Georgia Saltwater Fishing Report December 2011

GON Staff | November 23, 2011

Saltwater: Inshore: Good. Capt. Judy Helmey reports, “There is one thing I can say about the month of December when it comes to catching fish and that’s, ‘It can happen!’ During this time, all fish from spotted seatrout to flounder to redfish are doing what they do best, and that’s bulking up for those unpredictable but fast-on-the-way cold-weather patterns. It’s also a great time to be a weather watcher. Normally the inshore bite will turn on big time when there is an approaching cold front. The fish usually feed hard about 18 to 24 hours before the big weather change. The best natural bait is live shrimp, and the best artificial baits are those that imitate shrimp. These baits will work under popping and traditional corks or just plain naked, meaning using a hook only (no weights, no floats, only a small leader). Most spotted seatrout and flounder will take a chance on a shrimp even if it does looks a little fishy. From a fish point of view, the shrimp is easy to catch, easy to eat and easy on the stomach. Copper penny, baby bass or ice flukes made by Strike King rigged weedless and cast right into the grass also makes for an interesting redfish catch. Here’s a tip you can use: When the water is cooler it’s clearer, which means if you can see the fish, it most likely can see you, too!” Capt. Bob Barnette reports from the Savannah area, “November has been a odd month. The fish are eating when you can find clear water and the wind is not blowing 30 knots. December should be better. As the water cools, the fish will start to bulk up for the long winter. For trout, look to the mouths of creeks along the intercostals and the sound area. Use plastic fished slow and live bait fished deep on float rigs. The redfish are still eating and will start to form large schools for the winter months. As always, fish either on the bottom or on a float rig close to the bottom along oyster-shell banks or feeder creeks on the first of the outgoing tide. We are still catching whiting, flounder and other bottom feeders.” Capt. Greg Hildreth reports from the St. Simons area, “With the water temp dropping, the inshore fishing has gotten very good for trout. The fish I’ve been finding have been around the creek mouths and still in the sound area around St. Simons and Jekyll Island. Most of the fish I’m taking are with live shrimp under a Paradise Popper float with a 4-foot, 20-lb. mono leader. I’m using a No. 4 Kahle-style Mustad hook and hooking my shrimp under the horn to keep them alive and hopping. I’ve also been picking up reds as well as a few nice-sized black drum. The best way to do this is keep your bait closer to the bottom. We had some nice-sized sheepshead this week around rock piles and structure using fiddler crabs on the bottom. The trout bite should get very good in December, and I will start using more plastic baits and moving along the banks with a trolling motor to cover more ground. I will use a 1/4-oz. jig head and a 4-inch grub tail. To find the right color, I’ll have my anglers use different colors to see which one will be the best for that day.”

Nearshore: Good. Capt. Judy reports, “For those who love a light-tackle fish-catching experience, December is the month to visit the nearshore artificial reefs. Sheepshead, black drum, trophy redfish, flounder and cold-water sharks put these areas on their list of places to school up to bulk up for winter migrations. Best baits for sheepshead are going to be the purple-back fiddler and green mussels. Small pieces of shrimp will work. However, sheepshead, black drum, and trophy redfish love meals the come wrapped in a shell. As far as the sharks go, take along some squid or cut a sheepshead’s belly strip out and put it on the bottom near the structure. Lots action to be had during this time, but only if you know where to go.”

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