St Simons Island Fishing Report 3/7/15

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

St Simons Island Fishing Report 3/18/15

While the weather has warmed considerably, we have not changed our winter pattern of fishing. With waters still below 68 degrees, we've concentrated on redfish and speckled trout in deeper depths around low tide. Forage fish, shrimp, and crustaceans are still on the small side, so we have been matching the hatch with small finesse plastics, and opting for the smallest liveliest shrimp we can grab out of the bait well.  From 3/7 thru 3/16 we had anglers catch and release over a 100 speckled trout and red fish. At the end of the week we were met with slick seas and ran east to work over the near shore wrecks for black sea bass and we were not disappointed!  Anglers Warren Morgan and brother-in-law Charlie combined for nearly a hundred sea bass using jigs and cut bait.

With the water heating up, the range of species to be caught will increase dramatically, as sharks, whiting, triple tail, flounder and cobia, amongst others will join the mix. Feel free to e-mail us at for any tips or info if you are fishing the Golden Isles. We still have a few triple tail trips open in April and May for those looking to sight fish those floating prehistoric brawlers!

Friday, March 6, 2015

St Simons Island Fishing Report 3/6/15

While the water temperatures have not broke into the 60's yet, we've had some fantastic days of  near record warmth into the low 80's. That's not to say, like our friends in the northeast, that we haven't had our share of winter either. Yesterday we saw 82 degrees and tomorrow morning we have frost warnings! The fish haven't seemed to mind either way and have bit very well most days. We've been fortunate to have a full schedule the last two weeks where anglers had several double digit days on hard fighting redfish. The winter pattern has held, with the best bites centering around mid-day low tides. Working both live and artificial baits slowly along the bottom has triggered most of the action. The speckled trout bite is steady, and the amount of quality trout has been very good with many trout over 20". As temperatures rise, look for both trout and red fish to leave some of their deep creek winter haunts, and start feeding over shell and grass in open water. We've had a few large flounder show early, and I have a feeling this is only the beginning of what may be one of the best flounder runs we've seen in a while. We've had quite a few calls for the triple tail run which we will begin in a few short weeks, so be sure to book your triple tail

 trip soon for some of the best sight fishing on the East Coast!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Product Review: Salt Life Optics

As a guide, tournament fisherman, and tackle junky in general, I have been given (blessed with) many products to "test drive" or field test. Most true outdoor folks know the importance of polarized, quality eyewear for not only safety, but vision. Sight fisherman are particularly picky about what they are peeking through. For those "sight fishing" their quarry, there is nothing more important than quality lenses for spotting different shades of fish, in an array of water and light conditions. Recently while fishing the clear but slightly tannic tributaries surrounding St Simons Island, I donned a pair of shades (copper/green glass) from Salt Life Optics. ( I was instantly impressed by the elimination of glare on this blue bird day. More importantly, the ability to see below the slightly stained watery surface  was amazing. With absolutely no distortion, small crabs and minnows "popped" in to view immediately, almost 3 feet beneath the boat! After pushing my way a little further in to the narrow creek, I spotted what I was looking for. Three nice redfish were silhouetted, although nearly camouflaged at the base of a fallen tree about a foot and a half below the surface. After a little research I found that the Zeiss glass used by Salt Life Optics was rated among the highest available. Salt Life Optics offers a wide variety of great looking frames and lenses for both men and women.  Finding lenses of this quality, at a more than competitive price point, backed by an outstanding warranty, has truly "shown me the light". With triple tail and cobia season right around the corner, I am looking forward to having these great lenses wrapped around my face!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

St Simons Island Fishing Report 2/16/15

The fishing was pretty darn good considering the low water and air temps, combined with a pretty steady blow these past few weeks. We are still working a fairly consistent winter pattern, which revolves around mid-day low tide phases. Fishing deep and slow for trout, and fairly shallow for redfish has been the key. While live bait has been working, scented plastics have done most of the damage. Throwing artificial baits this time of a year allows the angler to cover more water at different depths with different retrieves in order to entice what can be a lethargic bite during the winter. In 3 days of fishing we had excellent catches of redfish and trout. Until the weather and water temps rise, I still suggest fishing around low tide concentrating on structure such as shell, docks, and submerged timber. 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Tips from the Pro's

When negotiating shells, structure and grass, this simple, snag free shrimp works wonders. This particular custom crustacean is created by pairing the popular 3” D.O.A. ¼ oz. shrimp with either a 2/0 or 3/0 red or black Extra Wide Gap worm hook. While it can be rigged traditionally thru the head or front of the bait, I like to rig it thru the tail for a couple of reasons. First, it will look like a fleeing shrimp when twitched, and secondly, this positions the bait weight forward for added casting distance. In addition, depending on conditions and depth, I will insert a nail weight or small screw into the nose of the shrimp for added weight. The weight and size of the insert can be altered to suit your needs and many tackle manufacturers offer tungsten nail inserts as well. If you are a lure junky like myself, you may want to further customize this bait by trying some of the following options. This bait comes with a small belly weight that can be substituted with a small chamber rattle in either glass or plastic. To give your bait a little added attraction of scent, coat your nail, screw, rattle or belly weight with your favorite bottle of scent, like the popular Pro-Cure. Pro-Cure is a gel and has very good lasting and holding capabilities. Pro-Cure also comes in red, which makes a nice touch on the tip of the shrimp’s legs. There are a variety of weed-less plastics I enjoy throwing, but this subtle slowly worked D.O.A. shrimp offers a little different look, comes in a variety of colors and will entice even the wariest red fish or trout from the “snaggiest” areas!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

St Simons Island Fishing Report 2/3/15


This past week presented us with midday low tides which usually is very productive during the winter months for both trout and red fish. Generally redfish will become active as the sun heats up the smaller tidal tributaries in very shallow pockets. Trout on the other hand, will also seek warmer areas, but often in depths in around 8-14 feet. In both cases last week’s tides were very moderate, which generated extremely clear water conditions. Often, in the winter, slower presentations are needed to entice a strike as the fish’s metabolic rates have slowed down, with cooler water temperatures. Last week, and one day in particular we had to actually speed up the retrieve to get bit!

The key to last week’s trout bite was to actually snap the baits along with very short pauses. I usually advise small hops and crawls, along the bottom with a 3” D.O.A. ¼ ounce shrimp or a C.A.L. curl tail. The fish had moved slightly shallower and my guess is that picking up the pace did not allow the fish to get a good look at the imitation shrimp. The watermelon/halo was the go to color, and again, the sharp twitches were the trick.

The redfish did not seem to care what the offering was and bit aggressively for most of the week…when we could find them. A little exploring definitely paid off as once we located fish there were many and they were very cooperative. While most of the fish have been in the 15-25” class we did manage to find some singles and doubles in the 6-10 lb. range. We are still relying heavily on the C.A.L. jerk baits with weighted worm hooks. A long cast and soft entry keeps the schools from scattering. At times when reeling in a fish, another one or two would stay with the hooked fish right up to the boat.

We’ll shut her down for a little preventive maintenance on the boat this week during the full moon but should be good to go for the weekend!

Captain Tim Cutting

Sunday, January 25, 2015

St Simons Island Fishing Report 1/25/2015

Fishing Report SE Georgia (Golden Isles) January 25

Fishing some of the biggest tide swings on the Eastern Seaboard can be tricky, especially if you throw in the dose of wind and rain that we’ve had. Despite freshwater run-off dirtying the water, the bite has been pretty good. While many of our summer resident targets such as tarpon, triple tail, cobia, and sharks have headed south we still are harboring a healthy population of redfish, trout, sheepshead and sea bass. It takes a little “tide timing”, but when you can get the conditions in your favor, the fish have been cooperating. The low tide stages have produced best for trout and redfish while the sea bass and sheepshead aren’t nearly as tide driven.

Inshore, trout have settled deep and as the water drains from the marsh during the last 2 hours of the fall, and during the first couple ours of flood, the fish feed aggressively. Anglers have been fishing in depths between 6 and 16 feet with good success. Live shrimp floated with an adjustable cork, to within 3 inches of the bottom has been an effective tactic as well as slow trolling plastics. While trolling is not for everybody, it is an effective way to locate and catch speckled trout. Some of the better catches have come on artificial baits, and usually this time of year I go exclusively with sinking plugs and plastics. On a recent trip we landed 25 trout and 8 red fish alternating 3” D.O.A. ¼ ounce shrimp and Mirrolure 52 M’s. The plastics must be worked slow, making sure to work the bait with the current. When fishing the D.O.A. shrimp, it’s important to let the bait sink to the bottom and stay in contact with the bait as often the bite is very subtle. The trout seemed to prefer plugs with orange or chartreuse, and one of my favorite shrimp patterns for anytime of the year is clear with red flake. When the water becomes clearer we’ll mix the D.O.A. colors up with Near Clear, Watermelon Halo, and Holographic Glitter.

Red fish here in the Golden Isles will stack up in small shell lined creeks during mid-day low tides. As the sun warms up the dark exposed mud, the reds will become active. Much like the trout, the last of the outgoing tide and first of the rise are prime time. But unlike the trout, the redfish will reside in mere inches of water. Generally stealth and long cast are required. Presenting the bait stealthy is equally important, so we generally will throw soft plastic jerk baits. The CAL jerk baits in the 4” size are our “go to” baits as they make a soft entry and have a great gliding action when twitched. Depending on wind and distance needed we’ll throw them on weighted or weightless extra wide gap worm hooks. While I don’t think the reds are as picky on color, I always keep Melon Back, Root Beer Gold Glitter, and Watermelon Seed in the arsenal.

One of the more challenging, but widely available species are the sheepshead, but the rewards have been great, as many fish are in the 5 to 8 lb. class. While these fine eating fish will eat on all tide stages we’ve noticed the saltier incoming tides have produced best. Sheepshead love crustaceans, shellfish meat and shrimp, but it’s hard to beat fiddler crabs. Just about any barnacle covered structure will work. We generally concentrate on bridge and dock pilings but jetty rocks, fallen timber and sea walls have all been holding good fish as well. The trick is to fish them vertically with as little weight as possible and a good stout short shank live bait hook in a 1/0 to 3/0 size. Many shore bound anglers have been scoring well off the bridges and piers. While I have felt pretty good catching the sheepies in the 4-6 lb. size,  one of the St Simon Island Pier regulars gave me a call earlier this week and had weighed 3 sheepshead just over 10 lbs. and a couple right at 8 lbs.

When the winds have laid down, the near shore wrecks have been holding sea bass and bull red fish. Typically on days when the current is not to strong an anchor can be deployed. On days when heavy current is encountered, drifting is best. Both red fish and sea bass are very eager to bite on the wrecks. Just about any live or dead bait will work, as will plastics pegged to 2-3 ounce jig heads or slab spoons in the same weight. Earlier this month we chased working birds over wrecks in 40 ft. and pitched metal jigs with great success. On that day we totaled 15 reds that averaged between 18-25 lbs. The sea bass are very, very thick and catches of over a hundred in a few hours are not uncommon.

We have a string of mid-day low tides coming up and some favorable tide heights coming off the last new moon, so I am expecting a good report next week…

Capt. Tim Cutting

St Simons Island, Ga.

912 230 1814




Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Wild and Wooly Winter Targets: Sheepshead!

Here in the Golden Isles the poor sheepshead certainly doesn't share the same notoriety as speckled trout, redfish or tarpon, but it probably should. They are hard fighters, quite abundant in numbers and size, and are excellent table fare.  Many local sheepshead aficionados have aptly named this finned adversary "the convict fish", and for good reason. Not only do the seven black vertical stripes on this spiny finned fish resemble that of an inmates, the sheepshead's uncanny ability to steal your bait rivals that of any common jailbird.

Although sheepshead can be caught year round, late fall, winter, and early spring yields more numbers and size than any other time of the year. While it is entirely possible to catch one of these light biting fish on an artificial lure, the vast majority are caught on live or dead bait. Fiddler crabs are the overall most popular bait, but live shrimp, dead shrimp, other crab or crab parts, oysters, clams, mussels, barnacles and other crustaceans, mollusk, or bi-valve meat will work. Often anglers will bring a variety and see what works best on any given day.

The sheepshead's lairs are plenty, but in general, any barnacled covered structure will work. Bridge pilings, dock pilings, and jetty rocks are three of the most common places to find these fish but they do reside quite heavily on other structures as well. Fallen timber, wrecks, sea walls, oyster beds, channel markers and many other submerged debris all will hold sheepshead. Oddly enough, sheepshead will reside at many different depths and salinity. Sheepshead can be found in brackwish waters turned nearly fresh and out 10-15 miles offshore, and everywhere in between. In late winter and early spring there is usually a fairly good number of big spawning size fish in the 5-12 pound range on the near shore wrecks in 30-60 feet of water.

There are many types of tackle variations that will work on sheepshead. One of the most popular rigs is the simple fish finder or Carolina rig. Many sheepshead anglers will limit the length of the leader to 4-8 inches. I prefer a short shank live bait hook such as a Gamakatsu St#18413 Live Bait hook in the 3/0 size. You will find many hooks that will work, so use what works best for you. At times I will go to a jig head that employs the same style of hook. I typically start off with a 1/2 weight but will go lighter or heavier depending on the conditions.

A vertical presentation is the key to sheepshead fishing. Fishing straight up and down as close to the structure as possible is by far the best way to feel the bite and increase your odds of landing these fish. That's not to say that a bait that is cast, or even a bait presented with a float (which is gaining popularity), won't catch them, because they will. Over the years I've tried them all and the vertical drop has worked better for me.

The last and crucial bit of information is the"bite" and how to feel it. This is a combination of patience, technique, tackle and shear "luck". Hopefully you are "lucky" enough to feel the bite before your bait is swiped. I highly suggest using at least 20 lb. braided line and fluorocarbon leader of at least the same strength, and even heavier if you are getting repeatedly broken off. (Even the seasoned sheepy slayers lose a few to structure). Now that we have our bait, tackle and location (and drags tightened!) drop straight down until you feel your weight hit bottom. At this point lift your bait 4-8 inches and be patient. At times you may want to come up a little further or even allow the sinker to remain on the bottom, maintaining a tight line. The bite may come as a peck or two, an added bit of resistance, or even a good thump. Set the hook immediately with a very short and sharp snap. I typically don't give the sheepshead any wiggle room once hooked I reel pretty fast to get the fish up. Have a net ready and dip quickly as this fish has formidable teeth that will separate you from your trophy!

For more information or to book a sheepshead trip, feel free to email me at

By Tim Cutting