Georgia Saltwater Fishing Report – May 2022

GON Staff | April 29, 2022

Saltwater: Inshore: Capt. David Newlin reports, “The water has warmed up to the low 70s. We seem to have a real good shrimp crop, which usually means good fishing. May is usually a really good trout catching month. The trout will be moving out into the sounds as they are getting ready to start spawning. A live shrimp under a slip cork will catch trout. Oyster shell mounds are good places to start. Some mud flats and points will hold trout. When you catch one, fish the area thoroughly before moving on. There should be more fish in the area. By late May, the topwater trout bite should be getting started. MirrOlures, Zara Spooks, in red and white or silver, work for me. The topwater bite is usually best the first hour and last hour of daylight. Usually we catch some of the biggest trout of the year in May on topwater plugs. Redfish should be biting through the month of May. They will be in the open water and way up in the small creeks. Trees, oyster shells and any structure in small creeks can hold a school of redfish. Some places are good on outgoing and others are good on incoming tides. Try different tides until one works. Black drum should be in the same places as redfish. They both love live shrimp. The whiting bite has been really good and should continue on into summer. As the water warms up, the small sharks can become a real nuisance. By late May  whiting will get real thick on the beaches. Any small breaks in the bottom usually hold whiting. Big blacktip sharks will be cruising all along the beaches next month. A piece of fresh fish under a noisy popping cork will usually work. Chumming will usually help. Shrimp boats can have a lot of sharks around them. Stay out of their way when they are working. When they pick up their nets, get behind them. If the water is clear, you should see sharks. With the big blacktips, expect big jumps and some tough fights. May should be a good month of fish catching. Get a bucket of shrimp and go fishing.” Capt. David got in the boat with GON’s Daryl Gay last month. To see the results, flip over to page 42.

Georgia Saltwater Fishing Page

Capt. Judy Helmey reports, “During this time, live shrimp can be caught holding on mud banks, deeps holes, backs of creeks and at the bait shops. By the time this month rolls around, the spotted seatrout bite is joined up with the flounder bite. Live shrimp under an adjustable float or popping cork works like a charm. However, if you are wanting to get your bait closer to the bottom, but not right on it, an adjustable cork will do just that. If it’s artificial lures that you are looking to work instead, use Berkley Gulp! Alive! baits, which come in all sizes and shapes. For those who just want to go fishing, give bottom fishing in the sound a try. The whiting bite has been pretty good and should continue well into June. Bottom fish around mud and sandbars in 10 to 30 feet of water. Whiting can be found in shallow and deeper water. Fish every chance you can, not letting the tides be your guide. However, whiting can bite better with the least amount of current. Therefore the two hours before until the two hours after the tide turns is going to be the optimum time to get your best bite. Whiting love small pieces of shrimp fished directly on the bottom.  This is the only fish that I know that peels its shrimp before eating them. Peel some just to see how that bite goes. If you get a bite and miss it, reeling in and finding a shrimp shell on your hook is a common thing. When the bite slows, change your bait. Sometimes using small pieces of fish will turn the bite back on. Heck, if that doesn’t work, put fish and shrimp on the hook at the same time. Fish for whiting with a Carolina rig with the appropriate size egg sinker that will hold your bait on the bottom and a small, thin-tinned hook. It will be up to you whether or not you want to use a circle or kahle-style hook. I mostly use a small circle, size No. 2 (or smaller) thin-tinned hooks when targeting whiting. Specifically I use Eagle Claw circle L197 hooks when targeting whiting.”

Artificial Reefs: Capt. Judy Helmey reports, “The bottom fishing can be very good this time of the year at the artificial reefs. Best bottom baits are cut squid and filet of fresh fish. You can catch black sea bass, trigger fish, summer trout, flounder and other bottom biters. Any small fish that you catch, lip hook them on a beefed-up Carolina-style rig and send them right to the bottom. With live bait, you can catch large king mackerel to a big gag grouper to cobia. Grouper season opens May 1 and goes through Dec. 31, 2022. As far as topwater bite, the Spanish mackerel have arrived. You might not see them, but they are here. Best places to troll are going to be over and around structure.  For those fishermen who don’t want to troll lures, pitch spoons or any sort of glass or cigar minnow imitators over and around the structure. If you happen to see a few Spanish catching air, work the area while pulling small to medium Clark spoons at different depths. You could also find yourself catching king mackerel, barracuda or little tunny. May is cobia month. Best live baits are juvenile black fish, pinfish, cigar minnow, Spanish sardines, peanut menhaden, live shrimp and eels. If the live stuff doesn’t trigger a bite, be prepared with some sort of artificial bait. My go-to artificial is a green/white or blue/white 3-oz. jig, and I thread on a white eel or some sort of trailing soft artificial bait. This bait in most cases brings on a hit whether the fish is hungry or not. If a cobia comes to your boat, swims around and won’t take any of your bait offering, cast the jig out in front of the fish and let it free fall for about 10 feet. Then work it in an upward/downward motion.”

Savannah Snapper Banks: Capt. Judy Helmey reports, “For gag and scamp grouper, use nervous baits like live cigar minnows or Spanish sardines, which are easily caught on just about any type of gold-hook sabiki rigs. Another method for getting a solid grouper bite is by jigging. Drop to the depth where the fish are holding and then work your jig by raising and dropping your rod. As far as topwater fishing at the Banks, anything goes from king mackerel to mahi mahi.”

Blue water fishing: Capt. Judy Helmey reports, “Water temperatures to the west of the Gulf Stream are still cooler, meaning the edge is still strong. The best ways to find fish is to locate any temperatures breaks. Go to for free online sea surface temperature charts. The dolphin bite is normally the best during this month. You can catch them pulling small- to medium-rigged baits right on the surface. For those who don’t want to rig ballyhoo, pull birds with artificial squid in tow. My favorite in-tow artificials are No Alibi Dolphin Delight lures. It is a great lure that doesn’t have to be rigged with any sort of bait. I pull them about 3 feet behind my birds. Once you find a school of dolphin, stop and pitch to them. You can use small jigs with screw tails, squid on a hook, cut ballyhoo on a hook or you use small live baits.”

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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