area has this same situation going on simply different areas the fish will stack up. The snook will find an area to hangout where they are out of the current and can chill but still can ambush passing baits! They are super smart opportunistic feeders. Look for areas that naturally eddy or slow and that’s where they will be stacked up. If you work your lure with the current and present it naturally you will have a great shot at catching one of these snook.

We are doing well with soft plastic artificials, hard swim baits, or the lipped plugs. My favorite lately has been the Mirror Lure MirroDine XL. I caught a few snook on them this week alone just fishing a few minutes before we open our offices. The daytime action has mostly been around the beaches or back bay grass flats or mangrove shorelines.

However, the dock lines are still holding snook, especially those adjacent to the flats, mangroves or passes. The full moon lower tides have congregated fish around the deeper parts of the docks making it easy to target the fish. However, the trick has been slower-moving soft plastics bouncing just along the bottom without getting hung up on the structures.

The flats have been holding lots of hungry snook loving live white bait or pinfish for live baits or the same artificials that are working at night around the passes. 

Mangrove snapper continue to flourish around the area’s structures like docks, piers, jetties, rock piles and bridges. We are seeing them thick around these local structures, feeding very actively especially at times where the current is moving a little more slowly, allowing them to scavenge around the area freely.

When the currents slow, they come out of hiding and really go to work looking for any food sources. Light chum and light tackle with small pieces of shrimp or cut-up white bait is a great option to catch plenty of these mangrove snapper.

These guys unlike snook, redfish and trout, can be kept for dinner and they are great eating too! They must be ten inches long to keep and you are only allowed up to 5 per person. 

Flounder action is steady -- a little picky but some nice ones have been found. They love hanging on sandy bottom areas adjacent to structures or grass flats where they can ambush passing baits moving on and off the flats or structures.

Lately, the full moon tides have been congregating these guys around the docks in a smaller area and working the dock lines at lower tide with slow-moving soft plastics around the bottom have produced some nice flounder. You can also find them around the local bridges too!

Grass flats is where they spread out a bit, but they always are around the potholes or sandy edges of the flats waiting for bait to swim off the flat. 

Redfish action was a little better this week around the local dock lines and docks around the passes. We are seeing them up in the bay, around the flats and mangrove shorelines too. Live shrimp, pinfish or cut pinfish on the bottom seem to be working best on the redfish. Some anglers are getting lucky and landing these guys while targeting the mangrove snapper with shrimp at the bottom around the local docks and bridges. 

Trout fishing continues to be steady throughout the area on the dock lights and bridge lights at night. During the day, the flats are the best areas to find them, but you can get lucky around the bridges and docks that are holding bait.

Slower-moving bait is key with light tackle or free lining live shrimp or green backs. Chumming with some white bait has been an easy way around the flats to get 'em chewing well. Here is a link to a great in-depth tip video from Salt Strong on how to chum up plenty of trout locally. They have tons of public tips and tricks on their YouTube channel.

Near shore

The near shore fishing has been a little hit-and-miss lately closer to shore with the extremely hot waters we have along our beaches. However, further out past around 40-50 feet you can overcome this slower fishing.

We are finding some great action around that depth out to the deepest near shore waters around 100 feet. Remember, “near shore” is defined as just off the beaches to around 100 feet of water or 20 miles from shore. 
The red grouper bite lately has been steady around 60-100 feet of water. We are seeing them better a little deeper, but you can find 'em anywhere in that range of depth. Live pinfish, squid strips, or larger cut bait work well for those red grouper.

Around 40-60lb floro leader and a 5-6ot circle hook is what I would use when going after one of these fish. You may run into a gag or two near shore right now, but in our area the water is pretty hot and most of those guys are still out deep until our cold fronts begin in October which will start to bring them in more and more with each front. 

Snapper species are feeding well right now near shore. They do not mind the warmer water temps for the most part as long as there is bait around and water moving a little. We have been seeing lane snapper, vermillion snapper, and a few mangrove snapper around 60-100 feet of water. Inside of that, you can find some lanes but the vermillion and mangroves like it a little deeper.

The hogfish bite has been tougher in the warmer waters, but we are still picking up a few here and there around 40-80 feet of water. Live shrimp are best for hogfish, chunks of threadfin or sardines work well for lanes, vermillion and the mangroves especially and finally chunks of squid will catch your lanes or vermillion.

Lighter tackle around 30lb floro is key for these leader shy and smart snapper species and hogfish with smaller 3-4ot hooks. 

The pelagic action near shore is pretty nonexistent due to the extremely warm surface temperatres of the water. Most of the pelagics like tuna, kingfish, mahi, wahoo and others are out deeper right now past 100 feet of water where surface temps are in a more acceptable range in the low 80’s to mid 70’s. 

Offshore

The offshore fishing has been good to us if the weather has allowed us the opportunity to get out there. While the weather is clear and not so overcast or bumpy, we have had some killer trolling action too! The only negative thing we are seeing out there right now is a trickier and picky mangrove snapper bite. 

The mangrove snapper action is typically really good through our summertime, but they get a little tough in the dead of summer when the water is still, and it gets glassy calm. However, lately, we have not really seen the banner mangrove snapper hauls we are accustomed too. We are still catching them, but light tackle and expert levels of experience are required to present the bait as naturally as possible to get them to chew.

Overall, they have just been picky and extra leader shy. We are going as light offshore as we do near shore to get the mangroves chewing but then if you hook up to bigger fish you are in a pickle and end up losing them to the bottom more frequently. Around 4-5ot double snelled hooks with a smaller chunk of plugged threadfin or sardines are working best for bait for the mangrove snapper.

Also, when the bite is tough sometimes a live shrimp on lighter tackle will get them to chew as well. However, in deep water it's very tricky to feel the bite on those shrimp that fall off the hook so easily. 

Grouper fishing has been going well out deep lately. We are seeing red grouper from around 100-180 feet of water steadily on the potholes, flat hard bottom and around some smaller ledges. We are seeing the gag grouper best around 120-200 feet of water around the bigger ledges, peaks, wrecks, or bigger structures. We are seeing the scamp mixed in with both from around 160 feet and deeper.

The red grouper love a variety of bait but the big oily, smelly dead cut bait is best in big sizes. The gag grouper love more live baits, especially the larger friskier ones. The scamp grouper like small live pinfish or smaller squid strips but will also hit 4-6oz diamond jigs bounced just along the bottom. Jigs will sometimes get you a gag or red grouper too, the trick is to be the first one down to the bottom when your able to drop down.

Those jigs will rocket down and you can work 'em for a few minutes at the start of the spot and sometimes the big aggressive apex predator will come out and smash it to get it out of his home. Also, right towards the end of a spot, once the fish are tired of the dead baits and live baits you're dropping and the bite slows sometimes that jig will get one tricked into slamming your jig! 

Pelagic action offshore right now is completely lit up. We are seeing tuna, wahoo, kingfish and even some mahi mahi around offshore. The trolling plugs are working best for us like the rapala Xrap magnum 30s or 40s but the Nomad lures have also been working very well as of late offshore too like their lipped plugs called DTX minnows or their high speed trollers called madmacs.