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Southeast Georgia Fishing Reports With Capt. Bert Deener – Dec. 1, 2023

Capt. Bert Deener | December 1, 2023

Chad Lee caught this nice crappie and a bunch of others while fishing an Alma-area pond. The time is now to dust off your crappie gear and chase them.

This cold snap will move fish toward their winter patterns. Oftentimes winter fishing is feast or famine, and it’s a hoot when it’s feast! Reports this week were mostly just that—very good or nothing happening.

Altamaha/Ocmulgee Rivers: I didn’t receive any specific reports from the river this week, but it is still in fishable shape and reasonably clear.

Okefenokee Swamp:  I didn’t get any reports from in the swamp, but I got a report from the Suwannee River below the swamp. Josh Ward fished it this week with shrimp on the bottom and caught a bunch of bullhead catfish and a dozen bowfin—including a 10.9-pounder. He also caught a couple nice pickerel with flukes. This cold weather should get the bigger bowfin feeding (at least it did last winter). I usually troll Dura-Spins for big bowfin and pickerel. The most recent water level (Folkston side) was 120.65 feet.

Satilla River: I heard from one angler who caught some warmouth in the lower river on jigs tipped with crickets. The water is cold enough that the panfish bite is pretty slow on artificials but still doable with crickets and worms. Bass can be caught at this water level, as well. In the cold, slow down your presentation compared to earlier in the fall.

St. Marys River: Matt Rouse fished the upper river on Monday for a couple hours and caught a big white catfish using shrimp on the bottom. He also caught a few 3- to 4-lb. bowfin.

Local Ponds: Chad Lee had the best trip I heard of this week. He and Daniel Johnson fished an Alma-area pond on Saturday afternoon and evening and caught about 40 crappie (kept 25). They flung live minnows and white jigs for their specks. Matt Rouse fished a small pond in the Moniac area and caught a big yellow bullhead and a couple hand-sized bluegill on shrimp fished on the bottom. Steve Phillips took some kids fishing at a farm pond in the Douglas area on Thanksgiving morning and had a blast. They caught bass and panfish. Harry Beverley and a friend fished minnows in a pond this week and caught a limit of crappie and a hybrid striped bass on minnows. On Thursday, Mr. Bowen fished a Baxley area pond and caught 13 crappie up to about a pound and a half. He caught them by pushing live minnows. The cold nights will push the crappie to the deep water in ponds, and they should be pretty tightly schooled. When you catch one, fish that same area thoroughly whether using live bait or artificials. I heard from several folks who had poor trips for crappie this week. You have to find where they are and what will make them bite every time you’re on the water.….

Saltwater (GA Coast): Big tides, strong winds and rain conspired to significantly reduce the number of saltwater reports this week. My daughter Ellie and I kayaked the Brunswick area on Friday just before the weather turned sour.  We caught 11 seatrout up to 21 inches (five keepers) on artificials. A few fish ate a 3 1/2-inch Keitech Swing Impact on a Zombi Eye jig head worked mid-water column. The majority ate a 4-inch Swing Impact on a 3/16-oz. Zombi Eye jig head and suspended about 24 inches underneath an Equalizer Float. The best tide was the middle of the outgoing, but we caught our biggest fish last thing during mid-incoming. Shad colors worked best swimming, while electric chicken and chartreuse shad were best under the float. The biggest fish ate the chartreuse-shad color. Blake Edwards fished the Brunswick area on Saturday and fought the wind and growing tides. He ended up catching a nice weakfish and three short spotted seatrout on plastics. Jay Turner walked the bank in the Savannah area on Wednesday and caught and released a bunch of trout. He didn’t have any really big ones but said he enjoyed fighting them and then watching them swim away. He fooled them with a 3-inch electric shad Keitech rigged on a red 1/8-oz. Zombi Eye jig head. He returned on Thursday evening and repeated the fun! Tommy Sweeney fished with a friend off a Brunswick area dock and caught a BUNCH of small redfish this week. Capt. Tim Cutting (fishthegeorgiacoast.com) didn’t fish until Thursday this week but then hammered the fish in the good weather and better tide. The trip is a perfect example of how you have to find the fish every single day. He started off slowly, working hard for just a flounder and a decent trout. He went to another area and fished 1 to 3 feet deep over shells at the turn of the ebb tide and crushed the trout, reds, sheepshead and black drum in that shallow water. He caught them with live shrimp under a Harper’s Super Striker Float. Wat-a-melon Bait and Tackle in Brunswick is now open Friday through Sunday from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. each week. They have plenty of lively shrimp and fiddler crabs and also have live worms and crickets for freshwater. They’re on Highway 303 just north of Highway 82 in the same location as the previous J&P Bait and Tackle. For the latest information, contact them at 912.223.1379.

Last quarter moon is Dec. 5. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website (waterdata.usgs.gov/ga/nwis/rt). For the latest marine forecast, check out www.weather.gov/jax/.

River gages on Nov. 30 were:
Clyo on the Savannah River – 4.2 feet and falling
Abbeville on the Ocmulgee – 2.4 feet and falling
Doctortown on the Altamaha – 5.7 feet and rising
Waycross on the Satilla – 5.7 feet and rising
Atkinson on the Satilla – 4.5 feet and rising
Statenville on the Alapaha – 2.0 feet and falling
Macclenny on the St Marys – 5.8 feet and falling
Fargo on the Suwannee – 5.1 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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