Southeast Georgia Fishing Reports With Capt. Bert Deener – Sept. 29, 2023

Timely info on where and how to catch fish on various rivers and waters of southeast Georgia.

Capt. Bert Deener | September 29, 2023

Ed Zmarzly has been catching a bunch of bull redfish off the St. Simons Island pier this week. Cutbait has been the ticket.

The cooler weather has the fish more active, but the rains in southeast Georgia this week have most of the blackwater rivers on the rise again. The Ocmulgee and Altamaha are in good shape to try for the weekend. With big tides and winds, saltwater is not a good option the next few days. The Okefenokee bite and ponds are likely your best option this weekend.   

Altamaha/Ocmulgee Rivers: Both of these rivers are in good shape, as the up-state regions did not get the heavy rains like southeast Georgia.

Okefenokee Swamp: Swamp fishing has been very good for the few people who went. Carter Knoll flung a Dura-Spin in the boat basin some this week and caught bowfin each time he fished. A Waycross angler fished this week at all three public entrances and caught fish with very little fishing effort at each one. Bowfin (up to 5 pounds) and pickerel (up to 22 inches) ate Dura-Spins trolled and casted to shoreline cover. Lemon-lime was the best color spinner. Fliers ate yellow sallies under a float best on the east side. And, he caught a warmouth on a yellow sally by flinging it on a fly rod to the edges of grass mounds. The most recent water level (Folkston side) was 120.84 feet.

Paradise Public Fishing Area (near Tifton): The annual JAKES/Outdoor Adventure Day was held on Saturday, Sept. 23, and the kids had a blast… literally. Shots from the skeet shooting could be heard around the area all morning. The fishing went very well with LOTS of catfish caught from the kids’ ponds—several earned the youth anglers an angler award. The biggest I heard of was an 11-pounder that ate mullet gut wound on the hook. Bass fishing was good for the youth fishing for them. Several anglers caught bass up to 5 pounds in the bass/bream pond.

Local Ponds: Jimmy Zinker caught the biggest bass I heard of this week by night-fishing with a black Gurgler Buzzbait. He landed a 7-lb., 13-oz. bass on Tuesday night. Tripp, Charlotte and Waylon fished their magical Guyton bream pond this week with black/chartreuse Bert’s Bugs and caught quite a few bluegill and bass. Bluegill will still be spawning in the shallows for the next month or so. The crappie catch has improved with the cooler water, but I haven’t heard of any great catches yet.

Saltwater (GA Coast): The trout bite has fired off but will likely pause this weekend with the big tides and STRONG winds that are forecasted.  Tommy and Pam Sweeney had the best catch I heard of this week. They had a 50-fish day on Saturday, but many were 13-inch throwback trout. They had 16 keeper trout and a big 19-inch flounder. Pam’s biggest trout was a 19-incher that ate a shrimp rigged on an 1/8-oz. Zombie Eye jig head and suspended underneath a float. I got a couple reports of sheepshead being caught on fiddler crabs and trout being caught on shrimp in the Brunswick area. Flounder are still around, but most folks reported catching one or two per trip instead of the half-dozen fish per trip over the last month. Ed Zmarzly has been putting it on the bull redfish from the St. Simons Island Pier. Cutbait has been the ticket. Some of them have been pushing 40 inches. 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.

Full Moon is Sept. 29. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website ( For the latest marine forecast, check out

River gages on Sept. 28 were:
Clyo on the Savannah River –  4.3 feet and falling
Abbeville on the Ocmulgee – 1.3 feet and falling
Doctortown on the Altamaha – 6.0 feet and falling
Waycross on the Satilla – 10.5 feet and rising
Atkinson on the Satilla – 10.8 feet and falling
Statenville on the Alapaha – 5.0 feet and falling
Macclenny on the St Marys – 3.2 feet and rising
Fargo on the Suwannee – 6.0 feet and rising

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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