Southeast Georgia Fishing Reports With Capt. Bert Deener – March 8, 2024

Capt. Bert Deener | March 8, 2024

Russell Peacock caught this crappie on Saturday while casting a Wye’ld and Crazy Satilla Spin.

There were some VERY good reports this week. Bass and crappie are up shallow spawning in ponds and lakes in southeast Georgia. Saltwater fishing is picking up as the water warms. The Okefenokee is dropping out, and the water is warming. It’s on!

Savannah River: Mark Vick and Daniel Rhodes had a small window Saturday morning before the rain set in, and they made the most of it in the backwaters of the river. The fish were spread out from the higher water, but they chewed when they found them. They caught 17 panfish in an hour and a half by pitching Warmouth Whacker Jigs. Mark fished the crawfish color without a float, and Daniel threw the bumblebee version under a float. They caught slab crappie, warmouth, fliers and even a nice white catfish on the jigs.

Okefenokee Swamp: I guided Jim Trollinger and his buddy Silas at the east side on Saturday. We had a blast, and caught 17 fish total. The most notable was Silas’ 3-lb. chain pickerel that bested my own Okefenokee record (kept by Georgia Outdoor News) for the biggest pickerel certified. That one bit a trolled crawfish Dura-Spin. Silas also caught a youth angler award-sized flier on a chartreuse Okefenokee Swamp Sally.

Okefenokee Swamp Record Fish

Spotted Sunfish5.85-ozs.Bert Deener4-27-2023
Flier7.92-ozs.Tim Cutting02/28/24
Chain Pickerel2-lbs., 15-ozs.Silas Kight03/02/24

Jim had several pickerel and a 5-lb. bowfin by casting and trolling jackfish and crawfish-brass blade Dura-Spins. Brentz McGhin and Tim Bonvechio fished the east side on Sunday and caught five warmouth keepers and three fliers. They caught them on bait and crawfish Warmouth Whacker Jigs. A few other folks reported catching only a few warmouth per trip. That bite has not fired off yet. The most recent water level (Folkston side) was 121.10 feet.

Dodge County Public Fishing Area (near Eastman): Ken Burke had a banner day on Thursday, catching six bass that weighed 29.75 pounds during a five-hour trip. He didn’t have many fish, but the ones he had were big. His biggest was a whopping 10.25-pounder. All of his fish ate crankbaits. The water temperature rose to 66 degrees in the afternoon.

Local Ponds: Bass are starting to spawn, and the biggest I heard of being caught this week was a little over 10 pounds (on a scale). It was caught sight-fishing in a pond around Valdosta. Teddy Elrod and Chuck Dean fished a Brunswick area pond. Teddy had a great birthday present, as they caught 26 bass up to 6 pounds. Their biggest five weighed 26 pounds.

Most of their fish ate crankbaits (both squarebills and DT-6’s), spinnerbaits, plastic worms and vibrating jigs. A couple different anglers caught 8-pounders from a Brunswick area pond, also. Charlotte and Tripp caught a bunch of bass in their central Georgia pond by flinging chartreuse back pearl 3-inch Keitech swimbaits on Saturday. Wyatt Crews and Russell Peacock fished a Waycross area pond this weekend and caught bass and crappie. Wyatt fooled a nice 5-lb. bass on a Keitech swimbait and 1/8-oz. Flashy Swimbait Head (with a gold blade) and then caught two giant crappie on the same rig on back-to-back casts. They switched to Wye’ld and Crazy Satilla Spins and Zombi Eye jig heads under a float and skewered a chartreuse back pearl 2-inch Keitech swimbait and hammered the crappie. They ended up catching 18 slabs before the bad weather moved in on them.

On Tuesday, Cason Kinstle took some friends fishing in a pond, and they got on the crappie. They were flinging plastics for a dozen nice slabs. A Blackshear angler fished a pond on Friday morning and caught four crappie, two bass (4 pounds and 5 pounds), and a monster 9-lb. channel catfish. Trolling jigs  produced the crappie, while flinging stick worms fooled the bass.

I fished with a friend on Friday in an area pond and had one of the best big crappie trips I’ve ever had in southeast Georgia. We trolled 2-inch Keitechs during the morning and caught 37 crappie up to 1-lb, 15-oz. Our biggest 5 fish were 1-15, 1-15, 1-11, 1-11 and 1-10. That’s some big slabs for southeast Georgia ponds. We released the 15 biggest crappie over 1 1/4-pounds and kept a decent mess of fish under a pound. The best colors were smoke-silver flake, chartreuse back pearl, sight flash,and bluegill flash.

Saltwater (GA Coast): Jeremy Robertson fished out of his kayak this weekend in the Brunswick area and had a blast. He caught redfish and trout on artificials, including his first oversized redfish. His best bait was a Trout Trick plastic (brown-chartreuse tail) on a jig head. It’s bad when a freshwater angler gets addicted to saltwater also… I know from experience!

Capt. Tim Cutting ( fished the first three days this week and did well. Monday was with Tom Lanyi from Pennsylvania, and they looked for (and found!) redfish. They had 12 reds with four oversized and eight slot fish (they released all of them). He fished again Wednesday with Tom, and they tried for variety. They targeted big sheepshead but only got a few medium-sized fish. They landed two big redfish and broke off a couple more. They caught some nice trout early and caught a few black drum mixed in.

They missed the super slam (trout, red, flounder, black drum, sheepshead) by not finding their flounder. Tuesday was a redfish day with a group of anglers. They caught three limits of redfish, a few trout, and two nice black drum. They caught fish on mostly artificials, but they had some on live shrimp under Harper Super-Striker Floats, also.

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 trekked south and fished with Capt. Pat McGriff of One More Cast Guide Service ( – Phone: 850.584.9145) on Thursday, and we whacked the trout and redfish. We tried some deep water and only caught a couple of throwbacks in the first hour, but when we moved shallow, we put it on them. My first two casts with a gold MirrOdine fooled a matching pair of 25 1/2-inch redfish. A few casts later, Capt. Pat laid into a 23-inch red with a stinky pink Assassin 5-inch Shad. We stayed in 2 to 3 feet of water around high tide and caught nice trout about every 20 minutes on both sides of high tide.

The best lures for us were the MirrOdine, 5-inch Shad Assassins in stinky pink and violet moon, and Assassin P&V in laguna shrimp (rigged on a 1/16-oz. round head with a spring keeper). When the smoke cleared, we had caught 16 trout (three shorts, nine we kept, and four oversized trout up to 21 inches) and four redfish (25, 25, 23 and 16 inches).

Our nine trout and two reds weighed 30-lbs., 4-ozs., and just our nine trout were 20-lbs., 5-ozs. The keeper trout were perfect—all but one between 18 and 18 7/8 inches. Our biggest kept was only 20 1/2 inches. It was a day to remember, and the bite should only get better over the next month. Jimmy Cumby and a friend fished north of Keaton on Thursday and caught their limit of trout and redfish. They threw plastics and MirrOlures for their fish.

New Moon is March 10. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website ( For the latest marine forecast, check out

River gages on March 7 were:
Clyo on the Savannah River – 8.9 feet and rising
Abbeville on the Ocmulgee – 8.4 feet and rising
Doctortown on the Altamaha – 9.5 feet and rising
Waycross on the Satilla – 10.2  feet and rising
Atkinson on the Satilla – 9.7 feet and rising
Statenville on the Alapaha – 7.8 feet and steady
Macclenny on the St Marys – 6.9 feet and rising
Fargo on the Suwannee – 7.9 feet and rising

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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