Fishing Report: May 21, 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 May 21, 2021.


Right now, inshore, we have seen again more and more snook piling into the passes and some onto the beaches as they move into their summertime patterns. However, there are still plenty of snook around the flats, mangrove shorelines, islands and dock lines of the bay.  

We are seeing the fish around the passes, and they are most active at night around bridge or dock lights. Plenty of these fish are moving around feeding during the day when the water is moving. Lately, the incoming tide at night has been producing really well around the passes.  

During the day, look for these guys stacked up in areas they can make easy meals or foraging for food at high tide around the mangroves or docks. Live shrimp, pinfish or greenbacks are all great options for them live bait wise.  

For artificials, many are utilizing that popular soft plastic paddle tail or the swim baits. However, at night, around the passes, the bucktails like the flairhawks are super prominent among anglers.  

Redfish are also very active right now as well along with the snook. We are seeing them in the bay mostly around the mangroves and oyster bars and some on the flats. However, dock lines are still holding them too. In the passes, we have seen very active redfish especially when that water is moving. They are devouring live shrimp or cut bait on the bottom.  

Some larger redfish even being caught on live pinfish. Look for action stirring up the bottom and you will see plenty of redfish eating well. Often, when our boats pull in and out and kick up the plentiful sand, the anglers on the docks will all hook up with these redfish. Plus, we see the same thing in the flats around those big schools of mullet. The mullet will kick up the mud and disturb the flats as the big schools actively forage which causes the redfish action to really pick up and they will often follow these schools of mullet for this reason.  

We have seen the mangrove snapper get more and more active, prolific and concentrated around the area over the past few weeks as waters warm. In the pass right now, we were in the upper 70s this week around 78 degrees. This warming trend has the mangroves excited as the larger fish are leaving the estuaries to gorge themselves for their move into the near shore waters.  

Mangroves start their larval stage offshore and move inshore with the tides. Once larger, they venture to deeper waters near shore and then offshore to spawn eventually. This is the process we see in the spring. Many of the more mature larger mangroves exiting the estuaries to migrate offshore and along the way virtually any seawall, rock pile, dock or bridge will hold large concentrations of these aggressive and good eating fish.  

Pompano action along our beaches are still going well too. They are little fewer and further between especially with the wind making them harder to target. However, those wind-protected shorelines around those sandy passes and around the bridges over sandy bottom have been producing this past week.  

Live shrimp or fresh dead shrimp is a great approach but most will utilize the pompano jigs to target these fish like the crazy jigs, eupro jigs, or the custom ones we have in our shop. Even the Nekid ball jigz are great options for the pompano and really what they started out being designed for too!

Trout action has been steady if you can find a little wind-protected area to target. We have seen plenty of trout around the dock lights and bridge lights at night around the moving waters where bait congregates. We have seem them hanging around the potholes, cuts and edges of the flats. Plus, during the day, dock lines will hold them too. Live bait wise shrimp or greenbacks are a great option. For artificials, I like the DOA shrimp but the soft plastics are great options of any variety really.

Flounder action has slowed a bit inshore as many are moving near shore to spawn. However, we are still seeing them around the bridges, docks, and edges of the flats. They love sandy bottom areas adjacent to structures or flats that will hold bait. Some have been caught along the beaches by those targeting the snook.  

Black drum are still around the docks, bridges and moving up the beaches. It’s a great time to get out there and soak some crustaceans on the bottom for a chance at one of these fun to fight fish. Plus, the smaller drum are great eating.  

Triple tail are around the dock lines, bridges and floating debris too. We have seen many around the markers and bridges of Tampa Bay. Plus, whenever cruising between areas, if you spot anything floating there’s a great shot you may spot a triple tail underneath it. Plus, some dock lights near the passes will hold triple tail at night.  

Near shore and offshore

This past week has been a rough one to say the least with the steady east winds from this stagnant high pressure making it really tough to even get near shore -- let alone offshore.  

We have ran some very close-to-shore trips in 40 feet of water or less but haven’t really made it offshore or near shore of any depth recently.  

However, we don’t expect much to change in the coming weeks -- just more of the same excitement with the pelagic action heating up. Bottom action is staying steady with red grouper, mangroves, lanes and vermillions. Plus, red snapper is about to open up June 1 for the fed-for-hire guys and June 4 for the private rec anglers. Gag grouper opens up June 1 too for everyone.

Amberjack and triggerfish will both be closing June 1 but we will have new species to target anyways.  

The amberjack bite overall is pretty tough right now just because we don’t have a lot of those fish in the area. We have been lucky a few times on some long-range trips to get a big knot of them but overall it has been tricky to find the keeper sized fish.

When we do, we are seeing the biggest ones coming up on the largest live baits and the big tackle with conventional reels. Those fishing spinning reels on a party boat for these big jacks will often just cause tangles and a huge mess. On smaller boats with less people on board often you can chum them up to the surface where lighter tackle and spinning reels are a viable option.  

We have seen the mahi mahi return to the deepest near shore waters and into the offshore waters. Now that the water temperatures are right, we are seeing not only the kingfish and a few mackerel still but also the blackfin tuna bite has been great and the mahi mahi are showing up finally too.  

It’s a great time of year to have the flat line out and a pitch rod ready. You may even see a cobia or wahoo out there too. Wahoo are predominately beyond 100 feet of water but the second largest we have caught recently was 88 pounds and it was in waters just under 100 feet.  

Most of the time, the big ones, like the 96-pound wahoo we caught, are in waters around 180 feet plus but in the summer for big gags and red snapper we often fish around that area.  

Keep in mind as well, we are seeing nice mangrove snapper action too. They are biting best beyond 70-80 feet of water in the deepest near shore territory but beyond in the offshore waters the mangrove bite has been picky but if you grind on them you can put together a great catch of some nice large quality fish.  

Hogfish action near shore has been tough but we saw it pick up quite a bit on our last few trips prior to this high. We are hoping once this wind finally backs down they will be chewing for us like they were into the end of last week and into the week around 40-70 feet. We are seeing the best action on the hogfish using light tackle and live shrimp.  


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