Georgia Saltwater Fishing Report – November 2023

GON Staff | October 25, 2023

Saltwater: Inshore: Capt. David Newlin reports, “The redfish are as thick as I have ever seen them in my 42 years of fishing for a living. They have been from 13 inches to 48 inches all mixed up in the same places. Every trip this month, we have caught a bunch of redfish. Some days we have caught 75 plus. They are from the ocean to the freshwater line in the Ogeechee River. I have caught them in 6 inches of water to 25 feet. Almost every pile of oysters in the sound has a few around it. As always, a live shrimp is hard to beat. The trout bite has been good and getting better almost every day. The biggest problem has been finding a spot not covered in redfish. Very shortly the trout will start moving into some deeper water. When the water temps get into the mid 60s, the bite should get hot. As always, a slip-cork rig with a live shrimp is my go-to rig. I have been catching a lot of fish on artificial shrimp. Any brand will work, and lately a pink-colored one has worked for me. Throw it out and let it sink to the bottom and slowly retrieve it in 3- to 4-foot jerks. I have caught several really big redfish on this rig, too. Trout should be working their way up the rivers. By mid November, they should be way up the rivers, unless we get a lot of rain. Black drum have been showing up in good numbers mixed in with the redfish. The month of November should be really good fish catching. September, October and November are usually good months to go fish catching, not just fishing.”

Capt. Judy Helmey of Miss Judy Charters reports, “The secret to catching more inshore fish during this time is to use live shrimp as bait. Fish popping corks with 3- to 4-foot leaders. It’s best to put a shot weight about 1 foot above the hook because this helps keep the bait deep under the cork. When anchoring, use the larger versions of the traditional adjustable corks because it enables you to make longer drifts. The larger corks can be seen a farther distance, allowing you to be able to cover a lot more area without changing locations. When fishing in a cooler water situation, sound seem to travel farther. It seems the more you move, the longer you have to wait to see if there really is any sort of bite in the area. For those fishermen who want to use artificials, I like using 8-lb. test monofilament line with no leader. Here are a few artificial suggestions: DOAs rigged or not, Berkeley Gulps!, Strike King flukes and paddle tails. My favorite cold-water colors are electric chicken, baby bass, root beer and candy corn. Finally you can fish with just a hook, leader and bait. Two other hardy inshore baits this time of the year is the finger mullet and mud minnow. The inshore big bull trophy red population was strong in October, and the month of November is normally even better. These big fish love to school around anything that offers them a source of food. The deepest side of a creek or river mouth is going to be the best place to anchor. Fish a beefed-up Carolina rig with cutfish for bait. Use a shorter leader than you normally do. This application keeps you bait close to the bottom, which is where the redfish is looking to find its next meal. Back in the old days, we used finger mullet and steaks cut from larger ones for bait. Cut your mullet into steaks and let them air dry. This seals in the stinking juices. Once introduced back into the water, the sealed-in scents disperse. It worked then and it works now!”

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

Nearshore: Capt. Judy Helmey reports, “The bottom fishing at the artificial reefs located in 50 to 70 feet of water normally are holding black sea bass. Just about all structures on the reefs will hold fish. However, sometimes you must look before you find the bulk of the bottom fish. The best bait is going to be squid and cut fish. Artificial reefs L, CCA and J normally hold Spanish/king mackerel this time of year. We normally pull 2 1/2- to 3 1/2-inch Drone spoons for the kings and small to medium Clark spoons for the Spanish mackerel. Best trolling speed is 5 to 7 knots. For those fishermen who want to drift these areas with light tackle and live baits, this is a good time to go this route. Trophy redfish could also be caught while trolling, bottom fishing or live lining these areas. Please remember these fish are on the federally protected program list. You can catch them, but you can’t keep them. Please handle with care and released as soon as possible.”

Savannah Snapper Banks: Capt. Judy Helmey of Miss Judy Charters reports, “Gag grouper and red porgy will not open until May 1, 2024. Go to for the latest federal fishery details. If you want to talk to a live person about the regulations, please give call Kim Iverson, public information officer for South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, call 866-SAFMC-10. Red grouper and scamp grouper need to be 20 plus inches to keep. Best live baits when targeting grouper are small vermilion, pinfish, sand perch, bluefish and rock bass. Best rigs to use to catch these live baits are going to be sabiki gold-hook rigs. We have been catching baits in rips and over any sort of structure. During these times it is easier to find the bait because it normally is schooling in the upper water column near the structure. For those who don’t want to mess with catching bait, pick up a box of Spanish sardines and keep them frozen as long as you can so they stay on the hook better. You can catch menhaden in a cast net. Do not over fill your livewell. When there are leftovers, put them in a bucket and cover with salt water. This will keep their shine alive.”

Blue Water: Capt. Judy Helmey reports, “During this time, the edge between the cooler western waters and the continuously northern pushed warmer waters of the Stream is formed. Drag ballyhoo from small dinks to large horse size dressed in different colored skirts or rigged just plain naked with or without chin weights. For those fishermen who just want to drag the artificial stuff, cedar plugs that have been soaked in menhaden oil work. A Dolphin Delight works great pulled 4 feet behind any sort of bird. Best lures to pull are black/silver and blue/silvers Halcos. Back in the old days we pulled a black with orange bottom lure that was called Terminator and for good reason. Yo-Zuri Bonitos lures are great big-game trolling baits, and they have the new updated version of my old school bait.”

2024 Captain Judy’s Inshore/Offshore Fishing Clinics: Feb. 16-18, 2024. Inshore/offshore boats in the water. $200 per person for inshore; $200 per person for offshore. Trips 8 a.m. until 12 p.m. Miss Judy Charters dock, 202 Wilmington Island Road, Savannah, Ga. 31410. Call 912.897.4921 for more details. We will be offering classes on the water in the boats.

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