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 Feb. 5, 2021.
Weather this past week has been a little rough and chilly for most of the week. This created a difficult fishing time, but there are still some nice catches especially before the front came through over the weekend.
We were on the full moon and the water was moving around, getting those fish eating well until Sunday when the weather and full moon combined to slow the bite down a bit. Once the weather moved in Sunday night, the fishing was tough through Wednesday.
However, this coming week it looks like we get a great weather window showing up for a few days during the work week that should provide some stellar fishing opportunities we are looking forward to!
Trout action remains steady through the area despite the weather and murky conditions. We are saw some great action around the local flats, docks, jetties, mangrove islands and virtually anywhere these trout could set up and ambush the passing bait being swept by the tides.
The trout love the shrimp or greenbacks free-lined on super light tackle. However, many have luck using the soft plastics for trout too and the paddle tail on a super light jig head or an artificial shrimp seem to be the favorites lately for trout.
We are still seeing them at night around the bridge and dock lights too. This is a great time of year for super light tackle trout fun, but remember they are catch-and-release only in most of our area so make sure to handle with care and get them back in the water quickly. They are super delicate fish and it is important to wet your hands before handling and try to avoid handling them with any rags or anything besides a bare wet hand to avoid removing their slime coating. That slime coating is what protects the trout and keeps them healthy.
Redfish action was great before the front early this past weekend as well, and we saw a few caught yesterday behind the front as well. These guys were loving the live shrimp, cut bait and even some small live pinfish around the docks of the pass. They are around the flats, oyster bars and mangrove islands as well. The redfish seem steady right now and in good concentrations around the area.
Sheepshead action seems unphased by weather. They are even a bit easier to catch when the water gets stirred up as it gets harder for them to see your tackle. They are a fairly leader-shy fish that will really get picky from time to time, but behind a front in that sand-color water they seem to be more aggressive and less picky.
Fiddler crabs or other small crabs still seem to be the hot bait, but you can get 'em to take shrimp or cut clams & oysters too. Some use barnacles with great success but I prefer the other options listed myself. Remember they have very small strong mouths, so a small strong hook is necessary with around 15-20lb floro leader and little to no weight. Just enough weight to get that bait in their strike zone next to the structures.
Snook action is best back up in the bay around the mouths of the local creeks, rivers, and bayous. Also, around those residential dock lines near these areas or even closer to the outer bay too.
Look for those docks closer to the front of the canal where water is moving right to bring those fish bait from adjacent flats, bridges, or other areas that accumulate the baitfish or shrimp. The snook will just hang around those docks to get warm in the early to late afternoon letting the baits come to them while using the dock for protection and warmth.
They get super lazy when the water is cooler, so you have to remember to get your baits to them while presenting it naturally and if using artificial working it extremely slowly. Around the passes, we're still seeing the occasional snook along the bottom taking cut bait and live shrimp while targeting the red fish around the docks.
Black drum action is hit-and-miss but when they are around you can catch them consistently. They love the local docks, bridges, jetties and sometimes you can find some schooling along the beaches around the surf. These guys are looking for primarily crustaceans like shrimp or crabs and they feed right on the bottom.
If you target a dock line a live shrimp on the bottom could get you a redfish, snook, trout, sheepshead or even a black drum right now!
Near Shore and Offshore
Weather has severely interrupted our ability to get near shore and offshore this past week, unfortunately. We sat at the dock for most of the week due to weather and then once we could make it out there, the sand completely closed our channel and one of our boats took some severe damage to its props.
However, we are blessed to get it back up and running quickly and we're looking forward to next week as we see a great weather window coming Monday into Friday where we should have some stellar fishing especially around Tuesday to Thursday.
We have a mid-week 39-hour with tons of room and a ten-hour all-days Tuesday and Thursday, plus the Wednesday 12-hour extreme. They should all have great opportunities for plenty of fish.
Hogfish action was great prior to this last front through the early part of this past weekend. However, the Sunday all-day prior to the front struggled due in part to the front bearing down but also the pressure ridge that formed ahead of the front coupled with the intense full moon that was just finishing up.
The backside of a full moon directly following the peak can sometimes make daytime fishing tough and that with the front action really made the Sunday fishing slow for us unfortunately.
Then, we were down for a few days and luckily it calmed down nicely yesterday, and the hogfish were hungry for some live shrimp when we got back out to them. The ten-hour all-day yesterday caught almost 20 nice keeper hogfish. They continue to bite best around 30-70 feet with around 40-60 feet being the hot zone.
The live shrimp and lighter tackle is the way to go and we just made a new fishing tips and tricks video to show you some hogfish tips and tricks and the tackle and techniques we use to catch them best.
Here’s the link to our fishing tips and tricks page. The new hogfish video is the fourth one down if you’re on mobile and middle of the second row if you're on a computer called "How to catch a hogfish and what rig to use."
Mangrove snapper near shore have been biting really well for us, mixed in around the deeper hogfish areas up to the deeper near shore waters. We saw around 40 keeper mangroves and some large ones yesterday on that ten hour all day.
This past weekend’s 44-hour full moon trip absolutely crushed the mangroves offshore too in deeper waters around 140-220 feet offshore. The mangroves seem to be biting extremely well in a large average size right now.
Lane snapper are extremely active near shore currently from around 40-50 feet up to around 120 feet. These guys love those same hogfish approaches that we catch mangroves and hogs with near shore, but deeper we catch them on the double snell rig with the cut threadfins targeting the mangrove snapper.
They are great eating fish and we have been seeing some great numbers in a very much larger size than historically seen. At this recent gulf council meeting we were finally able to see a tremendous catch level increase put into effect for this prolific species as we see and science agrees that their biomass is expanding, proliferating and the average size continues to increase showing an extremely healthy and abundant population.
Red grouper, Scamp grouper, and all other shallow water groupers are now protected in the ‘deep water closure’ or ’20 fathom closure’ for the months of February and March. This means you cannot keep these species and you really should avoid targeting them beyond that closure line.
Inside the line, you can keep them and once you have them on board you cannot venture past the closure line further offshore. The closure line and other info can be found at this link, but the easiest way to know your in an open area is to make sure your fishing at or below 120 feet of water or less than 20 fathoms.