Georgia Saltwater Fishing Report July 2012

GON Staff | June 27, 2012

Saltwater: Inshore: Capt. Judy Helmey reports, “If you are going with artificial, try Strike King ZTOO soft baits. I suggest working them slow and direct. Direct means put a signature twitch in your retrieve. When picking out soft baits, check to see if they are going to last from multiple blue fish hit. Most of the time plastics pull apart too easily. For those who like to go with the real deal, I suggest live shrimp because all inshore fish have a serious desire to eat this bait. Another good live bait is the prefect-sized finger mullet. Going with live finger mullet says one thing, ‘The fisherman holding the rod is looking for that bigger fish bite!’ I always suggest catching your own mullet. While doing so, keep the small ones and discard the rest. However, I suggest keeping a few of the larger mullet for cutbait. Don’t put them in the livewell. Throw them on the deck and let them season. For a great July redfish bite, I suggest cutting the fresh dead fish up like a loaf of bread and putting a slice on the hook, cast into to place and let it sit. Capt. David Newlin reports, “The trout bite has been really good and should continue through July. Live shrimp under a popping cork is the best method in the summer. When the bait thieves are thick, try a Betts holographic shrimp under a popping cork. Redfish are in the shallows hitting shrimp and lures. The best bite has been early and late in the day. Flounder have been hitting shrimp on a steady basis while we’re trout fishing. Trout should be moving out on the beach fronts next month.” Capt. Bob Barnette reports, “The sea trout bite has gotten better over the last week or two. You will want to use live shrimp and a float rig. For those who want to use artificial, I would recommend the Gulf Shrimp on a Rattle Head jig. I have found a great one called a Rockport Rattler. Topwater baits like the Skidder Walker are also great at dawn—that’s when the big ones bite. Redfish are also on the hunt for food, and we seem to have a lot of them around. This is the time of year look for tarpon to make their presence known. Look for them in the sounds along the deep drop-offs and where pogie (menhaden) schools are found. Use the same setup as trout or redfish fishing, but remember you are stepping up from a 1- to 5-lb. fish to a 100-lb. fish. It takes a lot of patience to hook up with a tarpon, but when you do it was worth the wait. It is also the time of year when our sharks are everywhere. Live and dead bait is available at both Kilkenny and Fort McAllister Marina.”

“The sharks have showed up in big numbers,” said Capt. Newlin. “All the usual spots that should have sharks probably do. Any fresh fish on the bottom will work. The last part of the incoming tide has been really good. Some tarpon are already here, and they should be thick in July. Find some baitfish on the beach, and you should find tarpon.”

Capt. Judy reports, “The 2012 topwater season for the coast has not been what it normally is. The king mackerel bite has been good one day and bad the next. Give me a call, and I will be happy to give you an up-to-date report. As far as the Spanish mackerel, they are here, but not in there normal larger numbers. The fish have been scattered. The best way to get a more solid Spanish mackerel bite is to troll 00 and 0 Clark spoons with red balls. You can pull these spoons directly on the surface, mid-water column behind trolling sinkers or deep behind planer setups. When these fish are feeding on the surface, it’s best to have some sort of small topwater plug for pitching right into the school. Here are a few that you can find in my tackle box—Rapala F-5, Rapala HJ-6 and Rapala XR06. Bottom fishing can be slow during this time. However, if you fish as much as we do, secrets to triggering the bottom fish’s bite are revealed! Perfect-sized cigar minnows and Spanish sardines placed on the bottom can trigger a larger fish bite. To catch these baits, use your gold-hook Sabiki’s size 8.”

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