Georgia Saltwater Fishing Reports – August 2020

GON Staff | July 31, 2020

Saltwater: Inshore: Capt. Judy Helmey reports, “Redfish, spotted seatrout, flounder, whiting and sharks can be caught just about anywhere while fishing the sounds and beachfronts. The best baits are going to be the lively ones, such as peanut menhaden, shrimp, mud minnows, finger mullet and small yellow tail. Most of these baits can be caught by you. The secret to casting and catching shrimp is to work the grassline as the shrimp first comes out on the falling tide and when they start heading back to the safety of the marsh on the rising tide. However, last month proved that live shrimp were hard to purchase as well as hard to catch. The shrimp just are not being found in the creeks where we normally catch them. Our captains have been depending on live mud minnows and finger mullet as their go-to baits. The spotted sea trout that have moved to the beachfronts prefer finger mullet over shrimp. In past years, it has been the exact opposite. So I suggest when targeting spotted sea trout, bring live shrimp, mud minnows and finger mullet. You might have to try all three before you unlock the biting code. While casting for shrimp, you will also catch mullet to pinfish to menhaden. Use them for bait, as well. All baits from live shrimp to small fish work great when placed on the bottom with a Carolina-style rig. When using a Caroling rig, I suggest casting your bait into place, letting it sit at least two to three minutes, then raise your rod, reel about five turns, let it sit, wait and repeat. For artificials, I like DOA shrimp patterns during this time. The best method is to tie a 3- to 4-foot leader of 12- to 20-lb. test to a popping cork and cast into place. Let the tide take the float and come up with your own popping-the-float sequence. It’s best to fish this rig in 5 to 6 feet of water. Capt. David Newlin reports, “The redfish bite is absolutely crazy hot. This year’s crop of redfish is really good, and the 14- to 16-inch fish will be all over the place by the middle of August. The best bite has been on the last half of the outgoing tide and the first couple hours of the incoming tide. A live shrimp under a cork works great. Early and late in the day you can spot some big redfish in the grass and throw  artificials at them. Flounder have been biting good and should be good in August. The trout bite has been good, with a good number of legal trout and a lot of smaller fish. Almost all the usual spots in the sounds are holding a lot of trout. A live shrimp will always work for catching big numbers of trout. If looking for a couple of big fish, try a topwater MirrOlure the first hour after daylight. Croaker, black drum and whiting will keep you busy fishing a dead shrimp on the bottom. Find a treetop in 10 feet of water on low tide, and you should find a drum. Croaker seem to be almost everywhere. The big sharks are all out in the sounds. The shrimp boats are holding a lot of sharks around them. The big schools of pogies sometimes have a lot of sharks in them. August is usually a good month for tarpon in our area. Look for them feeding, and throw a live pogie to them.”

Nearshore: Capt. Judy Helmey reports, “Ocean menhaden have arrived and can be caught while casting your net around beachfronts and as far out as 3 miles into the ocean. When using live menhaden, I suggest light tackle rigs with stinger hooks fished around the beachfronts and shipping channels. Big kings are known for migrating into these areas during the month of August.  Steep drops, such as those located in shipping channels (Savannah River Channel), hold lots of bait. Slow trolling in these areas usually yields big king mackerel bites. If you see Spanish mackerel on the surface, it’s very likely that large kings are holding in the outskirts. Another good baiting option is to catch a Spanish mackerel, rig it up quick, and let it free swim.”

Savannah Snapper Banks: Capt. Judy Helmey reports, “The bottom bite at the Savannah Snapper Banks is good during this time. Larger fish such as grouper, red snapper, cubera snapper, amberjack and cobia want live bait. Best live baits are menhaden, sand perch, rock bass, scup, pin fish and ruby red lips. I suggest lip hooking any of these baits with a 13/0 circle hook rigged up on a Carolina-style rig. I always use a 3- to 8-oz. egg weight and an 8- to 30-foot leader of 80- to 100-lb. test mono. I suggest sending this rig to the bottom, which allows the bait to swim free.”

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