Madeira Beach, Florida
Inshore- This past week we have seen something unique that I have never heard of or seen before. We had a young angler named Daniel Peterson, from Wisconsin, fishing with cut clam pieces for sheepshead on our dock catching large black mullet one after another for a solid thirty minutes or so. Normally you cannot catch mullet on hook and line unless you fool them with a small gold pinfish sized hook and a ball of bread so seeing him catch mullet on a 2ot hook with clams for bait was wild! We have also seen lots of the sheepshead being caught as well, before the mullet started feeding he was catching some nice sheeps with the occasional spadefish mixed in on the cut clams for bait. The nice weather mid-week helped the waters in Johns Pass to clear up a bit and the white bait was super thick inside and at the mouth of the pass making the mackerel, ladyfish and jack crevalle really excited and they fed well while the water was moving. Especially when anglers were using the live greenbacks from Hubbard’s Marina free lined into the tide or under a bobber off the jetties or beach behind our office. Live shrimp was working well too, but they are all feeding on the white bait so the green backs definitely seemed to produce a more active bite for the Johns Pass anglers. If you don’t have live bait available a casting spoon or gotcha plug is a great artificial choice for these species to bend the rod and have some fun soaking a line. Pompano have slacked off a bit with the more murky waters due to the recent storms and with this big cold front coming through today it will most likely be until mid-week this coming week till we see those fish start biting well again on the jigs bounced along the bottom, or the live fiddler crabs or shrimp weighted to bottom. Flounder are picking up however, seeing lots of nice flounder caught on live shrimp or slow moving DOA artificial shrimp along the sandy drop offs that run parallel with the Johns Pass Jetties. While the water is muddy this weekend and early this coming week the targeted species should be the sheepshead or black drum. For black drum, I like a big live shrimp on the bottom or even a crab for bait. Then the sheepshead have been loving the fiddler crabs, cut clams, or the pieces of shrimp right next to the structure of Johns Pass.
Near shore- Hogfish bite has been pretty good this week, we are still seeing them around 30-70 foot of water but lately around 40-50ft has been the best depths. We caught the most this past week on a HUB private fishing charter with some more advanced anglers who came out just to target hogfish and they did very well using a bunch of shrimp, 20-30lb fluorocarbon leader, and 4ot hooks with a 3/4oz knocker rig set up on their spinning rods with 20lb braid and a 4000-5000 series spinning reel. They also caught lots of the lane snapper, a few nice mangrove snapper and then tons of the grey snapper, porgies and a few sea bass too. The 5 hour half day trips have been doing well on the fish action as long as the weather has been nice catching mostly grey snapper and porgies with a few seabass on the bottom and the occasional hogfish. Plus, for all our near shore trips the kingfish and occasional mackerel on the trolling rods and flat lines have really added some great action and added bonuses to our trips. The kings have loved the rapala xrap trolling plus size 30 espeically the red head with the white bodies lately and the green 6” trolling spoons behind a #1 or #2 planner. While flat line fishing we are catching a few on the frozen threadfins but mostly they are love the live blue runners or live sardines we are catching with a sabiki rig. You can really dial in on the kingfish by finding some of the bait schools staying near shore and working them with the trolling lures or anchoring up on a near shore wreck chumming up the bait and fish to the boat with flat lines or live baits out the back of the boat into the current or wind.
Offshore – The scamp grouper and red grouper bite was insane mid-week this past week ahead of the big cold front that came through today. They were really excited as that big front approached and the start of the full moon probably helped to make them more aggressive as well. We limited out on red grouper on the HUB twelve hour private charter this past Wednesday with a few tuna, scamp and some nice mangrove snapper mixed in. The Wednesday twelve hour extreme caught tons of red grouper, a few nice scamp, some big mangroves, yellow eye snapper and of course lots of red snapper we had to catch and release. The 39 hour this past weekend and the 39 hour this past Tuesday both did well on nice mangrove snapper, yellowtail snapper, porgies, big vermillion, some nice scamp and red grouper too. Plus, we had kingfish and a few tuna come up during the trips on trollers, flat lines and vertical jigs too. The Tuesday 39 hour had a kingfish that was probably close to 60lbs bite a knocker rig set up with a small chunk of threadfin and Will McClure our first mate who had him hooked was only using 40lb test and a 5ot circle hook and was able to get this beast of a king to the surface only to break off while trying to get a gaff hook into him to get the fish into the boat. It was an epic battle and a monster kingfish. Most of the pelagic action is around 150ft or deeper lately but anywhere offshore right now the kingfish are pretty prolific and ready to fire off. Red grouper and scamp seem to be biting best around 170-200 foot of water and mangroves anywhere deeper than 130ft of water this past week. All our trips are fishing a little deeper right now to take advantage of the great grouper bite and huge vermillion snapper we have been catching plenty as of late!
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