Georgia Saltwater Fishing Report – June 2022

GON Staff | May 26, 2022

Saltwater: Inshore: Capt. Judy Helmey reports, “This would be the month to bring out the cast net and catch peanut menhaden, finger mullet, mud minnows and shrimp. All of these baits will work under traditional adjustable floats or popping corks, Carolina-style rigs or just plain naked. For artificials, get an assortment of different colors of Strike King soft jerkbaits. One favorite is baby bass. Other proven colors are pearl blue glimmer, Arkansas shiner and smokey shad. These baits work rigged weedless on a 3/0 worm hook or threaded on 1/8-oz. red, black or white jig heads. Berkley Gulp Alive soft artificials work rigged on jig heads or under corks. Also try DOA artificial soft shrimp imitations. They come rigged with a keel weight for balance and are already threaded on to a hook. When using this bait for any sort of float fishing, remove the hook that the DOA comes rigged with, while leaving the keel weight in place. Then take a 2/0 khale hook and hook up the artificial shrimp as you do the real thing. The shrimp needs to be balanced on the bend of the hook. Once embedding the hook, give the lure a pull, enlarging the hook’s hole, allowing the currents to rock it more naturally. When using a DOA 2.75 under a popping cork, I suggest a 3- to 4-foot leader. For the leader material, I suggest 15- to 20-lb. fluorocarbon or clear monofilament. When using a popping cork, fish can hit on the immediate splash down to after using your personal popping sequence to an erratic free-style retrieving method. The inshore shark populations are plentiful. The best bait during this time is blue fish, yellowtail or whiting steaks. It’s best to use these baits the same day that they are caught. However, if you aren’t that lucky, then use what you have. Fresh cut fish such as this offers a smell that sharks are drawn to. A fresh drop of blood goes a long way! Whole fresh whiting also make a great shark bait. When using this bait, I suggest scaling and also cutting the tail off.  The removal of the scales helps you get a more solid hook-up, especially when a softer bite is delivered. With the tail removed, fresh scents are delivered at intervals, which keeps a scattered smell around your bait. The bigger piece of bait used normally does attract a much larger shark bite!”

Capt. David Newlin reports, “We have a good crop of brown shrimp coming along right now. The schools of pogies have shown up all over Ossabaw Sound. Yesterday on high tide the schools of pogies were all over the surface of the sound. The big trout bite has been really good all of May. A lot of 20- to 23-inch trout are being caught. The bigger trout on some days have been schooled up away from the smaller trout and other days they have been all mixed up. On my website I have posted several pictures of big trout we have caught recently, including several around 4 pounds. On several days, I have located a school of trout by watching for trout chasing bait on the surface. Moving 100 feet made the difference between no fish and a lot of fish. Live shrimp under a slip-cork rig is almost always my go-to trout catching rig. When the trash fish get real thick, try a small mullet, pogy or poly-wog minnow. Artificial shrimp fished about 2 feet deep under a fixed cork will sometimes get through the trash fish to the trout. The big lady fish have been really thick on a lot of days, a few are fun, dozens are a real pain. Try throwing topwater plugs the first hour of daylight for trout in June. This can produce a few really big trout. The redfish bite has been good all spring and should continue through June. In June, the redfish will scatter all over the sounds. Look for redfish chasing bait and feeding on the shallow mud flats on low tide and in the shallow open marsh flats on high tide. The shallow-water redfish are usually more active early and late in the day. Late afternoon has always been best for me about an hour before dark. Watch and listen for feeding fish. A big live shrimp rigged on a hook with a wire weed guard works good in the marsh. For the younger fishermen, wear your camos, long pants and a pair of tight shoes to keep the shells from cutting your feet. Get out of the boat in the marsh flats and hunt the redfish. With a little stealth you can wade really close to redfish. In June, don’t expect any monster redfish, but there should be plenty of 15- to 34-inch fish. June is a real good month for catching flounder. When the water warms into the 80s, the flounder seem to show up in good numbers. My better flounder catching is usually on the last half of the outgoing tide. Mud flats that are mixed with a lot of oyster shells are usually the better flounder spots. Float a shrimp just off the bottom under a slip cork. When you catch one, fish the area thoroughly. There usually are several more in the area. Big sharks are already here in good numbers. During June, the shark numbers should increase almost every day. Several different methods work for catching sharks. Anchoring in the sound and fishing fresh fish on the bottom is the usual method, and it usually works. Getting off the beaches and finding schools of pogies is a good way to locate the big blacktip sharks. When you locate a school of pogies, catch a couple dozen for bait. Rig up a big cork with a couple feet of wire and send a live or dead pogy into the school and hang on. Following the shrimp boats can produce some really big sharks. Make sure you give a working shrimp boat plenty of room. The best time is when they are pulling the nets in. Float a piece of fish under a cork behind the nets. If the water is clear, you should see sharks. A few tarpon will be here in June. Look for them off the beaches around the schools of pogies. The last couple weeks of June should see some tarpon activity. The online charter boat scams are alive and well again this year. I have already had over a dozen people looking for boat captains that we have never heard of. Another man had an email directing him to Richmond Hill and when no one showed up, he called and was told to go to Darien. I carried him the next day. He showed me his emails, and it was a well-designed con. Make sure you can talk directly to your boat captain and that he has a few years as a full-time guide under his belt.”

Georgia Saltwater Fishing Page

Nearshore: Capt. Judy Helmey reports, “June is mackerel catching time. For Spanish mackerel, all you need is a small 0 or 00 Clark spoon to get this catching job done. The spoons work great being pulled 10 feet behind 2-oz. trolling sinkers or small planers. I always keep No. 1, No. 2, and No. 3 planers on board so I can pull lures at different depths. If you find surface-holding Spanish, stop and pitch your favorite small lure. Just about anything will work, as long as it matches the hatch and it’s got some shine. The king mackerel bite will get hot and heavy. Best artificial bait is a 3 1/2-inch Drone spoon pulled at 5 to 7 knots behind deep-running planers. I like using at least 30 feet of leader between the Drone spoon and the planer. Best live baits are going to be the nervous baits; Spanish sardines, cigar minnows, or any small shiny bait that can move up and down quickly in the water column. King mackerel like bling!”

Offhore: Capt. Judy Helmey reports, “Fishermen are catching lots of cobia around buoys, artificial reefs and at the Savannah Snapper Banks. The best baits for cobia are eels under beefed-up adjustable floats or Carolina-style rigs. Believe it or not, but live prawn shrimp is another favorite. Cobia is open in state waters. Go to and make sure you are clear on where state waters end and federal waters begin. It can get a little confusing. Grouper, vermilion, amberjack, almaco jack and black bass seasons are open. Genuine red snapper is still closed to catch and release only but will open Friday, July 8 and Saturday, July 9, 2022. Go to for more details. As far as baits for grouper, I suggest using live fish on the bottom such as cigar minnow, Spanish sardines, vermilion snapper or sand perch. When using small vermillion snapper, sand perch or rock bass, I suggest using a Carolina-style rig. The leader used can be as short as 1 foot to as long as 30 feet. When using this style, I suggest a 7/0 circle hook. The Carolina-style rig allows your bait quite a bit of swimming freedom, which brings in larger fish. Please note that when targeting fish in the snapper/grouper species in the federal waters of the South Atlantic, things have changed! Gear Description: Allowable gear includes vertical hook-and-line, including hand line and bandit gear, and spearfishing gear without rebreathers. When fishing for or possessing snapper grouper species in federal waters of the South Atlantic, the following regulations apply: (1) Use of a dehooking tool is required. (2) The use of non-stainless steel hooks is required when using hook-and-line gear with natural baits. In waters North of 28-degrees N. latitude, the use of non-offset, non-stainless steel circle hooks is required when fishing for snapper grouper species using hook-and-line gear with natural baits. (3) A descending device is required on board all vessels and must be readily available for use (attached to at least 16 ounces of weight and at least 60 feet of line). When using a single- or double-hook bottom rig, I suggest using live/dead whole or cut cigar minnows or Spanish sardines. When targeting the larger species of vermilion snapper, fish the liveliest cigar minnow, Boston mackerel or Spanish sardine that you can catch. When fishing for any fish that are in the snapper/grouper complex, you must use circle hooks. I like 2/0, 3/0, 4/0 and 5/0. I like using Eagle Claw Lazer Sharp hooks. The upside is that they are thin tinned and very sharp, which means they work great when using live bait. The downside is this is not a hook that you can use over and over again. However, the values of this hook being able to get a quicker, as well as a more solid hook up, out weights the lack of longevity.”  

Blue Water: Capt. Judy Helmey reports, “This is the time of the year when mahi mahi and wahoo go into the wandering mode. The Savannah Snapper Banks is a great place for these bluewater fish to wander to. Mahi look for anything floating that provides any sort of shade and makes for a great place for small baitfish to school. While these fish are feeding near the surface, sea birds will be picking up the leftovers. 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 most likely is mimicking the movement down under of a large feeding wahoo. I always present the bait ahead of what I thought was this fish’s intended direction. During this time of the year, I normally keep larger baits such as red porgy and vermilion snapper in livewell. My favorite rig was a beefed-up king mackerel rig using a single extra-heavy-duty hook. It’s best to place the hook near the tail section, but you want to make sure the bait can still swim somewhat normally. Wahoo have a great nickname, which is Tail Cutter. It’s this fish’s goal to chop off the tail and then turn back for the spoils. Why not hook it up on the first pass?”

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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