Why John’s Pass Is Filling Up With Sand (What This Means For Anglers)


John’s Pass is in trouble and it needs your help!

If you’ve ever fished on the Gulf Coast of Florida, you’ve probably heard of John’s Pass in Madeira Beach.

This famous pass brings in boaters, anglers, and tourists from all over the place, and is also one of the best fishing passes in West Central Florida.

But in recent years, a series of issues have caused loads of sand to fill up the pass.

This is causing safety issues, economic issues, and ecological issues, and the worst part is that it’s totally preventable, but nothing’s being done to fix it!

Find out what’s really going on in this conversation with Capt. Dylan Hubbard, plus hear about a solution that could turn this pass into one of the best snook fishing spots in Florida (watch out Sebastian Inlet).

You can watch the video version of this podcast below (which I recommend since Capt. Hubbard shares some shocking images), listen to the audio version by clicking the play button underneath it, or listen to it on iTunes, Stitcher, or Spotify.

P.S. Don’t forget to subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, or Spotify and leave us a review!

Why John’s Pass Is Filling Up With Sand [VIDEO]

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Why John’s Pass Is Filling Up With Sand [PODCAST]

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Why John’s Pass Filling Up With Sand Is A Problem

The fact that John’s Pass is filling up with sand is a big problem for multiple reasons.


The sand deposits have created a new beach in the pass, which is attracting kids to swim in it.

But this isn’t a beach along the Gulf or the bay, this is a beach along one of the busiest passes with the strongest currents in the area.

There have been 30 water rescues so far this year where people have had to call 911 because someone was drowning or getting swept away by the current.

This is up from just 12 last year in the same time frame, and it doesn’t include private parties like Capt. Hubbard’s crew making rescues (which they recently did).

It’s only a matter of time before something serious happens because the problem is only getting worse.

The pass is getting narrower, but the same amount of water has to flow through it, which is causing the currents to become even stronger.

And it’s not just human safety.

The narrower pass is forcing dolphins and manatees into the main channel (which is heavily trafficked by boats) and there have been some accidents involving these marine mammals.


There are two drainage pipes that are covered by sand along the new beach, which doesn’t allow rainwater in the village to drain into the bay.


Docks are drying up because sand is being deposited below them, which means that many businesses along the water are in jeopardy.

John’s Pass is one of the largest tourist destinations in Pinellas County and if businesses have to shut down, that could be a huge loss for the county.

How To Stop John’s Pass From Filling Up With Sand

Some people say, “It’s a pass, passes naturally change.”

And although that is true in many passes, John’s Pass was formed in 1848, but it’s just in the past 20 years that sand has really started to deposit in it.

In fact, Hubbard’s Marina kept a 110′ party boat in the pass in the 70s and 80s, and now there’s no way it could fit in there.

The problem really worsened when FDOT constructed the new John’s Pass bridge we have today.

They didn’t fully clean up after they finished construction, which left a lot of material and sand in the pass, and it’s just compounding now.

So one part of getting the sand out of the pass would be for FDOT to come in and finish clearing out the riprap that they left.

In addition to the riprap being cleaned out, beach groins and jetties need to be lengthened.

Beach groins are essentially jetties in the middle of beaches that catch sand and allow the beaches to lengthen.

They’ll stop sand from flowing down the beach and into the pass, and also save millions of dollars in beach renourishment.

Jetties will also stop sand from going into the pass, as well as make the pass straighter and safer.

Plus, there’s also one more big advantage of longer jetties…

Longer Jetties Bring Better Fishing!

The 2018 Inlet Managment Plan has an option to lengthen the John’s Pass jetty system by 230 feet each side.

If this happens, more snook, redfish, trout, sheepshead, mangrove snapper, Spanish mackerel, and even king mackerel will be attracted to the jetties.

Obviously this is awesome for us fishermen, but it also means more money for John’s Pass as people from all over the country come to fish it.

Like Capt. Hubbard said, this jetty system could rival Sebastian Inlet.

How You Can Help John’s Pass

Go to savejohnspass.com to join Capt. Hubbard as they reach out to the right government officials to get things moving, hold rallies, and spread the word about John’s Pass’s sand problem.

It’ll take the coordination of several agencies to reverse this problem, but with your support there will be enough attention to make it happen.


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With all of the safety and economical problems the sand in John’s Pass is causing, it seems like a no brainer to fix the problem.

And if John’s Pass had a world-class fishing jetty like Sebastian Inlet, that would take the area to a whole new level.

Have any questions about the John’s Pass sand problem?

Let us know down in the comments!

And go to savejohnspass.com to join the fight.

P.S. Want access to our best fishing spots and tips, plus discounts to our online tackle store? Click here to join us in the Insider Club!

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Bill Poletti
2 years ago

My wife and I visit John’s Pass every year and stay immediately north on the beach. Over the last 30+ years, we have observed significant changes in John’s Pass, particularly over the last couple of years. I was surprised how bad it has gotten during a visit in late November. 2020.

I couldn’t agree with Capt’n Hubbard more that extending the jetties far out would be a huge benefit to the physical condition of the pass and to the tourists enjoying the area. It would also attract a lot of fishermen that would frequent John’s Pass businesses.

I can envision an immediate economic impact to John’s Pass that would be exponentially greater than the cost of the jetty extensions. The jetty extensions would do more than just stop the sand incursion and save existing business, it would promote the growth of the entire area north and south of John’s Pass.

Maybe concerned citizens could also knock on the door of the Directors of Economic Development for Madeira Beach, Treasure Island and Pinnelas County. It would seem a pretty easy sell to the individuals responsible for retention and development of business in their communities and county. They might be another advocate for the project with insider influence.

Neil Casey
2 years ago

I thought that the information regarding John’s Pass was very well put together and relevant. I have signed the petition, but was wondering since SaltStrong put this podcast on the web, (and in the SaltStrong web site) was there any discounts for Insiders when they want to go offshore instead of fishing the flats?


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