Southeast Georgia Fishing Reports With Capt. Bert Deener – August 11, 2023

Timely info on where and how to catch fish on various rivers and waters of southeast Georgia.

Capt. Bert Deener | August 11, 2023

Matt Rouse fooled this nice chain pickerel (jackfish) while walking the bank of the upper St. Marys River near his house on Wednesday morning, Aug. 9.

Rivers are up and down again this week—you’ll just have to check the gages regularly before planning a trip. Every gage except the Satilla at Waycross was opposite of last week’s status (rising or falling). Bites in saltwater and in the swamp were good.

Satilla River: The river is back out in the floodplain again. Note: Georgia DNR will close the Highway 158 Landing beginning Aug. 15 in order to rebuild the ramp and parking lot. Weather depending, it should reopen toward the end of September.

St. Marys River: Matt Rouse walked the bank in the upper river and had a good catch Wednesday morning, Aug. 9. He fished for less than an hour and caught a pair of nice pickerel and a few bowfin (2 to 3 pounds) on small crankbaits and Rooster Tail spinners. He broke off a couple big fish that he figures were big bowfin. He also put shrimp on the bottom and caught several catfish very quickly. He figures the upper river will be back down to a good level to fish from a boat within a week if we don’t get significant rains.

Okefenokee Swamp: Very few people fished this week in the heat. Chuck Dean and his family friend Arlene Hall were two who did, and they had a blast on the east side Monday. They ended up trolling Dura-Spins in the extreme heat and caught 30 bowfin (two biggest were 5-lbs., 10-ozs. and 5-lbs., 12-ozs.). Lemon-lime and firetiger were their two best colors. The biggest catch of the week I heard of was by a 7-foot alligator in the east side boat basin. It caught a giant bowfin and dragged it out on the hill to eat it. It was an impressive sight! The most recent water level on the Folkston side was 120.49 feet.

Hugh M. Gillis Public Fishing Area (near Dublin): Ken Burke bass fished the area on Saturday morning. He hooked six bass and landed four of them. Their total weight was 5.25 pounds, all on the small side. He caught one on a crankbait and the other three on a shaky head worm. The water temperature topped 90 degrees while he was there.

Whit caught this giant bass from a Savannah area pond on the morning of Aug. 11. He fooled the 28-incher with a spinnerbait. Way to go, Whit!

Local Ponds: This was a great week for big bass from ponds. Whit caught a giant 28-incher on Friday morning from a Savannah area pond. It ate a spinnerbait. His friend said that even at his young age he has been bitten by the fishing bug! The best bass report I got was from a Waycross angler fishing a local lake over the weekend. He caught about 25 bass—most in the 2- to 4-lb. range. But, he had one that inhaled his worm and ran out from the bank. It was a whopper and pulled the scales down to 9 1/2 pounds. Almost all of his fish ate worms rigged on a shaky head. Anglers fishing plastics and jigs on offshore brushpiles in a Brunswick area pond caught some nice bass. They had fish up to 5 pounds. In the last installment of the Guyton Saga (because school has started back for them), it was Charlotte’s turn to put it on the boys. While they were at baseball practice, she slid out to their pond and pitched a black/chartreuse bug and caught some bass. The trio has had a blast this summer catching bass, bluegills, and shellcrackers in their pond on Bert’s Bugs (mostly chartreuse or black/chartreuse versions).

Saltwater (GA Coast): Jamie Hodge had a great morning Saturday on the southern Georgia coast. He and a friend flung topwaters and caught some oversized and slot redfish and 15 trout—most of them around 18 inches. They also had a couple big tripletail about 2 feet long each. A group of Waycross and Blackshear anglers fished the Crooked River area on Saturday and caught some seatrout and reds. One boat had two keeper trout (17 1/2 and 19 inches), seven throwback trout, and a short redfish. They were throwing Sea Shads under Equalizer Floats (purple canary and darker colors worked best). The anglers in the other boat flung mostly Gulp Shrimp both under floats and without floats. They ended up with three keeper trout and four throwbacks. They said that the trout were very spread out and you had to keep moving until you connected with one. Tommy Sweeney caught some nice flounder and trout this week flinging a new penny swimbait on a Zombie Eye Jighead. He was fishing the Brunswick area. Capt. Greg Hildreth ( has been chasing and catching tarpon this week in the sounds and beaches. The silver kings are a hoot! Give it a try if you’ve never hooked into one! Capt. Tim Cutting ( had a great week flounder fishing. On Sunday he split the charter with tarpon and flounder. They caught a dozen flounder and saw 100 tarpon but could only go 0 for 1 (jumped one but did not land it) on them. They’re tough to get to bite when they are in a neutral feeding mode! On Monday, they cleaned 25 big flounder. Wednesday, they caught 30 and kept 15—none were under 15 inches, and three were over 20 inches. Thursday was tougher with the higher winds and murkier water, but they still managed six flounder, including a 22-incher. All of their flounder ate a white Gulp 4-inch Swimming Mullet on a chartreuse jighead.

Don Harrison fished Crooked River on Aug. 5 and caught this nice 19-inch trout right off the bat. They caught nine trout on Equalizer Floats and Sea Shads.

Saltwater (Jacksonville, Florida area): Paul Williamson and I fished the Jacksonville area this weekend for seatrout, and we found them. We had a total of 39 trout up to 25 inches (released all but a 21-incher). Seven of them were over 20 inches. Paul had a short redfish and several catfish also. The main rig we caught them on was an electric chicken Keitech 4-inch swimbait rigged on a 3/16-oz. chartreuse Zombie Eye Jighead (2/0 Gamakatsu sickle-shaped hook) and suspended underneath an Equalizer, Junior Float. We did not expect to catch them like that in 80-plus degree water, but they were eating it up. We caught a few on topwaters and twitch baits, but the float rig was the ticket.

Saltwater (Keaton Beach, Florida): Capt. Pat McGriff, of One More Cast Guide Service (, 850.584.9145) out of Keaton Beach said that he had two great trips this weekend with his clients setting their personal best catches ever. On one trip they had a 33-inch redfish and 12 trout up to 22 inches along with three keeper redfish in the heat and threat of rain all day Saturday. Sunday’s charter caught eight keeper trout and three keeper redfish along with a monster 36-inch redfish that fought all the way to the boat. All of their fish were caught on live pinfish under Back Bay Thunder Floats in 2.5 to 3.9 feet of water.

New Moon is Aug. 16. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website ( For the latest marine forecast, check out

River gages on Aug. 10:
Clyo on the Savannah River –  6.7  feet and falling
Abbeville on the Ocmulgee – 2.2 feet and rising
Doctortown on the Altamaha – 7.7 feet and rising
Waycross on the Satilla – 10.3 feet and rising
Atkinson on the Satilla – 8.6 feet and rising
Statenville on the Alapaha – 3.3 feet and rising
Macclenny on the St Marys – 8.5 feet and falling
Fargo on the Suwannee – 5.9 feet and falling

Capt. Bert Deener makes a variety of both fresh and saltwater fishing lures. Check his lures out at Bert’s Jigs and Things on Facebook. For a copy of his latest catalog, call him at 912.288.3022 or email him at [email protected].

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