Georgia Saltwater Fishing Report February 2013

GON Staff | January 30, 2013

Saltwater: Inshore: Capt. Judy Helmey reports, “Inshore fishing in February can be very good for redfish, but you need to keep in mind the water is a lot clearer, causing the fish to be a bit more skittish. Keep as quiet as possible. Pick areas in the sounds where sloughs flow onto bars or flats. Best fishing spots should have at least 6 inches of water at mean low tide. The best days are going to be those that have a midday low-tide stage with sunny conditions. I like to fish the bottom of the low-tide stage until the water floods the grass. Another reason why I like to fish low to high tide is the water under your boat gets deeper not shallower. No one wants to spend the day high and dry on a sand. For best baits, when it comes to the natural stuff, I suggest chunked pawn shrimp and whole mullet cut in pieces like a loaf of bread. I always suggest cutting the bait first before heading out. Put the bait out in the air and sun. This dries the bait, sealing in the fish juices that ring the dinner bell for a redfish once it is back in the water. All you need is 12 to 15 inches of 15- to 20-lb. test fluorocarbon leader tied to a small extra-sharp circle hook. Cast into the area, let the bait fall to the bottom, and wait for a hit. Before setting the hook, give them time to eat. For fishermen who prefer artificial baits, I suggest floating Smithwick Rattlin’ Rogues, 4 1/8 Juniors or Berkley jerkbaits rigged weedless. Pick colors with dark tones such as copper, root beer and brown.” On the southern Georgia coast, Capt. Greg Hildreth reports, “The inshore trout fishing is still going strong. The fish have moved into the creeks in a little deeper water, and I have changed from live shrimp to casting plastic 4-inch grubs and lead-head jigs. Most of the fish are in water about 5 to 10 feet and in good numbers when you find them. I have been using a 1/4-oz. jig head and changing my plastics until I find the color they want the best. The old faithful color has been electric chicken. The nearshore sheepshead bite is starting to pick up also and should be in full swing by mid to late February. The inshore redfish have been doing good also. Most have been over the slot but still a lot of fun on light tackle. I have been getting most of the reds on fly tackle using a shrimp-pattern fly.”

Offshore: Capt. Judy reports, “Although February is our coldest month, there is still plenty of big-time offshore trophy redfish action to be had. For those fishermen who want to give open-water trophy red-fishing a try, February is definitely the month. Most of these trophy redfish that have migrated offshore are in the 27- to 45-inch and bigger range. The best place to start looking is at the nearshore Georgia artificial reefs located in up to 50 feet of water. Here are a few artificial reefs that have been holding some nice trophy fish: SAV, DUA, CAT, KC and KTK. Best places to anchor over are barges or pallet balls. Since most artificial reefs are no longer are marked with yellow reef buoys, I suggest when researching for coordinates use only the ones that mark the actual places that you want to anchor not the area. For up-to-date information on Georgia artificial reefs, go to Another suggestion is while heading to your destination point that you keep an eye out for any formed rips that are holding any interest from your eyes in the sky—the birds. I have caught many trophy redfish while working rips that the seabirds are also interested in. A rip is two different currents being pushed together making what I call a wall. Small baits and other creatures get held up here or migrate to these areas. They think they are in a safe zone, but really they are feeding zones for bigger fish. Two artificials that have always worked for me are a Causeway Diamond Jig with red or green small tube lures or a plain jig without the tube, or try a WhoopAss Cobia Candy Jig in blueback with an white eel trailer. Once you have located the school, pitch your jig, let it free fall, and you should get a solid hit before it hits the bottom. When more than one fisherman is jigging, I suggest waiting few seconds before throwing out the second jig. I suggest cutting or chunking up any old mullet or menhaden that you might have. You should have this ready to throw right into the school of redfish. This food will keep them near the surface for an extra second, but as soon as the chunks start to sink, the fish will disappear with them. While all this is going on, I suggest dropping over another jig and letting it fall directly to the bottom. If you are lucky enough to penetrate the feeding school, believe me the jig will not make it to the bottom! Please remember all redfish caught in federal waters are protected and have to be released as soon as possible!”

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