St Simons Island Fishing Report 3/7/15

Thursday, February 27, 2014

St Simons Island Fishing Report 2/20-2/27/14

It’s about windows. Heck, it’s always about those windows of opportunity. Here on St Simons Island, those inshore fishing windows can often disappear due to some pretty wild tide fluctuations. When the moon dictates that we are going to move 8 or 9 feet of water in a 6 hour period, we are going to get heavy current, and as a result, dirty water. On the other hand, when the tides mellow out, the fishing can be off the chart. In the winter, give me some daytime low tides, some clean water, and the window opens wide! That is exactly what happened this last week here on the Island. Trout, red fish, black drum, whiting, and sheepshead all fired off this past week. I have had calls from all over the Georgia Coast with some outstanding reports. We fished 6 out of the last 7 days, and even yesterday in the  pouring rain, the bite continued. Speckled trout were caught in water depths averaging 6-14 ft. on soft plastics and live shrimp, red fish were a tad more finicky and fresh live shrimp worked best. I usually snap the tail off the shrimp and impale them on a jig head. The trick here is to run the point of the hook into the shrimp where you have removed the tail and thread it all the way to the jig head. This will not only emit more scent, it will be head forward for a streamlined cast and when you give it a small twitch, look exactly like a fleeing shrimp. The whiting and black drum seem to like their shrimp peeled and headed. Seriously! I also run the hook through the entire shrimp body for these two fish. Sheepshead will eat a shrimp, but fiddler crabs seem to be their favorite.

 Now I sit here a little melancholy as the tides get big on the new moon, and my mid-day low tides disappear. But wait a minute, I think it was a wise Fisherman who said when one door shuts, another one opens up! If this wise Man will let the wind lay down, there lies some of the fishiest structures a mere 6 -9 miles off our beach. Excuse me while I rig for some sea bass, flounder, summer trout, mackerel and bull reds! Stay tuned as we crawl through the next window, or door, or ocean floor here in the GoldenIsles

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

March Fishing Report for St Simons Island, Georgia

In both fresh and saltwater the word transition gets thrown around quite often. If there ever was a transitional pattern, March is certainly a month with a lot going on. Depending on how soon or late the water starts warming and forage starts to arrive, will determine where to concentrate your efforts. Our local year round population of redfish, sheepshead, speckled trout, whiting and sea bass will all be biting very well…somewhere. Migratory species such as cobia, triple tail and sharks should start to trickle in towards the latter part of the month.
One of Georgia’s most sought after species; the speckled trout will certainly be one of the most transitional fish this month. If the water temperature stays below 58 degrees, continue to concentrate your efforts in 6-18 feet of water. The periods around either side of low tide as the water slows should be prime feeding time. Smaller profile soft plastics like the D.O.A C.A.L curl tail, sinking hard baits, and live shrimp drifted on an adjustable float rig should all produce. If possible, down size your baits and work them very slow, on or very near the bottom. Limit your search to smaller creeks, rivers and tributaries that hold deep water. The sounds, ICW, and open water will just not offer the comfort for trout yet. If we have a substantial warming trend, trout will move out to more open water and begin to feed shallow, especially at the higher tide stages. Trout tend to have a westerly movement on our coast in the cooler months, so don’t be afraid to try drops closer to the I-95 corridor. The further reaches of the St. Mary’s, Satilla, Little Satilla, White Oak, Turtle and Altamaha systems will all hold good numbers of trout this time of year. Many savvy anglers catch redfish, sheepshead and striped bass in these areas too.
March is typically a month when the larger sheepshead show up both inshore and nearshore. There will be a lot of fish exceeding the 8 lb. range brought to the scales this time of year. On the nearshore wrecks, try to avoid days or tide stages during the day when the current is ripping, or moving fast. Many anglers get frustrated on the wrecks trying to fight thru black sea bass and oversized red fish, which is not a bad problem to have on some days. The best strategy to locate the sheepshead is to move around until you find a piece of structure that is holding them. The wrecks are made up of different levels of relief and material, and often sheepshead will isolate in small areas. Once you find a spot holding these striped bandits, mark it and guard it with your life. You should be able to record two or three spots per trip. You may be surprised at what you will find on these smaller pieces of structure as trophy sized summer trout, flounder, cobia and trigger fish will also separate themselves from the hordes of sea bass.
Red fish, as always will seek shallow water. Typically during the cooler months, reds will feed pretty hard during low tide in the back of creeks and mudflats. As the water warms, and bait such as mullet, small crabs, blue crabs, mud minnows, and shrimp become more active, you may find red fish feeding at the top of the tide, over mudflats. I particularly like mudflats that have a lot of shell and sparse grass. Take your time, and work slowly and quietly along these areas and you may even be able to see redfish cruising or even crashing baits. Once you spot activity, you can usually anchor the boat quietly, and fish that area. The schools should not be broken up yet, so if there is one, there should be quite a few more.
For those close enough to fish the jetties at the mouth of the St. Mary’s this month, the fishing should be some of the best of the year. Over slot and slot redfish, sheepshead, whiting, black drum, and sea trout will all show up at this rocky fish magnet. In fact, black drum in the 20-80 lb. are quite common. Favorite baits for black and red drum are blue crabs. Simply pop the top off the crab and remove the legs. The joints where the legs were removed make a great place for hook placement. You can pin either half or a quarter of the crab on the hook, and send it to the bottom, anywhere in the vicinity of the rocks.

Finally, March usually signals the beginning of the whiting run. Usually the deeper holes in front of the King and Prince on St Simons Island will be one of the first places the whiting show up. A good rule of thumb is 14-20 ft. in depth. If the beaches are rough, check the same depth in the rivers and sounds.

By Tim Cutting

Thursday, February 13, 2014

St Simons Island Fishing Report 2/12/14

We took advantage of a few weather and tide windows these last 3 days (2/9-2/11) and managed a very good, fair, and good. Sunday started off a bit cold but warmed up nice and the reds fired up during the outgoing. We sat on a school of slot reds and hooked 18, before sliding a little further up where we saw 5 big fish. Michelle fired a cast and immediately hooked up. We also had another red with NO spots. We finished Sunday fishing deep on the incoming and managed 8 trout...Michelle with the biggun'...again. Monday, in perfect weather, I ran south and fished creeks off the ICW and struggled a bit. I managed one over slot red and one in the slot along with 5 decent specs and a coupla' shorts, all on Mirrolures and grubs. Tuesday I had a short window to fish around low outgoing and ran into some nice trout! The fish were finicky and I switched back and forth between a 3" grub and D.O.A shrimp. Barely twitching the baits was the only way I could get 'em to eat. I ended up with 14 that I worked my tail off for--all but 2 were over 15", including 1 right at 20"...and a suicidal drum. I think that is great news for the coming warmer months! We released all but yesterday’s fish; Mom said her freezer was empty!

By Tim Cutting

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Eight Great Artificial Baits for Conquering the Coast

For most anglers, saltwater and fresh alike, the process of picking favorite lures would create a virtual encyclopedia of choices. Although I’ve thrown about everything made, I always end up with a few “go to” baits. The following list is not so much a gear review, as what works for me. I’ve thrown these baits from Virginia to the Keys on the East Coast, and from the Keys to Texas on the Gulf. Many of these manufactures have supported me in the past and continue to do so today, and a big thanks goes out to those folks. Some of these manufacturers I’ve never met or spoken to, but kudos are in order for making a great product. In alphabetical order, here are the lures that STAY in my box.

1)    Aqua Dream Spoons  Captain Mike Hakala has tweaked a flats favorite into one of the most popular Red Fish spoons on the market today. This bait is great for sight fishing as well as a long casting search bait. Just reel, and hold on.

2)    Bomber Long A (B15A)  One of my favorite lures for big trout, this lure also catches plenty of redfish and one of my biggest flounder to date. I like both the suspending and floating model. Jerk, jerk, pause, repeat. Vary the length pauses.

3)    D.O.A. ¼ ounce Shrimp  Shrimp imitating baits are everywhere. Some are no longer made and some are still in the developing stage waiting to hit a website or tackle store near you. I have never found one as effective as one of the originals. Mark Nichols, owner and creator, has put a lot of time in producing a perfectly formed and weighted product. While there are many ways to work this bait, perhaps one of the best is suspended about 24-28” under a popping cork. Whether drifting a flat in the shallows of the Gulf, throwing to covered grass and shell in bigger tidal zones on the east coast, or working open bays, this rig catches fish. Although many fishing guides and tournament anglers keep this rig in their arsenal, this rig is perfect for the novice angler and kids alike. Make a long cast, pop it a few times, give a two to three second pause. And if there are fish around the cork will disappear. I often refer to this set-up as “the deadliest rig in the marsh”.

4)    Mirrolure Slow Sinking Twitch Baits  Mirrolure has been on the saltwater plugging scene catching trophies since the beginning. Those slow to medium sinking plugs like the old reliable 52 and some of the newer Mirrodine series are just plain deadly on big trout as well as other saltwater species. The retrieve often varies from angler to angler and I’ve seen them catch fish in a variety of presentations. I generally slow roll, or sweep this bait with a mix of small twitches. Sometimes one twitch, sometimes just plain walking the dog.  Throw a pause in there somewhere and wait for that strike.

5)    Rapala Saltwater Skitterwalk (size 11)  With so many walk-the-dog lures on the market, and half of them hanging on my wall in much need of hook replacement, I’ll go with the Skitterwalk. Great profile, nice sound, and easy to walk. Don’t set the hook until you feel the fish.

6)    Sea Striker Gotcha 4” Curl Tail Grub  Probably a little sentimental value involved in this choice because it was one of the first plastics I used.  Although I have pegged nearly every soft plastic to a jig head over the years, I always go back to the standard, durable, great action, Gotcha curly tail grub.

7)    Stinky Fingers Twitchin’ Shad Often called soft plastic jerk baits or flukes (after the popular Zoom Super Fluke) these baits have become extremely popular on the saltwater marsh scene. Soft plastic jerks are one of my favorite baits to throw and believe me I have thrown as many as my wallet will let me. The Stinky Fingers Shad is a different animal. These baits are integrated with a sponge core that allows the Twitchin’ Shad to absorb the powerful scent oil that the bait is packed with. I am not sure if it is the overall weight, the horizontal glide, the material, the sponge core or the scent, but this bait catches fish. Generally these baits are rigged weedless on weighted or unweighted Extra Wide Gap worm hooks. A favorite bait on the many redfish tournament trails for fishing grass flats, these baits excel everywhere for all species. The natural fish profile of these baits has made them an excellent choice on a jighead as well, allowing the angler to cast further or fish deeper.

8)    Storm Chug Bug . The standard 3 ¼” Chug Bug is the size I prefer but have seen the smaller 2 ½ and the larger 4 3/8 inch models catch plenty of fish. This lure is also a great lure for beginners. Simply make a long cast, give it enough pop to make the cupped face gurgle, splash, or “chug”. Pause and repeat. The cadence is not as important as the pause. Again, with a top water plug, don’t set the hook until you feel the fish on. After the bow-up, “reel til you feel”). If the fish misses, keep the retrieve the same, and many times the fish will return.

I did not mention color on purpose because everyone has their favorites, and the above lures come in array of colors…so go with what you know! If you have any questions or comments feel free to e-mail me at You can also find more blogs, tips, and fishing reports at .