Georgia Saltwater Fishing Reports – August 2021

GON Staff | July 28, 2021

Saltwater: Inshore: Capt. David Newlin reports, “July has been a good month of fish catching. We have caught fish from flounder, big trout, monster black drum to sharks and tarpon. The weather has been the usual hot July type weather. The water temps have been in the mid-80s. In August, the water will probably get in the high 80s. The biggest news is the large numbers of small redfish we are catching. By late August, catching a limit of 15-inch fish should be an everyday affair. They have been hard to get away from on most days. This looks really good for future fishing. Flounder numbers have been really good the last few weeks and should continue through August. My catches have been much better around low tide. When you catch one, fish the area thoroughly before moving on. Yesterday I caught 18 in a spot about 10 feet wide in an hour. We have caught some really big trout on recent trips. If you want a big trout, fish a live mullet 6 inches long on a light bottom rig with a long leader and a light hook. I had a young man catch two 25-inch trout last week and then lose one that was huge on that rig in his first three casts. He needed to go buy a lottery ticket, that was a rare moment. Look for trout out in the open-water parts of the sound all of August. Black drum from 10 inches to 70 pounds have been in the catch lately. We had a wild fight with a 68 pound one last week that lasted 20 minutes on light tackle before we finally caught it. Fish a small crab or shrimp on the bottom around some heavy cover and hang on. On the bottom there have been a lot of whiting and some really nice croaker. The big sharks have been in good numbers. A lot of 5- to 6-footers, with some 8- to 10-footers in the mix. There’s a lot of big tiger sharks. As always, a piece of fresh fish on the bottom will catch them. This will be good all of August. Some tarpon have shown up, but the numbers are way down from years past. A live menhaden will catch a tarpon if he is there. August will be hot, and the fishing should be, too. Go early and get home before the afternoon thunderstorms start.”

Capt. Judy Helmey reports, “It is all about bait mate! Redfish, trout, 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 shrimp, mud minnows, finger mullet and small yellow tail. Cast your rigged bait above the considered strike zone, and all you may have to do is re-adjust the float’s depth if no hits occur after the float-by takes place. It’s a good time to catch your own bait, and you might just have enough left over for supper. I suggest working the grassline as the shrimp first come out on the falling tide and when they start heading back to the safety of the marsh on the rising tide. I also suggest making sure the grassline that you are working has a mud bottom and not oyster rakes. Last month, live shrimp was hard to purchase as well as hard to catch. The shrimp just are not being found in the creeks where we normally catch them. So our captains have been depending on live mud minnows and finger mullet as their go-to baits. You will catch a lot of by-catch while trying to cast of shrimp. Put these baits in the livewell, and use them. Peanut menhaden is also another go-to live bait that works great at this time of the year. However, menhaden is not as hardy as finger mullet and mud minnows. Since July was a bad catching shrimp month, we are hoping that August will be better. The absolute best way to rig up your by-catch is to lip hook it. Present it under a popping cork or a traditional adjusted float. All baits from live shrimp to small fish work great when placed on the bottom with a Carolina-style rig. If you don’t want to hold your rod, I suggest using a small circle hook, which will almost ensure a more solid hook-up. 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. To fish artificials, I like using DOA shrimp patterns during this time. You can use them as rigged straight out of the package, but 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 that works. It’s best to fish this rig in 5 to 6 feet of water.  When fishing in more than 6 feet of water, I suggest using a small adjustable float rig with a 2/0 kahle hook. Another good tip is to remove the DOA weight and hook from the artificial shrimp pattern and balance the bait on your hook, which while waving in the current will look just like the real deal.”

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 made 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) will be productive. 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. These fish will also be on the artificial reefs. The best trolling lures for Spanish mackerel are going to be the ever-popular 0 and 00 Clark spoons or any sort of pitching lures that look and act like a glass minnow or juvenile squid.  The best trolling spoons for king mackerel are 1 1/2- to 4 1/2-inch Drone spoons. As far as best color, I have always preferred old-school silver. If you want to pull a colored Drone, I suggest black, chartreuse, red or royal blue (with or without flash bling). When it comes to getting that perfect barracuda bite, it can happen while trolling for Spanish and king mackerel. However, this toothy monster will also attack a trolled surgical tubes. We like using Sea Striker Cuda Tube CT12 (12 inch) surgical tube with 2/0 heavy-duty saltwater treble and a CT14 (14 inch) rigged with two hooks.” 

Offshore: Capt. Judy Helmey reports, “The bottom bite at the Savannah Snapper Banks is good during this time. However, to catch big fish, you have to use the right big bait. 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, pinfish and ruby red lips. It’s best to make sure that your livewell circulation pump is working properly and that the filter is clean. You want your bait lively and not shocked. I suggest lip hooking any of these baits with a 13/0 circle hook rigged up on a Carolina-style rig. As far as weight, I use a 3- to 8-oz. egg weight with 8 to 30 feet of 80- to 100-lb. test monofilament leader and send it to the bottom. Before heading out, review regulations at Stay aware of all state and federation fishing regulations.”

Become a GON subscriber and enjoy full access to ALL of our content.

New monthly payment option available!


Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.