Southeast Georgia Fishing Reports With Capt. Bert Deener – Nov. 3, 2023

Capt. Bert Deener | November 3, 2023

Shelton Hunter, of Tampa, Fla., fished the east side of Okefenokee Swamp on Saturday and caught an 8-lb., 8-oz. bowfin on a firetiger-chartreuse blade Dura-Spin.

The bites have been off and on this week with the varied weather. The Okefenokee bite is the only one that has been consistent lately. Rivers are getting to good fishable levels (some are even too low to get a motorboat around well), so it’s time to get back on them.

Altamaha/Ocmulgee Rivers: A Fitzgerald bass angler has been fishing the lower Ocmulgee River over the last week and did really well, but not as well as he is used to. His best was a half-day afternoon trip where he caught 19 bass, and his first one was a 5-pounder. That was his biggest fish this week. During two other trips, he caught between 15 and 20 fish per trip. All of his fish were on Texas-rigged plastic worms (mostly junebug and green-pumpkin hues) in heavy cover. Another angler fishing the lower Altamaha fished all day for 20 bass (17 of them were keepers and none were over 2 pounds). They caught their fish mostly on Texas-rigged worms.

Okefenokee Swamp:  Shelton Hunter from the Tampa, Fla. area fished with me on Saturday on the Okefenokee Swamp. We had a really good day in the canals on the east side. We fished a few hours in the middle of the day and trolled up 82 fish. Most were bowfin, but we had a few pickerel up to 18 inches. The bigger bowfin were biting, as our biggest were 8-lbs., 8-ozs., 8-lbs., 4-ozs, 8-lbs., 2-ozs., and 6-lbs., 15-ozs. The big ones are an absolute hoot! All our fish ate Dura-Spins, and the best color was fire tiger-chartreuse blade. We also caught some fish on lemon-lime, crawfish-orange blade and black/chartreuse-chartreuse blade (in declining order of effectiveness). Okefenokee Adventures staff said that anglers caught bowfin and pickerel on Thursday even in the cold. The most recent water level (Folkston side) was 120.68 feet.

St. Marys River: Matt Rouse said that he caught a few largemouth bass right before the cold front came through this week. He’s caught a few crappie lately, but expects this cool snap to fire that bite off in the near future.

Local Ponds: Chip Lafferty caught the biggest bass I heard of this week, and it was from a Brunswick area pond. The 6-lb., 13-oz. largemouth ate a green-pumpkin Texas-rigged worm. Chad Lee caught two 2-lb. bass this weekend at an Alma area pond while flinging stick worms. The bream bite has slowed with the cooler water, but the crappie bite should pick up for this weekend.

Saltwater (GA Coast): Saltwater was hit-and-miss this week—mostly miss for trout. A two-boat crew of Gary Simmons, Larry Wilkerson, Ronnie Boatright and his grandson fished the Brunswick area and got on the redfish. They had nine big bull redfish that ate live shrimp. They only managed one undersized trout mixed in with all the big redfish. One of the misses was a Blackshear angler who fished the Crooked River area with artificials on Tuesday and could only muster four throwback trout and a keeper. He did not get them to respond to topwaters, and the few he caught ate Gulp! Shrimp rigged on a Zombie Eye Jighead. He saw a tripletail inshore but could not get it to bite. Another friend fished the Brunswick area and caught five trout over the weekend. He fooled them all with plastic under a float. Capt. Greg Hildreth ( said that the “marsh hen” tides made it tough, but his charters caught a few bull reds in the sounds early in the week. Capt. Tim Cutting ( said that Thursday was the first day he braved the big tides. The water looked terrible, but they stayed at it and had a good catch of trout, redfish and black drum on live shrimp fished 6 to 8 feet deep under Harper Super Striker Floats. 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.

Eddie Tomlinson, of Athens, caught this nice sheepshead last week while fishing near Brunswick. (Photo courtesy of Capt. Tim Cutting).

Keaton Beach/Steinhatchee, Florida: Capt. Pat McGriff of One More Cast Guide Service ( out of Keaton Beach said that a bunch of trout were caught out of Keaton Beach this week. The fish are still scattered. His charters caught limits of trout with some black sea bass mixed in the catch. The best approach was bouncing Assassin 5-inch Shads rigged on 1/8- and 1/4-oz. Assassin jig heads. The most effective color was laguna shrimp. They caught the sea bass out in 8 to 10 feet of water along with a few trout, but most of the trout were in the middle depth ranges. Capt. Pat says that this cold snap should push more trout shallow, and the bite (especially the topwater and plug bites) should be on by this weekend.

Last quarter moon is Nov. 5. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website ( For the latest marine forecast, check out

River gages on Nov. 2 were:
Clyo on the Savannah River –  4.1 feet and rising
Abbeville on the Ocmulgee – 1.2 feet and falling
Doctortown on the Altamaha – 4.2 feet and falling
Waycross on the Satilla – 6.1 feet and falling
Atkinson on the Satilla – 6.2 feet and falling
Statenville on the Alapaha – 2.4 feet and falling
Macclenny on the St Marys – 2.5 feet and falling
Fargo on the Suwannee – 6.4 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 email him at [email protected].

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