Fishing Report: Dec. 10, 2021

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 December 10, 2021.


We have a first quarter moon this weekend with a weakening front moving through sometime Sunday. This approaching system should help the fish get a little excited.

Then, behind the front is a strong high pressure settling in for an easterly strong wind flow through the workweek. Coupled with lighter tidal flows, it will make it tougher during the week.

Then, we have a full moon next weekend with the high backing off as a front pushes down again. The best fishing will likely be over the weekends due to this pattern overall. During the week, look for wind-protected shorelines and capitalize on moving water if you can find the bait you will find the fish.

Redfish action has been super prolific around the area this past week with some good numbers of redfish being caught along dock lines, grass flats, mangrove shorelines, oyster bars, and those edges of each of those areas too.

Redfish (Credit: Hubbard's Marina)

At night, you can find them on the bottom around dock lights and bridge lights too. Whitebait has been king this past week and live shrimp, a close second. Those using artificials seemingly always favor the soft plastic paddle tail in the white, penny, and darker green colors. Mullet schools will be flushing more and more often, and these big schools of fish will have the redfish in tow. Find the mullet, and you will find the redfish working the same areas on the flats often, if not every time.

Snook action has been tougher around the area this past week. We have had great weather and that has brought nearly crystal-clear waters to the area. Couple that with warmer than normal waters and the snook are leader shy, spread out, and super finicky to get chewing. However, if you can find them and then find them eating you will have no problem catching a few but getting them to eat has been a challenge.

Snook (Credit: Hubbard's Marina)

This past weekend there was a kid’s tournament at John’s Pass, and you could watch schools of snook swimming between the live shrimp, cut bait, whitebait, and pinfish without eating anything due to the clear water. Even the lightest leaders and free-lined baits wouldn’t fool them into eating.

Sheepshead action has been picking up around the structures of the area and even around the oyster bar edges, mangroves, and edges of the flats. However, the dock lines, bridges, piers, jetties, and seawalls are the areas they seem most concentrated. You can find them eating small pieces of shrimp, fiddlers, sandfleas, barnacles, or cut pieces of clams or oysters. 

Sheepshead (Credit: Hubbard's Marina)

You can even chum for these guys around docks or bridges if you arrive when tide is changing. You can scrape the piles clean of oysters, barnacles, or growth and that will bring the sheeps around making it easy to catch plenty of sheepshead.

Trout action is steady around the area, nothing crazy, but you can find them if you work for it. However, overall, the trout action around the area is slower than we would like to see for this time of year. You can find them around the potholes, cuts, edges, and shorelines around mangroves, dock lines, bridges, passes, and cuts. Live shrimp, whitebait, and even smaller pinfish work for trout. Soft plastics and imitation shrimp are a great idea for targeting trout with artificials.

Trout (Credit: Hubbard's Marina)

Black drum around the area are biting well around the docks, piers, jetties, and bridges. Typically, we find them best with crabs or shrimp on the bottom. They love crustaceans on the bottom around the structures. Also, the mouths of creeks, bayous, and bays are good areas to find them too. Mangrove shorelines will also have some black drum cruising looking for baits.

Black drum (Credit: Hubbard's Marina)

Tripletail are still pretty thick around the area, but not quite as concentrated it seems. You have to really look for them but if you find the area that holds them, almost every buoy, marker or debris will hold these fish. 

Tripletail (Credit: Hubbard's Marina)

Near shore

Hogfish bite is going well for us near shore around 40 to 70 feet of water. We are seeing lots of these good-eating fish. However, they are really tricky and are a bit hit and miss.

Even if you have the best technique, tackle, and correct bait, sometimes the person next to you will catch the keeper while you get bycatch or little ones. Lighter tackle and minimal weight helps to target the hogfish with around 30lb floro leader and 3-4ot hooks. We use three methods that really help us to target the hogfish either the knocker rig, jig head method or the ball jig approach.

Hogfish (Credit: Hubbard's Marina)

With the knocker rig, some will even add 4-5 of the smaller red beads between the egg sinker and hook to give the rig some ‘noise’ and we presume this added clicking of the beads is what attracts the curious hogfish to bite these rigs. Some days this really works, other days it may not help.

However, it’s worth a shot to try a bit of everything right?  

Gag grouper are moving in better near shore as well right now, but this little warm spell seems to have slowed that down a bit. However, we are finding the occasional keeper gag in the near shore waters.

Gag grouper (Credit: Hubbard's Marina)

You can find some smaller spots that are loaded down near shore, but it takes some effort, skill, and a little luck to get into the right areas. Live pinfish work really well with around 60lb test near shore. Around those 6-7ot hooks are a great options for the near shore gags.

Mangrove snapper are around near shore, and we are seeing a few of them mixed in while targeting the hogfish and gags on those ledges, rock piles, and hard bottom near shore.

Kingfish are still around near shore, but they are seemingly pretty few and far between. We caught a few last week, but this week they eluded us while we did see some kingfish evidence we were unable to harvest one successfully. 


The gag grouper bite was a little tougher for us on this mid-week trip, but we still caught more than two dozen nice gags out there in the deeper offshore waters.

We are hoping this weekend will bring a stronger gag bite especially ahead of this looming front. Typically, the gag grouper bite goes really well as they sense the approaching low. We are seeing them being a little leader shy offshore especially these schoolie-sized gags we are finding in the 24 to 32 inch range.

Gag grouper (Credit: Hubbard's Marina)

The bigger gags right now are around 18 to 25 pounds since we are fishing only around 100 to 160 feet of water compared to the summer when we are fishing up to 250 feet for red snapper. The biggest gags are more concentrated out deep when the water is hot. This time of year, the average-sized to medium gags are on the move to fatten up before their long springtime pilgrimage to their spawning aggregations in deep water.

Due to this, we are seeing a lot of guys and gals starting with 80-pound leaders, and if the bite is picky, dropping to 60 pounds and getting more chances at hookups. However, as you lighten your leader, the chance for breaking off a nice gag exponentially increases. Live pinfish, pigfish, and squirrelfish have been great live bait options. However, we are seeing plenty of these guys on dead baits too.

Mangrove snapper action has been steady offshore, and we are seeing some big girls in the 7 to 9-pound range. Look for them on the ledges, rock piles and potholes and use that double snell rig and threadfin chunks. They are more leader shy though and it takes around 40lb test to really dial in on those finicky smart fish.

Mangrove snapper (Credit: Hubbard's Marina)

Tuna have been around offshore and we are seeing them trolling and on the flat lines. The kingfish action has been sporadic but present out there in the offshore waters too. Plus, you never know when a wahoo may roll up on you offshore. 

Don't be a fool; bring a venting tool and/or a descending device

It is so important to keep in mind the importance of dead discards and discard mortality when engaged in near shore or offshore fishing. If we can all work together to change the cultural norms near shore and offshore, we can all help to improve our fishery and our fishery access overtime.

How many do you know right now that are all for catching and releasing snook, redfish and trout but will be the first in line to kill a mangrove snapper, gag grouper or red snapper and the attitude completely changes when discussing these offshore species?

Plus, the same person inshore that will hold their breath and wet their hands before handling a breeder snook will go offshore and then cull through 20 red snappers before keeper their two red snapper they deem large enough to fill their two fish bag limits while the other 18 they released will often end up suffering fatal damage if not properly descended or vented?

Please help us to spread the word on the importance of descending or venting your released fish. Descending devices are most easy to use and quick to pick up on their use and are most effective for most anglers. However, an expert and precise angler with proper training and tons of experience can use a venting tool properly with similar outcomes. However, a venting tool requires you to pierce the fish while most descending devices are much less invasive.

While using a venting tool it is imperative you pierce them in the exact right spot, and you do not go but a quarter inch or less in the fish. Most venting tools require you to ‘choke up’ on the tool to prevent over penetration into major organs.

When fishing deep water, especially in the sweltering summer months, please make sure to treat all fish intended to be released like that breeder snook inshore and minimize the time it takes you to get him from the bottom to the boat using heavier proper tackle not an ultra-light spinning reel. Then once on board, minimize the time out of the water. Then use a proper dehooking tool, and then for the love of God, use a descending device or venting tool PROPERLY to ensure that fish has a chance to live another day.

Three things will help ensure the survivability of those fish released offshore.

  • Making sure they are brought up quickly and do not expend all their energy in the fight.
  • Make sure they are unhooked smoothly, easily, and as quickly as possible.
  • Finally, make sure they spend the least amount of time at the surface at negative pressures where barotrauma exponentially increases its effect with each passing second.

Also, keep in mind when the water is warm there is less dissolved oxygen content and the chances of barotrauma increase even more while its effects can be even more deadly.

CHECK OUT THE NEW WEBSITE and marketing campaign to get your own FREE descending device and more information on mitigating barotrauma and barotrauma issues! Do not forget to use the hashtag #ReturnEmRight to help spread the word too on fish you catch and release offshore -> 

State survey to improve recreational data and access

It is imperative that you have your gulf reef fish survey endorsement on your fishing license if you are a private recreational angler or diver fishing from a private boat anywhere in Florida who intends to harvest, attempt to harvest or possess one or more of the following reef fish species: mutton snapper, yellowtail snapper, hogfish, red snapper, vermilion snapper, gag grouper, red grouper, black grouper, greater amberjack, lesser amberjack, banded rudderfish, almaco jack, gray triggerfish, Gag grouper, Red grouper, Scamp grouper, Mangrove snapper, Lane snapper, Kingfish, Tuna, or Mahi mahi.

Here is all the information and more on that program and how you can sign up ->


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!