Hogfish Continue Dominance of Nearshore Fishing

tampa hogfishing
02/21/2020

The hogfish bite once again dominates Tampa nearshore fishing reports because that in my opinion is the best eating near shore fish you can catch, and they are biting very well around 40-80ft of water. Great time to go get them around Sunday or Monday on the backside of this weekend’s blow before the next mid-week barrage of fronts to come. These guys love scavenging the bottom adjacent to the smaller ledges, rockpiles or flat hard bottom with lots of relief like the sea fans. They love cruising for crustaceans like small crabs, shrimp or whatever else they may find. That’s why live shrimp or fiddler crabs are both great options to use for bait when targeting hogfish near shore. Always want to utilize the lighter than normal tackle when going after the hogfish near shore. Around 30lb floro carbon with 3-4ot hooks and around half ounce to one ounce lead is great starting point for the hogfish on a light but strong spinning rod with around a 4000-5000 series reel. This is the preferred set up when targeting these great eating but unique looking hogfish near shore.

Lane snapper have also been cooperating well near shore around 60-100ft of water you can find these great eating fish pretty consistently and they have been a pretty large average size. These guys will take a small piece of squid or live shrimp and we often catch quite a few when targeting hogfish in deeper waters.

Mangrove snapper action has been pretty good this past week around the same range as the lane snapper. These guys will typically take a live shrimp, cut threadfin chunks or the smaller live pinfish. Great time to go get some mangrove snapper, lane snapper and hogfish around 60-80ft of water when the weather allows.

We are seeing plenty of mackerel this past week from right off the beach to around 10-12 miles from shore. There’s rumors of a few kingfish showing up, but its awfully early to be seeing those guys. I am hoping the incoming cooler temps from the multiple fronts that are coming in won’t set us back on this early mackerel run.

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