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 February 7, 2020.
Sheepshead bite is hot right now throughout the bay and around the passes. They love the structures, like the Skyway fishing piers -- or really any pier.
Bridges are holding plenty along with local docks and jetties. It’s a great time to get some sheepshead even during this adverse weather condition. As I am writing this report, I am watching some anglers landing them from our docks at Hubbard’s Marina.
Small pieces of live shrimp cut clams or oysters and fiddler crabs are my favorite baits to target them. Small hook around 1ot is all you need with around 15-20lb leaders and just enough weight to keep your bait along the structures is what you need to catch plenty.
Black drum will often be mixed in around the sheepshead in the same areas, especially around the passes, bridges or deeper water docks. They love crabs or large shrimp weighted to the bottom and sometimes you can find some real big fish too.
Smaller black drum make great table fare, but once they get large they are not recommended for food due to worms and buildup of mercury.
Trout action is great around the deeper water grass flats or the edges of the shallower flats. Look for potholes, edges, pockets or gullies around the areas you are fishing where trout can congregate to ambush passing prey items. They love live shrimp or artificial shrimp lures, my favorite is a DOA shrimp.
Whiting are thick around the channels and beaches right now on the sandy bottom hitting live shrimp or soft plastics right along or on the bottom.
These guys are great eating fish and are fun to catch on lighter tackle with the family.
Pompano are starting to move north, but they are mostly biting best on the south side of Tampa Bay, around the Fort De Soto-area, and bunces pass areas. The Skyway Bridge approaches are working well for the pompano too. Pompano jigs are my favorite way to target these great eating fish like the Doc’s jigs.
Redfish bite is going well around the dock lines, oyster bars, or grass flat edges. Look for wind-protected mangrove shorelines or points in the mangrove areas that will hold the redfish.
Soft plastics moving slowly, gold spoons, or live shrimp are working well for these guys this past week. Cut bait will also work well for the redfish especially after this cold front as water temps dip down further.
Snook bite is going well up around the creeks, river mouths, bayous or other bay back mangrove shoreline areas. We are still seeing some around the passes and outer bay areas but they are holding on the dock lines and are typically a little smaller sized fish.
Larger live shrimp or pinfish seem to be the ticket this past week, but if you use an artificial bait mimicking these prey items is best. Remember to present it naturally and move it slowly as these fish are as cold as you and I are.
Hogfish is the star of the show near shore right now. They are really biting well and will continue through the springtime while the water is a little cooler.
We are finding them a little deeper this past week around 50 to 60 feet of water which is a little bit of a change. The shallower 40 feet areas were producing well but it was a little more picky the past few days.
The live shrimp and light tackle approach is king for these guys around 30lb floro leader with 3-4ot hook and a 1oz egg sinker and 4-5 of the 8mm red beads between your sliding egg sinker and your hook seems to be a killer knocker rig set up for the hogfish.
Remember to bring plenty of shrimp and make sure your 30lb floro leader is much longer than you think. Around 15 to 20 feet works well. A very powerful light spinning combo is preferred around 4000 series reel is popular with a rod with a solid backbone and a sensitive tip is great for hogfish.
Lane snapper and a few mangrove snappers have been found while targeting the hogfish along with the occasional red grouper. We aren’t seeing a ton of the red grouper lately but there are a few around ready to eat.
Unfortunately, due to weather, we have not seen an opportunity to get offshore lately at Hubbard’s Marina our 39-hour last weekend and our 44-hour this weekend were both canceled due to weather and our smaller charter boats haven’t made it out there either.
The big news offshore right now is that deep water closure of the shallow water grouper complex. Make sure to keep this in mind when offshore fishing for the months of February and March.
You cannot harvest any of the shallow water groupers past the 20 fathom closure line, or 120 feet of water. We will often fish in the closed areas deeper than the line to catch snapper and other species before moving back into the open, shallower areas to target and harvest the grouper species before heading home.
Make sure you know and your friends know about this short two-month ‘closure’ for red grouper and scamp grouper outside the 20 fathom line.