Georgia Saltwater Fishing Report August 2015

GON Staff | July 30, 2015

Saltwater: Inshore: Capt. David Newlin reports, “July has been real hot and windy. Big southwest winds have blown almost constantly until today (July 25), and we got a 25 knot northeaster. The fishing has been good but not always with the usual predictable patterns. This past week we caught some real nice trout, a lot of 18- to 20-inch fish. The small redfish seem to be everywhere. By the middle of August, a lot of them will be legal size. I caught and released a monster redfish that was 56 inches—that is the biggest one I have ever seen. Big redfish should start showing up by the end of August in good numbers. During August, the old reliable live shrimp should be the best bait for catching trout and redfish, just bring plenty. The small pinfish, yellowtails and other bait thieves are going to eat a lot of bait. The sheepshead bite has been pretty consistent. A handful of fiddler crabs can put a few in the boat.” Capt. Judy Helmey reports, “Redfish, spotted seatrout, flounder, whiting and sharks can be caught just about anywhere while fishing the sounds and beach fronts. The best baits are going to be the lively ones such as shrimp, mud minnows, finger mullet and small yellow tail. All you have to do is cast a rigged bait into considered strike zone and possibly re-adjust the float’s depth, but only if no hits occur after the float by takes place. It’s 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 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 and is not lined with oyster rakes. For artificial bites, I always like using DOA shrimp patterns during this time. You can use them as rigged straight out of the package. 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 current 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. It’s best to fish this rig in 5 to 6 feet of water. Here’s another tip when fishing in 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, and balance the bait on your hook.”

Capt. David Newlin reports, “The big deal in August is always tarpon and big sharks. Sharks have been really thick—a lot of 50-pounders with a fair number of sharks over 100 pounds. There are a lot of sharks around the shrimp boats. I had a big tiger shark probably more than 500 pounds eat a 40-lb. blacktip off a hook 3 feet from my hand last Thursday. The sharks should be all over the sounds and offshore waters next month. Tarpon fishing has been red hot one day and quiet the next. I had a few days we saw more than 300 fish, and some days I have seen none. Some real big tarpon have been caught with several fish around 180 pounds caught. Tarpon should be all over the sounds and beaches next month. Look for fish busting schools of pogies and mullet. If you don’t see tarpon, keep moving until you find them. On rough, windy days, look for birds feeding on baitfish schools. Anchor and fish live baits on top, dead baits on bottom, and chum heavily. Have a lot of patience, and eventually this will work.” Capt. Judy Helmey reports, “There are some trolling options nearshore. 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 pogies, also known as menhaden, is to keep an eye to the sky for diving pelicans. This is the one bait that works when used live or dead. It also works when used as chum. 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, also known by us old fishermen as Tybee Roads, hold lots of bait standing 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. When going this baiting route, the fish swims where it thinks it is safe, and the larger fish feed where this fish just about decided to hang.”

Capt. Judy Helmey reports, “The bottom bite at the Savannah Snapper Banks is good during this time of year. 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 fisherman 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 (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.”

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