Georgia Saltwater Fishing Report – April 2023

GON Staff | March 28, 2023

Saltwater: Inshore: Capt. David Newlin reports, “The only way to describe the last few weeks is redfish galore. This morning at 8, I had 15 in the livewell, and by 10, we had released 30 more good redfish. In my 50-plus years of fishing this area, I have never seen this many redfish. We have been catching them from way up the river all the way to the ocean. Almost all of my fish are being caught on live shrimp under a slip-cork rig or on the bottom. This action should continue right on through the next couple of months. Hopefully, the water temperature will keep getting warmer. In April, we should see mid 70s. The April trout bite should be a good one. We usually catch some of the biggest trout of the year during April and May. Right now most of my trout have been 10 to 20 feet deep. In a couple of weeks, they should start moving shallow. The best way to catch April trout is always a live shrimp under a slip-cork rig. When you find a couple of trout, fish the area hard. There should be a few more trout there. The whiting bite should be really good next month. They have been all over Ossabaw Sound. I like fishing on sandy bottom in about 10 to 15 feet of water. Fish a piece of shrimp on the bottom. I like a 1-oz. sinker and a long-shank No. 2 Eagle Claw hook. The best times are usually the last couple hours of the outgoing tide. Move around until you find them. Black drum, flounder, sharks and all your summer fish should be here when the water hits 70. Beware of the online websites for fishing trips. Many of them are scams. This morning a man was on the dock looking for a part-time captain off one of the fishing websites, and the guy never showed up. This is happening way too often. If you can’t talk to your boat captain, beware of it.”

Capt. Judy Helmey of Miss Judy Charters reports, “Bait shops should start to catch and carry live shrimp. With live shrimp in the well, traditional adjustable floats from large to small and popping corks are going to be your best bet. If a redfish, seatrout or flounder gets close to this bait, they will eat it.  Another way to present live shrimp is with a light leader, small split-shot and small hook. All you need to do is hook your shrimp under the horn and cast into place. When you purchase shrimp and they don’t last too long after transferring to your livewell, it’s possible that you have different water salinity. It’s most likely not the shrimp that you just purchased but the water you are putting them in. If possible, it is best that you leave shrimp in the same water you’ve purchased and add an aerator. During this time of the year when water temperatures are on the cool side, this is an option that is very doable. Our captains have been catching a lot of bait while using their cast nets. If you like to add to your inshore and offshore fishing spots lists, purchase a Top Spot chart (map No. N232 for inshore and No. 229 for offshore). Go to In the past I have had fishermen report that coordinates received are not close to the actual spots published on the charts. All GPS unit can be adjusted, meaning the coordinates will not all be the same. The best way to combat this situation is to stop about 1/4 to 1/8 of a mile from your intended location and motor slowly while watching your fish finder. You’ll see that this strategy also helps you find new fishing spots. During the month of April, the sounds come alive with whiting, sharks, bluefish, stingray, trophy redfish and cobia. While using small pieces of shrimp on light-tackle rigs, even the smaller fish offer some nice action. 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 it slows down. Another tip is to peel some of your shrimp and scale some of the small whiting before filleting and cutting it up into small bite-sized pieces. All of these different bait combinations and tips are all proven, but the challenge is to keep changing baits if you want a continued serious bite. The smaller fish that you catch can be used either whole live or fresh dead. You can also cut them up in steaks just like you do a loaf of bread. With a little heavier rod/reel combo and terminal tackle, you can use any of these baits and drift them out with a float or fish them right on the bottom or in the mid-water column. This will definitely bring on the bigger fish bite. Fish a Carolina-rig. For the smaller fish, use 10- to 20-lb. test monofilament line or up to 50-lb. test braid main line. As far as the leader, use 15- to 20-lb. test fluorocarbon or just regular monofilament line. Best hook style is going to be a kahle No. 4 or No. 6.  I like Eagle Claw L141 kahle hooks. Standard j-style thin-tinned hooks in the same size range are also good to go. I also like using Eagle Claw L197 circle hooks, which come in assorted sizes. When you are changing from small pieces of shrimp to steaks or whole fish as bait, use 30- to 50-lb. test monofilament or 50- to 80-lb. test braid as main line. Use a little heavier rod/reel combo set up. When setting up your Carolina rig for the larger bite, use 40- to 60-lb. test line. For larger fish, use a circle hook from size 9/0 to 14/0 or a standard j style from 6/0 to 8/0. As far as egg sinker, use 1 to 8 ounces.” 

Georgia Saltwater Fishing Page: Archived Articles, News and Fishing Reports

Nearshore: Capt. Judy Helmey of Miss Judy Charters reports, “The artificial reefs will find black sea bass, flounder, bluefish, white bone porgy, summer trout, cobia and other biters. When it comes to topwater fish, normally large Spanish mackerel have arrived. These fish feed on any baits that they can find staging from the surface to right on the bottom. Just because you can’t see the mackerel on the surface certainly doesn’t mean they are not there. The best bait is going to be a small to a medium Clark Spoon. Troll the spoons deep or pitch 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 way to catch this fish is pull a small cedar plug way, way back, a distance of 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. To further your opportunity for catching fish, get a copy of Georgia’s artificial reefs:

Savannah Snapper Banks: Capt. Judy Helmey of Miss Judy Charters reports, “Grouper season is May 1-Dec. 31, 2023. Offshore fishermen still make way to the Banks at this time to take advantage of vermilion snapper, white grunt, triggerfish, amberjack, black sea bass, red porgy and white bone. As far as top to mid-water-column fish, there is always cobia, amberjack, almaco jack and king mackerel, which can be caught while plain old bottom fishing. When bottom fishing, cut squid, frozen/fresh cigar minnows whole or pieces and cut fish are great working baits. I also suggest putting your livewell into circulation and keeping all small fish caught to use as live bait. Best live baits are going to be ruby red lips, rock bass, sand perch, vermilion snapper and pinfish. At this time, we do not know the opening day or days for the 2023 genuine red snapper season. There are some new requirements that you must have onboard when fishing for the snapper-grouper species. Go to On the home page, open the regulations, then the link for best fishing practices. You will need to have a descending device (rigged and ready), de-hooking tool, non-offset circle hooks and non-stainless steel hooks.”

Blue Water: Capt. Judy Helmey of Miss Judy Charters reports, “For tuna, dolphin, wahoo, mako shark and bill fish, the 70-mile run is definitely worth it. For bait, use a single-hooked, chin-weighted dink ballyhoo and cedar plugs. For a large bite, fish Ilander lures rigged with horse ballyhoo. This brings on great possibilities for a wahoo bite. High-speed trolling should be put high up on your list of things to do to catch big fish. While heading to the Stream, you cover lots of water, so you might as well get the best out of it. Dragging a couple of high-speed lures should be next on your list. Here is a website with some high-speed trolling lures: My favorite is Ballyhood cowbell-style, high-speed lures. While at the Stream, give bottom fishing a try. With small pieces of squid, you catch football vermilion, mega triggerfish, sand tile, knobbed porgy and fish not even listed in the identification booklet.”


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