Georgia Saltwater Fishing Report October 2012

GON Staff | September 26, 2012

Saltwater: Inshore: Capt. Greg Hildreth reports, “The fishing around the Golden Isles area has been great these past few weeks, and with fall weather coming the inshore and nearshore fishing is going to be great. The big bull redfish are starting to show on the bars and shoals near St. Simons and Jekyll Island, and in October the big fish will be more plentiful. The method I like to use on these fish is fresh cut mullet or if I can get fresh-caught pogies. I like my baits on the bottom using circle hooks with an 80-lb. leader. I like to use medium-heavy tackle, so I can get these big fish to the boat quickly and not stress them too much. I will anchor my boat in 4 to 7 feet of water as close to the shoals as safely possible and cast my baits into the turbulent waters of the shoals. If I don’t have any action, I will re-anchor a few hundred yards down the bar and try again. The inshore fishing for trout has been very good all summer with large catches of undersized trout, but by October most of these short fish will be legal size. I have been getting my trout in the sound and at the creek mouths. I have been getting most of my fish using live shrimp, but they are also hitting Bomber Badonk-A-Donks in the SS model and just about all colors. I have also been getting them to eat a DOA shrimp under a popping float. All the signs are pointing to a great fall.” Capt. Judy Helmey said to look for these bull reds, “where currents come together forming some sort of a rip. Not all rips will hold the interest of fish. Here are a few suggestions: Always looks for any surface oils sometimes referred to as cat paws. If there are any birds feeding, always check out the size and type of the seabirds. If it’s pelicans only, what you most likely have down under is schools of menhaden only, meaning no bigger fish are feeding there. However, if you have pelicans as well as other small sea birds, then you have a possible big feeding frenzy going on down under. This would be your sign to fish. When anchored in areas around live oyster beds, I suggest using small, adjustable floats with about 12 inches of 30- to 40-lb. test fluorocarbon leader with either semi-circle or a standard 2/0 to 3/0 kahle-style hook. Lip hook live mullet or peanut menhaden, and hook live shrimp under the horn. If live bait isn’t an option, there are plenty other baits that will work, such as dead, old or fresh smelly mullet cut in steaks like a loaf of bread.” Capt. Bob Barnette reports, “There is plenty of bait to be had at the local marinas, but you can bring your cast net and catch your own bait shrimp. The places I like the best are the mouths of small feeder creeks and the edges of mud bars. The larger trout will group up along the oyster bars and the mouths of the creeks during the last of the incoming and the first of the outgoing. A standard float rig with a live shrimp is my choice of weapon. If you target schools of redfish, then the edges of the marshes that have shell content in them or nearby are the places to look. Once you find the area, keep in mind these schools are chasing baitfish and move up and down the shoreline. If they are spooked by your boat arrival, they may leave but should return. I like to fish with a float in the edge of the grass with my bait on the bottom. Dead shrimp, cut mullet, live mud minnows and live shrimp all work well.”

Capt. Judy reports, “When it comes to offshore fishing during this time, lots of different bites can happen in the most unusual places as fish start their fall migration patterns. With moving on the mind, all fish have to bulk up as fast as they can, which boils down to major feeding times all of the time. Nearshore artificial reefs and natural live-bottom areas will hold lots of different-sized bottom and topwater fish. For those fishermen who want to get some big bottom fishing action, I suggest filling the livewell before reaching the fishing grounds. The best place to stop to load up on bait is wrecks located at the artificial reefs in 55 plus feet of water. Gold hook sabiki bait rigs normally have six to eight small hooks, meaning lots of bait each time you drop. Always make sure to have at least a dozen bait rigs in the tackle box, because once hooked up, large fish can attack. When this starts happening, move away to another spot. The best live baits are cigar minnows, Spanish mackerel, Boston mackerel and any others that are hanging with the school. I suggest fishing in 100 feet (Savannah Snapper Banks) to 200 feet (edge of Gulf Stream) of water over any broken live bottom with ledges. Drop your lip- or dorsal-hooked bait to the bottom, and hang on for a grouper-biting affair. You will also catch cubera snapper, amberjack, vermilion snapper, amberjack, white grunts, porgy and etc.”

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