Georgia Saltwater Fishing Report January 2012

GON Staff | December 29, 2011

Saltwater: Inshore: Capt. Judy Helmey reports, “By the time the month of January rolls around, the inshore fish that are migrating have left, and the ones that are staying have gone into the hibernation mode. Spotted sea trout during this time are normally wintering in deep holes in the rivers or sounds. Best way to catch spotted sea trout when in the hibernation mode is to use small freshwater jigs with curly tails or super grubs while using 4- to 6-lb. test main line. As far as main line, I am from the old school and like monofilament because of the extra stretch cushion it adds. For those that prefer a braided main line, it will work; however, you need to make sure the drag set matches the main line used. Spotted sea trout have soft mouths, and a hook can easily be pulled free. The best freshwater jigs I have found that really work are Jiffy Jigs. I like to use 1/16- and 1/24-oz. jig heads with assorted colors of curly tails and super grubs. My favorite curly jig color combinations are a white jig head with white curly tail JJCT07 and red jig head with chartreuse flake JJCT 13. Another favorite is a white jig head or a plain lead jig head rigged with a super grub yellow/white/chartreuse JJSG06. The best method is to cast in the deepest part, let your lure hit the bottom, wait, reel a few times, wait and repeat. Then I suggest casting lures to the sides of the hole so as to work this area. The secret to catching trout during cold times is to work your lure as slowly as you can while still keeping it on the bottom. There is an old saying, ‘To get a trout’s attention during hibernating mode, you almost have to hit them right on the on the head with the lure!’” On the southern Georgia coast, Capt. Greg Hildreth said with the mild temps the water hasn’t cooled down like the past two years, and the trout fishing has been fantastic. “The trout are starting to move into the creeks and get in deeper holes in their normal winter patterns, and I have been taking them with lead-headed jigs and grub-tail soft plastics. I have been using the 1/4-oz. lead heads by Bomber Salt Water Grade in red and chartreuse colors. My soft plastic has also been the Bomber Salt Water Grade baits in rootbeer with a chartreuse tail as well as white with a chartreuse tail. I have been using a very slow retrieve and keeping my baits close to the bottom. I have also been using the trolling motor doing this type of fishing just to cover more ground. When I locate the fish, I will ease the anchor in and fish until the school moves. The redfish inshore have been on fire in the shallows. While most every one I have been getting has been over the slot, they are a ball to catch on light spinning gear and fly tackle.” Capt. Bob Barnette reports, “We are starting to see good numbers of speckled trout. Several good catches over the last few weeks show we should have a lot of action in January, if the weather holds out. Bait is still in good supply. Shrimp are still the bait of choice for trout and redfish. We are still catching redfish, and it appears they are not going anywhere. Dead bait on the bottom or artificials fished slowly along the oyster reefs work well. Now it the time for the annual sheepshead season. Fiddlers are the No. 1 bait for these bait bandits. Find yourself a bunch of treetops in one of our rivers or sounds, and try your hand at them. But for the more adventures, the artificial reefs along our shore will be holding the bigger fish. If you have never tried fishing for these, you have missed a lot of action, and the meal that they make when fried is wonderful.”

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