Georgia Saltwater Fishing Report May 2012

GON Staff | April 26, 2012

Saltwater: Inshore: Good. Water temp is now in the high 60s and warming every day. “The action along the coast has really picked up over the last few weeks,” said Capt. Bob Barnette, “with sea trout over 2 pounds and one that was 5-lbs., 12-ozs. caught. Now that is a jumbo trout. The whiting bite has been outstanding with reports of large numbers being landed. Redfish action is spotty, but they are still here and eating. For those targeting the large trout, I suggest topwater plugs or live small mullet. Fish the live bait on a popping-style float, rigged as if fishing shrimp. All of the local marinas around Richmond Hill have live bait. For those who want to venture to deeper water, the cobia have started arriving and can be caught at the nearshore reefs. Live bait such as eel, large shrimp or small crabs work well. There have also been several tripletail seen along with one report of a tarpon.” Capt. Greg Hildreth reports, “The inshore fishing for speckled trout has been very good around the Brunswick and St. Simons Sound area for the past few weeks and should only get better as we go into May. I have been catching good numbers of fish that are barley undersized now and should be of legal size by mid to late May. I have been finding my trout at the mouths of creeks and around the sound area in 3 to 6 feet of water. Most all of the fish are being caught on live shrimp under a slip-float rig drifted down current over oyster beds or where the current is forming rips. Sight casting to tripletail has been very good for the month of April and should be great by May. With the mild winter this year, the fish moved up from the south early. I have been seeing 15 to 20 fish a trip, and these numbers should get ever bigger in mid May. The tripletail are being caught on live shrimp under a Paradise Popper Float by Bomber Salt Water Grade. From my float, I have a 15- to 20-inch piece of 20-lb. mono leader with a small No. 4 size Kahle style hook.” Capt. Judy Helmey reports, “Inshore fishermen get to go into the spotted sea trout, red fish, flounder, sheepshead, black drum, shark, Spanish mackerel and cobia ‘watch and catch 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, 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 fish just plain naked. For those fishermen who want to use artificial lures, pick up an assortment of different colors of Strike King soft jerkbaits. One favorite is baby bass, which is 3XZT00-55. These baits work rigged weedless on 3/0 worm hooks 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.”

Offshore: Capt Judy reports, “The month of June is what most offshore fishermen have been waiting for. And here’s why: Just about all fish you can catch in the ocean will have arrived. This 2012 catching season so far has not let us down. Fishermen are catching lots of cobia around buoys, artificial reefs and the Savannah Snapper banks. The best bait for cobia is an eel under beefed-up adjustable float or a Carolina-style rig. Live prawn shrimp is another 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 live fish on the bottom such as cigar minnow, Spanish sardines or sand perch. 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 work great dropped over wrecks located at the artificial reefs. For Spanish mackerel, 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, and the best artificial baits are the ever popular Drone spoon pulled at around 7 knots or live bait on thin-wire, stinger-hook rigs. This is also good time for catching blue-water fish at the Savannah Snapper Banks—tuna, dolphin, wahoo and billfish.”

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