Southeast Georgia Fishing Reports With Capt. Bert Deener – July 7, 2023

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

Capt. Bert Deener | July 7, 2023

Austin McBay, of Atlanta, caught this giant jack crevalle on a topwater plug this week off St Simons Island (photo courtesy of Capt. Greg Hildreth).

Fish are in their summer patterns with the incessant heat we’ve had in southeast Georgia over the last couple weeks. The best bites I’ve heard of have been saltwater and Okefenokee Swamp. Ponds and the rivers that have been down enough to fish should be decent options this weekend, as well.

Altamaha River: The river is falling back out, and you should be able to find some oxbows that don’t have water flowing through them. Bass fishing should be decent at the current level. I would use crankbaits and spinnerbaits to cover water and pitch Texas-rigged worms into heavy cover. Panfishing should be decent in backwaters.

Satilla River: Michael Nadeau fished the lower river for catfish on Thursday night. He ended up catching five nice blues and flatheads. He tried worms and cut bait with no success then caught them all on live bream. The upper river is dropping out and should be fishable in a motorboat this weekend. It will be stained still, so use bright colors and find current breaks that will concentrate fish. On the lower river, catfish will be your best bet. Put shrimp, worms, or cut bait on the bottom for channel and blue catfish and live bait for flatheads.

St. Marys River: Chuck Dean had a great trip on Monday on the middle river. He flung a small white popper to the shadows and held on. He ended up catching a mixed bag of 15 panfish on his fly rod. His most impressive fish was of a giant bluegill, but he also had some nice redbreasts and stumpknockers. The last Shady Bream Tournaments points event of the year is this Saturday (July 8). For the event, a team can weigh in 15 fish and live bait is allowed for this tournament (usually it is an artificial-only format). Check out Shady Bream Tournaments on Facebook for more details.

Brantley Wester, of Waycross, caught this big bowfin and 77 others while trolling Dura-Spins on the east side of the Okefenokee Swamp on Sunday afternoon.

Okefenokee Swamp: Brantley Wester and I fished the east side on Sunday afternoon and caught a bunch of bowfin (78 total fish in 3 hours of fishing). We trolled several colors of Dura-Spins and caught fish on all colors, but they definitely showed a preference for the crawfish-brass blade (late in the day), chartreuse snowflake, and fire tiger-chartreuse blade. The biggest that we boated was around 5 pounds, but we lost a monster double-digit class fish halfway to the boat. I guess the heat had the pickerel shut down, as we did not catch any that trip. Yellow flies are still around but their numbers have dropped off significantly. I still recommend covering up if you don’t want to get aggravated by the little nasties. The water level (Folkston side) was 120.38 feet again this week.

Local Ponds: Tripp, Charlotte, and Waylon fished their family pond near Guyton this week and caught bluegills and bass several days this week. Red wiggler worms and minnows produced their fish. A group of seniors fished the Lions Camp for the Blind pond on Monday and caught a bunch of bluegills and catfish. The bluegills ate worms fished on a drop-shot, while the catfish ate cut bluegill. Each person caught about 15 fish and had a blast doing so.

Charlotte caught lots of bluegills and a few bass this week while fishing with her brothers in their pond near Guyton.

Saltwater (GA Coast): Capt. Greg Hildreth ( said that the whiting bite continued this week along with the big sharks still behind the shrimp boats. A few tarpon and schools of big jack crevalle have been around on the beachside, as well. His charters caught some big jacks on topwater plugs this week.

Keaton Beach, Florida: Capt. Pat McGriff of One More Cast Guide Service (850.584.9145) out of Keaton Beach said that the fishing has been good, even in the heat. Several folks caught trout and reds on live pinfish under Back Bay Thunder Floats. Kenny Mullis fished Tuesday and caught 3 tarpon up to 80 pounds. Billy Pillow fished with Capt. Pat on Tuesday, and they caught a limit of trout up to 23 inches (they had 3 over 18 inches) on live pinfish under Back Bay Thunder Floats. Their magic depth was 3.2 to 4.1 feet. He expects the bite to last through the week, and some breeze is key to the better bite.

Last quarter moon is July 9. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website ( For the latest marine forecast, check out

River Gages on July 6:
Clyo on the Savannah River – 9.8 feet and falling
Abbeville on the Ocmulgee – 4.2 feet and rising
Doctortown on the Altamaha – 8.6 feet and falling
Waycross on the Satilla – 8.5 feet and falling
Atkinson on the Satilla – 11.2 feet and falling
Statenville on the Alapaha – 9.6 feet and falling (record high for the date)
Macclenny on the St Marys – 5.1 feet and falling
Fargo on the Suwannee – 7.2 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 e-mail him at [email protected].

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