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 July 3, 2020.
Snook fishing is hot around the area -- nearly as hot as the weather!
We are seeing lots of them at night around the passes and dock lights and bridge lights near the passes. During the day, you can find them out on the beaches or up in the bays on the flats and mangrove shore lines. Nighttime fishing using a live pass crab floating through the pass is deadly to catch some nice fish. However, we are catching them on the mirror lure mirrodine XL, soft plastics, flairhawks and others. Live pigfish or grunts work well for those snook as well.
During the day on the beaches, sight-fishing them with live shrimp and ultra light tackle and around a 2ot circle hook is a good idea. You can also utilize some soft plastics too. On the flats, scaled sardines or white bait and even live shrimp work. Outgoing tides seem best around the passes and incoming tides seem a little better on the flats.
Mangrove snapper are prolific across the area structures right now like bridges, docks, jetties, or piers. Also, we are seeing the largest ones around the rock piles of Tampa bay along the edges of the shipping channel.
We are seeing them around the end of those stronger tides or the very start. They bite well throughout the day but when water is moving quickly it becomes difficult to feel their quick aggressive bites. Great fun for kids on light tackle and small pieces of shrimp or white bait. Chum is a great idea to get them excited and feeding heavily in big clouds of snapper.
Sheepshead are still around the area structures, but they are for sure a bit less prolific and aggressive during the warmer summer months. However, light tackle and a live fiddle crab works well for the sheeps but small pieces of shrimp or cut clams are also great options.
Redfish bite has been a little tougher lately if you do not hit them early in the day. We are seeing some nice ones around fort de Soto and upper to middle Tampa bay. Lower bay areas and around the passes a few are being caught around the structures like the docks and piers.
Cut bait on the bottom works well for these guys, and the bite is better in the morning time when water is cooler. After the hot daytime period, the afternoon bite seems a little slower.
Trout fishing is going well around the bridge lights and dock lights at night. We are seeing them on the live shrimp and also the small live pinfish. They are biting well during the day at the edges of the flats and along the deeper grass flats from around 3-5 feet.
Pompano are around the area still, bite isn’t on fire but some really nice 12-16 inch fish have been caught as of late from the local piers, jetties and along the beaches using those pompano jigs like the nekid ball jigs or doc’s goofy jigs.
Mackerel fishing has been good around our local fishing piers like the Skyway Fishing Piers, Fort De Soto piers, Big Pier 60, or the Rod and Reel Pier at Anna Maria. We are seeing them along the passes too on the stronger tides just off the piers chasing schools of bait.
Jack crevalle schools are moving around the local passes and along the back bay waters. They make a great time when you find a big school busting bait along a shoreline or dock area. These guys are not super high food quality, but they are tons of fun to fight on light tackle.
Whiting have been biting well of our local beaches on live shrimp or squid in the surf weighted to bottom just beyond the breaking waves.
Tarpon are around the area still and we have quite a few fish around still, but the bite has definitely slowed a bit as we get into to July. These guys have had lots of pressure and they become a bit more leader shy and harder to catch consistently.
Black drum are around the local bridges in the upper bay. They love those cut crabs on the bottom or big live shrimp weighted to bottom around those local bridges.
Red grouper fishing has been pretty decent near shore lately, we even caught a nice one on the half day trip in only around 40ft of water. However, most of them are around 60-100 feet near shore right now on the cut strips of squid, live pinfish or the cut baits like threadfins or plugs of the grey snapper. I love a butterflied grey snapper or white grunt for a fat red grouper near shore.
Lane snapper fishing has been hot this past week near shore around 60-100ft of water. We are seeing them on the pieces of threadfin, chunks of squid or the live shrimp on the hard bottom ledges, potholes or swiss cheese bottom. These guys are great eating for sure and typically are in large concentrations together.
Mangrove snapper fishing has been fairly good too near shore lately, they are mixed in with the lanes on the ledges and rock piles and potholes around the same depths of water. We catch most on the cut threadfin plugs and the double snell rigs.
Vermillion snapper are mixed in out in the deepest near shore waters, they are great eating fish too and the snapper fishing as a whole has been great. They eat the same baits as those lane snapper but we start to see more vermillions over the lanes once you start getting out deeper.
Mahi mahi are common right now anywhere from 40 feet of water out deeper. We are seeing lots of numbers of these fish swarm us while bottom fishing near shore and offshore. You can free line a chunk of threadfin or shrimp or cast a gotcha plug.
Red snapper have been biting well for us out in the deeper offshore waters but they were a little pickier and more spread out early part of this week. We are hoping the full moon will make them congregate up and get a bit more aggressive over the weekend and into early next week.
We find them as shallow as 100-120 feet of water, but you should really start looking around 120-140 feet. Then once we past 140-160 feet, that is where we find consistent larger fish.
They love the bonita strips, octopus tentacles, whole squid, threadfins, squid strips, live bait, vertical jigs and nearly everything in between. If you are at the right depth and they are feeding it doesn’t much matter what you put down there you will find one of these fish ready to chew. Just make sure to take care to move away from the fish once you hit your limit and to vent or descend any additional fish before moving off them. We must be good stewards of the resource offshore to preserve access and sustainability.
Gag grouper fishing has been good this past week. Normally when they open up in June we don’t have the best luck on getting good number of gags. However, this year has really been a surprise with nice hauls of gag grouper even in the warm summer months. However, we are fishing quite deep right now due to red snapper season.
We are fishing around 160-200 feet of water to find these cooperative concentrations of these 15-30lb gag grouper. we are bringing them home in good numbers.
Red grouper fishing has been decent offshore as well we are seeing them pretty large and consistently throughout our offshore waters from around 110 feet up to the 200 feet range on big live baits, squid strips, or octopus tentacles. The red grouper will often be mixed in with the red snapper bait shows towards the bottom.
Scamp grouper are normally more mixed in with the gags out deep on the ledges or peaks. They love a squid strip or smaller live pinfish. These guys are great eating super smart grouper that normally are around 3-8 pounds but we have been seeing some in the 10-15 pound range the past two weeks.
Mangrove snapper fishing has been a little spotty, but this week brought a great push of mangrove snapper action and I feel that has a lot to do with this full moon coming up. They get excited as the full moon approaches and that excitement will peak around the full moon then we get another good push a day or two behind the moon as well. Were hoping to put another big pile of them on deck on today’s 44-hour full moon trip and tonight’s 12-hour night mangrove snapper trip.
Mahi mahi have been all over the offshore waters lately like our near shore waters. We are seeing big clouds of these small chicken dolphins swarming our boats unexpectedly while offshore fishing. Make sure to have a pitch rod ready while out there offshore in case you get lucky to spot one of these passing schools of good eating fish.
Kingfish are around out in the deep water too. They are coming up while trolling and on our flat lines too. Plus, we are seeing the occasional wahoo in our offshore waters too so keeping that flat line out with wire is a great idea.