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 31, 2020.
The mangrove snapper fishing is still very good around the entire area. Lots of these hungry snapper can be found around the structures of our area like docks, piers, bridges, jetties or seawalls.
The rock piles of the bay are holding plentiful and sometimes larger snapper too. Slower-moving tides help you to use lighter tackle and lighter weights for a more natural presentation and a greater feel when targeting these quick biting and smart fish.
I love to use shrimp or greenbacks for them and in shallower waters even small pieces of either work. In the bay, when fishing the rock piles or around deep-water bridge areas, a small jig head will work well and maybe a whole live shrimp or greenback. Smaller hooks are a great idea as they have smaller mouths and light floro leader too.
Snook fishing is impressive around the area too. At night, the passes, local bridges and jetties are great areas to target these snook. During the day, they are out on the beaches, around the grass flats, dock areas, or mangrove shorelines.
In the heat of the day, they are often towards the bottom, and cut bait, live bait or soft plastics worked on the bottom are best. During the night, they are more actively feeding on the surface.
Suspended twitch baits, lighter soft plastics, lipped crank baits, or free lined live baits are better ideas at night. Around the pass at night, when not too close to structure, 20-30lb floro is a good idea. When fishing closer to structure 50-80lb test is a better idea. Hook size depends on the bait you choose but around 2-3ot is generally best for the snook action. DOA shrimp or the Mirror lure Mirrordine XL are my two favorite artificials to use when targeting snook, and the best working live bait lately have been small mullet or live shrimp.
Redfish action has been steady, but not quite as hot as the snook fishing, at least around the passes. Most of the redfish action is still up in the bay or in the back-bay areas. They are around the mangrove shore lines and around the flats from around 2-4ft of water.
However, we are catching a few around the passes and outer bay areas on the bottom using cut bait or live shrimp. Some big redfish were caught locally by people targeting snapper with live shrimp fishing on the bottom.
Trout fishing has been pretty good around the bridge lights and dock lights at night, and during the day around the flats of the back-bay area and local bridges. These guys love the slower-moving soft plastics like the DOA shrimp or the paddle tails on light 1/8th ounce jig heads. They will also eat white bait or live shrimp for live bait, but light tackle is key for these trout.
There is still some tarpon around, but they are really getting fewer and further between, soon we will just have a few of the more resident fish left in our area.
Triple tail are still around too, but mostly on the bottom and are a bit more tricky to target when you can’t sight fish em off the markers in the bay. Mackerel are thinned out too but early morning around local fishing piers if there’s bait around the mackerel will be there.
The hogfish bite picked up for us a little bit this week. We saw a few nice fish caught on our 5-hour half day trips, a few on the 10-hour all day and the HUB private charters got a nice pile of them as well.
I believe the approaching low, coupled with the added rain last week made for great opportunity for these hogs to turn on a bit more for us with the change in weather. We are seeing them from around 40-80ft of water on the live shrimp and lighter tackle.
The red grouper bite has also picked up for us this past week with some good fishing around 70-100ft of water. We are catching them on the cut dead baits like the squid, the whole threadfin with the tail cut and the live pinfish are also working well too.
The red grouper love the smaller ledges, potholes, and hard bottom areas. These fish will move over large areas to feed so even drift fishing near shore in shallower areas will work for these red grouper.
Gag grouper bite has been weak near shore as of late with the warm waters. We are expecting these guys to pick up as the water cools in October, but until then we are seeing them best offshore.
We don’t have much pelagic action near shore right now besides the occasional mackerel, but the kingfish, mahi, tuna and others are all out there beyond 100ft of water mostly. The mahi mahi may venture in to the deepest near shore waters but the way the currents are right now most likely we won’t see that anytime soon.
Red snapper season is coming to an end for the federally permitted for hire charter boats and party boats by the end of day Saturday. We do, however, still have tons of other fish to catch offshore like mangrove snapper, gag grouper, scamp grouper, red grouper, porgies, vermillion, yellowtail, and more!
Plus, as the red snapper closes, we have amberjack season starting back up for three months. Amberjack season, this year, is May and then August through September.
These large fish like big live baits or vertical jigs out in the deeper offshore waters 120ft and beyond. The keepers are a little few and far between unfortunately in the warmer months so it will be a grind to put together good-sized numbers of these fish. However, they live over wrecks, springs and large bottom structures that will also be holding plentiful snapper and grouper too.
Big tackle, big bait and big patience is key to getting some large greater amberjack to the boat. Make sure to eat your Wheaties before trying to tackle a big AJ.
Gag grouper fishing has also been really good lately around 140-200ft of water where we have been red snapper fishing. We have been pulling up some really nice gags, including a 38.9lb monster that was just over 46 inches this past week.
The big dead baits on the bottom have been working well along with the bigger live baits. Like the amberjack, big tackle and big baits are key. However, when a gag grouper bites you must put the pedal to the metal as soon as you feel the fish take your bait to ensure he doesn’t get you rocked up. They will put you in the rocks and break you off before you know what happens.
Mangrove snapper fishing has been tougher lately, but we are still catching a few out there offshore. They are hit and miss a bit, but we are picking up some nice fish out there on the threadfin plugs and 40-50lb leaders with around 5-6ot double snell rigs.
You have to keep sticking and moving until you find them ready to eat along the big ledges, peaks, and rock piles offshore.
The pelagic action is heating up offshore we are seeing some nice tuna, kingfish, mahi and the occasional wahoo out there past 120ft of water. The trolling action has been good while the weather is clearer and not overcast.
Plus, we are seeing them on the flat lines and vertical jigs too. It’s a great time to get offshore and do some trolling and don’t forget to put out the flat line when bottom fishing.