St Simons Island Fishing Report 3/7/15

Monday, November 29, 2010

Fishing report, Brunswick, GA, Nov 27 & 29, 2010

The fishing for trout has still been outstanding.  We had two trips over the Thanksgiving weekend that provided good action on sea trout both days.  Flounder, redfish, bluefish and the dreaded lizard fish also crashed the party.  Both days were dedicated to floating and suspending lip divers.  We've continued on this pattern because it works.  It has enabled us to cover a lot of ground, as we have not found any great concentrations of fish at one spot.  We comb the areas thoroughly, and go back over the spots where we pick off fish.  As a rule, when we trout fish, we do use artificials.  For the live baiters, this works as well, as you can find them with the artys and then anchor on them with bait-and up your catch.  This year in general, the trout have been on the smaller side, but using these larger profile baits has put our keeper ratio well above 90%.  We had one short fish in two days of fishing, with over 30 good trout landed. 

James Pittman from Buccaneer Bait & Tackle in St Mary's and Mike Wooten from St Simons Bait & Tackle on St Simons have confirmed the outstanding trout catches as well.  The trout bite has been strong from the Hampton River south to the Florida/Georgia line.  Most catches have been made with live shrimp under popping corks and traditional float rigs.  These are deadly weapons in the marsh, and by no means one dimensional.  Capt. Tim and TJ Cheeks, out of Hickory Bluff Marina, also had tremendous catches of trout varying their depths and retrieve styles on these floating destroyers. 

Tip of the week:  Add a fish imitating plastic under your popping cork as the weather gets cooler.  This will present as a stressed or dying bait fish which is what the game fish are keying on as the temperatures drop. 

The wind is your friend....

What?! Fishing in the wind, really?  For the many of those who've been on the boat with me, you've probably heard me mutter "the wind is not your friend". But let's face it-if you plan your trip around the elements, you'll end up doing a lot of wishin instead of fishin.  Here's a couple thoughts I have when the flags are flyin stiff. 
One of the first things I do the night before is to get a chart or print an area off the internet that I'm going to fish.  Positioning the map with "North" to the top, I then draw lines indicating wind direction-five or six lines usually does the trick.  I then find shorelines that are facing directly into the wind.  Usually, here on the Georgia coast-with its many islands, creek bends and shorelines that run through the marsh, I will end up bisecting 10 or 12 different spots.  I then look for those intersections that have trees, bluffs, docks, warehouses, or any other obstructions to block the wind.  At this point I'll make a float plan, and hopefully I've included some spots I'm vaguely familiar with.  If not, at least I can eliminate some water or find some new spots. 

Fishing the lee areas sometimes contradicts many thoughts about wind pushing bait onshore, but in the tidal areas, I think water clarity takes precedence and have often found the fish don't feed as well in turbulent waters.  Another factor to consider is tide stage.  Many times the smaller creeks at low tide will put you below the wind line and make open areas more comfortable.  The opposite is true as well, as the rising tide will put you above the cover and increase your exposure.  In the cooler months this lee can improve your confidence, as well as make your crew  more comfortable--so you may want to cater your run to these spots in the lee as much as possible.  This may mean trying a new ramp or new area-but I think in the long run this will make your day on the water much more enjoyable and increase your chances of catching fish. 

As far as the nuts and bolts of actual fishing...slow down.  Make your presentations, as a rule, deeper and slower.  Cover entire areas that you are fishing, as the fish will often school fairly tight this time of year.  This may mean slowing your jig down to a crawl, floating your shrimp slower with heavier weight, or even peppering every inch of a given area if you are power fishing. 

I may be a little hardcore in that I will fish in most any condition--but more often than not, if I can find a comfortable area--I will turn it into a productive day.

As usual, you won't know if you don't go...even if it's gonna blow

Capt. Tim Cutting
Coastal Georgia Inshore Charters
St Simons Island, Georgia

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Forget the turkey, why not Flounder for Thanksgiving?

Broiled Flounder

4 (3 oz.) flounder fillets
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1/8 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. butter, softened
1 1/2 tbsp. mayonnaise or salad dressing
1 1/2 tbsp. chopped green onion tops
Dash of hot sauce
Garnishes: green onion strips, lemon wedges

Place fillets on a lightly greased 15 x 10 x 2 inch baking pan. Brush with lemon juice.
Combine Parmesan cheese and next 5 ingredients, mixing well. Set aside. Place fillets on lightly greased rack of a broiler pan; broil 4 inches from heat 6 to 8 minutes. Spread cheese mixture evenly over fish; broil 2 to 3 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Garnish, if desired.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Fishing report St Simons Island/Brunswick November 19 & 20, 2010

We had two trips this week, and the fishing remained fairly strong on both days.  Water temps are hovering around 62 degrees, with the water clarity dirty to excellent, depending on where you look.  Here on the Georgia coast the full moon (and new moon) tides can get over 8',  bringing out a lot of silt and dirtying the water.  Day 1 this was a factor, but we eventually found some good fish-including some over slot reds in the 30" range.  Although the wind blew fairly strong, all the usual haunts held lower slot reds and trout.  We mixed it up using soft plastics, 3" gulp shrimp and cut bait.  The key to our moderate success that day was to stay on the run.  This is a good policy to live by, as opposed to waitin out your honey hole, in my opinion. 

Day 2 was a completely different scenario-as there was no wind, a nice cloud cover, and areas of water with visibility up to 6'.  The major difference on Saturday was our method and our target.  All Bomber Long A, all the time...the target being big ole two tooth, alias Speckled Sea Trout.  We really only had two good bites all day.  The first bite was at first light on the first cast, and twelve solid fish later the bite turned off.  This often is the case in any fishing, so don't leave fish to find fish.  Make sure you work the area thoroughly if you catch a fish.  Six hours later, as the tide turned back in, we had four more bites that were all solid fish between 2-4 lbs.  Now is a very good time of the year to experiment with artificials if you've ever wanted to give them a try.  A trolling motor is a huge advantage, but the lack of one will by no means eliminate your chance of catching fish on artificials.   I think the key on both days was to move around and locate fish as they are very hungry right now knowing the winter is coming and the abundant food supply will soon diminish.  

Tip of day:  Now is a good time to use cut bait for large reds, as they are less territorial and in a somewhat transitional stage.  They will cruise broader areas looking (sniffing/smelling) for a meal.  Don't be surprised, however, if a big flounder or trout finds your cut bait as well.

Until next time, you won't know if you don't go....

Capt. Tim Cutting
Coastal Georgia Inshore Charters
St Simons Island, Georgia

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Targeting and catching large Speckled Trout

Large Speckled Trout or "gator trout" are a very different animal than their schoolie sized sibs.  As a rule, trout under 20" tend to school fairly tight, whereas on the other hand, larger trout are generally loners.  When targeting large trout, you have to be single minded and willing to settle for quality instead of quantity.  While you are looking for 4 or 5 quality bites, sometimes you may have to settle for only one or two...or none. 

One of the important things to remember is that large trout eat large baits.  Of course they will still eat a shrimp, but they prefer a large bait fish-such as mullet, ladyfish, pinfish, croaker etc.  It is not uncommon for a large trout to consume a fish up to 10" long.  Whether you are using live bait or artificials, this is worth remembering.  As mentioned a thousand times- big bait, big fish.  I think most of us know how to use a popping cork or traditional float rig.  To increase your chances on a gator, rig these with bait fish as opposed to shrimp.

My personal preference for hunting big trout consists of using large artificial baits.  I like various lip divers, top water plugs, slow sinking plugs and assorted soft plastics.  I like to work the lip diver (and any bait) with the current.  One of my most favorite ways to target big trout is to work the diver sharply off riprap or docks or both.  Tide is not a major factor as long as the water is moving and clear.  I present my diver with a series of jerks, twitches and most importantly...the pause.  9 out of 10 strikes will come on this pause, as the lure either sinks, suspends or floats upward.  Bring your presentation with the current, whenever possible.

With a top water bait, the presentation is a little different. My perfect set up is positioning the boat in deep water, in current, and throwing into a cove or shoreline with broken grass or small islands that break up the current. I like to throw the bait into eddied or still water pockets at the top of the tides in low light conditions.  Current will alter your presentation on a top water lure.  Often you can maneuver your boat close to shore and make long casts paralleling the shore.  Long casts and stealth are paramount in targeting big trout, with the exception of deep jigging (with we'll discuss in a later blog).   Presentation with the current is very important to me if you hadn't figured that out yet.   

Slow sinking plugs (like MirrOlure 52m)  are a little tougher to work, but are unique in that they can fish many depths.  The basic concept is to count your lure down one second per foot.  If you see a gnarly looking dock that you think ought to hold a big fish, and it is sitting in 11' of water, you would basically count 10 seconds and then begin to work your plug at a 10' depth.  Different from the lip divers (that are worked with a series of sharp twitches and cranks), the slow sinkers seem to work better with small intermittent twitches and slow pulls.  The beauty of this lure is that you can cover all depths just like you can with a jig, but you are now using a larger profile lure to pick off a bigger fish. 

Finally, jigs.  Probably more fish have been caught off a jig and plastic or jig and hair than any other lure.  The reason is because they work.  Although there are many theories on how to work a jig I work mine slow...and then slower...and even slower again.  I know this sounds redundant, but I've found that I get more bites with small one inch hops and pauses and slow lifts and drops than any other presentation.  I think the important factor with a jig is to maintain contact with your lure.  You have to know what your lure is doing at all times.  I think one of the most crucial factors in working a jig (along with bringing it with the current) is to eliminate any bow in your line.  This can be achieved by having no wind (which is extremely rare) or more practically, positioning your cast so that you are throwing directly into the wind or with the wind directly behind you.  This can be tricky, as not all shorelines, structure, targets and wind patterns will align.  One thing you can do is to hold your rod tip extremely low to eliminate the bow in the line.  I prefer to jig with the rod in the ten o'clock position and bring it up to the eleven o'clock position.  In order to increase my hook ups, I will often sacrifice fishy looking places in favor of other spots that allow me to maintain direct contact with my lure.  While a jig, and its small profile, often catch smaller trout, make no mistake-thrown in the right place, a big trout will hammer it.  Finally, the most important thing to remember in jig fishing is often the bite is a small tick or tap or slight pressure.  The next thing you won't feel is the fish spitting your jig on any tick, tap or pressure-set the hook immediately and sharpley!

Hope this helps.  Until the next time, you won't know if you don't go!

Capt. Tim Cutting
Coastal Georgia Inshore Charters
St Simons Island, Georgia

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Cajun Blackened Redfish Recipe

This is REAL good, so make sure to hook some reds this weekend!

  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups Italian salad dressing
  • 4 (4 oz) fillets red drum

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter on low heat; cool to room temperature.  Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the cayenne pepper, black pepper, lemon pepper, garlic powder and salt.  Set aside.
  3. Dip the filets into the melted butter, then coat with the seasoning mixture.
  4. In a large skillet over high heat, sear fish on each side for 2 minutes or until slightly charred.
  5. Place in a 11x7 inch baking dish and pour the Italian dressing onto each filet.  Cover baking dish and bake in a preheated oven for 30 minutes or until flaky and tender.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Fishing report 11/12, 13 & 14- Inshore bite on fire!

The skiff worked overtime these last three days, so we'll do a combined report.  This time of year, during warming trends (especially following cold fronts) the fish school up fairly tight and are very user friendly.  We like to switch over to artificial when the fish are this eager.  The artificials allow us a better survival rate, as less fish get gut hooked, not to mention it is just plain fun to trick them. 

 Each day produced many keeper trout and redfish.  We also had some larger blues crash the party along with some fine eating flounder.  The bite was better on the lower tides, although we continued to find fish on the higher ends as well.  The lures of choice this week were lip divers worked fast and furious and soft plastics hopped and crawled along the bottom.  Two of the flatties we caught this week actually bit the lip diver. 

Tip of the week:  Go buy a Bomber Long A

Until next won't know if you don't go!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Targeting larger, wary trout

In this article, I'll give my thoughts on targeting the larger or "gator" trout on the Georgia coast.  We will focus on habitat, and in the next blog we will go into further detail on presentations.  Big trout are generally loners.  The places they hide may surprise you.  Big trout get big for a reason, they are smart, wary, and seclusive.  One of the common factors I've found in big trout haunts is big, deep water.  And I mean deep-not 10' deep, but 30-50' deep.  I look for structure in one foot to twenty foot of water near the 30-50' depths I mentioned.  These haunts include jettys, rock piles, flooded grass, points, docks and pilings.  These areas can exist in pristine areas in the marsh as well as the nastiest urban setting you can imagine.  If this sounds like a broad range of places to seek a truly monster trout, you're right.  You'll have to probe many of these places to be rewarded.  Along the way, you will get rewarded with smaller trout as well as many of the other prized inshore species. 

Many times a run and gun approach will be your best bet, whether that means putting the trolling motor down and covering a long stretch of area or dropping anchor and fishing for no more than 5-10 minutes a stop.  I don't think tide is the major factor in targeting big trout (with the exception of flooded grass), but more importantly that you have moving, clean water. 

Tim's tip of the blog-Of the many structures that I have fished, I have found that rock and concrete are some of my favorites.  Look for our next blog to key in on just how and what to present to your next "gator".  Hope  this helps, there's many ways to skin a cat (or a speck), but these are a few things that work for me. 

Until then, you won't know if you don't go....

Capt. Tim
Coastal Georgia Inshore Charters
St Simons Island, Georgia

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sizzling Flounder recipe-just in time for this weekend's catch!

This recipe is outstanding, so get on out there and catch some flatties!  This recipe is also awesome with any of your favorite fish.

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. paprika
4 (6 oz) flounder fillets
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 cup butter
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1. Place 1 oven rack 5 inches from heat; place a second rack in middle of oven. Combine Parmesan cheese and paprika. Season fish with salt and pepper.

2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Heat butter in a broiler-safe 13 x 9 inch baking dish in oven 8 minutes or until butter is melted and beginning to brown. Place fish in hot butter.

3. Bake at 450 on middle oven rack 10 minutes. Carefully flip fish, and baste with pan juices. Sprinkle with lemon juice and Parmesan cheese mixture. Bake 5 more minutes or just until fish flakes with a fork. Remove from oven; increase oven temperature to broil.

4. Broil fish on oven rack 5 inches from heat 2 to 3 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Cool weather Trout tactics

My favorite season of the year is here!  This is the time of year when the Reds and Trout school up pretty thick on the Georgia coast and are much more user friendly.  Here's a few tips that work for me when targeting trout.  For those of you who like to fish with live shrimp, easy limits can be had by targeting the right depths.  As you would think, the trout usually seek deeper water this time of year.  The trick here is to switch from popping corks to traditional slip/float rigs.  These rigs let you adjust your float to any depth.  Do not be afraid to fish in water 6-20 feet deep.  The key is to find these deeper isolated spots in creek bends, oxbows, cuts and any other structure or transition areas you may find.  One of my favorite adjustments is to use a slightly heavier weight underneath the cork to slow the drift down.  It is important to notice the angle of the cork as it floats away from you.  The ideal angle is with the cork tilted slightly away from you as it floats-thus indicating you are close to the bottom or even bumping it, while maintaining the constant drift of the cork.  The key here is the slower, deeper presentation.  Remember, if you are not getting bit in the first 10 or 15 minutes-move on, even if its your favorite honey hole-you can come back later. 

My personal way to target trout is with artificial lures.  One of the deadliest ways to catch trout during the cooler season is with a jig head in the 1/16th to 3/8th range.  I personally go as light as possible, but you may want to experiment until you feel confident that you are feeling the bottom and are in contact with your bait.  Any number of plastics will work, including paddletails, curlytails or even straight fluke type plastics.  I generally use natural hues, but again you may want to experiment or use what you have confidence in.  I prefer to work my lure with the current, as opposed to against it.  The most important factor is speed.  GO SLOW!  If you think you are going too slow, go slower.  Generally, a small 1" hop followed by a pause is the ticket.  You may even want to go with just a lift and drop, remembering to pause.  The take, or bite, is often a small tick or tap.  It may even be just slight pressure on your jig.  Whenever you feel anything different, set the hook sharply and immediately. 

I hope these thoughts on trout fishing help, they work for me.  Look forward to our next blog that will key on targeting more wary larger trout.  Until then, you won't know if you don't go...

Capt. Tim
Coastal Georgia Inshore Charters
St Simons Island, Georgia

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Welcome to Coastal Georgia Inshore Charters

Our mission is to provide an action-packed, fun filled day on the water that you’ll never forget. Capt. Tim specializes in providing any angler, of any skill level, a memorable adventure in the pristine marshes surrounding the Golden Isles.

The Coastal marshes of St. Simons Island, Sea Island, Jekyll Island and Brunswick offer world class inshore fishing year round. Coastal Georgia’s Inshore Marshes are home to Speckled Trout, Redfish, Flounder, Tarpon, Triple Tail, Sharks and Sheepshead as well as several other species. Capt. Tim’s vast knowledge and experience will provide you the opportunity to make your day on the water a rewarding one.

Coastal Georgia Inshore Charters can tailor your experience to fit your needs, whether it is targeting specific species (seasonally), artificial lure fishing, live bait fishing or fly fishing. We can cater your trip.