St Simons Island Fishing Report 3/7/15

Sunday, December 18, 2011

St Simons Island Fishing Report 12/16, 12/18/11

Been awfully busy with year- end stuff, but slipped out Friday morning (12/16) thanks to a spur of the moment invite from Jeff at Sawlt Gear.  Greeted with perfect weather, we trout fished several areas and only found a fairly good supply of short fish. Jeff put the only keepers in the boat with his trusty cork and DOA. I guess they weren’t used to eating real good without wind. 
Planned a little outing in the Hampton with Michelle, Sarah, and Daniel this morning, but with 41 degrees registering on the thermometer and a good breeze, my crew decided to stay snuggled under the covers. Can’t blame them, it was cold! I figured I had a small low tide window early, so I snuck back in the creeks looking for a school somewhere. I spooked a few before I found a spot they would eat good. First six fish were all just over 23” with a couple right at 26. Got a few slots and 2 more overs and the bite quit. With midday low tides coming up, the redfish bite should stay reliable. The trout are around as I’ve heard some pretty good reports out of Brunswick and Hickory Bluff.  Later this afternoon, Daniel got the bug so we went down the street to the sweet water for some pan fish. The gills were a little picky today, but little man didn’t quit till he hooked a couple.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How Do I Work This Lure?!...Part V

OK, I didn’t really want to let the cat out of the bag, but since I rarely fish competitively anymore, I’ll put it out there. I use to think a spoon was a spoon, and usually just threw a Johnson silver Minnow in gold. A few years ago, while pre-fishing a tournament in Mosquito Lagoon, I happened upon a huge school of good upper-slot redfish that were not only spooky, but very finicky as well.  Later that evening, I met Captain Mike Hakala and we were talking fishing and trading lies… I mean stories.  The subject of lures for reds (only artificials were allowed on this tournament trail) came up.  Well it turns out Captain Mike designed a spoon he was marketing and he tossed me a couple of proto-types, suggesting I try them on the aforementioned spooky spot tails.  As you probably guessed, spoon feeding the reds with this new spoon was the ticket.  Capt. Mike’s spoon, with the enticing fluttering action unique to this design, drove these fish crazy.

As far as technique, it’s hard to beat a steady retrieve, but as with any lure, the fish will often tell you what they want.  On that particular day we were fishing a shallow grass and shell mixture. The spoon, as most of you know, typically has a weed guard, but even the best of spoons will occasionally hang up-- especially when dealing with oysters.  Capt. Mike’s Aqua Dream was different.  The rising action and revolutionary design of the “forked” or” double” guard stayed snag free!  But back to the retrieve.  As I felt the lure make contact with grass and shell, fearing I would lose this gem, I gave it a quick snap. Before I could continue, a red nearly ripped the rod outta my hand.  This lure can be burned, slow rolled, or even jigged like a grub.  To this day, I always keep an Aqua Dream, on the boat--for special occasions. One of the great things about this spoon is the many colors it comes in, which can make a difference on many days.  My favorite is #$@^&  or %#$@*&. J  

Monday, November 21, 2011

St Simons Island Fishing Report 11/19 & 11/21/11

This fishing stuff sure can be funny.  Started out Friday grabbing a quick limit of Reds and releasing some after that in gale force winds.  Saturday blew pretty steady and we managed a dozen.  Went out today and got a half dozen, and watched probably 40 or more stick their nose up at our offerings. 

Saturday's trip with Skip, his son Nick and Jim was a Redfish mission.  These guys have fished from New Orleans to New Jersey and about every place in between.  We fished some pretty serious Redfish stuff, but only found a decent bite in two holes.  We had a great time, as we had to pull fish out of some pretty tight stuff.  Thanks guys for puttin up with break offs, re-riggin' and generally toughing it out for a dozen good ones.

Today we ran out with James, David, Alan and Colton...four generations of fine folks from just south of Atlanta.  We stuck ourselves in a creek that I had been scouting that was wall to wall Redfish.  We watched Redfish after Redfish swim by our offerings, while ony managing to scrape out half a dozen fish.  It was still pretty neat to watch these guys sight cast to cruising Reds while swallowing sand gnats that were absolutely horrendous.  While everbody got in on the action, the youngest member of the clan, Colton, wound up with big fish honors pulling out a perfect 22 and 99/100s inch Red. 

After 30 years of dragging folks around the marsh in Florida and Georgia, I can honestly tell you that there are no finer folks than those from the Peach State.  I'm truly blessed to fish with folks who love and appreciate being "out there" as much as I do...and this weekend's group of folks just reinforced that again.  Thanks guys.  Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving everybody!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Big Breeze...Big Bite 11-18-11

Dang near cancelled this morning when I woke up to white caps rippling across the toilet bowl!  But Garrett, a regular, had come a long way for a wedding in Savannah and a trip to the marsh.  Figured we had a good window at daylight and low tide for Redfish, hiding from the wind around skinny creek bluffs.  Wrong.  Two great fish.  At this point, I asked Garrett if he had brought bananas on the boat.  Sheepishly, he said no, but I detected a different.  Upon further questioning, he broke out some banana chips.  I asked him to dump them immediately.  A closer look revealed a trail mix of sort, so I backed off and let Garrett keep them on the boat.  Next spot, I break off a Redfish and Garrett pulls the hooks on two.  No fish, tide rising, wind howling and with the bananas laying heavy on my mind we trudged on.  Now nearly desperate, we scraped over some oysters further back into the heart of the jungle.  Then it happened, the Redfish bite turned on.  For two hours we caught slots and overs on nearly every cast.  We broke off and pulled hooks on nearly as many as we caught.  Even with the tide nearly flooding, and pushing us further up into the wind, that one little oyster in the creek bend kept producing.  We ended up with 16 Redfish landed, and took our limit of 10 back to the hill.  The old timers say that the Redfish tails get bluer as the fish get hungrier...and these were really lit up today.   For those debating, the water is absolutely beautiful...and maybe the wind IS your friend!  Thanks Garrett for an absolutely awesome day!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Graham's Slam with Doormat Kicker and more 11-12-11

My buddy Graham called me at the last minute yesterday morning to see if we had an opening.  I was a little reluctant, as Michelle had a huge honey-do list that was LONG overdue.  Decisions, decisions.  As much as I hate to miss cleaning day, we decided to fish.   ;)  Graham was hoping to get on some Redfish, and with low tides and an awesome Redfish bite the last two weeks, I figured we could make it happen.  I didn't think the bite was gonna be as strong as it was though!  The first creek spot, the bite was steady.  What we thought were Redfish turned out to be fiesty Flounder, including a real mat that came in at just over 2 ft long!!  The bite slowed down, and Graham wanted to see if we could find some sight fishing opportunities for cruising Reds at low tide.  Graham is an accomplished Bonefish fly fishing guide in the Islands, as well as an accomplished Canadian Trout and Muskie Guide, so sight fishing some Reds would be icing on the cake.  As luck would have it, we turned the corner and Reds were everywhere.  After jigging and corking 10-15 Reds up to 23" and a huge heartbreaker that pulled at the boat, Graham broke out the long pole.  Probably the highlight of my day was watching Graham take one of his own hand tied flies in a beautiful brown & bronze color and start picking off Redfish.  Headed back to the marina with Redfish still biting but daylight waning.  A short distance from the marina we broke out the DOA shrimp and lip divers to complete the slam.  Sure enough, the fish gods were smiling and Mr. Speck showed up.  Although I was a little disappointed at having missed cleaning day, I gotta thank Graham for gettin us out and having the stars and moon line up in a big way... 

Veteran's Day Slam...Lots o' Reds 11-11-11

Despite temps in the 30s, and a stiff breeze, Grandpa, Son & Grandson decided to go for it.  George, Lawrence and Vincent have been out with me before in tough conditions, so we were still optimistic.  With the water still surprisingly clean, we played run and gun and tried to hide from the blow.  Probably should've scrapped plans B, C  & D and head right to the creeks.  Although we scraped out a few Reds and Trout on the outside, the Red bite in the creeks is still on fire.  We jigged and corked our way to a nice slam and three limits of Reds.  Daniel earned his first paycheck today as first mate-dipping shrimp, measuring fish and retrieving cold beverages for everyone.  Of course, he did snatch a rod up and ganked out a couple nice Reds as well.  It was a great day, with high fives, giggling and generally having a big time.  Thanks gang, and happy Veteran's Day to you George!  A special congrats to Vincent for completing his slam assignment and generally whoopin' everybody on the daily Red tally!

How Do I Work This Lure?!...Part IV

The fluke.  A pretty basic largemouth bass bait (white being a favorite), which twitched across the surface or thrown into the timber will catch largemouth bass on a fairly regular basis.  Luckily, anything a green trout (largemouth) will eat…a marsh predator will inhale.
I like this bait for a thousand reasons, but number one-- it works.  This was one of my go-to baits for big reds, and I soon found out that the soft plastic jerk bait will catch everything.  The beauty of this plastic is its versatility--it can be rigged and fished so many ways in so many places with so many retrieves.

I know you guys have some pretty good tricks up your sleeves, and here’s a few I’ve stolen along the way.  One item not pictured that makes a great addition to any soft plastic is small glass or plastic rattles.  I’m sure there’s some hiding in a dark corner of one of my plano’s, but  I can’t find them!  So let’s talk about what is in the pictures.  Although all the soft plastic jerks work, I really like the Zoom Salty Super Flukes.  My favorite flavors are Smokin’ Shad and Arkansas Shiner, but I have fished many colors-- lots of times it is what you feel comfortable with.  Rigged with just an offset Extra Wide Gap 4/0 or 5/0 worm hook and twitched slowly is one of my favorite retrieves.  BUT, just add a swivel and the action changes and sinks slightly deeper.  Insert a small nail into the body and it now becomes a slow sinker with a nice glide, or even an underwater dog walker. Take a small section of bead chain for eyes, and now it’s an injured bait or a small feeding fish with a nose down attitude.  A small split shot pegged up the line can create a real nice yo-yo action and allow you to fish deeper and still remain fairly SNAG FREE, which has always been the beauty  of this bait. The amount of weight you add, whether it be a bullet sliding free or pegged, or perhaps a weighted hook, is all up to you, your tackle and fishing style. This bait usually has a nice pocket for scent as well.

In flooded grass, I fish it naked. In lay-downs, slightly weighted with bead chain, nail, or 1/64 or 1/32 weighted EWG. Over oysters, naked or nail weight. In six feet or deeper, a heavier weighted hook or even jig head.  In just about every presentation, I work this bait with a slow twitch and pause.  However, if the bite is slow, sometimes getting this thing jumping around with steady quick twitches is the trick.

While the options with this bait are limitless-- from vertical jigging down to 25 ft with a ½ oz jig head to barely gliding it in front of a cruising red—the jerk bait’s profile is a killer.  Fish LOVE it, and WANT to eat it!   Many anglers have gone to this bait on their jig heads, jig spinners and, spinner bait trailers instead of traditional curly or paddle tails.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

St Simons Island Fishing in the Wind Report 11-7-11

St Simons Island Inshore Slam
Had another great trip with Bob today.  I think Bob has a rabbit's foot somewhere in his tackle box, as he always turns out to be a fish magnet.  We went back and forth on whether to reschedule due to the winds, but the water has been so clean and green we decided to go for it.  We started out in some open water looking for Trout, but immediately scratched that plan as the wind made it nearly impossible.  So back to the creeks to re-rig and look for Reds.  Once we found the spot, it was a Red on nearly every drift of the float.  We had shorts, overs and a good limit of keepers.  We decided to work the jigs along a protected stretch, and Bob ends up securing a nice slam with a Trout and Flounder as bonus (Flounder on Gulp white swimming mullet, of course).  Bob, thanks again for another great trip, and how about leaving that rabbit's foot on my boat next time?   

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Gust Wasn't a Bust...Nov 3-6

Even though it blew, we found a few.  Started off the week with Michelle, and right off the bat we got into some slot Reds.  As luck would have it, flipper came plowing through the school and shut it down.  Just as we were about to pull up the trolling motor, we notice some commotion about 50 yards up the bank.  Sure enough a school of big Reds were milling around in about 6 inches of water, probably hiding from the dolphins.  Michelle immediately went to work and picked off two overs and one right at 23".  We found a few trout, with many still being short.  Ended up the day with 9 Reds and 12 Trout. 

Had three generations of Cannons on the boat the next day, and the wind absolutely howled!  The first three places we checked were totally un-fishable.  We headed for some cover, and immediately got into some good slot Reds.  Flounder and Sheepshead joined the party, and then the bite immediately shut down.  I always have a great time with Charles and his family.  His son Troy and grandson Buck did pull off a nice double.  My hats off to these guys for casting their arms off in that mess and still ended up with a nice mess of fish!

With the winds howling again Sunday's trip rescheduled, so Daniel and I scouted some out of the wind places anyway.  With nothing but the white Gulp swimming mullet, we started firing away.  First stop we picked up a nice Trout and Red.  For the next couple hours we chunked with no looks, and Daniel even tied on the Bomber and did darn good with it even though we didn't get any looks.  Back to the swimming mullet, and as we were about to leave a creek bend, Daniel rapidly reeled his jig in for the next stop-but got hammered by a good Trout right at the boat.  Thanks buddy for figuring it out-they wanted it fast!  At that point, no matter the wind direction, we fired the jigs and burned and twitched them back to the boat, and the Trout loved it!  For the next half hour or so  we got into 'em pretty good, including some nice fat ones.  One of the Trout was almost albino in nature, with only a few spots on his fins.  Gotta thank Daniel, Michelle and the Cannons, as they helped me add a few more pages to the 'fishin in the wind' playbook!  Never too old to learn...

Sunday, October 30, 2011

How Do I Work This Lure?!...Part III

The sub-surface lure may be one of the most underutilized lures on the Georgia coast, even by me.  This lure is a great mullet imitator for trout and reds and excels in water less than 3 ft.  I like to use this lure over submerged oysters where there is a lot of sparse or broken grass present. 

Sub-surface baits are truly finesse baits, as they are worked SLOWLY.  After casting, allow this lure to “settle”, as it will barely sink at all--usually remaining in the top foot of the water column.  Typically a slight pull and twitch is all that is needed, and then repeat the process.  Another popular retrieve that works well is to actually walk the dog below the surface.  Both the Rapala sub-walk and Sebile Stick bait work well with this retrieve.   In fact, one of my former tournament partners caught a 9.4 lb trout, winning a trout tourney using a sub-surface lure with a slow twitch and pause. 

One advantage of this lure is that it will cast a mile, and is very accurate.  Probing and picking out shallow pockets of grass can be very effective.  Earlier this spring, in Brunswick’s Turtle River, we had over 30 keeper trout (including three over 20”) throwing the Mirrolure Mirrodine.  The Catch 2000 from Mirrolure has been a redfish killer on the Redfish Tour for years.  The lures pictured, in order from left to right are:  the Rapala Twitchin’ Rap, the Rapala X-Rap Sub-Surface Walk the Dog, Sebile Stick Shad, Mirrolure Mirrodine, Mirrolure Catch 2000 and Mirrolure Catch Jr. 

St Simons Island Fishing Report 10-28-11

Headed out for another trip with Tim from Gwinnett County.  We left the Scout at the dock, and decided on Tim's Mitzi skiff to get us into some shallow water for tailing Reds.  We also skipped the live bait, and opted for all artificial today.  While waiting for the tide to rise, we threw jigs and plastics, corks and plastics and of course, the Bomber Long A.  We picked off a few nice Trout, including a nice 20 incher that Tim caught on the Bomber.  As the tide got right, we decided to look at some new flats that I've been scouting that look absolutely perfect.  Apparently the Reds didn't think so.  Now I'm kicking myself, as we missed the cleanest water of the day lookin for tailers!  Scrambling with plan B, we began firing corks and plastics over smaller run-outs created by the 9 ft tides dropping out.  Thank goodness the Trout thought this was a good place to be as well.  We ended up the day with 20 Trout, including 12 solid keepers for the freezer.  Thanks for a great trip Tim, I always look forward to fishing with you again.  Sorry for the postage stamp pic, I had the camera in video mode, and this was the only way Michelle could extract a still