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Captain Van Hubbard’s Englewood/Placida Fishing Report for 26 April 2014.

by on Apr.27, 2014, under Siesta Key to Boca Grande

t looks like our crazy weather is over and Spring fishing is fine.
Gulf and inside waters have cleared up finally and fishing is improving. The Gulf is still a little cooler than it normally is in almost May but we could see bottom in 40 feet of water from Venice Beach to Boca Grande Pass; so prospects look bright for our fishing future. We even saw several large flying fish last week; a sure sign of clean waters. Inside has cleared up also since we have not had any rain recently..
On inside trips we are getting a few redfish, some snook, and plenty of trout. Bait minnows are almost impossible right now and this has hampered our backcountry catching. Plenty of pinfish but almost no whitebait and that’s tough on us all. Many of us have discussed this problem and God only knows what will change and when. The little bit of minnows around are not responding to chum this year? Even Captain Van’s Magic Chum has not enticed the whitebait into range of my deadly cast net. Fortunately we have options.
Outside is much better with some king and plenty of Spanish mackerel to please anglers. They pull hard, have liberal bag limits, and make great meals; that’s making my folks happy. We got several permit last week and expect to see some cobia but none so far. Sharks are missing with the big black balls of baitfish but I hear some are just south of me now. I’m excited about the big Spring fish migration that has not materialized here yet. We also have had some nice mango snapper to enhance the dinner plate. Everything seems to be coming together both in and out side and I’m ready to tangle with all of them; come help.
I do have a few days open next week Wednesday the last day of snook season also May 1 &2 if you can get away on weekdays. Also the 14 and 27 this month and several days in June prime tarpon or catch and release snook action. This has been a very busy year so far and it’s wonderful.
Tarpon are beginning to show up around Boca Grande Pass and should start moving up towards Venice on the Beaches soon.  It’s time to get out and enjoy our beautiful waters and great fishing! Let’s go fishin’ now! Captain Van Hubbard <www.captvan.com>

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March 24, 2014 Fishing Report, Capt. Van Hubbard, Placida and Englewood

by on Mar.25, 2014, under Siesta Key to Boca Grande

We are enjoying some good fishing when winds allow us to go where we want. Business is amazing so get your reservation request in ASAP if you want to fish with me. Our recent catching has been directly correlated to the wind speed and direction; good weather has allowed us good catching. We have been able to catch a mess usually on the windy days. We should be getting into April weather soon and I’m expecting the bite to light up very soon when ever it calms down and warms up slightly.
My family trips are so much fun and Spring Break is into full swing. It is great to share time with the children, parents and even grandparents. The smiles, memories created, and family time are truly priceless. The manatees and dolphin keep us occupied when fish tease us.
The mackerel have come up to us in the Gulf but winds only allow us the get to them some days. We have enjoyed several tasty lunches of grilled mackerel for lunch after our trips recently at the Stump Pass Grille. A few larger ones add to our bay trips. Trout are active and tasty dinners for the fish hungry folks.
The larger kingfish should be here whenever this wind backs down to let us get to them. Several captains have caught a few in the deeper Gulf. Water temps are right for mackerel and almost warm enough for snook to get more active. Minnows are not available yet but any day this could change. I keep my castnet handy and got my Captain Van’s Magic Chum in a month ago.
Everything is shaping up for the best year in a long time what a blessing for all of us. Thank you, Captain van Hubbard www.captvan.com.

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Englewood/Placida/Boca Grande Fishing Report, Capt. Van Hubbard, 2/23/14

by on Feb.23, 2014, under Siesta Key to Boca Grande

Fishing is fun and fine for the Venice to Boca Grande area.

Our weather was been good to great last week; we’ve enjoyed great fishing and good catching. Catching will improve with waters continuing to warm up as Spring approaches. Business is great and if you want to fish with me please don’t wait too long to secure your date. We do have other good guides around and I’ll gladly help you line one up if I can; but I’m your best bet for fun family trips! With forty years of local guiding I can usually help you catch more fish too. Many of my recent trips are families; the kids make these trips special with their enthusiasm and joy! Wonderful lifetime memories are created and cherished forever. My anglers range from experts to beginners on trips and it all works out just fine. It’s wonderful to share Lemon Bay and our other area waters with you.
We have enjoyed steady action with a mixed bag of mackerel, trout, pompano, plus fun species like ladyfish and jacks for additional action. As the near shore Gulf of Mexico warms just a little more everything will pick up. I’m not finding whitebait minnows yet but expect to any time. I stopped by Baitmasters last week while in St Petersburg for a fishery dialog meeting and stocked up on Captain Van Hubbard’s Magic Chum expecting to need it soon. Yes, I have my secret baitfish chum available in local bait shops! Yes, it works if minnows are around.
Snook season opens next weekend on the First of March. Venice and Englewood waters are almost warm enough to see action pick up with this warm water gamefish. Our waters are almost seventy degrees inside already and snook like seventy-five degrees. Minnows will help stimulate the bite when we are able to cast net some. The season is only open for two months so don’t procrastinate! You really want to select the all day trip here to enhance our odds of success. Two anglers is best here but three works ok and four is crowded. It all depends on how important your fishing is.
Shrimp are available and help us catch a few tasty pompano and sheepshead also. There desirable fish don’t eat many minnows. Sheepshead will be over soon but pompano should improve sporadically. The secret to pompano catching is there is no secret, and you don’t catch them if you don’t fish for them. The trout and reds love shrimp also. All of our catching will get even better when we start catching minnows for bait. Our bait choices vary with species targeted and what’s available to catch or purchase.
Spanish Mackerel are available and should be more abundant every week for the next couple of months. The much larger king mackerel are due soon. Both are good eating fresh and you can keep enough to share with family and friends here. We are already seeing some minnow schools in deeper near shore waters. The baitfish and schools of migratory game fish will move into the Venice Beach area by mid March and remain through April. The barracuda, cobia, permit, sharks, etc…, are all due anytime also.
Sorry to be so brief but it’s the busy season and I have to get to work. I do love my office and understand I’m blessed to be able to continue taking you fishing to support myself. Thank you. Captain Van Hubbard

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8-6-2013 Fishing Report, Placida and Englewood, by Captain Van Hubbard

by on Aug.07, 2013, under Siesta Key to Boca Grande

Venice to Boca Grande fishing still offers several options.
Many of our kids are starting back to school soon, so it’s back to weekends for the kids. Most recent trips have been for the younger anglers and its fun for all. I try to make it entertaining for the kids while teaching them about our waters and wildlife. Their enthusiasm is a blessing to share and experience. Their energy and awareness also inspire me; we motivate each other.   These trips have been a blessing for families to share.
The trick to successful trips is for parents or grandparents to sit back and let me take over. Keep the camera ready and let them play. If they want to enjoy the minnows in my Dorado’s big live well let them. I get them to help me throw minnows to chum gamefish. The more involved the better. We take time to check out the dolphin, birds, and manatees. If things get slow we crank up the Evinrude E-Tec and ride around exploring, we can even stop and look for sharks teeth if they like. It’s all about the kids and if they are smiling we are doing our jobs. PS it’s a hundred dollars less for kid’s trips; they are easier to entertain.
Fish has been productive most trips. We have caught numbers some days and a few quality snook to show off and brag about. The tides are more important now than usual because of the significant rain and downstream runoff. It’s harder to see thru the darker tannin stained waters. The fish are even more colorful but finding them can be challenging.
Snook, snapper, and few mackerel are the best bets right now. They are running around all of our areas passes. The minnows are small but abundant and easy to catch if you have a tiny mesh castnet. Redfish are around but require more patience and effort. Trout are down in Charlotte Harbor around Boca Grande. Mackerel should be dropping in around the Venice pier any time. We are fishing early around the heat and showers.
I’m expecting some good action in September when snook season opens up. The mackerel are improving everyday and should peak in late October or early November depending upon our weather. Kings will improve soon and few available now just farter out around the artificial reefs. Fish will begin to bunch up for fall soon. Line up reservations as soon as you can.
Thank you for your support and business.

Captain Van Hubbard. <www.captvan.com>

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Captain Van Hubbard’s Charlotte Harbor/Placida/Englewood Fishing Report and Observations for 7-25-13

by on Jul.25, 2013, under Siesta Key to Boca Grande, Upper Charlotte Harbor

Crazy weather keeps this years fishing challenging.
.
It is a beautiful day to wake up and I’m thankful; but this fresh west wind makes things difficult. Its eighty degrees and the suns not up yet. Welcome to summertime life around here. The overcast last week was actually a blessing if you missed the rains. We still have fish and fun if the heat doesn’t bother you. This is when my big T-Top really helps. I find we all tend to migrate to the shade as it heats up. The breezes are wonderful if not too strong.  The freshwater runoff is still an issue but fish are always here and still need to eat. I’m just spoiled and used to seeing our targets. This year has been wonderful and even with weird weather very productive. Business has been great even though it’s slowed down now but I needed time to catch up on chores and relax a little. Not as young as I was but not as old as I will be tomorrow! It’s nice to take some time to reflect and remember the many blessings and special folks and fishing we have enjoyed.
The kid’s trips are perfect fit for me and the families. I enjoyed a nice cook out with a friend and his family at Boca Grande last evening. We talked, shared fish stories and watched the girls play. I couldn’t think of a better way to end a day.
Snook and snapper seem to be the best bet right now. They are abundant and close. The minnows are growing but still small so it’s a good fit. Trout are around and we do have some redfish if you want to but in the time and effort. Spanish mackerel are due anytime and I think we could find a few tasty pompano if we went looking for them. If the winds allowed we have kings and a variety of fish in the nearby Gulf if weather permitting. Tarpon are scatted but available if you put in the time! No sitting ducks right now but plenty of fish we can play with depending upon conditions.
If you are planning to eat a snook when it opens for harvest it’s past time to lock up some dates! The season opens September First and should peak in October sometime. Fishing will remain good until the cold weather comes south sometime in November. Everything else is biting then too so don’t miss out. The mackerel migration will be hot in October too with lots of action and liberal bag limits to bring home some fish.
Watch the weather next week it’s that time of the year. Thank you, Let’s Go Fishin’ soon.

Captain Van Hubbard <www.captvan.com>

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18 June 2013, Fishing forecast for Venice to Boca Grande ,by Captain Van Hubbard

by on Jun.18, 2013, under Middle Charlotte Harbor, Siesta Key to Boca Grande, Upper Charlotte Harbor

Let see if I can get back on course here with weekly reports.
Life is good and fishing has been even better. Tarpon are the hot ticket right now and they are abundant from Boca Grande Pass south of me to Venice Beach and beyond. Snook have been very good and many larger fish; PS it opens for harvest on the First of September. Trout and reds are around but I haven’t had time to play with them much with the silver kings and snook so cooperative. We do also have fish on the near shore reefs; sharks, barracuda, permit and more, if the wind and seas allow. I have not had much time off the water to take care of things but bookings are slowing down after the Forth of July so it’s time to see if fishing trip fits into your plans. It’s not too soon to line up September and October dates with snook reopening.
Tarpon have kept me busy on and off the water.  Fishing has been good in fair weather. The strong winds can hamper our catching but we have plenty of fish. In fact they seem to be approaching the peak this week with the Full Moon in June. We can expect to enjoy good action for at least another month. We will have some excellent tarpon action into August and even September but it is just not as predictable. If tarpon are high on your Bucket list, like my new friend Gordon McDonald, don’t procrastinate because fishing is great right now and I do have a few days open soon. His day was awesome we got his tarpon of about 125 pounds and then several snook up to almost 40 inches.
Snook have been spoiling us most trips. The weather can mess with us but since we are usually inside the west winds don’t shut us down. Several trips have left anglers with sore arms from catch snook; literally! We have good numbers of smaller fish and I’m excited by the numbers of slot fish, but big trophy fish have enhanced smiles. We are seeing trophy fish from 35 to 40 inches even a few over, every day! So far minnows are available but not getting any easier. Scott Armstrong and family enjoyed a great day of snook action on Tuesday the 11th, they caught fish till the kids were bored and we found some dolphins to watch. Alex’s group wanted food fish and all we could catch was snook most of the time. We did find some trout but mostly smaller we only had a had day to explore. Sunday Don and Lisa joined me to catch some fish and we did. The snook bite was fair and they caught over 20 fish and Lisa got a big one we took photos. I have photos on my Facebook page at Captain-Van Hubbard if you want to see em. Sorry I’m challenged to get them on here but I am updating the web site soon as I get time. Thank you for your patience with me. Waters have cleared up nice since the tropical wave recently but Summer starts now along with evening showers. Get out early, have fun, and let’s get er done.
If you have some patience we can hunt up some food fish. Reds are here just not sitting and waiting like it used to be. Those tournaments keep em running around. Most are slot fish and tons of fun. Trout were great so we have fish they just got lost and I’ve not had enough time to look for them. We have gotten some nice flounder but not consistently.
Spanish Mackerel are around and we should be able to catch a mess if you’re interested? Kings are deeper if you want to chase the bigger fish. I smoked a couple on Sunday after our trip. Sharks are here if you want the big tackle testers. Reef fishing is good and the variety keeps it interesting.
We had our Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting in Lakeland last Wednesday. It was a long day but we got the issues communicated to our Commissioners and they have passed a proposal recommended by the Staff to be finalized in September. We may finally get rid of the weighted hook rig called a Boca Grande Jig!
On a personal note I adapted a beautiful Golden Retriever from Gulf Coast Golden rescue. She is shy but smart and wonderful; sure to keep me busy! I hope you are well and “if you’re too busy to go fishin’, you are just too busy’! Let’s Go Fishin’ soon. Captain Van Hubbard. <www.captvan.com>

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Captain Van Hubbard’s Venice to Boca Grande fishing report for January 27, 2013.

by on Jan.27, 2013, under Siesta Key to Boca Grande

When fishing is any thing near normal I can maintain a schedule but this mess has frustrated me to no end! We had a nice trip on Monday I’m just glad I have the Evinrude 200 E-Tec for power because fishing now requires a boat ride. The economy and speed are life savers. Rides are not a bad thing; our Charlotte Harbor area is beautiful now. The winter birds are abundant with hundreds of huge white pelicans, all kinds of wading birds and too many ospreys to count. It’s just gas costs are hard on my budget so I’d much rather catch fish in Lemon Bay and spend more time fishing. Actually I must admit like many of my friends that fish with me, I do prefer catching. Right now catching requires that we cruise around to find happy fish more than usual.
Normally I can put together a game plan and rarely need to alter it. Some stops are hot others are not. My good friend Scotty calls it a mail route and that works for me. These days fishing spots as messed up as our mail system; isn’t e-mail great.  Every day is totally new. At first this bugged me but now I realize that us old salts don’t take new paths unless we are forced to. So I figure this is what it takes to get me out of the old rut and discover; actually rediscover Charlotte Harbor and beyond! Shucks, I just might learn something.
Alright I’ll get to the fishy part. I am finding some quality fish I just never know where to start. After four decades of fishing I have an understanding of what our fish want to do. But between the other folks sharing the fishery and now this red tide mess I am back to the basics. Ride hard until I see mullet and wading birds. They tell me the area is alive; simple but very important right now. Then carefully dial in some desirable fish for my folks to catch. We may start out with anything to bend our rods. Ladyfish are fun and much better than nothing. Trout are abundant but many are small; great for future fishing but not dinner to night. Redfish are looking very good if you have the patience to locate and then stalk these shy flats trophies. Snook have been abundant and biting but catch and release only. I am very optimistic about this springs fishing because I’m seeing a lot of big fish. In side is fine we just need to invest time riding and looking; then make the most of our opportunities!
Near shore has bright spots but is not dependable this time of year; but awesome so far! We have the warmest winter waters I have ever seen now. Mid seventies most days, yes those red tide blooms are totally unpredictable. So while I am not pushing our near shore fishing now we have excellent odds if you are a gambler; nothing ventured, nothing is gained! Spanish and king mackerel are around. Baitfish are frequently available, in quantity too! Cobia are on the wrecks but it’s a ride we only do in fair weather. If we have a trip set up for outside and it’s windy, we do have a backup plan to fish inside protected waters.
I to wish I had a crystal ball to predict this red tide mess, and our weather while I’m at it; yea the Super Bowl too; but that’s not the way it is!
Let’s go fishin’ soon, if you’re up for it? Please get your spring and summer dates locked in soon others are not procrastinating! Thank you for your support.
Captain Van Hubbard <www.captvan.com>

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Fishing The Cool 2012 Fall Months in Placida, Englewood and Venice–From Capt. Van Hubbard

by on Nov.01, 2012, under Siesta Key to Boca Grande, Upper Charlotte Harbor

Obviously our fishing will be different now that it’s cooled off some. The transition is in progress from summer to winter. Baitfish should remain far awhile if it warms up as expected. The other water issues are probable blown away by the storms but only time will tell.  But the best news is that trout have been abundant and are open year round now! This weather is perfect to bunch specks up in the deeper areas and offer excellent catches of good eating fish. Redfish bite better now also. We may want to use more artificials now but if baitfish are around we’ll fish with them; lures by God are my first choice. Fish feed aggressively now because they know food will be scarce when it gets cold.
Outside fishing will depend on the weather and we’ll make the best of what we have. Gag grouper are closed now but mackerel should be abundant awhile longer if winds allow us to get at em? Have faith and make the best of our opportunities. The world is going crazy so let’s be thankful for whatever we do have. While sad for friends that are suffering up north; be glad to live here in paradise.  Take advantage of any break we get; it will get colder soon. Let’s Go Fishin’ soon. Captain Van Hubbard.  <www.captvan.com>

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Venice/Placida/Englewood Fishing Report, March 18, 2012, from Capt. Van Hubbard

by on Mar.18, 2012, under Siesta Key to Boca Grande

Venice weather is great and fishing is fine.
We are enjoying blue skies and crystal clear waters from Boca Grande up thru Englewood and North to Venice. I am fishing south one day and north the next following the fish along their migrations. Bait fish are not easy but available most days; I did struggle last Friday morning but found some in the afternoon? Backwards but glad to get em. Our fishing has been very good most trips and challenging on a couple. Fish are not acting normal yet; my guess is the unusually warm weather is confusing fish too? I’m just glad it’s warm; we have bait and many species of fish with visitors anxious fish. Dolphins and manatees are every where for additional entertainment!
Spanish and king mackerel are appearing most trips. Numbers are not consistent but we always find some action around the near shore artificial reefs. We use minnows and a chum bag to attract and hold feeding fish near by. It’s exciting to see feeding fish chase baits right by the boat in the clear water. You never know what you’ll see also; cobia, jacks, mackerel, tunny, sharks, barracuda, and more!
Several times we even caught a fine mess of flounder by bottom fishing with minnows and cut baits on light spinning gear. Baitfishes frequently swarm our chum bag and draw the big ones right in to us. Try not to jerk your hook away before they close their mouths!
If snook and redfish are your thing we have enjoyed some great snook action and a few redfish with lots of trout mixed in. now that we have minnows and warmer waters the fish are on the move. This is an awesome time to experience or Gulf Coast fabulous Spring fishing. We have had some winds but days start of calm and a breeze from the East until later in the afternoon when it shifts to the westerly seas breeze. The breeze keeps it from getting hot and my T-Top provides shade if you want it. The technique here is to fish lively minnows with or without a small cork. I use a Bleeding Bait Circle hook to attract the fish with a Target Bead strategically placed about a quarter inch past the barb to prevent double hooking the minnow. My Daiichi hooks are the sharpest made and work great plus protect fish we want to release unharmed! Snook are closed but everything else we fish is open.
Tarpon are due soon if weather patterns hold and they should. A few are already showing up around Boca Grande Pass and south. I expect good action early with great odds locally by mid April!
I am going to need to adjust my rates very soon to compensate for crazy fuel costs; so don’t wait to book your trips. Sometimes it works out last minute so always contact me to see but reservations are best. Thank you. Let’s Go Fishin’ now! Captain Van Hubbard.  <www.captvan.com>

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Captain Van Hubbard’s fishing report for Venice to Boca Grande, Fl. 2012-1-27

by on Jan.28, 2012, under Siesta Key to Boca Grande

2012-1-27 Another beautiful week in Venice, Fl. paradise.

The weather has been awesome and fishing continues to get better each week.  We caught pompano, trout, redfish, sheepshead and snook this past week. Each day was a little different but all were good. Of course we have some ladyfish and other species to help add action in between the gamefish. Fishing has not been fast and furious like spring time yet but we are usually catching at least twenty fish and some days many more. We had two on at a time, “double headers” of trout, snook, and ladyfish several times this past week. With the fair weather more folks seem to be deciding to go fish this year. Maybe our economy is improving finally because I am defiantly doing more trips this season.  I’m sure the warm sunny days help too.
I was presently surprised to find minnows abundant on both Wednesday and Thursday’s trips. Finding whitebait and threadfins in January is most unusual, go figure? We did manage to catch some bigger trout, up to twenty-four inches, and nice reds plus several snook on Thursday with the minnows. Shrimp under rattle corks has been the ticket most days. The trick seams to be to make noise with the corks with short, sharp jerks every minute or so. The bubbles and noise seems to really help call fish in;  if it’s not slick calm. Very calm days are more challenging so take it easy. I am using the electric motor frequently to move along shorelines and edges quietly. We pick up a few fish and move downwind a little every twenty minutes or so.
The few delicious pompano we did get were just mixed in while we were trout fishing deeper edges. Sheepshead are not thick yet but improving and should get much better if things cool off. They can be tricky to catch but eat great. We did get a windy front with some rain this AM which will bring temps back to normal; like lows in the fifties and highs into the mid and upper seventies.
Water temps ranged from low sixties early in the week to over seventy degrees in protected waters yesterday. My guess is this is why some snook bit once in a while.
I did see a few very small mackerel and little tunny striking in the minnows early mornings in the near shore Gulf, but the winds picked up so we did not get to try them outside last week. If the weather does not run those minnows south we could enjoy some unusual but wonderful action next month. We didn’t get any flounder last week because we were not jigging any. The corks kept our presentations above the grass in front of trout but away from flat bottom fish.
If warmer weather continues expect to see migratory action early this spring and summer. Please set up your snook, kingfish, and tarpon trips as soon as you can to insure your preferred dates. Life is great from Boca Grande to my south, up thru Englewood and north to Venice right now; and I’m smiling right here in the middle! Stump Pass and Lemon Bay waters have been clear and fishy so far this year.
Thank you and Let’s Go Fishin’ soon. Captain Van Hubbard  <www.captvan.com>

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