Georgia Saltwater Fishing Report April 2018

GON Staff | March 28, 2018

Saltwater: Inshore: Capt. David Newlin reports, “The past few weeks have been a battle against the elements trying to catch fish. The last week of February the water was 68 degrees, and this week the water has been around 59 degrees. This has made for some strange fishing conditions. Any day now the easiest fishing of the year will start. The spring whiting run should be good by the first of April. This is always great, simple, fun fishing. Take a No. 2 hook, a sinker and a piece of shrimp or squid, and drop it to the bottom and catch fish. Catching 100 or more in a couple of hours is not unusual. Find a sandy bottom about 10 to 15 feet deep out in the sound or on the beach front, fish it for 15 minutes. If you have no action, move until you find fish. Put out a big rod with a cut up whiting for a big redfish or a sharpnose shark. This is great fishing for kids and all of us. Fried whiting is a springtime dinner that is hard to beat. The redfish bite has been good at times and dead on other days. By the first of April, we should start seeing some predictable patterns with redfish. Twenty- to 30-inch fish should start showing up on all the usual oyster bars and mud flats, with some monster fish in the deeper water. Most of the places with a lot of whiting will hold some big redfish. Cut up a small whiting, and put it on a 10/0 circle with a couple of ounces of lead, throw it out, and watch it until it takes off screaming with a big redfish. The trout bite should be good by the first of April. Some of the biggest trout of the year are always caught in April. Trout should be schooled up tight. When you find one, there should be more close by. The catfish bite in the lower Ogeechee River is absolutely red hot. Several days I have caught 30 to 50 fish in an hour with two people fishing. The area from Kings Ferry to Fort McAllister seems to be holding catfish everywhere. A few stripers can be in the same places as the catfish. Dead shrimp on the bottom will catch almost everything in the river. With a little decent weather, April should be a good month to catch an assortment of fish in coastal Georgia waters.” Capt. Judy Helmey reports, “Bait shops should start to carry live shrimp, which is the bait that gets all fish’s attention. While using small pieces of shrimp, we have found that even smaller fish get tired of the same old bait. Fishing with small pieces of cut shrimp will work for a while.  However, adding a small piece of whiting fillet sweetens the bait and offers enough of a change to turn the bite back on. When the bait slows again, just go back to the small pieces of shrimp or just pieces of whiting filet.”

Nearshore: Capt. David Newlin reports, “The sheepshead bite on the reefs has been hot when the weather has allowed us to get offshore to them. Some black drum, big redfish and a lot of seabass are with them. This should continue through the month of April. As always, a fiddler crab is the best bait for them.”

Offshore Artificial Reefs: Capt. Judy Helmey reports, “When bottom fishing, you could catch black sea bass, flounder, blue fish, white bone porgy, summer trout, cobia and other biters.  When it comes to topwater fish, normally large Spanish mackerel have arrived. The best bait is going to be the small to medium Clark Spoon. I suggest either trolling the spoons deep or pitching them right over the structure. Another fish that frequents the artificial reefs at this time is the little tunny, and they can come in sizes from 1 to 20 pounds. One sure-fire way to catch this fish is to pull a cedar plug way, way back. Cedar plugs come in assorted sizes. When targeting fish in these areas at this time, I suggest pulling the smallest plug way back, about 200 feet plus. I know that sounds like letting out a lot of line, but for some reason, when the boat approaches, this fish dives, and right after the pass, the entire school surfaces again.”

Savannah Snapper Banks: Capt. Judy Helmey reports, “Grouper season runs from May 1-Dec. 31, 2018. At the Banks, you can catch vermilion snapper, white grunt, triggerfish, amberjack, black sea bass, red porgy and white bone. Cobia and king mackerel can certainly be caught while bottom fishing with cut squid, frozen/fresh cigar minnows (whole or pieces) and cut fish.”

Gulf Stream: Capt. Judy Helmey reports, “For tuna, dolphin, wahoo, mako shark and bill fish, the 70-mile run is definitely worth it. For bait, I suggest single-hooked chin-weighted dink ballyhoo and cedar plugs. For a large bite, I suggest Ilander lures rigged with horse ballyhoo. High-speed trolling should be put high up on your list of things to do to catch big fish. While heading to the Stream, dragging a couple of high-speed lures should be next on your list.”

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