Southeast Georgia Fishing Reports With Capt. Bert Deener – Oct. 20, 2023

Capt. Bert Deener | October 20, 2023

Skip Roder had a blast fighting this big bull redfish on trout tackle this week. (Photo Courtesy of Capt. Tim Cutting)

What beautiful weather this week! The cooler weather has the fall patterns in full swing for pretty much all species. Inshore saltwater has been very good, as has the Okefenokee Swamp. Rivers are getting fishable again at different rates, so check river levels before planning a trip to flowing water.

Altamaha/Ocmulgee Rivers: Conditions deteriorated this week with the rising rivers, but some bass were caught over the weekend. Okefenokee Bass Anglers held a tournament Saturday out of Altamaha Park and Jimmy and Zach Anderson won it with 15.52 pounds. Big fish, a 6.63-lb. bass, was caught from the boat of Anthony Gaskins. A couple of bass anglers I talked with mentioned catching bass this week on black/blue stick worms. I would imagine that spinnerbaits, vibrating jigs and crankbaits would catch their share, as well. Catfishing should be pretty good this week in the high, stained water.   

Satilla River: The Highway 158 ramp is not yet complete, as rains have kept the river up and the DNR boat ramp construction crew away from the landing. It was getting close again before last week’s rains, but now it is high again.

Okefenokee Swamp:  I forgot to mention a trip in last week’s report. Chris Welch, of Waycross, fished with a friend on the east side last Sunday afternoon, and they caught 32 fish. They caught a 4-lb. bowfin trolling a crawfish-brass blade Dura-Spin. The rest of their fish were fliers up to 8 inches that ate both pink and chartreuse Okefenokee Swamp Sallies suspended under a small balsa float. The fliers have started biting well in the cooler weather. My wife Teresa and I ran around the canals on the east side on Saturday afternoon and had a blast. The flowers are in full bloom (October is my favorite month for color), and we even saw a roseate spoonbill that strayed inland and was feeding in the prairies. That was only the second time that I’ve seen that bird species in the swamp. We fished a short while and caught a big, 23-inch chain pickerel and a smaller one by casting a red/white Dura-Spin. We also caught seven fliers by pitching orange Okefenokee Swamp Sallies under a small balsa float. The most recent water level (Folkston side) was 120.87 feet.

Local Ponds: Jay Turner walked the bank at a local pond and flung a vibrating jig this week and had a blast. He caught a couple dozen small bass, some slab crappie and a few giant bluegill. That’s some big bluegill to inhale a vibrating jig, even the smaller version! Chad Lee fished an Alma area pond with a white spinnerbait and caught 20 bass up to 3 1/2 pounds on Sunday afternoon. He also had a few crappie and bluegill that ate small plastics.. The biggest bass I heard of this week from ponds was a 6-lb., 4-oz. fish caught by Chip Lafferty on a big Texas-rigged worm.

Saltwater (GA Coast): Travis, Hannah and Charles West fished out of Crooked River on Wednesday during the gorgeous weather we’ve been having. They caught about 20 trout, including four keepers. Their top producer was live shrimp tail-hooked on an 1/8-oz. shrimp hook (built on a Gamakatsu kahle-shaped hook) and suspended underneath a float. When they got on a few fish, Charles flung plastics and caught some fish on the artificials. Electric chicken Zombie Eye jig heads and chartreuse/red Sea Shads produced most of their fish on artificials. All inshore bites weren’t as good, though, as an experienced angler fished Wednesday afternoon and evening in the Brunswick area and only managed a 17-inch redfish in three different good spots. Another angler and his dad fished Thursday in the Brunswick area and caught three undersized trout all day. Capt. Tim Cutting ( said that he floated shrimp all week on his trips and had a good bite but not a great bite. Some bigger trout were mixed in the catch, though. Bull redfish are here but are scattered more than usual. Instead of his usual 25 fish per trip, he’s been catching a dozen bull reds. Skip Roder had a big bull redfish on trout tackle—that one was a fight! A few big sheepshead were mixed in the catches. Brenda Hampton didn’t catch flounder this weekend, but she caught a nice keeper black drum from the Jekyll Island Pier. The flounder bite has slowed from the hot bite a month ago, but there are still flatfish around. 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.

Panama City Beach, Florida: Shelton Hunter fished the inshore backwaters in his kayak this week and caught some nice redfish and trout on MirrOdine plugs. He could not get them to eat plastics.

First quarter moon is Oct. 22. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website ( For the latest marine forecast, check out

River gages on Oct. 19 were:
Clyo on the Savannah River –  5.2 feet and falling
Abbeville on the Ocmulgee – 3.8 feet and falling
Doctortown on the Altamaha – 7.8 feet and cresting
Waycross on the Satilla – 11.0 feet and falling
Atkinson on the Satilla – 10.1 feet and rising
Statenville on the Alapaha – 3.9 feet and falling
Macclenny on the St Marys – 4.1 feet and falling
Fargo on the Suwannee – 10.2 feet and cresting

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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