Georgia Saltwater Fishing Report – October 2017

GON Staff | September 28, 2017

Saltwater: Inshore: Capt. David Newlin reports, “We survived Irma, and the fish are biting. The redfish catches are the best I have seen in many years. Catching a limit of redfish has been a real easy project the last few weeks. Usually the month of October is one of the best three months of the year for fishing. The redfish of all sizes, from 14 inches to 60 pounds, should be biting. The smaller redfish should be all over the usual mud flats and oyster beds. A live shrimp, a Gulp grub and a whole bunch of lures will catch all the slot-limit reds you want to catch. Unlike some of the other fish, the redfish will stay shallow almost all winter. The monster reds should be all over the beaches and bars on the ocean side. Put a fillet of fresh mullet on a 10/0 circle hook on the bottom. Move every two hours until you find the big reds. On calm days, you can often see the schools of big reds off the beaches. Watch for any birds feeding on baitfish that are being chased to the surface. The trout bite should be good all of October. In October, the trout will start hitting artifical lures real good. The usual live-shrimp rigs will almost always work, but as the water starts cooling down, a green screwtail grub on a 1/4-oz. red jig head will catch a lot of trout. Right now, most of the trout are in the sounds. As the water cools, they will start moving up the rivers. A lot of rain water can keep the fish out of the bigger rivers due to low salinity levels. There should be a lot of black drum, flounder, whiting and sheepshead in the fish catches all month of October. If the good Lord will keep the hurricanes off our coast, October should be great fishing for most fish and outstanding fishing for redfish.” Capt. Bert Deener is featured in a story on page 46 about how he will target big bull reds on bucktails this month.

Offshore: Capt. Judy Helmey reports, “When it comes to offshore fishing during October, lots of different bites can happen in the most unusual places. The reason being is that this is the month where fish start their fall migration patterns. With moving on their minds, 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 start holding the attentions of lots of different-sized bottom and topwater fish. For those fishermen who want to get some big bottom-fish 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. Our bait populations have made a serious comeback. It has been a while since there were yellow buoys marking the offshore artificial reefs. When these buoys were in place, they held the interest of all types and sizes of baitfish. Spanish sardines and cigar minnows, as well as other worthy right-sized baits usually school up over any sort of high-relief structure. Making sure that you have GPS coordinates for all structures on the artificial reefs is a must. Some chart plotters already have the information loaded. In most cases, it’s easy to download all new additions to the reefs. However, I have found that not all spots are downloaded, and that there are always some coordinates missing. To make sure you have all the coordinates of Georgia’s offshore artificial reefs, I suggest going to This site also lists the inshore artificial reef locations, which is real good stuff. Gold-hook sabiki bait rigs normally have six to eight small hooks laced with fish skin. You can catch lots of bait each time you drop. Always make sure to have at least a dozen of these rigs because once hooked up, larger fish can attack. When this starts happening, I suggest moving to another spot. The best proven live baits are cigar minnows, Spanish sardines, Boston mackerel, pinfish, ruby red lips and any others that are hanging with the school. Some fishermen prefer to also take along frozen cigar minnow or Spanish sardines, which will also work. Bait shops normally stock both frozen cigar minnows and Spanish sardines, which both will work just fine. My suggestion is to purchase frozen Spanish sardines over cigar minnows. The sardines are cheaper and will bring on the absolute same bite. I suggest keeping this bait frozen as long as you can, only taking a few out of your cooler at a time. They will stay on your hook much better on the drop to the bottom.  When bottom fishing, 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 lipped or dorsal-hooked bait to the bottom, and hang on for a grouper. You could also catch cubera snapper, amberjack, vermilion snapper, amberjack, white grunts, porgy, etc. Check current regulations and closures before heading out.  Cobia and red snapper are closed. The best website to visit for current regulations is”

Gulf Stream: Capt. Judy Helmey reports, “During the spring when the waters to the west are much cooler than the Stream, a great edge is formed.  This edge is where larger fish feed on the smaller fish. This happens again in the late fall. Now is the time to keep an eye on the surface temperatures, and when the cooling event starts, it will be time to do some serious blue-water fishing. Please remember you can get free temperature readings from They also offer for sale a fine set of blue-water charts.”

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