Georgia Saltwater Fishing Report July 2013

GON Staff | June 26, 2013

Saltwater: Inshore: Capt. David Newlin reports, “The trout bite is getting hot. Trout have been everywhere in the sound and on the beaches. Last week the trout showed up on the beach in pretty good numbers. Find a break in the bottom or some structure that will create a break in the current. Fish a live shrimp under a cork or drift it on a very light bottom rig. A 1/4-oz. slip-sinker rig with a No. 2 long-shank hook on a 3-foot leader will work. Incoming tide has been the best. In the St. Catherines Sound area, trout, flounder, black drum and redfish have really turned on during the past 10 days. Everything has been hitting shrimp. The main thing has been trying to find clear water. Fish the oyster-shell beds and creek mouths. Everywhere that should hold fish has fish. The big news is the number of small redfish. They have been everywhere. Today we probably caught around 50, and they were everywhere we fished. Some big redfish can be caught sight fishing early and late in the day. Put a Gulp Shrimp on a weedless hook, and fish it real slow. The Atlantic croaker and whiting are biting like crazy. During the last few hours of outgoing tide, we have caught several hundred in the last week. Fish a small piece of shrimp on the bottom around bigger creek mouths near the ocean. The croaker are 8 to 12 inches with a few real big ones around 14 inches. They are great eating. A lot of whiting are being caught with the croaker along with black drum and redfish. Everything should keep getting better on into July.” Capt. Judy Helmey reports, “For those inshore fishermen who just want to catch fish, I suggest purchasing or catching some live shrimp. This is the No 1 bait that all fish like. When it comes to fishing with live shrimp, there are several good presentations. There is the traditional adjustable float, which comes in all sizes from super large to mini sizes, and ever-popular popping cork, which when popped makes a sound just like a fleeing live shrimp. The only downside to using this float is your length of leader used restricts you to depth of water fished. The leader shouldn’t be longer than 4 feet and can’t be shorter than 12 inches. I suggest using this float when fishing in depths from 2 to 6 feet of water. Then there is fishing naked! Most fishermen want to do this, because the weather is so hot. No I am not talking about taking your clothes off! When fishing naked, all you do is tie on a short leader to your main line and then tie on a small Kahle hook. Then I suggest placing the hook under the shrimp’s horn located on top of the head, and let the shrimp make way its own way. It’s a known fact that shrimp go where they feel safe, and it’s also a known fact that larger fish have already figured the shrimp’s game of hide and seek out.”

Nearshore & Offshore: Capt. Judy reports, “Our beachfronts and artificial reefs are holding some pretty interesting topwater opportunities. I call the month of July the ‘If you can see the fish, you can catch them’ month. Topwater fish such as Spanish and king mackerel, barracuda, little tunny, jack crevalle and cobia have arrived. All fish will hit anything from a small trolled lure to a spoon being pulled slowly behind your boat. Another way to get one of these fish’s biting attentions is to cast right into the school of fish. The best thing that I can suggest is that you match the hatch. This means that you match the size of bait you use to the bait that the fish you are targeting are feeding on. For instance, let’s start with Spanish mackerel, little tunny and jack crevalle their favorite meal is glass minnows and juvenile squid. Small silver spoons sizes 0 and 00 made by Clark are the best to use. Now don’t get me wrong, there are lots of different kinds of spoons on the tackle shelves, but the Clark spoon with the red ball is proven by fish many times over. When targeting the larger fish such as king mackerel and barracuda, then I suggest using a large spoon. The best spoon for this job is a 3 1/2-inch Drone. When targeting cobia, which is the fish that looks like a shark or a large catfish in the water, I suggest using a 6- to 8-inch diving plug or some sort of a jig with hair tipped with some sort of a plastic eel/worm type. If you happen to have some live bait in your livewell, anything from shrimp to small fish works like a charm on the old cobia. It’s this fish’s delight to look it over before sucking it down! The secret to unlocking this bite is to give time to eat.” Capt. Newlin reports, “Tarpon are just showing up good in my area. Usually they start getting more plentiful in July and August. Look around tide rips and breaks in the sandbars until you actually see some fish breaking the water. Fish mullet and pogies both on the top and bottom. Be persistent, keep trying until it works. Sharks seem to be everywhere. A lot of big ones are offshore around the shrimp boats. The big blacktips seem to be 3 to 5 miles out in the clearer water. Find a shrimp boat cleaning off the decks, and you will find sharks. Fish a piece of fresh fish under a popping cork, Make a lot of noise with the cork and hang on. Everywhere in the river seems to be holding a lot of small sharks. If you can’t find any shrimp boats, try fishing around schools of pogies. Use your trolling motor, and fish a pogy freelined with only a hook and a 6-inch piece of wire leader. A lot of 3- to 5-foot blacktips have been right off the beaches. A lot of black sea bass have been on the artificial reefs. A few cobia are still around, with the kings and barracuda getting more plentiful as the water heats up.”

Gulf Stream: Capt. Judy reports, “Blue-water fishermen used to say, ‘When the month of July rolls around, the blue-water bite slows.’ However, things have changed, and Georgia fishermen have a blue-water bite year around. And all of this boils down to you don’t know if you don’t go. Here’s a suggestion when going to the blue water during the month of July. I suggest high-speed trolling starting at about 50 feet of water and pulling this lure or lures until you pull the throttles back. Best high-speed lures are Ballyhood high-speed-lures. Just buy them, they work! Also, I suggest giving bottom fishing a try. The fish that feed deep down under are bigger and better than you think during this time. As far as bait, you can catch your own with a sabiki rig or just use a belly strip from one of those just-caught topwater fish in your cooler. And most blue-water fish have moved closer inshore following different temperature changes because that is where the baits are that they feed on. This is where fishermen meet fish.”

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