Georgia Saltwater Fishing Report – June 2023

GON Staff | May 24, 2023

Saltwater: Inshore: Capt. David Newlin reports, “May has been a good month for trout, redfish and flounder. June is usually a good fishing month for big fish, small fish and about everything. Trout have been all over the sounds and the larger bodies of water. They will be all over the sounds and out on the beaches in June. Live shrimp are usually the best bait for trout in the summer. Topwater plugs work early in the morning. The flounder bite is hot and should be good all June. Get on the shallow shell flats and fish a shrimp or polywog minnow under a cork just off the bottom. Around 2 feet of water has been real good lately. Redfish are in all the usual places. Look for them chasing bait early and late on the shallow marsh flats. Every day the sharks are getting thicker. Big bonnetheads are on a lot of flats. They are hard fighters on light tackle and are great eating. Throw a shrimp in front of one and hang on. The big sharks should be here all over the place by the first of June. Fish some fresh fish on a cork or on the bottom. Check regulations before keeping a shark. They are complicated. June should be a good month.”

Capt. David Newlin fished in Ossabaw Sound on May 23, 2023 and found a good trout bite, including this 26-incher caught by a client. They caught around 25 trout, several redfish, two flounder and five black drum, all on live shrimp.

Capt. Judy Helmey of Miss Judy Charters reports, “Inshore fishermen get to go into the spotted seatrout, redfish, flounder, sheepshead, black drum, shark, Spanish mackerel and cobia watching  and catching mode. This would be the month to bring out the cast net and catch your own bait. Inshore fishermen can leave the dock without bait because peanut menhaden, finger mullet and mud minnows are available, as well as plentiful. As far as live shrimp, we can only hope that this population gets stronger. Fishermen as of last month had little options in the purchasing and catching of live shrimp. I suggest always checking with the local baits shops to see if they have been carrying live shrimp. If so, then most likely you can catch some with the cast net. The best way to be prepared in the event you can’t purchase or catch any live shrimp is to have on board artificial shrimp patterns and assorted color screwtails. These styles of artificial baits work great when rigged on jigs, cast into place and retrieved slowly. It seems when it comes to working artificial baits, all fishermen have a signature pattern move they prefer to use. Mine goes like this: I cast into place and let my bait fall through the water column. Once it hits the bottom, I wait a few seconds, reel a few turns, wait, twitch it a bit, and then slowly retrieve. What does twitching do? It causes a small but noticeable mud storm. This in turn brings on the attentions of fish. When something dead/fake or alive moves near the bottom, it produces one heck of a calling trail. All of the live baits will work under traditional adjustable floats or popping corks, Carolina-style rigs or fishing just plain naked. In our area, peanut menhaden, mud minnows, yellow tail, finger mullet and croaker makes for great baits. These work when live shrimp is not available. For those fishermen who want to use artificial lures, please pick up an assortment of different colors of Strike King soft jerkbaits. We like the baby-bass color rigged weedless on a 3/0 worm hook or threaded on 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. Berkley Gulp Alive! is a great soft artificial bait that comes in many forms. These baits will work rigged on jig heads or under corks. It works whether it is in its original shape or not. After this bait is destroyed, I have taken the left-over parts, sliced the pieces up, dropped them back in the sauce to marinate and used them while bottom fishing. In this case the secret is really in the sauce. During this month, the inshore shark populations are plentiful. The best bait during this time is bluefish fillets/chunks 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. Whole, fresh caught whiting also make a great shark bait. When using this bait, I suggest scaling the body 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. All I have to say now is to make sure you have plenty of line and a fisherman or two strong enough to reel them in. We are now offering inshore and offshore shark fishing trips.”

Nearshore: Capt. Judy Helmey of Miss Judy Charters 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 to 15 feet behind 2-oz. trolling sinkers or small planers. And if you find yourself surrounded by surface-holding Spanish mackerel, you can stop and pitch your most favorite small lure. Just about anything will work as long as it is shiny and matches the hatch. The king mackerel bite will get hot and heavy. The best artificial bait is the Drone spoon pulled 5 to 7 knots behind deep-running planers. I like using at least 30 feet of leader between the Drone spoon and the planer. You can fish live baits on Duster skirt rigs with stinger hooks in tow. Best live baits are going to be the nervous baits, Spanish sardines, cigar minnows or any small shiny bait that can move up/down quickly in the water column. King mackerel like bling, so give them what they want.”

Georgia Saltwater Fishing Page: Archived Articles, News and Fishing Reports

Savannah Snapper Banks: Capt. Judy Helmey of Miss Judy Charters reports, “The 2023 catching season so far has not let us down with fishermen catching lots of cobia around buoys, artificial reefs and at the Savannah Snapper Banks. 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 old-time favorite. To add to this already good-catching time, grouper, vermilion and black bass catching seasons are open. As far as baits for grouper, I suggest using a large live fish. Back in the old days before the exploding red snapper populations, I would have suggested cigar minnows, Spanish sardines, small vermilion snapper or sand perch. If any of these baits listed are your favorites, I am sure that a red snapper will eat them before they hit the bottom. At this time, we are not aware of the dates of the 2023 snapper season. I will keep you posted in my July month report. I have been focusing on catching large vermilion, bluefish and porgies when targeting big grouper. Use a Carolina-style rig. The leader used can be as short as 6 feet and as long as 30 feet. When using this style, I suggest a 12/0 to 14/0 circle hook. This type of rig allows your bait quite a bit of swimming freedom, which brings in the attentions of a larger fish bite. When using very large live baits, you will have a better chance not hooking up a genuine red snapper, which will give the large-mouthed gag grouper a better biting chance. When using a single- or double-hook bottom rig, I suggest using live/fresh dead cigar minnows or Spanish sardines. These baits are known for triggering a bite, meaning fish strike quick and strong. 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, you 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. Please know that when fishing for any fish listed under the snapper-grouper complex, you must use circle hooks. Go to for all current federal regulations and details. Please know there have been some changes in regards to bottom fishing. When visiting this site, go to regulations and then to best fishing practices.”

Blue Water: Capt. Judy Helmey of Miss Judy Charters reports, “This is the time of the year when 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 wander to. 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 baitfish to school. While these fish are feeding near the surface, the sea birds with their keen eyesight are picking up the leftovers. The large and mighty wahoo will also make its way into the green zone. Normally a large wahoo is accompanied by a yellow bill tropical bird or some sort of fast unusual looking seabird. If you happen to see a single bird diving fast and then making erratic air moves, it is most likely mimicking the movement down under of a large feeding wahoo.” 

A yellow bill tropical bird often gives away the location of a wahoo just under the surface.

“I have caught some nice 100-lb. wahoo while putting this knowledge to work. All you have to do when you find yourself in this target-rich environment is to let the bird that is watching the fish’s movement lead you. I always presented 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 the 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. Just like old times, we are once again offering blue-water bottom fishing and trolling trips.”

Become a GON subscriber and enjoy full access to ALL of our content.

New monthly payment option available!


Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.