Georgia Saltwater Fishing Report – June 2024

GON Staff | May 29, 2024

Saltwater: Inshore: Capt. Judy Helmey of Miss Judy Charters reports, “June means inshore fishermen get to fish for 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. Inshore fisherman can leave the dock without bait because peanut menhaden, finger mullet and mud minnows are plentiful. As far as live shrimp, as the warm temps warm, this population gets stronger. Fishermen as of last month had limited options in purchasing and catching live shrimp. Check with the local bait shops to see if they have been carrying live shrimp. If so, then most likely you can catch some with the cast net. If you can’t purchase or catch any live shrimp, have some artificial shrimp patterns and assorted color screw tails on board. These styles of artificial baits work great when rigged on jigs and retrieved slowly. I cast into a place and let my bait fall. Once it hits the bottom, I wait a few seconds, reel a few turns, wait, twitch it a bit and then slowly retrieve. All live baits (shrimp, mud minnows, finger mullet) will work under traditional adjustable floats, popping corks, Carolina rigs or just plain naked. For those fishermen who want to use artificial lures, pick up an assortment of different colored Strike King soft jerkbaits. One of my favorite colors is baby bass. However, this bait comes in many grand two-tone colors. Let your personal color chart be your guide. These baits work well rigged weedless on 3/0 worm hooks or threaded onto 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 another 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. During the month of June, the inshore shark populations are plentiful and hungry. The best bait during this time is bluefish filets/chunks or whiting steaks. It’s best to use these baits the same day they are caught. Whole, fresh whiting also make a great shark bait. When using this bait, I suggest scaling and cutting the tail off below the anus hole. Removing the tail from this section allows the bait to remain alive and kick longer. The removal of the scales helps you get a more solid hook-up, especially when a softer bite is delivered. A fresh fish head used as bait will deliver a much longer scent. However, only a large fish would be interested in eating this. My father used to always say, ‘The larger the bait, the bigger the bite!’ In this case, it’s true. All I have to say now is 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. June is mackerel catching time. For Spanish mackerel, all you need is a small 0 or 00 Clark spoon. These spoons work great being pulled 5 to 10 feet behind a 2-oz. trolling sinker or small, 1- and 2-inch planers. If you find yourself surrounded by surface-holding Spanish, you can stop and pitch your most favorite small-size lure. Just about anything will work if it’s shiny and matches the hatch. The king mackerel bite will get hot and heavy. The best artificial bait is a Drone spoon pulled 5 to 7 knots behind deep-running planers. I like using at least 30 feet of leader between the spoon and the planer. Fish live bait on Duster skirts with stinger hooks in tow. Best live baits are going to be the nervous baits, such as Spanish sardines, cigar minnows or any small, shiny bait that can move up and down quickly in the water column.”

Capt. David Newlin reports, “May inshore fishing on the Georgia coast has been produced good fish catching, not just fishing. The trout bite has been hot with a lot of big fish in the mix. Water temp on May 20 was 77 degrees in most places I fished. The freshwater coming out of the Ogeechee River has finally slowed down, and salinity levels are back to normal. Shrimp are plentiful this spring, which is good for almost all the fish. Bait supplies are good. Trout should be all in the sounds the whole month of June. If you don’t know the popular spots, get a Georgia DNR fishing map and get started with the spots it has marked. Most of the better spots have oyster shells and drop-offs near them. It takes years of fishing to figure the tides out on the Georgia coast. Go out on low tide to try and locate fishing spots. The best way to catch trout in June is always with a live shrimp under a cork. Topwater plugs work early in the morning. MirrOlures are my favorite in red and white. You need to go early. The topwater bite is usually over  by 8. The redfish bite will go right on through June. They will be in the sounds and way up in the creeks. Usually we don’t find big concentrations in the summer months. Expect to catch a couple and move on. A shrimp under a cork will usually work. A lot of times I will throw a big shrimp on a weedless hook with nothing else and drag it in real slow. You should see some redfish shallow early and late in the day. The flounder bite is getting better every day. Fish a shrimp under a slip cork just a few inches off the bottom. When you find one, there should be a few more close-by. Flounder can be from 1 foot deep to 10 feet. Look for oyster shells on muddy bottoms. Big sharks have shown up already in a lot of places. Around the shrimp boats they are thick. They should be all over the beaches next month. A 10/0 circle hook and a piece of fresh fish should be all it takes. June should be a good month all the way around. Beware of the online charter boat scams. I see people getting burned all the time. If you can’t speak directly to your boat captain, don’t book the trip.”

Georgia Saltwater Fishing Page

Offshore: Capt. Judy Helmey reports, “Since the May cobia bite has been a little slow, we are thinking June is going to be the month that changes everything. Cobia love schooling and feeding around buoys and over wrecks. Cobia will follow turtles, whales, sharks, ocean sunfish and manta rays. The best baits for cobia are eels under beefed-up adjustable floats or Carolina-style rigs. Live prawn shrimp is an old-time favorite. Even a fresh, dead prawn shrimp threaded onto a hook is a head turner for a cobia. However, some fishermen will not head out until they have caught some live menhaden. Make plans to use live or fresh dead menhaden as bait. We have been catching grouper, vermilion, black sea bass, triggerfish, porgy, banded rudder fish, amberjack, almaco jacks, as well as other biters. As far as baits for grouper, use live fish on the bottom, such as cigar minnows, Spanish sardines, vermilion snapper, menhaden or sand perch. When using small vermillion snapper, sand perch or rock bass, use a Carolina rig. The leader can be as short as 6 feet and as long as 30 feet. When using this style, use 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 attention of a larger fish bite. When using a single- or double-hook bottom rig, use 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, fish 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.”

Blue Water: Capt. Judy Helmey reports, “This is the time of the year when mahi mahi and wahoo go into wandering mode. You could find yourself catching blue-water fish while fishing in green water. The Savannah Snapper Banks is a great place for blue-water fish. Mahi look for anything floating that provides 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. Normally a large wahoo is accompanied by a yellow billed 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. I have caught some nice 100-lb. wahoo while putting this knowledge to work. Let the bird that is watching the fish’s movement lead you. Present the bait ahead of the 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.”

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