Southeast Georgia Fishing Reports With Capt. Bert Deener – June 7, 2024

Capt. Bert Deener | June 7, 2024

Conner fished with his grandparents on Saturday behind Cumberland Island, and he caught a nice 22-inch redfish.

It’s been a good week of fishing. This is one of my favorite times of the year—when the panfish start moving to the shallows to spawn, bass are feeding with reckless abandon until the summer heat sets in, saltwater fish are chewing, and the big silver kings are along our beaches. Good times on the water, wherever you like fishing!

Altamaha/Ocmulgee River: Miles Zachary reported that the Ocmulgee is dropping and clearing up. The bream are staging to spawn and the bass are biting well (buzzbaits in both 3/8- and 1/4-oz sizes). The best areas right now are the shallower banks and mouths of creeks and sloughs. He and Caitlin Poe fished this past weekend, and Caitlin hooked up with a 5-lb. class bass that inhaled her rainbow Satilla Spin that was intended for panfish. They caught some other bass and some panfish on the small spinnerbait. The bass should be chewing in the lower Altamaha oxbows, and panfish should be biting in the oxbows and willows, as well.   

Satilla River: Nope… it’s still well into the floodplain and flowing fast! Be patient—it will (probably….) get right. If you want to fish this basin, check the extreme upper tributaries this weekend. A couple of Blackshear anglers fished ditches and small creeks this week dabbling sallies and caught some fliers and other panfish.

The most notable catch was an 11-inch redfin pickerel that ate a tiny Beetle Spin. Chartreuse sallies were the best color flies for them this week, but typically pink is their best.

One of the Blackshear anglers fished small creeks Thursday evening and fooled 23 fliers and several other panfish. Pitching orange sallies was the ticket for him that evening.

Savannah River: Mark Vick fished the river on Friday and caught a bunch of bluegill and shellcracker. He had numerous fish over 12 inches. He caught everything on crawfish Satilla Spins and worms.

Jay Turner made his first trip ever for flathead catfish and whacked them. He caught about a dozen of the tasty fish and kept nine of them up to 25 pounds.

Mark Vick caught this solid bluegill on Friday while fishing the Savannah River. Satilla Spins and worms fooled all of his fish.

St Marys River: Chuck Deen had a great trip to the middle river this week. He fished bugs and poppers on his fly rod and caught 10 panfish (bluegill, redbreast and stumpknocker).

Brentz McGhin and Greg Nelms fished the middle river for catfish on Saturday and caught several nice channels by putting shrimp and worms on the bottom.

The season-ending event of the Shady Bream Tournaments is this Saturday out of Kings Ferry Boat Ramp. One of their prizes is one of my custom-built Satilla Spin Rods. The upper river is getting low for getting a motorboat around, but paddlecrafts are a good option in those upper stretches.

Okefenokee Swamp: Matt Rouse walked the boat basin for about an hour on Tuesday and fooled a few bowfin up to 3 pounds with crawfish-brass blade Dura-Spins.

Buck Johnson fished the east side early Monday morning for warmouth and dabbled 16 of them out of the bushes. He tried lots of colors and styles of plastics and got them to respond best to a white curly tailed grub that day.

I fished the east side Monday and caught 28 fish (25 bowfin and three pickerel) on Dura-Spins. I had three fish over 5 pounds, with the biggest pulling the scales down to 6-lbs., 7-ozs. Most ate it trolling, but I caught a few casting the spinner. Color didn’t matter that day—they bit every color I used (lemon-lime caught the most, jackfish, firetiger-chartreuse and silver blades, black/chartreuse-chartreuse blade, crawfish-brass blade). 

Buck Johnson returned to the east side Wednesday morning and was able to keep the hook in 21 warmouth during the morning. The most recent water level (Folkston side) was 121.02 feet. Yellow flies were not bad at all on the water Monday, but if you got under dense trees, they were there.

Dodge Public Fishing Area (near Eastman): Ken Burke was at it again this week at the area. He’s been doing really well there over the last few weeks. On his latest trip, he fished for just over four hours and caught 12 bass that weighed a total of 28 pounds. He caught six bass on a crankbait and six on a plastic worm rigged on a shaky head.

Ocmulgee Public Fishing Area (near Hawkinsville): Anglers reported catching bass this week up to 7 pounds, and another angler had a nice catch of 10 fat crappie.

Paradise Public Fishing Area (near Tifton): Area staff said that the catfish bite has been good for anglers while night fishing. Some chunky bass were caught in Lake Patrick, as well. Topwater will produce early, but plastic worms, crankbaits or swimbaits are your best bets after the sun gets up.

Local Ponds: Jimmy Zinker fished a few nights this week with Jitterbugs and buzzbaits and caught 28 bass for his efforts. His biggest was a 7-lb., 7-oz. fish that inhaled the Jitterbug.

Joshua Barber fished a Waycross area pond and fooled 30 panfish (bluegill and warmouth) and eight bass. He fooled the panfish with a topwater fly, crickets and minnows and the bass with minnows and topwater lures. I fished a pond on Friday for three hours and had a great trip. I caught 26 fish total, including bass, bowfin, bluegill and even a crappie.

Using lemon-lime and crawfish Dura-Spins, I fooled a half-dozen bass up to 3 pounds (2-lb. average) and lost a giant bowfin (11-lb. class) because I couldn’t fight it and net it. It powered down in the weeds and then jumped off. The biggest bowfin I landed was 4 pounds. I found some bedding bluegill (big ones!) that inhaled a black/chartreuse Satilla Spin and caught (and released) 15 of them.

Saltwater (GA Coast): Charles and Linda took their grandson Conner inshore fishing behind Cumberland Island for their first saltwater fishing adventure. Conner caught a really strong 22-inch redfish to top the trip.

Seth Carter and friends fished the Brunswick area and caught some really nice trout on topwater first thing. After that bite died, they fooled a few flounder and redfish on paddle tails. When the tide got right, they headed to some rocks and caught sheepshead until they ran out of fiddler crabs. They had a good trip!

A local captain had a great trip this week for tripletail off Jekyll. He put his client on a 26-incher, and there were fish all over the place. Then as tripletail sometimes do, the next day they didn’t show up. He’s seen tripletail on the beaches from Sapelo Island to Cumberland Island so far.

Howell Stevens caught this 26-inch tripletail this week while fishing in the Brunswick area.

Wayne Fales fished with the same captain and caught some big flounder. The captain has been chasing tarpon and sharks some this week, as well, and caught big blacktip sharks with some tarpon mixed in on the south end of Cumberland Island. His trips early in the day have produced some 18- to 22-inch trout. The redfish have been scattered as they move out of the creeks and into more open water.

Another local captain reported that his charters this week did well for trout by drifting live shrimp under slip floats around shell mounds and creek mouths. It’s been tough with the 8-foot tides, but they caught fish well around the slack tides. The whiting bite has been consistent as the tide starts slowing toward slack. Shrimp and squid on the bottom produced them.

A captain out of Fernandina,Fla. had a great week of backcountry fishing for mostly reds and flounder. He also had some good flounder gigging trips this week, with some good flatties each night.

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.

Keaton Beach, Florida: I fished with Capt. Pat McGriff of One More Cast Guide Service on Wednesday, and we caught 32 fish. We had a limit of trout, but threw back the ones barely 15 inches and kept six really nice trout in the 17- to 18 1/2-inch range. We caught the fish mostly in 4 to 6 feet. Deeper than 6 feet provided little success and shallower than 3 feet was dead for us. Live pinfish under Back Bay Thunder Floats produced the most fish, but bouncing Assassin 5-inch shads and P&V plastics worked, as well. The best colors were stinky pink, Laguna shrimp and pink ghost. I had a double (15-inch and 18-inch trout) on one of my custom 1/16-oz. double rigs and Assassin Laguna shrimp P&V plastics.

First quarter moon is June 14. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website. For the latest marine forecast, check out

River gages on June 6 were:
Clyo on the Savannah River – 5.4 feet and rising
Abbeville on the Ocmulgee – 3.0 feet and rising
Doctortown on the Altamaha – 7.0 feet and falling
Waycross on the Satilla – 12.4 feet and falling
Atkinson on the Satilla – 10.7 feet and steady
Statenville on the Alapaha – 17.6 feet and falling
Macclenny on the St Marys – 2.6 feet and falling
Fargo on the Suwannee – 8.6 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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