Fishing Report: March 18, 2022

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 March 18, 2022.

Weather effects of fishing

Beautiful, warm weather and a full moon mean water is flowing and fish are active this weekend.

We're right in the middle of spring for the fish, so they're starting to move around and transition toward summertime patterns.

LINK: FOX 13 weather forecast

Bait fish will also be plentiful as the water warms. 

Nearshore

Nearshore fishing will be better than offshore this weekend. Artificial reefs and the hard bottom areas will draw bait fish, which will draw mackerel.

"So as you're cruising along, you'll see the bait on your fish finder. And [there will be] a lot of mackerel around that school of bait, especially around those nearshore artificial reefs," Hubbard said.

Snook (Credit: Hubbard's Marina)

There will be lots of bait around grass flats and bridges, which means snook will be actively feeding in those areas, too.

Last week, we saw pompano are starting to pick up steam around local passes and on our beaches. We are seeing them around sandy passes along the beach and inlets. 

Pompano caught inshore (Courtesy: Captain Dylan Hubbard)

Dylan says work to the bottom with pompano jigs or live shrimp to reel in pompano, which tend to like cleaner, clear water.

Warmer water has brought back mackerel, too. Watch for birds on the surface of the water if you’re looking to find mackerel below.

Mackerel caught inshore (Captain Dylan Hubbard)

Sheepshead continue to bite around the area, especially under docks, piers, bridges, and rock piles. But take advantage now. 

Barnacles and fiddler crabs, or little bits of shrimp on lighter tackle will draw sheepshead to your line. 

But this might be your last chance for aggressive, prolific sheepshead bites, so take advantage. 

Sheepshead (Credit: Hubbard's Marina)

Techniques

Light tackle, small hooks, and minimal weights were key for many nearshore fishing situations. Oftentimes, just four to five barnacles were all we needed to produce the weight needed to get the hook drifting to the bottom and allowing the sheepshead the enticement they needed to feed.

Fishing with barnacles can be tricky, oftentimes it’s easier for them to strip them with a quick crack of the shell or husk. However, if you are watching your line free-fall down and it slows or stops then it’s time to set that hook. Start pulling them away because they have likely stopped it on its free fall to the bottom to munch your hook full of hard treats.

Once you get the method down it happens fast. Many times during peak feeding time, we were seeing guys limiting out in twenty minutes or less on their eight sheepshead around the dock, piers, bridge and jetties. However, the bite seemingly was best when water was starting or slowing on the outgoing or incoming tides.

Offshore

Last week, red grouper action was slower than normal, but this week is a different story. The red grouper are starting to bite in some deeper water offshore.

Red grouper (Credit: Hubbard's Marina)

Hubbard also said hog fish and snapper were becoming active in the range of 70-100 feet.  

Hogfish (Credit: Hubbard's Marina)

TERMS OF REFERENCE:

INSHORE – from the back bays out to the bridges and including right on the beaches

NEAR SHORE – From the beaches out to 20 miles, or up to 100ft of water

OFFSHORE – from 20 miles or 100ft and beyond 

For more fishing reports, photos, videos and more check out Hubbard’s Marina on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, or Snapchat. Just simply search "HubbardsMarina" and do not forget our family motto, "If you’re too busy to go fishing, you’re just too busy!