This year has been simply incredible for most species of fish, whether you fish Inshore or Offshore Charter Fishing on St. Simons Island Georgia.
Georgia’s 40 mile bottom produced some impressive numbers of Snapper and Grouper along with a few migratory game fish as well. On several charter fishing trips we caught several limits of Red Snapper, Vermilion Snapper, Grouper and several nice Cobia on almost every deep sea fishing charter trip we made. In addition to the general Brunswick 40-mile bottom area, Navy tower M1R1 produced some nice fish for us too. Cobia, Dolphin, Snapper, Grouper and Kings have been consistently boated on fishing charters throughout this spring and early summer season.
I think we ought to give Georgia Offshore fishing at least an “8” out of a high score of “10” on the King Mackerel season this year. It was a bit on the slow side for some charter fishing anglers, and I didn’t hear of many limits of fish being caught out of Golden Isles Marina or Jekyll Marina. I heard tale of several boats out of Savannah boating a good number of school size Kingfish on the offshore reefs from St. Catherine’s Island on up to Hilton Head. We did place decent in the King Mackerel Tournaments we charter fished.
The catch of near shore fish species was absolutely “Off the Hook!” We started out catching Sharpnose sharks and TripleTail in late April and we slowly progressed into Tarpon, Jack Crevalle and Spinner Sharks in May, June and July. With the bait situation as consistent as it is, anyone should be able to keep a rod bent most of the day with decent size fish on the other end.
The Tarpon fishing started out a bit slow, but the numbers of fish being caught were on the rise through out the summer. We have seen hundreds of Tarpon, but it’s tough to get a strike when the Tarpon are munching in a bait pod the size of 3 city blocks. Our normal Tarpon spots on the sandbar cuts in St. Andrews Sound are becoming more productive each day with the warm water temperatures and the bigger bait moving onto the beaches. As these fish fall victim to their normal patterns, we’ll see catch numbers shoot through the roof aroud the next full moon. Myself and many other Charter boats and recreational fisherman will soon roll the dice in hopes of guessing the right location of these fish according to the tide level.
The Jack Crevalle were biting well most of the season. We have had many Jacks over 25 pounds and a ton of shorts in the 5- pound range. As these fish show up in the Hampton River and St. Simons Sound, we target them with a floating lure such as a Rapala “Skitter Pop”. That’s one of my favorites for targeting schooling Jacks. They are notorious for having a bad attitude, and they will hit a bait or lure just because it’s in the way.
The Spinner Sharks, as always, were more than cooperative behind the shrimp boats as NMFS opened up the three-mile line for commercial Shrimping. When State waters are open as well, the shark fishing bite is simply “Ugly!” I wouldn’t want to fall in the ocean while drifting behind a Shrimp Trawler. I don’t think you would make it out alive! We have seen these fish frenzy over a single menhaden dropped out behind the boat. “Fish On!” is a normal occurrence that time of year on a fishing charter.
Scoring multiple hook ups charter fishing on a single drift is not a problem with a little practice and know how. You begin to learn which Shrimp boats hold the most abundant amount of fish. To name a few good ones, I must mention the following; “Predator”, “War Horse”, “Joann-B”, “Bryan & Shane”, “Gambler” and a handful more, hold a serious amount of spinners and Black tip Sharks. Great fun for a day in the sun!
If you own a boat, get out there and bend the rod. You don’t have to know a whole lot. Just cast net some pogies where you see pelicans diving and head for the nearest Shrimp Boat. You’ll be glad you did when the first 200-yard screaming run of a jumping Spinner Shark sings music to your ears.
All Round Big Game Arsenal:
- 7 ft. Ugly Stik (30-60 class rod)
- Penn Reel of your choice (Spooled with 80 Pound Braid)
- 6 ft. of 250 pound mono leader
- A Small Float attached to the main line above your swivel
- Mustad 7766 Tarpon Hook or Redfishone Circle Hook
Enjoy your days on the water and take your kids fishing. They are the future of the resource, so practice catch and release whenever possible.