Southeast Georgia Fishing Reports With Capt. Bert Deener – June 30, 2023

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

Capt. Bert Deener | June 30, 2023

Pat Bisese caught this big tripletail while fishing the Georgia coast on Wednesday (photo courtesy of Capt. Tim Cutting).

I wish each of you a wonderful Fourth of July! The summer heat has arrived, and the number of reports dwindled with the heat. The fish will be in their summer patterns soon if they are not already where you are fishing. Most rivers are still full bank or in the floodplain, except the St. Marys River. Fish early or at night to avoid the heat this holiday week. Saltwater, the Okefenokee Swamp and ponds are where I would recommend over the holiday.

Alapaha River: The river continued rising most of the week, and the good panfish bites in backwaters slowed down. Brentz McGhin fished from his kayak in some backwater oxbows in the upper Altamaha and caught a few fliers, bluegill, warmouth and bowfin. He had to work for them. He fooled the panfish with crickets under a float and several bowfin with plastic worms. The water was flowing through the oxbows he fished.

Satilla River: The river is way up on the floodplain, and it is not worth trying this week. The upper river is dropping so it won’t be too long.

St. Marys River: The St Marys is our only local river that I would fish because it is still in good shape. Panfish and catfish would be my species of choice. The last Shady Bream Tournaments points event of the year is coming up on 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.

Okefenokee Swamp: I fished the east side for just a few hours on Sunday afternoon and caught 46 fish in the heat. I flung white Okefenokee Swamp Sallies on a fly rod and caught four fliers in about 15 minutes and then started trolling Dura-Spins down the canal. The bite was good enough that I could only troll one pole, so I just held it and kept setting the hook. I caught fish on both the firetiger/chartreuse blade and a new lemon-lime version (lime, chartreuse and white skirt with a chartreuse blade). Those were the two colors I had tied on when I started, and I did not have to change. I caught a few casting, but the vast majority were trolling. My biggest pickerel was just over 20 inches, and the biggest bowfin was 7-lbs., 4-ozs. Yellow flies are still around, but their numbers have been declining. I still recommend covering up if you don’t want to get aggravated by them. The water level (Folkston side) was 120.60 feet again this week.

Charlie (left) and Wyatt caught a bunch of bass in a Waycross area pond this week. They had several double hook-ups like this one with wacky-rigged worms and chartreuse Rooster Tail spinners.

Local Ponds: Scout Carter and a friend had a great trip fishing out of kayaks in a local pond on Saturday evening. They caught all of their bass on Keitech Noisy Flappers (green pumpkin-chartreuse was tops) rigged on a Toad Hook (5/0 Gamakatsu hook version). Their biggest was an 8-pounder, but they also had a 7-pounder. Their other eight fish ranged from a pound to 5 1/2 pounds. Charlie and Wyatt fished with their dad in a local pond and caught 30 bass this week and kept 10 for their grandma to eat. They had several double hook-ups during their trip. Their best lures were wacky-rigged worms and chartreuse Rooster Tail spinners. A Blackshear angler fished a pond after watching his Gators trounce LSU during the second game of the College World Series and caught two bass (2 pounds and 3 pounds) on stick worms.

Pat Bisese caught this big tripletail while fishing the Georgia coast on Wednesday (photo courtesy of Capt. Tim Cutting).

Saltwater (GA Coast): Jay Turner walked the bank in the Savannah area and caught and released two giant trout over 20 inches apiece this week. He was targeting big flounder with a 4.8-inch Keitech and a 1/4-oz. Zombie Eye Jighead with 4/0 Gamakatsu hook when the gator trout bit. Those were his only two bites, but they made the trip worthwhile. Tommy Sweeney had not been catching many trout in the Brunswick area during the week until Thursday evening. He got on a bunch of trout that evening with 4-inch Keitech swimbaits on a Capt. Bert’s Jighead. While most were short fish, he caught trout on seven consecutive casts at one creek mouth. Capt. Greg Hildreth ( has been on a great whiting bite this week. On Wednesday, he had three pompano mixed in his catch. They also had a guitarfish. Greg has only caught three of those unique fish in his career. Inshore the trout bite has been hit-or-miss. Capt. Tim Cutting ( said that the fishing has been good, but they were not the same place any two days in a row. He had to search every day. On Monday, they used all artificials and managed a half-dozen reds, a couple trout and 17 flounder (kept 10 of them). On Tuesday, his charter chased sharks and had a blast catching several species of the toothy critters along with some whiting, weakfish, flounder, reds, croaker, rays and grunts. It was a sure enough smorgasbord catch! On Wednesday, they fished both artificials and shrimp and had a couple 23- to 24-inch gator trout. They had a few thick flounder, oversized reds and a few slot reds, and even some short reds. The fish of the trip, though, was a 14-lb. tripletail that they broke off twice, but the third time was a charm. It still had the leader hanging out of its mouth from the break-offs. Shrimp fooled that fish. On Thursday they had a bunch of short trout but ended the day on a pretty good redfish bite. Brenda Hampton put it on her husband Steve again at the Jekyll Island Pier on Saturday. She fooled a 16- and 18-inch flounder with mudminnows while he watched. He was good at netting the flatties, though.

Full Moon is July 3. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website ( For the latest marine forecast, check out

River gages on June 29 were:

Clyo on the Savannah River – 12.1 feet and rising

Abbeville on the Ocmulgee – 9.1 feet and falling

Doctortown on the Altamaha – 9.9 feet and steady

Waycross on the Satilla – 14.3 feet and falling

Atkinson on the Satilla – 12.4 feet and rising

Statenville on the Alapaha – 9.5 feet and falling

Macclenny on the St Marys – 6.9 feet and falling

Fargo on the Suwannee – 9.5 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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