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John's Pass Fishing Report: The Summer Bite Is Underway

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On: Tue, Jun 23, 2015 at 10:05AM | By: Captain Mark Hubbard

Tim Fischer, from Indiana, showing off a monster American Red Snapper

Inshore- Christian Lett, from Tennessee, reported catching whiting on live shrimp on the outgoing tide while fishing under the John's Pass Bridge with his father, Michael Lett. Michael reported catching a cobia under the bridge while fishing the outgoing tide. The cobia hit a large live free-lined shrimp and was just over keeper size. Jericho Cooey, from Dade City, caught a large sheepshead under the bridge while free-lining a chunk of shrimp on a circle hook at slack tide. The white bait is pushing closer to shore as we see large schools of them pushing through the pass on the incoming tide. They are about one and half inches to two inches long right now and will get bigger as the summer progresses. The snook and tarpon action at night is still hot, and the dolphins are still following them, taking down the stragglers.

Near Shore- The red grouper bite is hot in our near shore waters. We are finding the red grouper closer and closer to shore. They love strips of squid cut to imitate octopus tentacles. The cobia have been coming in fairly regularly, so make sure to keep a pitch rod ready to go when bottom fishing. They cruise by looking like a shark and they will inhale live bait free-lined to them with 40-60lb fluorocarbon leader and 5oz circle hook. Once you see it, you have only a few minutes to present a bait before it will cruise on by, never to return. You can also find them under floating debris or following large whale sharks that are fairly common this time of year.

Offshore- The red snapper season will not end till July 14th on our federally permitted vessels. Gags opened June first. The red snapper bite has been consistent in the 35-60 mile range in 130-200 foot of water. The main problem for us has been the currents around the recent full moon so were excited to get back out this weekend when we know the currents won’t be quite as strong. The shallower, closer to shore red snapper have been picked through quite a bit so the shorts are more common, but offshore, in the deeper waters, we're still landing beautiful red snapper and have plenty of time left to go get them! Kingfish are still around, tuna are thinning out, however, and were looking forward to a few cubera as their spawn ends and they start heading back north through the grounds.

Captain Jack’s Dolphin Corner
We are spotting monster loggerhead sea turtles around Egmont Key from our ferry boat. Their heads are so large they resemble buoy balls for crab traps until you see their large black eyes and brightly colored green backs. However, when we get close for photos they quickly dive to the bottom since they have learned that boats normally carry fisherman and until the late 80s it was legal to harvest these turtles.

Egmont Key does have some sea turtles nesting on the island, with 15 active nests. Due to this, be careful where you’re walking and always pay attention to signs and caution tape on the beaches.

We have a new baby manatee inside Boca Ceiga Bay! This cute little guy can be spotted with either mom or dad learning how to breathe at the surface and graze on the grass beds. We have spotted its cute little head on a few different cruises.

The two new baby dolphins to Boca Ceiga Bay have been doing well and are fitting in their social groups nicely. They are learning how to hunt and socialize now and can be spotted traveling with groups of larger dolphins.

Baby birds are getting large in their nests at Dog Leg Key, but there are still a few around to be spotted before they all leave the rookery at the island.

We have been seeing reddish egrets dancing on the flats at low tide. These birds are on the endangered list so it’s great to see them in the area again.

Large male manatees are grouping into large groups inside Boca Ceiga Bay, and were seeing them in groups of five or more!

Dolphins are actively hunting around our area and are being spotted playing catch with their prey, in order to teach their young hunting and stalking techniques while improving their use of sonar.

Large schools of tarpon are rolling around Egmont Key making a great sight while riding the ferry to the island. It’s also a great time watching the anglers land these monster fish. We offer private charter fishing trips for these guys too, if you’d rather be the one fighting instead of on the beach watching.

Photo Gallery (click a thumbnail to enlarge)


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