Georgia Saltwater Fishing Report – July 2022

GON Staff | June 30, 2022

Saltwater: Inshore: Capt. Judy Helmey, of Miss Judy Charters, reports, “For those inshore fishermen who just want to catch fish, purchase or catch live shrimp. Last month live shrimp were hard to come by. Our captains struggled to stay ahead of their bait need. Their two options were to purchase or catch their own live shrimp. Bait shops tried to stay ahead of the demand, and they do their best. Some other options when shrimp are low is to catch peanut menhaden, and the creeks are full of them. They can stay pretty healthy if you don’t try to keep too many alive in your bait tank at once. In the backs of creeks, there are schools of finger mullet, which are the perfect bite size for sure. The mud minnows, especially during these lean times for live shrimp, have really saved us. This bait can be caught using a minnow trap baited with bacon, cat food, saltines or even a small McDonald’s burger. Now what hits these improvised baits? The larger versions of spotted seatrout, flounder and redfish. When it comes to fishing with live shrimp, finger mullet, peanut menhaden or mud minnows there are several good presentations. There is the traditional adjustable float, which comes in all sizes from super large to mini sizes.  Also fish the ever-popular popping cork, which when popped makes a sound just like a fleeing live shrimp. The only downside to using this float is the length of the leader used restricts you to the depth of water fished. The leader shouldn’t be longer than 4 feet and can’t be shorter than 12 inches. Use this float when fishing in depths from 2 to 6 feet of water. Then there is fishing naked by just tying on a short leader to your main line and then tying on a small kahle hook. Then place the hook under the shrimp’s horn located on top of the head and let the shrimp make its own way. When it comes to using peanut menhaden, finger mullet or mud minnows, place the hook in the lip, dorsal fin area or near the nose or above the eyes. Your main goal when hooking the bait up is you want it to be able to swim as naturally as possible. Lots of sharks are being landed while fishing in the sounds, off the beach fronts, around surfacing schooling baits and while fishing all points east. Since it is my opinion that it is shark mating season time, it seems that they are a little more lively and offer a longer and stronger fight. As far as the tackle, it really doesn’t matter whether or not you are light-tackle fishing with smaller baits or heavy-tackle fishing with larger baits. The chances are very good for having a long, strong line-stretching fish fight. Best baits to use when shark fishing is just about anything you got on hand. I have caught them on shrimp, cut fish, whole live and whole dead fish. My No. 1 bait is a fish steak, which is any size fish cut up like a loaf of bread. Since sharks are free to roam any depth of the water column, fishing from the bottom to the surface are great areas to present your preferred bait.”  


Georgia Saltwater Fishing Page: Archived Articles and Fishing Reports

Offshore: Capt. Judy Helmey, of Miss Judy Charters, reports, “Our beachfronts and artificial reefs are holding some pretty interesting topwater catching opportunities. Topwater fish such as Spanish/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. Also cast right into the school of fish, and match the hatch with what you’re throwing. For Spanish mackerel, little tunny and jack crevalle, their favorite meals are glass minnows and juvenile squid. Small silver Clark spoons are the best to use and do a darn good job of imitating the real thing. When targeting the larger fish such as king mackerel and barracuda, the best spoon for this job is a 3 1/2-inch Drone. And if you really want to get a barracuda’s attention, try using a dead/live Spanish mackerel. The secret when using a fresh dead Spanish mackerel is to pick the fish that looks the shiniest. And last, but certainly not least, I suggest always having a Cuda tube on board. On most occasions this is the lure that will trigger a strike even when the fish are not hungry. Cuda tubes come in all colors from green to red to yellow.  My favorite, and the fish’s too, at least when trolled behind the Miss Judy Too, is green. This is a great time of the year to target the ever-popular cobia. When targeting cobia, use a 6- to 8-inch diving plug or a hair jig tipped with a plastic eel/worm. If you happen to have some live bait in your well, anything from shrimp to small fish, they work like a charm on the old cobia. It’s this fish’s delight to look it over before sucking it down. The secret is to give them time to eat. At the Savannah Snapper Banks, you can find blue-water fish. This live-bottom area, which is located about 30 miles off Georgia’s coast, will hold anything from  billfish, tuna, mahi mahi and yahoo wahoo! Heck, you could catch these fish at any of the artificial reefs. Also at the Banks, you could catch anything from grouper to red snapper to cobia to amberjack to all kinds of bottom fish. Before heading out, give and look see.  Genuine red snapper is closed at this time. However, it has been posted that our genuine red snapper keeping days are officially Friday July 8, 2022 and Saturday July 9, 2022.  You are allowed to keep one of any size snapper per day.  I suggest if you are fishing offshore whether it is at the artificial reefs or all the way out to the blue waters of the Stream, that you should have a copy of these rules and regulations on your boat. Please always check for any new posted rules and regulations.”

Blue Water: Capt. Judy Helmey, of Miss Judy Charters, reports, “Start high-speed trolling in about 50 feet of water and pull lure or lures until you pull the throttles back. The best high-speed lures are If dragging and soaking baits doesn’t work, give bottom fishing a try. The fish that feed deep down under are bigger and better than you think during this time. As far as best bottom live baits, try menhaden, sand perch, ruby red lips, vermilion snapper, pinfish or blue runners. Actually any hardy live bait will work. You can catch your own with a sabiki rig. As far as great bottom bait, cut a belly strip from one of those just caught topwater fish in your cooler. If you don’t want to use bait, there is always jigging, which is very effective in deeper water. Use a 5- to 8-oz. Benthos jig on braided line. I like using 80-lb. test braided line. I suggest adding 4 to 8 feet of 60- to 80-lb. monofilament or fluorocarbon leader to the main line. These jigs are made for high-speed vertical jigging. Drop the jig to the bottom. If you are not hooked up, reel your jig about 10 feet up off the bottom and work it vertically at that depth. If you don’t have any luck, drop back to the bottom and repeat, changing depths worked. There is another way to make the best out of the art of jigging.  Once locating the fish on your finder, drop your jig to that depth. Once you have positioned your jig at this depth, jig it in place. Try these:”

Miss Judy’s Books For Sale: Capt. Judy Helmey says, “It has been 30 years since I published ‘My father The Sea and Me!’ A lot has happened, many have passed and many are a whole lot older. There is one thing time can’t erase, especially in this book, things that happened in the past. I invite you to read about the things that happened before 1992. The cost is $25 (plus tax, postage, and shipping). I have a case left of these books. I am in the process of publishing a second printing. The second book is called ‘Kicking Fish Tail Since 1956! Inshore Fishing Techniques presenting Old School Tools!’ This book’s information has been proven over and over again by fish and fishermen. Daddy started honing these techniques in 1948. My father was an excellent fisherman both inshore and offshore. I was lucky enough to have a father who wanted to teach his daughter how to catch fish. In other words, he skipped fishing and moved me right into to catching status. The cost is $25 (plus tax, postage, and shipping). To purchase books, you can call 912.897.4921 or email [email protected]. What other books are coming late 2022? ‘Captain Judy Says The Darnest Things’ and ‘Captain Judy’s Complete Old School Offshore How To Book’ that covers from the sound to the blue waters of the Gulf Stream.”

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