Fishing Report: October 23, 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 October 23, 2020.


We are coming up on a full moon at the end of the upcoming week! This means we should have a great week of fishing opportunities especially at the end of the upcoming week before the approaching front and as the full moon reaches its apex. Full or new moons create bigger and stronger tidal flows which moves bait around more and creates more opportunities for the big predatory fish to feed more actively. 

Snook fishing around the passes has been incredible for the time of the year. We have seen an astonishing number of fish resurge back into the pass like they typically do in the summertime. This is an oddity for the time of year, but we have had a very mild start to our ‘fall’ season. The snook fishing around the bay has also continued to stay steady around the flats, mangrove shorelines and dock lines. 

Redfish action is awesome right now around the area which is fairly typical for the time of year. We are seeing them along the beaches and passes to the upper Bay Area. Plus, there’s the occasional large school of fish actively feeding together around the flats and moving out of the bays through the passes and along our beaches before they push offshore to spawn. Great time of year to get out there and target these great fighting and fun to catch and release redfish. 

Mackerel action is awesome around the local fishing piers and passes and even around some flats especially in the deeper waters adjacent to flats. These guys are very fun to target and catch and since the snook, redfish and trout are not able to be kept right now in the area they make an easy addition to your fishing excursion to find some fish to throw in your cooler. Fast moving flashy lures are best, but you can get them on live white bait too. Using a long shank J hook is a great idea to target the mackerel with around 20lb floro leader. 

Sheepshead are starting to get more and more prolific and congregated around our local bridges, seawalls, and docks. These guys will only get more and more concentrated and aggressive as the water continues to cool off. These guys are one of the few species that will feed better right behind the fronts when the waters get stirred up and muddy. Small pieces of cut shrimp or fiddler crabs or even barnacles are all great options to target the sheepshead with a small 1ot hook and light 15lb leader. 

Mangrove snapper action is starting to slow down inshore right now as the water cools they will be more and more replaced with the sheepshead around the structures they have been congregating on all summer. The small mangrove snapper retreat to the shallow mangrove shorelines for the cooler months and the bigger ones 8-10 inches or more will start to move near shore to get away from their juvenile home inshore. 

Black drum action is also pretty steady right now around our local docks and bridges. They love big live shrimp or even crabs for bait. You can sometimes get them on artificials like soft plastic imitation shrimp or soft plastic paddle tails but most of the time if you are fishing for them it's with live shrimp or crabs for bait. 

Snook caught inshore (Captain Dylan Hubbard)

Near Shore and Offshore

The kingfish are finally showing up now! We are excited to report some decent sized kings are starting to show up in our area. We have caught a few trolling and one on the flat lines too. They will only get more and more prolific as the water temperature gets right. For the kingfish flat line, a stinger rig is key. There’s a video on how to tide a stinger rig on our fishing tips and tricks page under the rigging section on the Hubbard's Marina website.

The flat lines are a great option while anchor fishing or drift fishing on the bottom for grouper, snapper or hogfish. This time of year having one of them out on a big spinner with plenty of 20-30lb braid or a 4ot conventional with plenty of braid is a good options to make sure you don’t miss an opportunity on a passing kingfish while targeting bottom species. If you drift fish, you really don’t need anything you can just let out plenty of line to get the bait away from the boat. If you anchor fish, sometimes a balloon is needed to keep that bait out and away from the boat so it does not interfere with your bottom fishing depending on the wind and currents. 

Mackerel are thick right now along the beaches out to around 70-80ft of water. Nearly every big structure holding bait has plenty of actively feeding mackerel chasing baits around and feeding actively. These guys are easily targeted while trolling around 4-6inch spoons behind #1 or #2 planners. 

We are seeing a resurgence of the hogfish lately as the water continues to cool near shore we are witnessing the hogfish bite pick up more and more. These fish will only bite better and better as time progresses from around 30ft up to around 80ft of water. These guys love lighter tackle around 20-30lb test and about 3-4ot hooks. We use either a knocker rig style method with around 1/2oz to 1oz lea and those hook sizes or a nekid ball jig around 1-2oz or that just plain jig head around ½-1oz with a larger hook. All of those tipped with a live shrimp or fresh dead shrimp is best. If your shrimp starts to turn pink its no good, they got to be alive or just fresh dead. You can even keep them on ice if they are alive when you get em without water to stop them from turning pink so quickly if you don’t have a functioning live well. 

Gag grouper bite is picking up around the mouth of Tampa Bay along the shipping channel between Egmont Key and the skyway and artificial reefs and rock piles in between. We are also seeing these grouper start to fill in our near shore waters out deeper around 50-100ft but the best bite of big fish continues to be well offshore beyond 100ft of water. However, these gals are on the move near shore and inshore for sure in larger numbers as waters continue to cool and they want to engorge themselves for their long migrations to their own spawning areas. Females will move inshore this time of year in large numbers to eat well before moving out to deepwater spawning sites in the early to late spring time. These gags are open for harvest June 1 until the end of the year on Dec. 31 so get them while you can in the shallow near shore and shallower offshore waters from the bay up to around 140ft before they move deep for the late spring and summer. 

Mangrove snapper action is going well from around 60-80ft up to around 120-160ft right now. They love those live shrimp and double snelled threadfin or sardine chunks. We are seeing lots of lane snapper around the 60-120ft range and plenty of vermillion around the 100-160ft range. Great time to get out and find some hungry snapper as they move around this time of year. 

We are seeing big and plentiful kingfish right now offshore with the occasional blackfin tuna. Still some wahoo around too. Great time to get offshore and troll around some fast moving plugs and never forget your flatline while out bottom fishing. 

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