Georgia Saltwater Fishing Report December 2012

GON Staff | November 28, 2012

Saltwater: Inshore: Capt. Judy Helmey reports, “There is one thing that 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 sea trout to flounder to redfish are doing what they do best, and that’s bulking up for those unpredictable but 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 at about 18 to 24 hours out before the big weather change. The best natural bait is live shrimp, and the best artificial bait is 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 sea trout 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. And once you get the bite going on the live or fresh dead shrimp, it’s easy to change to artificial such as DOAs. Copper penny, baby bass or ice flukes made by Strike King (ZTOO) 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 gets cooler, it gets clearer, which means if you can see the fish, it most likely can see you, too.” Capt. Greg Hildreth reports, “The inshore trout bite has been awesome the past few weeks in the Golden Isles area. I have been catching most of my fish in the sound and at the mouths of creeks in 3 to 5 feet of water. I have been fishing live shrimp under a Bomber Saltwater Grade popping float. My leader has been a 15-lb. mono leader about 3 feet long. I have been using a small pinch-on lead midway down the leader and a No. 4 kahle-style hook. I have also been having good luck fishing a DOA 3-inch shrimp under the float as well. As the water cools this month, the fish should move into the creeks and get in deeper water. As this happens, I will start fishing with slip floats so I can fish closer to the bottom. This has been a great fall bite so far, and if the water doesn’t get too cold, we should have a great winter bite.”

Offshore: Capt. Judy reports, “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, black drum and trophy red fish are going to be the purple-back fiddler and green mussels. Small pieces of shrimp will also work. These fish love anything wrapped in a shell or the meat that is removed from one. Flounder are known for situating themselves on the outskirts of the structure when the tide is slack while waiting for that prefect meal. Best baits for the flounder are jumbo mud minnows or small sand perch placed on a Carolina-style bottom rig. Placement of this bait is simple. Cast to the outskirts of the structure, set drag to medium and place rod in holder. When you get a hit, don’t pick the rod up until the flounder eats your bait. In other words, give them time to eat. As far as the sharks go, take along some squid or cut a sheepshead belly strip out and put it on the bottom near the structure. Lots of action to be had during this time, but only if you know where to go.”

Gulf Stream:
Capt Judy reports, “If you get the chance and want to make the run to the blue water off the Georgia coast, this would be a great time to find yourself involved in a strong, line-stretching ordeal. Our black fin tuna run is on wide open, and this is one fish that can offer you a strong fight. You can find these fish holding over the ledges in 180 to 250 feet of water, or you might just happen to find a school holding in the upper water column that has rounded up a school of bait. Best lures that fit into what is called old school are cedar plugs pre-soaked in menhaden oil. I am not talking about colored cedar plugs. I am suggesting the actual cedar plug made with cedar showing not the ones that are painted. These plugs will absorb the menhaden oil quick and will hold it longer producing ‘happy fishy trails’ when trolled. For those fishermen who have to troll with bait, I suggest Ilander Trackers rigged with dink ballyhoo baits. The trick here is to rig the Ilander Trackers with 60-lb. test fluorocarbon and small, short-shank, extra-strong 4/0 to 5/0 hooks. This style rig works well when rigging with dink (small) ballyhoo.”

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