Southeast Georgia Fishing Reports With Capt. Bert Deener – June 21, 2024

Capt. Bert Deener | June 21, 2024

Wayne Fales caught this doormat flounder earlier in the month while fishing in the Brunswick area.

Fishing has been great all over the place. The rivers are getting right at different rates, and catches have been really strong!

Alapaha River: Stan Rhodes and David McGlamry fished the upper river on Friday and did great for panfish. They had 52 keeper fish with more bluegill than redbreast. They also had eight crappie mixed in their catch. They caught them with crawfish Satilla Spins, worms and crickets.

Altamaha/Ocmulgee River: A couple of Waycross anglers fished the middle Altamaha for bass on Wednesday and caught 18. Their biggest that they landed was a 4 1/2-pounder, but they pulled off a 6-lb. class fish on the way to the boat. Their best presentation was a stick worm. They could not get much to happen with crankbaits. The Ocmulgee has dropped out pretty quickly in the last couple of weeks, so look closely for sandbars and rocks.

Apalachicola River (near Wewahitchka, Florida): I spent a couple days just before Father’s Day Weekend with my daughter and our friend Joanna down on the big river. We caught bream for bait in the afternoon and fished for big catfish several hours after dark. It was an absolute blast! The best bite the first night was right at dark. Ellie landed a 10-lb., 10-oz. flathead within five minutes of sending our first bait down. A couple break-offs later, and Joanna put a 13-lb. blue catfish in the boat. About an hour later, we pulled off a really big catfish within sight of the boat, but that was about it, other than a few small bites that ruined our baits. We used up our bait by 1 a.m. and headed back to Joanna’s place.

After getting in bed after 3 a.m., we got started at the crack of noon and repeated the plan the next day. Our first-day honey-hole only took a few of our rigs but did not produce any fish in the boat. That night, lots of smaller catfish were taking our baits and running but not eating them. It was getting a little aggravating until Joanna stuck the 7/0 Gamakatsu hook into a 16 1/2-lb. flathead. A willow-lined drop-off into 15 to 17 feet deep produced our bites the second night, and our bait ran out about midnight. It was a great trip that the ladies really enjoyed.

Satilla River:  Jamie Hodge fished the middle river on Wednesday with worms and crickets and caught 28 nice redbreast and bluegill. He returned Thursday morning and had his limit of panfish before noon—including some really big bluegill. He also caught about 40 perfect eating-size channel catfish, mostly on crickets.

The upper river bass bite has been good from reports I’ve received. Topwaters and plastics have been producing. The water is perfect right now in the Waycross area to idle a boat around and catch fish. Expect to drag every now and then over logs or sandbars. Remember that the Highway 84 (Blackshear Bridge) ramp is closed for bridge construction (and will be for years… literally).   

St. Marys River:  The upper river is getting low and tough to get around in a motorboat, but the middle and lower river stretches are still very fishable. Put a shrimp on the bottom in the deeper holes and it will be hard to keep white and channel catfish off your line.

Oconee River: The only information I have from the Oconee is results from the First Annual Colten Foskey Memorial Catfish Tournament held this past weekend at the Laurens County Sportsman’s Club outside of Dublin. First place was Dalton Poole and Justin Brown. Dale Anderson and Daniel Gullion came in second place.

Ogeechee River: Jay Turner fished the river last Thursday and did well. They kept 45 redbreast and caught and released way more than that.

Ohoopee River: A couple of Waycross anglers floated the lower river and did well for panfish. Of their 75 fish, most were redbreast, but they had a few nice bluegill, as well. They did best with black/chartreuse, 1/16-oz. Satilla Spins. After one of them lost their black/chartreuse, they switched to bruised banana gold and didn’t do as well. They tried bruiser and spanked them again.

Okefenokee Swamp: Rickey O’Berry fished the east side on Saturday and did well on warmouth. He caught a few of the bigger fish on some custom jigs I made for him, but the vast majority of them ate crickets. He ended up keeping 44 warmouth.

Jimmy and Jennifer Guess fished the west side by the Sill on Tuesday evening for just three hours and caught about 20 warmouth, eight pickerel, a couple bowfin and a gar. They spanked them on firetiger-chartreuse blade Dura-Spins. Jimmy said that catfish were biting well for anglers bottom fishing at the Sill with shrimp and cutbait.

The most recent water level (Folkston side) was 120.70 feet. Yellowflies have not been bad, even though it is June. If you get under dense trees, they will be waiting for you, though.

Paradise Public Fishing Area (near Tifton): Jorge fished with his son Jorge Jr. this week and caught a 7-lb. bass on a dark-colored plastic worm. What a monster! Some good bluegill catches were reported this week, also.

Jorge and Jorge Jr. fished at Paradise Public Fishing Area this week and caught this 7-lb. bass on a plastic worm.

Local Ponds: Joshua Barber fished a Waycross area pond on Monday and had a great morning trip. He and a friend had 20 warmouth and a dozen fliers along with 30 catfish. They fished shrimp and worms on the bottom for catfish and also caught them on crickets, spinners and jigs.

With a chance of thunderstorms in the forecast each evening this week, a pond is a great option, as you can get back to your vehicle quickly if a storm builds.

Joshua Barber caught this nice warmouth and several others while fishing a Waycross area pond this week.

Saltwater (GA Coast): The incessant (and strong!) east winds were the story all week. You had to find some lee to even keep a line in the water. The folks who found a calm spot caught some whiting on the bottom.

Tripp made his first offshore venture with his dad Mark and caught his first red snapper, goggle eye snapper, lane snapper, vermillion snapper and triggerfish. Everyone had a blast tugging on fish, and Tripp slept on the cooler all the way back home he was so exhausted.

Tommy Sweeney caught a giant jack crevalle on Saturday by flinging a Got-Cha curly tail on a Zombi Eye jig head. He and Scotty Steedley spent what seemed like an hour fighting that big fish. They only caught a few other short trout during the trip.

Steve and Brenda Hampton fished with a local captain on Friday and caught lots of short trout and blacktip sharks on mudminnows and nuke juice-colored Hoodwink plastics. They had three keeper trout mixed in, but Brenda had the catch of the day—someone else’s Silver Cat rod and reel combo that she snagged.

A captain out of Fernandina fought the winds just like everyone else, but he was able to tuck into the backwaters and still catch some slot-sized reds and flounder. He fooled them with a Zombi Eye jig head and live shrimp and mudminnows (the minnows worked best). They used mostly the 3/8-oz model and bounced it along the bottom.

Wat-a-melon Bait and Tackle in Brunswick is 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. For the latest information, contact them at 912.223-1379.

Saltwater (South Carolina Coast): One of the best reports I got this week (or frankly all spring!) was from Scout Carter, of Waycross. He fished with his fiancé and her family near Charleston, and they hammered the big flounder. They caught about 20 flatfish and kept five of the doormats. Ivy’s 22 1/2-incher was the biggest, but most of the ones they kept were around 20 inches. They fooled them all with an electric -chicken colored 3/16-oz. Zombi Eye jig head and a Keitech 4-inch swimbait (nuclear-chicken and electric-chicken colors).

Last quarter moon is June 28. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website. For the latest marine forecast, check out

River gages on June 20 were:
Clyo on the Savannah River – 5.1 feet and falling
Abbeville on the Ocmulgee – 1.6 feet and falling
Doctortown on the Altamaha – 5.2 feet and falling
Waycross on the Satilla – 6.1 feet and falling
Atkinson on the Satilla – 5.3 feet and falling
Statenville on the Alapaha – 3.7 feet and falling
Macclenny on the St Marys – 2.2 feet and falling
Fargo on the Suwannee – 3.8 feet and falling

Capt. Bert Deener guides fishing trips in the Okefenokee Swamp and other southeast Georgia systems and 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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