Southeast Georgia Fishing Reports With Capt. Bert Deener – Nov. 17, 2023
The bite inland has been good but saltwater after the wind started blowing this weekend has been rough. Rivers are low, and fish are biting.
Altamaha/Ocmulgee Rivers: Harry and James Beverley fished the lower Altamaha River this week for just a half-day trip before the rain ran them off. They caught 17 bass (12 keepers). Harry was throwing a black plastic worm, and James caught them on a bright-colored crankbait. A Waycross angler fished the lower Ocmulgee River on Tuesday and had a great day for bass. He caught 17 bass, and his biggest was a 6.59-pounder. His biggest five were around 17 pounds. He fished again Thursday and caught 10 bass. His biggest was 6.83 pounds, and the five biggest he weighed were a total of 17.33 pounds. He caught most of them on plastic craws fished around cover, but a few ate a spinnerbait. Joel Rykard, of Eastman, fished the Ocmulgee River on Tuesday and caught a 5-lb., 8-oz. shoal bass. It was a BEAUTY!
Okefenokee Swamp: Anthony and Jo from England have still been fishing the east side pretty much each day this week and have caught fish all week. They’re catching mostly bowfin, pickerel and fliers. The most recent water level (Folkston side) was 120.50 feet. At the time of writing this report, the rains had not brought the water level up much.
Local Ponds: The best pond report I got this week was from a Blackshear angler who went with his brother-in-law from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Saturday in a Blackshear area pond. They fished for crappie and caught 25 (kept 15 of the big ones) and also caught a giant bluegill and a couple small bass. They trolled minnows on Jiffy Jigs for all of their fish. Color didn’t matter that day—they caught them on everything they tried. Chip Lafferty and Ty Hardison fished a Brunswick area pond this week and caught six bass in the 2- to 3-lb. range and two nice crappie. They fooled them with pumpkin Texas and wacky-rigged worms. This weekend should be good, warm, stable weather that should fire off the pond bites.
Saltwater (GA Coast): Before the high winds started this weekend and the rain started earlier this week, the trout bite was excellent. Jay Turner and Gerald Riner fished the Brunswick area on Friday and caught 30 trout (well over half were keepers). Gerald fished live shrimp under a float, while Jay threw artificials. They both caught fish, and their biggest was 20 inches (they released that one). On the artificials, Jay did best with electric-shad Assassin Elite Shiners and Jerk Shads on an 1/8-oz. Zombi Eye jig head. A group of Coastal Resources Division employees got together on the holiday Friday and fished a tournament from Brunswick. The weather was good to fish wherever you wanted, and lots of fish were caught. The biggest trout— a 21-inch, 2.90-lb. gator trout—was landed by Blake Edwards. He fooled it with a Tennessee Shad Keitech 4-inch swimbait rigged on a 1/4-oz. Flashy Jighead and suspended underneath an Equalizer Float. He and a friend won the tournament with 4.64 pounds (three trout under 18 inches). Of those three winning fish, one hit a topwater, one a sexy-shad Keitech under an Equalizer, and one on their very last cast ate an electric-chicken Keitech under an Equalizer. They only had four keeper fish all day, but they had the RIGHT fish! Second was Stephen and Sean Tarpley with a 4.42-lb. trout limit. Big redfish was a 4.25-pounder caught by Gary Dennis. On Friday night the wind picked up, and Blake and Jen Edwards fished the Brunswick area on Saturday morning and had trouble finding protected waters. They only hung with it for a couple hours and caught two trout (one keeper) on white Keitechs. Scott Smith and Jason Dixon fished the Brunswick area on Saturday and found a couple of protected areas where they fooled eight redfish and a few small trout with plastics rigged on Zombi Eye jig heads. On Sunday, Gerald Riner took his daughter to the Savannah area and did great for trout and reds. They had well over a limit of trout but released them all. They had four or five redfish in the upper end of the slot and four over the slot, and they released those also. All of their fish ate live shrimp under a popping cork. Capt. Tim Cutting (fishthegeorgiacoast.com) said that inshore fishing has been surprisingly good in the wind this week. He’s had to cancel a couple days but has found some protected waters where they could fish on the other days. They concentrated on points, shells, flats and such that are dry at low and then cover up with high water. Creek mouths at the first of outgoing also produced lots of fish for them. They ran into a school of top-end slot and oversized redfish and caught a bunch of them. Live shrimp under Harper Super Striker Floats produced their fish. They adjusted the depth constantly from 1 to 2 feet down to 8 to 10 feet and everything in between based on where they were fishing. Most of their nice trout, flounder, reds and black drum came from the 8- to 10-foot range. The new bait shop in Brunswick named Wat-a-melon Bait and Tackle is now 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 in the same location as the previous J&P Bait and Tackle. For the latest information, contact them at 912.223.1379.
Keaton Beach/Steinhatchee, Florida: Capt. Pat McGriff of One More Cast Guide Service (www.onemorecast.net) out of Keaton Beach said that trout fishing was good this week with some big overslot fish mixed in. His charters Friday and Saturday caught trout up to 21 inches with a couple other oversized fish that they had to released on Friday. The slick conditions made the bite tougher on Saturday, but they still caught 12 keepers up to 20 inches and three redfish. Live pinfish and live shrimp under Back Bay Thunder Floats worked best. The topwater plug bite has not fired off as well as it usually has by this time in November. Cooler weather should improve that. A few good trout were caught this week on shrimp-colored plastics on 1/8-oz. jig heads. The 2 1/2- to 4-foot range was best for Capt. Pat this week, but he expects the rain and cooler temperatures to push more trout shallow.
River gages on Nov. 16 were:
Clyo on the Savannah River – 3.9 feet and falling
Abbeville on the Ocmulgee – 1.8 feet and falling
Doctortown on the Altamaha – 3.8 feet and rising
Waycross on the Satilla – 5.3 feet and rising
Atkinson on the Satilla – 4.3 feet and steady
Statenville on the Alapaha – 1.9 feet and rising
Macclenny on the St Marys – 2.3 feet and rising
Fargo on the Suwannee – 4.1 feet and steady
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 email him at [email protected].
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