Georgia Saltwater Fishing Report July 2014

GON Staff | June 26, 2014

Saltwater: Inshore & Nearshore: Capt. July 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. This is a great float because you can quickly adjust your depth. Then there is the ever-popular popping cork, which when popped makes a sound just like a fleeing live shrimp. Fishermen near and far have come up with their own special pop technique. Some fishermen swear by the pop the cork once, wait, pop again once, pause, and then pop twice. The only downside to using the old popping cork is your length of leader used restricts you to depth of water fished. The leader shouldn’t be longer than 4 feet and shouldn’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 the ‘Just fishing naked’ presentation. 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 tie on a small Kahle hook. Place the hook under the shrimp’s horn located on top of the head, and let the shrimp make way its own way. Shrimp go where they feel safe, and larger fish have figured out the shrimp’s game of hide and seek.” Capt. David Newlin reports, “Big trout have been really hitting this week. We’ve caught a lot of legal fish with some 18- to 23-inch trout mixed in. Trout have been on most of the regular spots in the sounds and on the beaches. Live shrimp and finger mullet under a popping cork have worked real good. When the little fish are biting, try a live mullet. The topwater trout bite has been good early and late afternoon. Redfish have been biting good with a lot of small ones and some 30-inch fish mixed in. The croaker and whiting bite is wide open, and they seem to be everywhere. A small piece of shrimp on the bottom works great. I caught my first tarpon of the year June 19. They should get plentiful over the next few weeks. Sharks are everywhere, with big ones near the ocean and little ones in the rivers.”

Nearshore & Offshore:
Capt. Newlin reports, “I have had some real good offshore trips in June. The bottom fishing is wide open. We’re catching a lot of big sea bass, trigger fish and snapper. Some big amberjack, kings and barracuda have been on the artificial reefs. We have eight days of snapper season in July. If you don’t have a boat, all the charters are booking up, so you need to make plans now. July tides look good for most of the month.” 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 a fish’s attention is to cast right into the school. The best thing I can suggest is you match the size of bait you use to the bait that the fish you are targeting are feeding on. Let’s start with Spanish mackerel, little tunny and jack crevalle. Their favorite meal is glass minnows and juvenile squid. Small silver spoons in sizes 0 and 00 made by Clark are the best. 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, 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. My favorite jig for cobia is called Cobia Candy. I like using the blue/white hair or chartreuse/white hair 3-oz. jig, which I rig with their signature white 8-inch plastic eel. 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, so give a cobia time to eat.”

Gulf Stream: Capt. Judy reports, “We Georgia fishermen have a blue-water bite year-round. Here’s a suggestion when going to the blue water during 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. The best high-speed lures are 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. Most blue-water fish have moved closer inshore while 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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