St Simons Island Fishing Report 3/7/15

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Tough Anglers Prevail on Tough Bite

I had the honor (or challenge) to fish with the father and son team of Jeff and Jeff for another artificial only trip on the marsh. These guys are excellent anglers, and know their way around the marsh pretty well. On our previous trip we fished deep for trout with plastics and these guys whacked the specks pretty good. Todays trip (2/22) was to entice the spot tails to eat artificials...if we could find a few. We checked a few creeks and saw a few singles that were not interested as well as a small pack that blew out pretty quick. After some intense searching we found a nice school...a nice, finnicky, SPOOKY, school. The two Jeffs made perfect cast but the reds were not interested. We switched to tipping the jigs with natural baits, and the guys started hooking up. With every fish we caught the school would scatter. Had a few even blow right into the boat. But as the fish regrouped Jeff and Jeff Sr. would pick one off. It was another tight area loaded with shell and these guys got nearly every red back to the boat somehow. Jeff Sr. lost a heartbreaker we couldn't turn before he headed to the oysters and had a few that would pick up the bait only to let it go. It was tricky casting the light jigs, but it was the only way to approach these fish and the duo mastered it with no problem. You will lose some jigs and fish, but that all comes with the territory! These guys have the trout figured out pretty good, but I couldn't help suggesting we plug for some trout as the tide was rising, wind was dying, and the cloud cover thickening. (good set-up for plugging bigger specks) We broke out the trusty Bomber Long A's and went to work. It wasn't long and we were into them. Both guys hooked some good ones. For the day, Jeff Jr takes big red, but dad takes big trout. Awesome time on the marsh again with two great guys...and two great anglers!


By Tim Cutting

Hot Dock Fishing Tips

Most savvy fishermen know that docks hold fish. The problem is that with literally hundreds of thousands of docks to choose from, it’s hard to decide which one to fish. While docks may look very similar in appearance, there are very unique characteristics to each and every one.  Hopefully I can offer some insight into what I look for when dock fishing.

Some features that give a dock good fishing characteristics are obvious. I am automatically drawn to older docks--the older the better. These docks have had a longer time to develop marine habitat underneath them, which in turn will draw the predators. If a dock is actually broken, I’ll fish it even harder. Broken docks often leave their skeletal remains just below the surface, which obviously is even more structure. Couple that with the absence of foot traffic to spook the fish, and you have the makings for a “fishy” dock.

Other features that are more subtle play into the picture as well. Some docks that sit in shallow water may fish better on the higher end of the tides, while docks situated in deep water may be more productive at low tide. Many docks have shell or oyster underneath them or close by. Shell and dock combos can often be very good. Docks that have boats tied to them or on a hoist, often have a small depression or hole directly beneath the motor. This is created by the repeated turning of the engines prop at that one spot. Depending on current and land features, other docks will have a distinct depth change somewhere along the pilings.  Any little changes along the length of a dock are targets. If a dock has any additions such as lower platforms, mooring pilings, or even just an additional jet ski lift, throw at it. The little extra shade or contrast can usually be just enough to hold a few big fish. Shade usually will be a factor at some time or another. Obviously in the summer months, the shade offers relief for the fish, but in the cooler months may be a less desirable. It probably needs be stated that docks in smaller systems such as canals, can actually offer warmth during the winter, and become great targets.

 A docks placement in relation to the land can be critical as well. The docks or dock that sits on a point is always worth a stop. A similar set up is at the entrance to a marina, canal, river or smaller system. Some of my favorite docks are those in deep creek bends. As previously mentioned, I like to fish deeper docks at low tide.  Another of my favorite scenarios are the docks closest to the ocean. Everywhere I have fished, it seems like manmade structure closest to the ocean will hold good fish at one time or another.

As far as how to fish or approach a dock, I pretty much have one rule. That is to present your bait with the current. This is not a factor if you are using a bottom rig. If you are free lining, anchor up current and float or free line your bait back naturally. If you like a bobber or cork, do the same. For those, like me, who like to use artificials, anchor or run the trolling motor into the current and work your bait with the current. Work as much of the chosen dock as possible. Often the best bites are under the dock, so you may have to pitch your bait under or thru the dock. With the cork or free lined bait, let it drift right on thru. I often upsize my tackle and tighten the drags an extra notch or two.

Finally, dock fishing, like anything improves with time on the water. You may well have to fish 10, 20, or even 30 docks before you hit pay dirt. One dock may fish better depending on tide, season, wind or a combination of other factors. It is important to either mentally record or have written (or I guess in this day and age there may be an app you can use for storage) records as to the “where and when”.  After a while you will have a fairly solid pattern that you can mix in with your other spots. I hope this helps eliminate some of the guess work and as always, “you won’t know, if you don’t go!”
By Tim Cutting

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Top Secret Redfish and Trout Tactics Revealed!!

Here it is: When presented the opportunity to fish on a calm day vs. a windy/rainy day…always go with the worst weather scenario!  Just kidding. I had the chance to fish with my sweetie either yesterday or today and we chose today in order to do some chores, etc. Well, of course, yesterday was slick calm (and received some good catch reports as well) and today was around 20 outta the SW. All good.  The main goal was to see if we could jig some dock trout up on plastics for some fresh pictures to go with a little piece we are writing on “dock fishing” (dock fishing blog will be posted soon!).  It was windy, but Michelle went to work right away picking off a few good ones. Mission accomplished. We had a small tide window to check on some reds we found a while back, so we made a short run and our stuff was blown out. Michelle suggested we go around the bend and check some oysters that are fairly hard to fish but usually hold a few toads. Michelle immediately hooks up and gets broke off. Michelle fires again and connects, only to have the hooks pull at boat side! The fish are pretty boogered up but I throw in and get bit. I set the hook so hard it knocked her spots off! Now the rain is beginning to fall and looking ugly. What the heck, we got a little trout stuff to look at on the way back. Most of you know Michelle loves plugging for trout and I just happen to have a few old Excalibur bombers put back for a special occasion. Michelle goes to work hooking up a few before I can figure out the cadence. After watching her twitch and pause she finally lets me catch a few. We end up with 15 trout, with all but 1 short. Water was rough, but clean. Most fish caught on a plastic (pumpkin green glitter) that Michelle was chunkin’, and the rest on the “old school” bombers.  All fish caught on incoming water, all fish put back for another day. Thanks baby, for another great day on the marsh!

By Tim Cutting

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Georgia Redfish on Fire! (Trout too!)

Had the extreme pleasure of fishing with Mark, Rob, Larry and Carles this weekend. Hailing from West Virginia, Kentucky, and Virginia, these guys left a half a foot of falling snow to fish the warm and sunny Golden Isles. These guys are used to fishing the tricky,
rock strewn, New River for wary, strong fighting small mouth bass. So a nice warm laid back coastal trip was in order. Well mother nature, being what she is, thru us one of the coldest and windiest weekends I have ever fished (heck, even rained a little). No sweat for these mountain maniac fishing machines. On the menu for Saturday was artificials for trout and Sunday would be reds. With winds gusting up to 30+ mph :hair: these guys went to work with the DOA shrimp yesterday, and headed out this a.m., met with near freezing temps :hair: and 15-20 out of the NW. Both days yielded nearly identical results with 34 trout the first day, half released (unders), and 28 reds today, half released (overs). Had a few heartbreaks on pulled hooks and broke off reds, along with a couple big trout yours truly knocked off with the net as well.:banginghe Throw in a couple flatties which gave us a couple of slams, and it was an awesome weekend in any weather. These guys were hard core and hard on each other! Miss a fish, get a black eye. Bad cast, swift kick to the back side. Break off, knot on the head…just kidding, all good ribbing and competition and a million laughs. Thanks guys, awesome trip in some brutal conditions!

By Tim Cutting

Friday, February 8, 2013

St Simons Island Redfish & Trout 2-8-13

I had a big time on the marsh with Tom and Elanora Williams today. Tom and Elanora have a huge love for the outdoors and hunt and fish when time lets them get away from their nursery business in North Florida. The plan was trout and reds, which have been biting very good. We worked several trout spots pretty hard and never found the motherload, and ended up having to pick them off here and there, both shorts and keepers. Elanora did end up with one right at twenty inches. (Elanora pretty much put the pressure on Tom all day striking first and often) The reds were a little tougher as the negative low and a stiff breeze from the NW made it impossible to get on some of the schools I was on earlier in the week. We finally worked our way into a system that held a little more water and it paid off with both overs and slots. We pretty much had a chinese fire drill as these fish seemed to be super charged and ran under and around the boat, but some how we managed not to lose or break off any, thanks to some fine work by Tom and Elanora. The water was a little dusty but fishable and even though the next few days will have some big tides with some LOW lows, I think that those that get out should do pretty well! Thanks Tom and Elanora for a great time, and although Tom got big fish, Elanora took the aggregate...sorry Tom.

By Tim Cutting

Monday, February 4, 2013

They Bit HARD today...Reds/Trout 2-4-13

I am sure everybody is pretty aware of how solid the St Simons fishing has been this fall and right up until today. The mild winter and clear water probably have a good deal to do with the great fishing. While we have had some great trips this past week and all winter in general, today was exceptional.  I met Orren at the dock this morning, and he had red fish on his mind. Orren had one day left on Army leave and it was now or never. With some nice low water we decided to check an area I hadn’t visited in about two years…and they were there…in spades. Problem was, they were super spooky. We picked off a few, broke off a few and scared a few. We talked about checking spots for some more user friendly spot tails but decided “you don’t leave fish to find fish”. A few minor adjustments and it was instant carnage! They depleted all of our minnows and Gulps for nearly three hours. My best guess is that we had two huge schools of year classes as the fish were either in the 22-23” range or 26-28” range. As the bite slowed and time was nearly out I figured what the heck, we’d try a few trout drops. Most of you know I love to plug for trout, and Orren being a pretty seasoned fisherman both salt and fresh, was all over it. With 30 or 40 cast, jerks and twitches of the fabled Bomber Long A, and no results, I was about to pack it in when Orren connects on a good one. Mission accomplished. As we headed back to the ramp, I just had to check “one more spot”…right? Armed with the trusty DOA’s, Orren and I went to work. I don’t think a cast lasted more than 15 seconds. The trout were absolutely shredding the plastic shrimp. With mere shreads of the DOA’s hanging on the hook and the cooler full, we headed back to the ramp. I guess all things happen for a reason. When Orren called me a couple of days to schedule for today, I had just hung up the phone with one of my regulars who had to go on call, leaving the door open for Orren. Call it karma or whatever, Orren, you are a fishing machine and I had a blast!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Great Trout Bait: Trout Tricks

I have been fortunate to have received many new hard and soft baits to try in the marsh. I haven’t got to all of them but did bring some Trout Tricks along last Tues in a brutal fog. I started out a little greedy with one of my old favorites, the 52M from Mirrolure. I wanted to see if I could find a big one in some new stuff. I probably stayed with it too long, with only 2 taps, lost a small one at the boat, and pulled the hooks on what felt like a decent trout. I moved up river to some flooded mud and grass flats I had been wanting to fish. I started with the DOA clear w/red flake and got into the dinks pretty good. Finally caught a solid keeper after 12 shorts…very short. The bite quit and with time running out, switched over to the Trout Tricks. I ran to a small creek that I knew had a deep drop 2 bends back. The Trout Trick did the trick. The next 6 fish were all solid trout in the 15-17” range. I used a slow lift and drop retrieve and would just shake it now and then. Water was fairly cloudy all day but I fished the cleanest stuff I could find. Water temps were around 59 degrees and for most of the morning the fog was very thick. Definitely going to add the “tricks” to the team.