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 January 10, 2020.
We are on a full moon this weekend. The bite should be pretty good through the weekend and into the first part of the coming week thanks to the moon and the barometer moving around.
Keep in mind, the full moon makes for some strong tidal flows so the start of the tides are best, but you can get them chewing on the tail end too. During the peak of the tide, it can be a little tougher to present your bait naturally and combat the current unless you’re in the shallows.
Right now, trout are biting well around the passes and dock lines, especially at night around the lights. At night, the white soft plastic behind a 1/4oz jig head seems to be working well or a live shrimp with minimal weight. During the day, you can find plentiful trout on the grass flat edges and potholes. The live shrimp under a popping cork on the flats is a great idea, or a jerk bait or soft plastic. Remember, when working artificials or live bait, once you find one trout there will be more in that vicinity typically.
Sheepshead bite is hot right now, as the water cools off and gets stirred up that really rings the dinner bell for the sheeps in our area. It’s a great time to go after them around the docks, bridges, piers, jetties and seawalls using fiddler crabs, cut oysters, shrimp or clams or even barnacles for bait. I have seen some artificial fiddler crab jigs working but I would stick to live or dead bait making it easier to present right near the structure more readily available to these sporadic eaters.
Redfish bite is also on fire right now like the sheepshead and trout, especially around the Fort De Soto area and along the western shoreline of Tampa Bay starting around Weedon Island. We are also seeing these guys moving near shore in big spawning aggregations still. The HUB, our private charter boat, got inundated with big redfish around 35 feet of water this past week.
It’s a great time to get out there and try to find one of these huge schools of fish. Just please do your best to take care of these fish and release them in the water with minimal handling to ensure they can continue their way near shore to spawn out the next generation of redfish. Right now, shrimp, pinfish and white bait seem to work well. Dock lines, mangrove shorelines, grass flats and more are all holding these redfish.
Snook right now are biting pretty well. There were a few days this past week that had some really good action before the full moon. We are still seeing some decent numbers around the passes and even on the beaches around the piers. However, up in the bay around the mouths of the bayous and rivers, it seems to be a little easier to find more numbers of fish. The white bait and live shrimp are best bets when they get fired up, but the soft plastic lures work well too.
Snook are also being found around the dock lines, especially where water is moving, and bait is hanging out. The full moon has tides moving pretty good, so the start or end of the tide seems to work best.
Flounder are starting to bite better and better around the area. They love hanging out adjacent to the flats or structures like bridges or docks, ambushing passing baits that venture too close to the bottom where they hide.
Whiting are biting well around the beaches and in the channels around the bays. They love the soft plastics on the bottom too or live shrimp weighted to bottom. Like sheepshead, they don’t mind when the water gets murky.
Hogfish bite is super hot right now, especially around 40 to 70 feet of water, we are seeing the hogfish chewing well. They take a bit to get dialed in on but once you find their areas they are really loving the live shrimp.
Lighter tackle approaches work well especially with a minimal weight like a ¾-1oz weight and a 3-4ot hook with around 30lb floro leaders. I like to use a spinning rod and reel with around a 4000-5000 series reel and around 20lb braided line with that 30lb leader super long to ensure these guys have no shot at seeing your braid anywhere near your bait.
These guys love hanging around adjacent to the harder-bottom areas. Small ledges, rock piles, or flat hard bottom with lots of relief seems to work best to keep those hogfish around. Right now, the ‘secret’ weapon has been our use of 8mm red beads on our knocker rigs.
So, we use the methods described above to make a knocker rig style set up but between the weight and hook we ad around 4-5 of these 8mm red beads. It seems pretty silly and goes against my minimalist approach to hog fishing, but we cannot deny its results as of late. This is the Hubbard’s Marina specialty hogfish set-up right now when we’re not using our Nekid Ball Jigz to get them chewing.
Besides the hogfish, right now we are seeing some nice snapper action, especially a little deeper around 60 to 100 feet of water the lane snapper are biting well and seem to be prolific. Along with the lanes, we are seeing the occasional big mangrove snapper too mixed in. Plus, the vermillion snapper seem to always be ready to cooperate around the deeper depths.
We are seeing handfuls of red grouper on our near shore adventures right now too, especially on the squid strips, pinfish or the threadfins with a tail cut. These guys are definitely not super common, but they are a nice bonus when we are out targeting the hogfish or mangrove snapper.
Right now, the weather has made it tough to get offshore. We haven’t been out deep in too long.
However, we know the mangroves have spread out and we’re thinking they moved a little deeper to stay a little warmer. They typically are very large and hungry when we get out to them.
Also, we are hoping to get after those fat red grouper and a few nice scamp around that deeper water too where the mangroves should be biting better. The best area to start would be around 160 to 200 feet of water this time of year. We’re hoping to get what we can before that deep water closure occurs on the red grouper.
Plus, right now, out deeper, we are seeing lots of the blackfin tuna, some nice kingfish and the rare wahoo too. It’s a great time to go deep and remember the flat line or pitch rod.
This coming week, around mid-week, looks great and we have a Wednesday 12-hour extreme and a 39-hour trip Tuesday and both look like they will have light loads and perfect weather.