Inshore- The snook bite in the early mornings has been hot lately reports Jeb Grant aka ‘Smokey’ who is our first mate aboard our 5 hour half days. He’s been showing up early to work to soak a hand line for snook under the dock. We use 60lb monofilament and a 7ot circle hook with a live pinfish and let them swim freely under the dock and around the pilings and the snook have been gulping them up within minutes when feeding. The hand line gives you more control and less stretch since the bend of the rod allows the snook lots of room to break you off the hand line doesn’t and also allows us to quickly return the fish without letting him injure himself on the pilings or get over tired. However, we don’t recommend this to first timers it can be dangerous if not properly executed you could end up with torn of fingers or severely cut palms. The tarpon are still being spotted at night all the way till morning. Trout are active around the dock lights and on the deeper water grass flats. The small white bait is plentiful inside the bays and in the passes. It should be getting bigger and better soon and these are what most inshore species are hitting on most often. The mangroves under Johns Pass Bridge are very excited about these bait balls moving through and have been feeding voraciously.
Near shore- The snapper near shore have been biting well when the weather cooperates. Lately the tight gradient of high pressure around our area has been making morning and afternoon weather unpredictable and a bit explosive. These storms play havoc with the barometer and have been making the bite near shore tough and the rides uncomfortable. We are looking forward to a break in this past after this weekend is over. The grouper have been decent on the flat hard bottom when we can get out there to them and today’s ten hour should do well in the deeper near shore waters where the storms don’t have quite the same effect as they do in the shallower waters. Sharks are plentiful this time of year and are being seen and caught in the back bays, on the beaches, in the passes and often near shore. On a recent shark trip we were catching tons of decent sharks but even the four and five foot sharks are being swallowed whole by monster goliath grouper!
Offshore- Gag grouper are biting well in the deep offshore waters but seems to be few and far between and it doesn’t help to have guests using light tackle loosing monster gags. As soon as the first grouper gets into the rocks he starts his grunting and the bite is OVER for the entire boat. Every additional grouper that gets into the rocks exponentially increases the chances for the bite to shut down entirely. This is what makes grouper fishing from a party boat so frustrating for guests but especially for the captains since we know the fish are there and were even hooking them but guests are losing them to the bottom. Snapper are also biting well too and they are reaching the peak of their spawning season. The vermillion snapper are the biggest they can be this time of year. The warmer waters have brought more numbers of yellowtail snapper to our area and were getting some big ones. We even caught a yellow eye snapper on a recent 39 hour trip at Hubbard’s Marina.
Written by: Capt. Mark and Dylan Hubbard
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