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 Jan. 15, 2020.
Sheepshead bite continues to dominate the inshore report. They are prolific through the area hanging out around the structures, oyster bars, and even sometimes around the flats. Dock lines and bridges are the most common areas to target them.
They love those small pieces of fresh dead shrimp, barnacles, fiddler crabs, and cut clams or oysters. The sheepshead rig is simple with lighter 15-20lb floro and super lightweight. Even a small split shot around 8-12 inches above the hook will be enough weight to keep your bait adjacent to the structure in the sheepshead hunting area. The bulk are often on or near the bottom, but you can sometimes find them hanging up in the water column around the pilings around deeper bridges or docks.
During the day, redfish action is going extremely well around the passes on the live shrimp weighted to bottom around the docks. We're also seeing plenty caught in the bay around the flats, mangrove shorelines and dock lines too. Oyster bars are a great option for redfish action as well.
These guys love live shrimp, green backs, and even small live pinfish. Cut bait also works well for the redfish like cut threadfins or pinfish.
Trout action around the passes has been a little hit-and-miss due to weather, but when they are biting, we are seeing a mix of silver and speckled trout around the bridge lights and dock lights near the passes. During the day, we are seeing a bunch of trout around the local grass flats, mangrove shorelines and mangrove islands.
Even dock lines have held good numbers of trout mixed in with some redfish, snook and sheepshead. Trout have extremely soft mouth so having a slower action rod with light tackle is a great idea if you are targeting these guys while on the water.
Snook are virtually gone around the passes, but still a few being caught from time to time at night and through the day. One of the biggest snook I have seen caught in a while came this past week from under our main dock on a live shrimp at the bottom. This was a super thick fish pushing 40 inches too!
Most of the snook population has moved out of the passes and pushed back into the bays and are staging up at the mouths of creeks, rivers, and bayous. There are also good numbers hanging around those back bay dock lines where that dark bay mud radiates heat in the afternoon sun.
Mackerel action is not crazy but oddly enough we're still seeing mackerel around the area especially in the outer bay area around the edges of deeper flats and structures like bridges, piers, and docks where bait gathers.
Near shore and offshore
Hogfish action is insane right now around the area near shore waters from around 30 feet of water up to around 70 feet of water seems to be the hot zone.
We are averaging around 15-25 keeper hogfish on our ten-hour all-days and sometimes more! Our 5-hour half-days are also catching around 4-6 keeper hogfish as well. Both trips have many more caught but are just under that keeper size of 14 inches minimum to the fork.
Often people do not realize that they must be measured from the start of their jaw to the middle of their tail. Those long whisps do not count and you cannot pinch the tail -- it must be laid flat when measuring. This means you do run into some undersized fish and those hogfish are the most sensitive species we run across when it comes to barotrauma issues. So, please keep in mind you have literally seconds. When you get one, plan to release up to the surface before his chances of survival exponentially decrease.
Make sure to get any smaller ones up and into the boat and off the hook and released if they do not measure in record time. Each second at the surface will severely hinder their chances for survival and growing to that keeper size and spawning and helping the population to continue to flourish.
These guys love lighter tackle like 20-30lb floro leader and around 3-4ot hooks and live or fresh dead shrimp. The 1-2 ounce white nekid ball jigs have worked well for us and we often will take the smaller trailer hook without the teaser off and replace it with little stronger short shank 4-5ot hooks and add a dab of super glue to the teaser on the main hook.
The super glue will make the teaser last for a few more fish. Once it falls off replacing that hook too is a great idea. The knocker rig method with around a 1oz hook and around 4-5 of those red beads between the slip lead and the hook is another great hogfish targeting method.
Mangrove snapper action has been pretty decent near shore but offshore were getting the big boys. Near shore, we're seeing them around 60-70 feet and beyond to the near shore border of around 100 feet of water. Offshore, we're targeting them with the red grouper and scamp out deeper around 140-180 feet of water and seeing some good numbers of some large mangroves with some in the 7-9lb range.
Near shore we use live shrimp to target them and pull them up while targeting hogfish. Offshore we use a heavier 40lb leader and a double snell rig of around 5-6ot hooks and a chunk of threadfin.
However, that offshore rig can be scaled down to target mangrove snapper near shore. Around 30lb leader and double snelled 4ot hooks can work on a ten hour or any trip fishing around 60-100 frrt for mangroves.
Lane snapper are also prolific in the deeper near shore waters out to the shallow offshore waters. From around 60-120 feet of water we're seeing some good lane snapper action. These guys will take the live shrimp when we are targeting hogfish deeper and they will also hit the mangrove snapper rig too.
However, you can target them well with a small piece of squid as well with lighter tackle and hook setup like your targeting hogfish or mangrove snapper.
Red grouper action is steady near shore and is going well offshore out deeper. We are seeing a few of these guys around 60-100 feet near shore on cut dead bait and a few on live pinfish. Offshore we're seeing good numbers starting around 120-140 feet and beyond.
Big chunks of cut dead bait like bonita, mullet, mackerel or squid are great bait options for the red grouper while helping you avoid those pesky big gags, we must release this time of year.
Scamp grouper action is awesome out deep mixed in with those red grouper. We start to see them most beyond 140 feet when fishing for those red grouper on potholes or ledges or atop big plateaus. They love a small live pinfish but will take dead threadfins too. We have seen a few up to the 12-14lb range while fishing deep this time of year.
Blackfin tuna action is at its best this time of year around the new and full moons of January and February and especially through the night time period. If we sit on a spot awhile doing well on snapper fishing we will often catch a few black fins while knocker rig fishing or if we set out a flat line.
We will also see them trolling during the day from time to time between fishing spots on those diving plug trolling lures like the rapala xrap magnums or the nomad DTX minnows.