Georgia Saltwater Fishing Report June 2015

GON Staff | May 28, 2015

Saltwater: Inshore: Capt. David Newlin reports, “Summer is here in full swing. Water temperature was 80 degrees in Ossabaw Sound this morning. Big schools of pogies (menhaden) have been all over the surface the last few days. All the migrating fish will follow the schools of pogies. The trout bite is going good. The biggest problem has been finding some clear water. Find clear water, and you can find trout. All of my fish in recent days have been caught on live shrimp under corks and on the bottom. One of my better methods of catching trout in June is 1/4-oz. sinker with a 2-foot leader and a live shrimp. When the bait-thieving fish are bad, put a small mullet on this rig for big trout bites. The topwater trout bite will be in full swing shortly. Try a floating MirrOlure for the first hour after daylight. Usually the topwater bite is over by 8 in the morning. The redfish have been feeding in the shallow water early and late in the day. Try a Gulp Shrimp or swimming mullet on an unweighted weedless hook. Look for fish feeding in the marsh flats late in the afternoon. When the redfish are feeding aggressively, you can hear the fish before you can see them. We have been catching a lot of redfish with live shrimp in 2 to 4 feet of water. The redfish and trout bite should get better on into June.” Capt. Judy Helmey reports, “Inshore fishermen get to go into watch-and-catch mode for the spotted seatrout, redfish, flounder, sheepshead, black drum, shark, Spanish mackerel and cobia. This would be the month to bring out the cast net and catch your own bait. Peanut menhaden, finger mullet, mud minnows and shrimp are available as well as plentiful. All of these baits will work under traditional adjustable floats or popping corks, Carolina-style rigs or fished just plain naked. For artificial lures, pick up an assortment of different colors of Strike King soft jerkbaits. One favorite is baby bass. These baits work when rigged weedless on a 3/0 worm hook or threaded on to 1/8-oz. red, black or white jig heads. Cast them out, let them fall, and normally these lures never make it to the bottom before strikes happen. Another good inshore artificial soft bait is called Back Water Candy. They make an assortment of colors of screw tails, which are easily laced onto 1/8- to 1/4-oz. jig heads. This is an old-school-style screw tail.”

Nearshore: “The sharks are here by the hundreds,” said Capt. David Newlin. “We have been catching a lot of them. All over the sound, fishing a fresh piece of fish on the bottom will get a shark bite. The big sharks are still offshore and on the beaches. A lot of sharks are around the working shrimp boats. Rig a big noisy popping cork, and put a piece of fish 3 feet under it and hang on. This rig will also catch the occasional cobia that will show up while shark fishing. Any day now the biggest fish of the year will show up—tarpon. The Georgia coast is summer home to a lot of big tarpon. Over the next three months hundreds of tarpon will cruise the Georgia coast chasing the big schools of migrating baitfish. All the channels off the beaches will hold schools of tarpon at times. Usually if you can find the baitfish, you can find tarpon. Fish a live mullet or pogie under a float, and one on the bottom and hang on. All the nearshore reefs will be alive shortly with mackerel, cobia, barracuda, spadefish and a whole lot more. Anchor on the structure, and put out a chum bag and you can catch a variety of fish, put a live fish out on top and one with a little weight, some bottom rigs with squid and you will catch a variety of fish. June is a good time to catch little fish and big fish, you just need to go fishing.”

Capt. Judy Helmey reports, “This is the month offshore fishermen have been waiting for. Just about all fish that you can catch in the ocean will have arrived. Fishermen are catching lots of cobia around buoys, artificial reefs and Savannah Snapper banks. Best baits for cobia are eels under beefed-up adjustable floats or Carolina-style rigs. Live prawn shrimp is another favorite. Grouper, vermilion and black bass catching seasons are open. For grouper, I suggest using live fish on the bottom such as cigar minnow, Spanish sardines, vermilion snapper or sand perch. When using a single-hook bottom rig, I suggest using live or dead cigar minnows or Spanish sardines for grouper. These baits are known for triggering a bite, meaning they strike quick and strong. When using small vermillion snapper, sand perch or rock bass, I suggest using a Carolina-style rig. This type of rig allows your bait quite a bit of swimming freedom, which brings in the attentions of a larger fish bite. When targeting the larger species of vermilion snapper, I suggest the liveliest cigar minnows, Boston mackerel or Spanish sardines that you can catch. To catch bait, your will need to bring along more than one set of Sabiki gold hook rigs, which works great when dropping over any sort of structure at the artificial reefs. It’s also Spanish mackerel time. All you need is a small 0 or 00 Clark spoon to get this catching job done. The king mackerel bite will get hot and heavy. Best artificial baits are the ever-popular Drone spoon pulled at around 7 knots or live bait on rigs with stinger hooks in tow. In the blue water, this is the time of the year when dolphin, also known as Mahi Mahi, and wahoo go into the wandering mode. This means you could find yourself catching blue-water fish while fishing in green water. The Savannah Snapper Banks is a great place for these blue-water fish to wonder, too. Toward the middle of June, those fish that travel and feed near the surface show us the way. Mahi look for anything floating that provides any sort of shade, which makes for a great place for small bait fish to school. While these fish are feeding near the surface, the sea birds with their keen eye sight are picking up the leftovers. The large and mighty wahoo that corners like it is on rails will also make way into the green zone. Normally a large wahoo is accompanied by a yellow-bill tropical bird or some sort of fast seabird. If you happen to see a single bird diving fast and then making erratic air moves, it is most likely is mimicking the movement down under of a large feeding wahoo. During this time of the year, I normally keep larger baits such as red porgy and vermilion snapper in live well. My favorite rig was a beefed-up king mackerel rig using a single extra-heavy duty hook. It’s best to place the hook as near the tail section, but you want to make sure the bait can still swim somewhat normally.”

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