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Johns Pass Fishing Report: Let The New Year Find you Fishing

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On: Wed, Dec 24, 2014 at 9:01AM | By: Captain Mark Hubbard

Inshore- The Sheepshead are really starting to become plentiful around Johns Pass. Dylan Hubbard and his friends were fishing Johns Pass Bridge around the pilings catching big Sheeps on small pieces of shrimp with 1oz hooks and split shots. At slack tide the Mangrove Snapper became dominant at the bridge, snapping up our shrimp before it had a chance to sink to the Sheepshead further down the pilings. The Redfish were a little thinner this past week inside Johns Pass, but the Trout have made a comeback into the area, reports Captain John Skinner who fishes the flats inside the pass regularly from his Hobie kayak and paddleboards.

Don’s Dock reports that Snook are still biting well at night, but have also thinned out due to the cooler weather. The full moon will also cause the fish and bait to spread out since they don’t have to group up around the dock lights. However, a new moon when it’s chilly will load up local dock lights not only for warmth but also for the bait attracting lights as well! Just keep in mind when it’s cool to work your artificial slower because the fish will be more sluggish and typically deeper in the water column.

Near shore- The Grey Snapper and Grouper have pushed in close recently. On our half-day trips if we go past ten miles or so we notice we will pass the Grey Snapper and run into more Scamp and Porgies. The Red Grouper and Gags have become a nuisance in most cases since they are hard to avoid due to their high numbers close to shore and even inshore in some cases! Hogfish luckily have not closed this year in federal waters and we are picking up quite a few daily as the water cools. They are loving the live shrimp, and if you use a smaller hook with fluorocarbon it’s even easier to get them chewing.

Offshore- Our 39-hour this past weekend tore up the big snapper! The large Mangrove Snapper was nearly 9lbs again and second and third place wasn’t too much behind. We also had some monster Porgies and plentiful Kingfish. The Kings were hitting the trolling tackle mostly, but we did get a large one while flat-lining as well. The beeliners were hot this trip and we brought in nearly 300 of them! Check out our Facebook page for photos and videos from this recent successful fishing trip with Hubbard’s Marina!

Captain Jack’s Dolphin Corner
The cooler weather has brought the gopher tortoise of Egmont Key out of their burrows for some relaxing time in the sun. This time of year it’s easy to spot this unique tortoise since they are typically slow-moving and sprawled out in the sunny areas inland at Egmont Key. Come join our daily ferry boat from Fort De Soto’s bay pier and we will take you out to spot these unique creatures. Also, we have two bald eagles out at Egmont Key for the first time in decades; we are still waiting for them to nest.

The dolphins are still feasting on the local mullet which means they are in large groups traveling close together through the back bays where the mullet gather like around structure and fresh water springs and bayous! The dolphins will also follow the mullet out into the Gulf of Mexico; we sometimes spot large herds heading out past the bridge to try to ball up the mullet on the sandbars before they can escape the pass into the safer deeper water.

The local sea birds are getting ready to roost and the mating plumage is on its way. The next few months will be a perfect time to try a dolphin-watching nature cruise and eco-tour since you will be able to watch these birds in their courtship practices and you will get to see the ornate displays our wildlife dons to attract their mates! Plus, our sunset cruise this time of year offers a unique perspective of Dog Leg Key just before dusk when the seabirds return from their day of hunting. This is a great opportunity to watch their social interaction and their great colorful displays!

Remember, “If you’re too busy to go fishing, you’re just too busy!”

Photo Gallery (click a thumbnail to enlarge)


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