Georgia Saltwater Fishing Report August 2013

GON Staff | July 31, 2013

Saltwater: Inshore: Capt. July Helmey reports, “August is the month that separates the true fishermen from those who only claim to be. You really have to pull out all of the stops when fishing this month. The old saying, ‘The early bird catches the worm’ really comes into play this month. When the sun gets straight up, the fisherman-frying process begins. Still, redfish, spotted sea trout, flounder, whiting and sharks can be caught just about anywhere while fishing the sounds and beachfronts. The best baits are going to be the lively ones such as shrimp, mud minnows, finger mullet and small yellow tail. Live baits do all the work for you. Their movement while rigged up gets the fish’s attention. All you have to do is cast a rigged bait into a considered strike zone and possibly re-adjust the float’s depth, but only if no hits occur after the float-by takes place. A lot of fishermen like float fishing, and since I am a fisherman myself, I can tell you why this is a natural-born fact. We all just love to see the sinking of the cork! The best news about these baits is most of them can be caught by you. There is more good news, it’s also a good time to catch your own bait, and you might just have enough left over for supper. The secret to casting and catching shrimp, which could also turn into an afternoon shrimp cocktail, is a simple one. I suggest working the grassline as the shrimp first come out on the falling tide, and when they start heading back to the safety of the marsh on the rising tide. I also suggest making sure that the grassline you are working has a mud bottom around it, not oyster rakes! For those who prefer to use artificial-only, bites can also happen. I always like using DOA shrimp patterns during this time. You can use them as rigged straight out of the package. The best method here is to tie a 3- to 4-foot leader of 12- to 20-lb. test to a popping cork and cast into place. Let the tide take the float, and come up with your own popping the float sequence. For instance: single pop of the cork, pause, double pop of the cork, pause, and then repeat. Once you trigger the fish’s interest with your sequence of pops, not only can bites happen, but you might just be able to call the ball. This means to know just about when and where a solid hit might occur. It’s best to fish this rig in 5 to 6 feet of water. Here’s another tip when fishing more than 6 feet of water. I suggest using a small adjustable float rig with a 2/0 kahle hook. Remove the DOA weight and hook from the artificial shrimp, and balance the bait on your hook just like a shrimp.” Capt. David Newlin reports, “The trout and redfish bite has been good all July. We have had some of the best fishing the last few weeks that we have had in a long time. Everything that should be here is. The redfish are everywhere. Small reds seem to be on every oyster-shell bed and mud flat in St. Catherines. Almost all of these fish will be more than 14 inches by the middle of August. Some big fish have been mixed in. We’ve seen a lot of 24- to 28-inch fish, with some big fish more than 30 inches. The most productive method has been a live shrimp under a cork. When the small fish are thick, a small mullet has worked good for catching big fish. On calm days, sight fishing has worked early and late in the day. A Gulp Shrimp rigged weedless has been working. Throw 10 feet ahead of a fish, and slowly work it to the fish. A gold Johnson Spoon with a piece of fish for a trailer works when the water is clear. Let it fall in front of the fish and lay on the bottom until the fish picks it up. During the summer, handle the big reds very little and get them back in the water quickly before the heat kills them. Trout are all over the sound and hitting shrimp. Regular cork rigs are working great. In some places where the bottom is clean, a light bottom rig has been getting the bites. Nothing fancy—a 1/4-oz. weight with a foot-long fluorocarbon leader and a light No. 2 hook. On the bottom you catch a lot of undesirable fish like stingrays and small sharks, but it catches trout, too.”

Nearshore: “Tripletail have shown up in pretty good numbers,” Capt. Newlin said. “Fish tide lines on the beach front. Wear good polarized sunglasses, and look for them. Throw a shrimp under a small cork, and very slowly pull it near Mr. Tripletail, and hang on. Tarpon have shown on the beaches and in the channels. Look for tide rips that have schools of mullet or pogies around them. If tarpon are there, usually you can see them, but sometimes they will all be deep. Fish a live bait on the surface and a dead pogy on the bottom with 100-lb. mono leaders and strong 8/0 hooks. All of our fishing should get better in August and on into the fall.” Capt. Judy reports, “There are trolling options nearshore. For bait, ocean menhaden have arrived and can be caught while casting your net around beachfronts and as far out as 3 miles into the ocean. The secret to finding porgies, also known as menhaden, is to keep an eye to the sky for diving pelicans. Menhaden are called pelican candy! This is the one bait that works when used live or dead. It also works when used as chum—meaning cut up or smashed up. When using live menhaden, I suggest light-tackle rigs made with stinger hooks fished around the beachfronts and shipping channels. Big kings are known for migrating into these areas during the month of August. Steep drops such as those located in shipping channels like the Savannah River channel hold lots of opportunities. King and spanish mackerel know how this feeding drill works. Slow trolling in these areas usually yield big king mackerel bites. If you see Spanish mackerel on the surface, it’s very likely that large kings are holding in the outskirts. Another good baiting option is to catch Spanish mackerel, rig it up quick, and let it swim.”

Capt. Judy reports, “The bottom bite at the Savannah Snapper Banks is good. However, to catch big fish you have to use the right big bait. Larger fish such as grouper, red snapper, cubera snapper, amberjack and cobia want live bait. A fishermen needs to use live baits such as menhaden, sand perch, rock bass, scup, pin fish and ruby red lips. It’s best to make sure that your livewell circulation pump is working properly and that the filter is clean. You want your bait as lively and not shocked. Shocked is when the bait gets stressed, with a white milky appearance. I suggest lip hooking any of these baits with a 13/0 circle hook rigged up on a Carolina-style rig. As far as weight, I always use a 3- to 8-oz. egg weight and an 8- to 30-foot 100-lb. test monofilament leader. I suggest sending this rig to the bottom, which anchors the line on the bottom. This type of rig also sometimes referred as a Carolina-style rig allows the bait to seemly swim free putting it right in the big fish’s strike zone. As far as where to put your bait, well, at this point it’s all about location, location, location!”

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