Inshore- The redfish, flounder and sheepshead bite is heating up as the winter weather sets in. The flounder and sheepshead bite should only improve as the weather cools. Redfish get a bit sluggish when it gets really cool but the way to combat that non aggressive feeding is to use smelly cut bait to attract in the redfish to your bait. We love using cut mullet or ladyfish near oyster beds for the winter time redfish. Also, throwing handfuls of dead whitebait over the bar before you cast out your cut bait will help to get them excited and ready to chew. The flounder are hanging on the sandy areas ambushing live shrimp or greenbacks that venture to close to the flounder laying on the bottom. Sheepshead are around the docks, bridges and seawalls eating barnacles, fiddlers and oysters. Don’s Dock inside Johns Pass reports that guests are catching snook, sheepshead, and redfish from their dock using live shrimp. They also reported that the trout bite is going very well at night around the dock lights. Elmer Turner, from Indiana, was fishing the north jetty of Johns Pass using live greenbacks for bait and on the strong outgoing tide catching mackerel and flounder. Carey McBride, from Treasure Island, was fishing the east side of Johns Pass Bridge catching mackerel, mangroves and blue fish using live greenbacks. Kris Stein from Seminole is catching big kingfish from the Reddignton pier on live blue runners and ladyfish.
Jeb Grant our half day 1st mate showing off a big half day kingfish caught at Hubbard's Marina. hubbardsmarina.com
Near shore- Well we thought the kingfish run was subsiding and coming to a close but it turns out they are still hanging around and seem to even be more plentiful that they were at the beginning of November. This falls unique weather patterns has the kingfish more confused than the local anglers, don’t think they know it’s December already. Kris Stein a Seminole local is even catching 30-40lb kingfish from the Reddington beach long pier! Our half day caught as many a 3 on a recent 5 hour trip closer than 10 miles from shore. The hogfish bite on live shrimp is still going well near shore and should continue to be great through the cooler weather. This time of year the hogfish group up in our near shore waters to spawn making it easier for us to target them while hook and line fishing. The sea bass bite has really heated up lately since our near shore waters are cooling. We get them all year around but this time of year when the water cools they get more aggressive and plentiful in the near shore waters. Red fish are being spotted in monster schools in our near shore waters as they head to the near shore reefs and wrecks to spawn. We are even picking up some of these monster bull red fish during our half day trips as they head back to the inshore waters.
Offshore- We haven’t been offshore in too long between the nasty weather and the lower interest this time of year in high dollar trips. We have had to cancel two 39 hours due to weather, hope January brings us some mild weather so we can get offshore to get some of these Amberjack and red grouper as they open up. We now have the Flying HUB fleet too that can hit the middle grounds, elbow and surrounding areas in 10,12 or 24 hour charter allowing us to get offshore more consistently and often!
Written by: Captain Mark and Dylan Hubbard
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