Georgia Saltwater Fishing Report September 2012

GON Staff | August 29, 2012

Saltwater: Inshore: Capt. Judy Helmey reports, “The temperatures are still hot, but there is a subtle change that takes place in September. All fish are basically put on notice that fall patterns are pending. Just the fact that daylight is a couple of minutes shorter makes all the difference to those down under. This is not the month for migrations, it’s the month for feeding on everything that is available. Spotted seatrout, redfish and flounder might feed at different times of the tides; however, all of them like live shrimp. The bottom line is you can serve it up anyway you like from naked with or without any sort of leader or weight or under popping or adjustable floats. Here is the secret to the fish’s bite in September—once you get the bite going, it’s easy to change your bait. For instance, if you start using live shrimp and they all happen to die or you run out your best bet, then is to change over to any leftover parts from previous hits and/or start using DOA shrimp patterns. The DOA shrimp patterns work like a charm. Here’s tip: When using pre-rigged DOAs, meaning when they are purchased with hook and balance weight, I suggest removing weight and hook. Then I suggest taking a 2/0 to 3/0 kahle hook and hooking the shrimp up like you do the real deal. Since you want the DOA to look as natural as possible you would need to place the hook in the mid ship of the shrimp. Once it’s balanced on the hook’s bend, it become the prefect waving bait in the current under a popping cork or a adjustable float. The best colors are root beer, clear gold glitter, clear chartreuse tail and golden cherry red. I suggest using 1/4-inch DOA shrimp patterns. Another secret is to drop a few DOAs into the livewell. I call this ‘adding juice appeal.’” Capt. Greg Hildreth, reporting from the Golden Isles area, said the inshore fishing has been very good for this time of year with big numbers of small trout just under the slot mixed with enough keepers to make some great trips and plenty of fish to take home. “I’ve been getting most of my trout in and around the sound areas in 3 to 5 feet of water fishing live shrimp under popping floats. When the action gets really good, I have been changing over to DOA shrimp in the glow color and catching bigger fish. The big bull redfish should be showing anytime now and will be near the shoals and breaker for a few months.”

Nearshore: Capt. Hildreth reports, “The tarpon fishing has been wide open for the past few weeks. If the tropical weather will stay away, the ‘poons’ should give us until mid September. I’ve been getting most of my fish on pogies fishing under a float or just freelined. I’ve taken a few fish with baits on the bottom, but it is hard to stay away from the sharks like that.

Offshore: Capt. Judy reports, “September for us offshore fishermen is ‘snag a gag month.’ This just means the grouper bite is better because things are cooling down causing more movement. This month all grouper such as gags, scamps and red grouper are more likely to be up and about. Best places to look for one of these fish are the live-bottom ledges at the Savannah Snapper Banks. I like to call them fishing cities, which are small areas that hold all types of fish from small to large at all depths. These are basically ledges that are surrounded by sand. Best baits are going to be live cigar minnows, Spanish sardines, which can be caught with Sabiki gold-hook rigs schooling over the structure at the artificial reefs. These baits are known for triggering a serious grouper bite. However, a bigger fish sometimes wants bigger bait. Baits caught at the banks are normally those fish that have air bladders such as sand perch, rock bass, vermilion snapper, pin fish and ruby red lips. Before putting one in the livewell, I suggest deflating the air bladder with sharp-point knife. These baits will also bring on big-time grouper bite. As far as the topwater bite, we have catching king mackerel nearshore at the Savannah River Channel, artificial reefs and at the Savannah Snapper banks. Best bait when targeting this fish is the liveliest possible. Blue runners, Spanish sardines, Spanish mackerel and cigar minnows are just some of the good live-bait choices. During this time it’s not unusual to catch Mahi Mahi while bottom fishing. They are curious fish, and they will swim right to the boat. Just take your weight off your bottom rig, loosen your drag and float your squid or cut fish right to the circling Mahi Mahi. While doing this, throw a few pieces of bait over the side. If they are hungry, this will really get them going. Once these fish turn on their feeding lights, they will suck this bait in just like most of us do when chocolate is involved. If there is more than on one Mahi Mahi, leave the last fish caught in the water until the next fish is hooked up.”

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