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 Nov. 6, 2020.
Mackerel are thick right now around our local passes, fishing piers, and jetties. However, we are seeing them up in the bay too, chasing schools of bait adjacent to structures or grass flats.
They like to hang in a little deeper waters and push the bait up to the surface. They are easy to find because often their efforts to school up the bait will also attract seabirds to feed on the baits at the surface. Look for bird action and lots of surface disturbances and you will find them quickly.
Flashy fast-moving lures are a great option for the mackerel. However, you can free line live greenbacks for them too with around a 1ot long shank J hook is a great set up for the mackerel.
Redfish action continues to be impressive throughout the area. We are seeing them from the passes and beaches to the Upper Tampa Bay areas. Look for them on the flats, around the oyster bars or mangrove shorelines in shallower waters.
However, we are seeing some around the docks, bridges, and passes along the structure or drop offs too. These guys love cut dead bait on the bottom, but slow-moving soft plastics and even twitch baits are working well for the redfish action.
Sheepshead are starting to really fire up. We are seeing more and more of these guys showing up with each cold front. They love docks, bridges, piers, and jetties and they mainly will eat crustaceans, clams, oysters, barnacles, and others.
Small piece of shrimp or cut oysters are my favorite options for them with minimal weight and a small hook. You can use a similar approach for sheepshead as you would use scaled up a bit further near shore for hogfish.
Snook fishing is going well in the area. We're still catching a few around the passes especially on the incoming tide before sunrise. We are seeing lots of these guys moving back onto the flats and slowly moving back into the bay a bit more and more as the local waters cool down.
Snook love those soft plastic paddletails, jerk baits, or artificial shrimp when your using lures. Live baits like whitebait, live shrimp or pinfish are great options too.
Trout action is picking up as the water cools. We are seeing more and more of these guys around the local dock lights at night and some with some decent size. The flats are producing trout well too especially around the potholes, cuts or edges. If you fish too close to the deeper water though often you may run into mackerel around this time of year.
Flounder bite is picking up slowly as the cooler weather settles into the area. They love those potholes or sandy patches along the grass flats or those sand drop offs adjacent to structures like bridges, docks or seawalls. We're seeing some big ones caught around the passes too.
Live shrimp on the bottom or slow moving soft plastic paddletails or artificial shrimp on the bottom are all great options for these flounder.
Near shore & Offshore
The hogfish bite is really heating up as the local waters cool. We are seeing a big surge of these tasty fish around our local nearshore waters. They love when the water cools a bit as they get more aggressive and easier to catch hook and line.
Using around 30lb floro leader with around a 3-4ot hook and about ¾-1oz egg sinker rigged up like a knocker rig with a fresh dead or live shrimp is the best way to target these guys. However, lots of people use the ball jigs with great success or even plain old jig heads tipped with shrimp.
Look for the hogfish on that bottom adjacent to smaller ledges or that flat hard bottom with shell patches and fish the edges out by the seafan structures. They are the least aggressive fish around the bigger pieces of bottom and often the last to bite so you have to soak out a spot awhile to get them chewing.
Gag grouper fishing is really starting to pick up around the mouth of Tampa Bay and into our near shore waters. We are seeing some moving around out deep too.
This time of year, the cold fronts push waves of the female gag grouper in shallower and shallower to gorge on plentiful bait numbers and get nice and healthy for their early spring migrations to their spawning aggregations out in the deep waters along the shelf area of the gulf. This is an opportune time to get out there and pick some off as they move closer to shore before the season ends at the end of December.
These gag grouper like big live baits and are super aggressive even in shallower waters. Typically around 50-60lb floro, and some good luck with around 6-7ot hooks and a nice frisky live bait is a good way to target these gag grouper. Some are even catching them around local bridges at night using flairhawk style lures like they do for snook.
Red grouper action is going really well right now for us from around 80-120 feet of water out a little deeper. These guys will take a big live bait but often we use big pieces of dead cut bait or whole threadfins with the tails cut off.
Always remember to trim off the tail of your dead bait so it doesn’t spin on the way to bottom. Spinning dead baits on the descent will cause tangles and stop any grouper that may have taken your bait. Presenting that bait naturally as possible and still as possible is key to getting a grouper to take your bait.
Mangrove snapper action is going really well for us around 110-160 feet of water but we are seeing decent numbers in rather large sizes as shallow as 60 feet. These guys love cut chunks of dead bait but will take a small live pinfish if they are bigger snapper. Typically we use around 30-40lb near shore and up to around 40-60lb leaders offshore out deeper to target mangrove snapper as they are very smart and leadershy fish.
There are tons of mackerel along our beaches right now all the way out to around 60-80 feet of water. We are seeing plentiful kingfish mixed in with the mackerel and the kingfish extend all the way offshore too! Tons of bait around make it easy to spot these fish near shore and offshore they typically are closer to the bottom hunting the bait that hang on the structures.
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