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 December 13, 2019.
The full moon was yesterday, so this weekend’s bite should be pretty good on the back side of the full moon.
Plus, with the full moon, we have larger tides and more water moving around, creating more action and feeding opportunities. Look for that water flow in the passes, rivers, points or pockets of the inshore fishing areas to find the best area to catch plenty of fish inshore.
Also, one great tip is looking for actively feeding wading birds. These wading birds on the flats are a great sign that there will be some predatory fish ready to eat your lure or live baits.
The snook bite is going well up in the bay around the mouths of the bayous or rivers. Pinellas Point area, south shore of Tampa Bay and upper Tampa Bay and the inner side of the intercostal are great areas to find these guys ready-to-eat. The snook, trout and redfish are all feeding better later in the day after the sun gets a chance to warm up the local waters a little bit. It gets them more active and ready to cooperate.
Redfish bite has been going very well around the residential docks in our back bay areas, around the upper bay area shorelines, oyster bars and grass flats. They are loving smaller live pinfish, cut bait or slower moving soft plastic lures. Gold spoons are a great option for these guys too, but remember to work them as slowly as possible.
Keep an eye out for schools of mullet around the seawalls, oyster bars or grass flats often a few nice redfish will follow these guys around. Mostly the bite is best during mid-day or later afternoon but a few of them have been found overnight too.
Trout fishing is really good this time of year they are really excited with the cooler waters and we are seeing some monster trout for our area being caught right now. They are biting really well during the day, but through the night time too, the trout bite has been really hot especially with the full moon casting more light around the inshore waters.
Trout caught inshore (Captain Dylan Hubbard)
They love live shrimp or live greenbacks but the artificial paddle tails or soft swim baits work well for these guys too. Like the redfish and snook, you have to remember to slow your retrieve a little since the local waters are cooler.
The flounder action around the area is starting to pick up but it’s not really hot quite yet. The best place to find them is definitely the more sandy-bottomed areas adjacent to grass flats or any structure that will hold bait or crustaceans like docks, seawalls, bridges or jetties.
They are ambush predators that hide on the bottom to surprise passing baits so whenever you are targeting these unique-looking, great-eating fish you want to work your bait super slowly or use some lightweight on your live bait to ensure its sitting on the bottom.
Sheepshead are biting very well this time of year too like the trout the cooler waters make them super prolific and aggressive around the structures like docks, bridges, piers, jetties and anything that will hold oysters, barnacles or crustaceans. They love to eat cut clams, cut oysters, barnacles, fiddler crabs, or small pieces of shrimp on lighter tackle with 2ot hooks.
Triple tail are super thick right now around the bay and along the beaches around the markers, buoys and floating debris. Hitting them in the early morning before they are bombarded by multiple anglers trying to get them to eat. The earlier you get out there, the better luck you will have getting them to eat your live shrimp on light tackle.
Hogfish bite has been hot lately around the near shore waters from around 40 to 70 feet of water. They are doing very well on our 5-hour half days, 10-hour all days and the near shore private fishing charters in that depth range for hogfish.
Live shrimp are the best option for the hogfish for plenty of action and hogfish bites. Some really do well with those Nekid ball jigz around 1-2oz, putting a live shrimp on them while targeting the hogfish.
Christina Fernandez, from Orlando, went out on a 5-hour half day and caught a full day’s limit of five hogfish during that trip using the 1oz green Nekid ball jig tipped with double shrimp.
I like using a knocker rig style set up for the hogfish with a 1oz egg sinker and a 3-4ot hook with a live shrimp for bait. Others enjoy using a jig head set up for the hogfish with live shrimp too. Any of these three methods will give you a shot at a nice hogfish near shore this time of year.
Hogfish caught near shore
Grouper fishing has been going pretty well near shore as of late. Around near shore waters, the red grouper seem to be pretty active from around 50 to 100 feet of water to our west and south west. While to our north and around the mouth of Tampa Bay, the gag grouper seem to be biting and cooperating best.
Either species really are going after the friskier live baits right now but as waters continue to cool those smellier and oily dead baits become more and more effective.
Mackerel and kingfish are still around right now but it’s definitely starting to cool down near shore. They love the clearer waters and areas that are holding live baits like bigger rock piles or artificial reefs.
The best way to target them in bulk is by trolling around with some planners and spoons with 12 to 18 feet of 60lb test between the planner and spoons or the bigger Rapala Xraps to specifically target those kingfish while trolling.
Right now, the grouper fishing out deep is going very well past around 120 feet of water out to nearly 200 feet of water.
We are seeing very active gag grouper, a few red grouper and scamp grouper too. The gags are the biggest news lately though as they are closing soon. We are working hard to primarily target them but after they close end of December we will be switching gears and tactics to target the red grouper more.
Gag grouper caught offshore
Right now, the gags are on the ledges and we are seeing more of the red grouper on the potholes and flat-hard bottom areas. However, occasionally, you will find a few of each in the same area or same piece of bottom. The big live baits like the near shore waters are the top pick for grouper baits as of late.
The big mangrove snapper are cooperating very well offshore right now on the smaller live pinfish or the cut threadfin plugs on the double snell rigs. We are using a little heavier mangrove snapper tackle than normal to ensure we have a shot to land the occasional gag grouper. They may bite while you are targeting the mangroves, but typically it would be around 40 to 50-pound test leader. While this time of year we typically would start using 60-pound to target the mangroves in case a bigger fish grabs your mangrove snapper bait.
We are seeing some nice blackfin tuna around lately as well on the flat lines, occasionally on the troll and many on the vertical jigs. Great time to get out there and have a rod ready if you spot the tuna action while offshore fishing.