Fishing Report: March 19, 2021

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 19, 2021.

Inshore

Mackerel have invaded the area in big numbers. The spring run is here and were starting to see some kingfish move into the bay too. 

The mackerel numbers are staggering around those bait schools that are moving around local bridges, passes, along the beach and deeper grass flats. This is a great time to get out there with some fast-moving flashy baits like the gotcha plugs, casting spoons, and whatever else that you can retrieve quickly while keeping it 2-3ft under the water. 

Look for birds or bait action at the surface to quickly dial in on where the mackerel are feeding. You may accidentally run into schools of jack crevalle too, but they are tons of fun to fight until you find the mackerel. 

Sheepshead are still biting well around area bridges, docks, piers, and virtually most any structure with the growth to attract these fish. They are looking for those fiddler crabs, small pieces of shrimp or cut oysters. They will be biting well behind this front and you should take advantage of the good action while you can. As the water warms, they will dissipate and be less concentrated and aggressive. 

Courtesy Hubbard's Marina

Mangrove snapper are starting to heat up as the water warms. We are seeing these guys show up around the same areas as the sheepshead and they get into schools of good numbers. They will get bigger, more aggressive, and more concentrated as summer approaches. They love super light tackle and small greenbacks or pieces of shrimp.

Around a 1ot hook or even number 1 hook and around 15lb-20lb floro works well with minimal weight. Essentially the same area and same tackle you have been using for sheepshead, but you can use a smaller hook. These guys will not be bending or breaking your hooks like the tough mouth of a sheepshead would. 

Pompano action is really in full swing now. We are seeing these guys all over the bay around those sandy passes and cuts. Around Anna Maria, Egmont key, Fort De Soto, Blind Pass and Pass a Grille are some hotspots. 

Those pompano jigs bouncing across that sandy bottom are a local favorite for targeting these incredibly good eating fish. 

Whiting are prolific along with some silver trout around the beaches and sandy passes and were seeing more and more of them. They love live shrimp on the bottom, but you can catch em often targeting pompano with the pompano jigs. Also, soft plastics will work for the silver trout just like their cousin the speckled trout. 

Trout action picked up a bit this past week. We are seeing good trout numbers around the dock and bridge lights at night around the passes and bay. During the day, they are hanging in those cuts and potholes on the flats and at the deeper edges. The deeper 4-6ft deep flats are producing the best trout action lately. 

Courtesy Hubbard's Marina

Redfish have been thick in the passes we are seeing incredible redfish numbers around the docks, bridges, and structures near the passes. Also, along the flats, mangrove shorelines and still residential dock lines redfish action is going well all the way up into the very upper bay. 

The redfish love live shrimp, white bait, or even cut threadfins. However, the soft plastic paddle tails are an artificial favorite for these fish moving slowly around the docks and flats. 

Snook are pushing back into the passes more and more, but not up to those typical late spring and summer numbers yet. However, it seems we are not far away from that snook frenzy that ensues as the water warms up and they stage up for their summer spawn near shore. 

Courtesy Hubbard's Marina

We are still seeing plenty around the bay especially around those residential docks, sandy shorelines adjacent to the flats, mangrove shorelines and even around the flats. Lots of juvenile snook are most active on the flats where most of the larger fish are more structure orientated lately. 

Tarpon are starting to show up in the area early this year. We spotted quite a few hooked up with some early season juvenile tarpon around the Skyway this past week as we trolled for kingfish and mackerel on the bumpier days. They will only get better as their peak time is around May-July. 

Near-Shore & Offshore

Kingfish and mackerel are here in huge numbers lately. We are seeing a ton of action as shallow as around 20ft just off the beaches up to around 80-100ft of water. Past the near-shore waters, the mackerel disappear but the kingfish continue to be prolific. The most concentrated action though remains near shore around those artificial wrecks and big structures holding bait. 

We saw a few in the 20-30lb range this past week and reports are swirling of some tournament winning sized fish being caught too. 

Courtesy Hubbard's Marina

The spring run is here and hopefully that water temp will remain right for a while to keep these fish here and active for a while. These later cold fronts will help hold them in the area longer if you can think of the positive side of this more adverse weather. 

Hogfish action still going well near shore. We saw a pretty big decline in the hogfish action the past couple weeks but it picked back up for us pretty well this week. We are noticing many of the fish have roe now and it seems most are leaving the ledges and spreading out over that hard bottom area or shell bottom adjacent to the structures. Around that 30-70ft mark continues to produce the hogfish action best.

Courtesy Hubbard's Marina

Red grouper action is steady offshore, but seems to have picked up a bit for us near shore. We are seeing a few here and there as shallow as 40-90ft of water on the strips of squid, whole threadfins, and the live pinfish. 

Once you get out there around 100-120ft of water just inside the closure line we are seeing some truly fat red grouper and seem more concentrated and aggressive. Remember, that deep water closure continues until the end of this month. 

Lane snapper are biting well near shore around 50-90ft of water and were seeing some good mangrove action too even a little shallower as well. These guys are only going to bite better and better as the water warms. Looks like its shaping up to be an exciting spring and were looking forward to the water calming down behind this front. 

Triggerfish action has been going well for us out deep. This past week some of our deep water trips pulled in some exceptionally large and extremely good eating triggerfish. We expect to catch more, and larger fish once were able to freely fish as deep as we want for longer after April 1!