Fishing Report: May 22, 2020

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 22, 2020.


Snook are everywhere right now, from the flats to the passes and out on the beaches. It is a great time to find the snook feeding actively throughout the entire area. 

However, at night, around the passes, still seems best from around midnight to first light that they are super active. When the tide is pushing bait out of the passes, they will stack up on the down tide side of dock pilings and bridge pilings to ambush passing baits or lures. 

Also, dock light fishing the residential canals is producing lots of snook throughout the entire nighttime period. During the day, the beaches or the back bay flats and mangrove shorelines are the best places to look for active and aggressive snook. 

Redfish str biting well, especially on higher tides in the back bays around the mangroves, oyster bars and flats. We are finding them around the passes and structures on the incoming tides. Big schools of red fish are all over Tampa Bay -- especially easy to find on the flats, around the oyster bars or mangrove shorelines. 

Most of the schools are made up slot size or below fish but there’s a few big bulls mixed in the groups. Cut thread fins are a premium bait on the bottom around these redfish on the flats, oyster bars or mangrove shorelines but they will take a small to medium pinfish or white bait too. The soft plastic lures are a great option too for sight fishing these big groups of reds. 

Trout are very active around the deeper holes adjacent to the flats, passes, or dock lines. During the day, you can find plenty on the edges of the channels and grass flats. They are biting well at night in and around the passes on the bridge and dock lights too. We find them best using live green backs or live shrimp or with the soft plastic artificials or the artificial shrimp. 

Mangrove snapper have really become active throughout the area again as the warmer waters have moved in. They really get active starting mid-spring and last throughout the summer around the structures of the bay including docks, jetties, bridges and rock piles. These fish are swarming around docks and bridges near passes in deeper waters where bait is present. The trick with these guys is targeting them right at the start or end of the incoming or outgoing tide with a small piece of cut shrimp or greenbacks. 

Flounder are biting on the edges of the sand holes on the flats and a few are biting  around the structures around local passes. It's been a little tougher this week with flounder, but they are less aggressive than the snapper, trout, snook and redfish that hang up higher in the water column above the flounder. 

Mackerel are biting well around the mouth of the bay from the Gandy Bridge to the Egmont Key channel and everywhere in between. Also, we're seeing them along the beaches and at the mouths of the local passes too. 

These guys are hitting flashy, fast-moving artificials like gotcha plugs or casting spoons retrieved quickly through the top of the water column. 

Pompano are really cooperating well this past week around the jetties, passes and bridges near the mouth of Tampa Bay. These guys love sandy bottom chasing crustaceans like shrimp or sand fleas. The pompano jigs like doc’s goofy jigs, nekid ball jigs, or the small bucktails in yellow seem to be the best option for the pompano. 

Cobia are around the back bay waters closer to the passes cruising the flats, bridges, piers and passes often behind schools of fish, pods of dolphins, or fevers of rays. We have seen some fairly large cobia caught inshore this past week with one over 42 inches around For De Soto from a bridge! 

Tarpon are thick from Boca Grande to Clearwater pass right now. The passes see these fish rolling out in early mornings on that first outgoing tide and they move up and down the beaches during the day before returning into the back bays before sundown on the last incoming. Passes, bridges, beaches and choke points between the bay and gulf are the best places to find these guys ready to eat large threadfins, small ladyfish, pass crabs, blue crabs and other 4-12 inch baits. 

Triple tail are still very active around the swim buoys, markers and floating debris around the bay and along our beautiful beaches. They love live shrimp on light tackle, and they can be super spooky, so stealthy approaches are best. 

Near shore

This past week has brought us some great near shore fishing. However, anchor fishing has been a little more difficult compared to drift fishing large areas of hard rock bottom. We have also noticed more of an afternoon bite as of late too. 

Red grouper action is best around 80-100 feet of water, but we are finding them as shallow as around 60-70 feet of water. They love those long strips of squid, octopus, and live pinfish for bait. Around 60lb test and a 6-7ot hook is best near shore fishing for these red grouper. 

Snapper species like mangroves, lane snapper and vermillion snapper are all biting well from around 70-100 feet of water. Cut threadfin plugs on double snell rigs with a 30-40lb leader and 4-5ot hooks work well paired with a high gear ratio reel. 

Hogfish bite has slowed a bit out there near shore, but there’s still some nice ones coming up occasionally on our 5 and 10-hour all-days on live shrimp and light tackle. They bite best around 30-70 feet of water with around 20-30lb floro and a 3-4ot hook and minimal weight. 

Pelagic species are active right now near shore with plenty of mackerel ready to eat from the beach out to around 80 feet of water. Kingfish are active from around 30 feet up to the deepest near shore waters of around 100ft of water. 

Cobia are around from the beach up to 100 feet. We are even seeing the occasional sailfish from around 30 feet up to the deepest near shore waters. 


This past weekend we had a great 39-hour and we're pleased to announce that the "Flying HUB 2" is official and ready to rock-and-roll this weekend! 

The offshore fishing has been great around 110-180 feet of water right now. Amberjack are still open until the end of May and we have red snapper and gag grouper opening up June 1st as amberjack close for two months. 

Red snapper bite well in their 62-day season from June 1 until end-of-day on August 1. Keep in mind, this is the season for federally-permitted for-hire charter and for-hire party boats in the Gulf of Mexico. The private recreational anglers on private boats, where no money exchanges hands, have a 32-day season from the FWC starting June 11th until July 12th.

Gag grouper on the other hand, they don’t bite so well in the summertime. They bite best in the later fall and winter. They are open June 1 until the end of December and the best time to get them is from November until end of December depending on the weather. Once the cold fronts harden down and the water starts to cool off, that’s when the gag grouper fishing really heats up. 

Right now, we are seeing some great red grouper action from around 110-150 feet of water on the smaller ledges, hard, flat-rock bottom and swiss cheese. Like near shore, red grouper squid strips, octopus, bonita strips and live pinfish are all great options and that 60lb test and 7ot hook is your best friend while red grouper fishing. 

Mangrove snapper action going really well offshore from around 100-180 feet, but we are seeing more active smaller mangroves becoming more and more common. When it's cooler, we don’t have as many mangroves, but the average size is bigger. As the summer approaches, we see more mangrove snapper action, but the average size falls off since the smaller more aggressive, less leader-shy mangroves become more and more common and prolific offshore. 

We are seeing some nice yellow tail snapper out deeper 150 feet, plus on the big ledges, peaks and potholes. They bite best at night, but you can still pick a few if you're lucky during the daytime period too. 

You can catch them on the threadfin plugs and double snell rigs while mangrove snapper fishing on lighter tackle, but they really love small 2-3 inch squid strips. 

Pelagic action is going well offshore too. Kingfish are most common out there for sure but were still seeing some blackfin tuna once you get past 100 feet. There’s some cobia cruising around and the rare but possible sailfish too!