CAPTAIN JUDY HELMEY
"Kicking Fish Tail Since 1956"
SAVANNAH, GEORGIA 31410
912 897 4921 OR 912 897 3470 FAX
July 1, 2001
Surf fishing is always very exciting and simple at this time of the year. Spot tail bass, whiting, and sharks are hanging in these near shore areas looking for that easy meal. You best bait to use for this type of fishing is cut mullet. In the past, I have used whole finger mullet, but we have found that stripped pieces from a larger fish works just as well, if not better. I think it's the smell/taste, not the shape that gets the fish's attention.
If you just want to sit on a dock and wet a hook, try this. Trout, flounder, spot tail bass, yellow tail, and whiting can usually be found schooling around and under these areas. You can either jig artificial paddle/screw tail, use live bait, minnows/shrimp, or dead squid/shrimp. With this wide range of bait, you could find yourself catching a big one!
With the mackerel fishing in full swing you can certainly have a blast with light tackle. These fish are runners and on light tackle the fight is great. You can use anything from the traditional Clark spoon to a lure that you might use inshore to target trout. If presented properly, these fish will hit almost anything. The only way to present the bait properly is to find the school or evidences of the school and cast into it. Always remember when using artificial bait that you keep the lure moving.
We have been catching quite a few king mackerel at the Savannah Snapper Banks. There are two methods in which to use to target this fish. It's simple you either have to use artificial or natural bait. However, these two methods are completely different when it comes to presenting the bait. Artificial baits are self-explanatory. They look unnatural and most of the times don't even look like a fish that these mackerel would be attracted to; unless you keep the bait moving. These high-speed feeding fish don't necessarily need to be hungry to eat. They are prompted by sight especially when they see what appears to be a fish fleeing from the area. If you want to be a natural bait fisherman, use live fish that are shinny and don't have an air bladder. These baits live longer and don't seem to be effected by shallow to deep trolling. Another plus is the fact that you get to feel the hit, experience the run of the fish, and can usually determine readily if it's a king on the first strike. Kings are strong on the first run and have a tendency to lean into the pressure after their initial run. Heck at this point, you have already had fun!
The vermilion snapper are back to their normal feeding habits. For a few weeks we all had a little problem with getting these fish to take any type of bait. They were there, but weren't apparently in the feeding mode. The good news is that their normal feeding habits are once again being expressed. I am finding large amounts of these fish holding in 105 to 110 feet of water. Look for them to be schooling on ledges that aren't frequently covered with Black Sea bass. These two fish don't seem to work well together. Here's is another secret about the vermilion. The schools of larger vermilion hold and feed over the smaller ones. It's easy to determine the depth that they are at by looking on your fish finder. They usually hold about 4 to 12 feet above the ledge. Slack to almost slack tide is the best time. Larger fish, being smarter always feed during the time of less resistance, which would be when the tide is slack. I have been using small pieces of cut squid laced on my double hook bottom rig. You best bet for the bigger vermilion is to not fish on the bottom. Your choices are simple either drop to the bottom and reel up quickly or just let you line out slowly until you feel a hit. Both methods will work!
The large bottom bite hasn't been red hot, but we are still catching a few. It's not unusual for the bite to get what we call "soft" at this time of the year. So your best bet is to always keep live bait on the bottom or 10 feet off the bottom. The larger fish like to get out of their habitant area and swim a bit at this time of the year.
The lights have not gone out in Georgia's blue water as of yet. In fact blue water has found it's way as close as 120 feet of water. I have had reports of wahoo and dolphin being caught from 150 to 40 feet of water. That's not a misprint. Troy Remoin of Savannah decided to take a little lone fishing trip out to the CCA Buoy this past week. Upon arriving he caught his first fish which was a king that weighted in at about 18 pounds. Tory's second fish was a 35 pound cobia, which took him over 15 minutes to land. He had two other lines out which also were hit at the same time. He managed to land one fish, which was a small king, but lost the other fish. While trying to catch his breathe another king hit doing that sky rocketing thing. As the king fell back into the water the fish didn't run and the line went limp. As Troy reeled the tailless fish back to the boat he started blaming the barracuda for the tail cut. His last line out and basically all he had left due to the fact that all of his lines had been hit, starting peeling off line. Troy grabbed the rod and started to get control of this fish. The fish made long surface runs, but didn't show his true colors. After about 15 minutes Troy got a look at what was on the end of his line, it was a 50-pound wahoo. After a total of 25 minutes, he landed this fine blue water fish in green waters of the CCA Buoy. Congratulations! Here comes the best part, for those of you whom Troy asked to go fishing, bet you wished you had gone. Remember the tailless king that he caught? Well, Troy found it in the stomach of his 50-pound wahoo. Now you know where wahoo got their nickname "TAIL CUTTERS."
CAPTAIN JUDY'S BELIEVE IT OR NOT!
July 1, 2001
I have seen a lot of lighting strikes over the years while on the ocean. I would like to share a few instances. Early in the sixties my father came home from a day of fishing with an antenna in a million pieces. Not only was the antenna a total lost so was all of his boats the windows. All ten of his windows included the front ones were broken. His old wooden boat actually looked like it had gone through a hurricane, but it was only hit with one bolt of lighting. The damage was unbelievable. I remember another boat that was hit that same day. A rather large yacht was making its way up the Savannah River at about the same time that the storm was passing. The yacht was also hit. Unfortunately for the captain it was almost a fatal hit. When the lightning hit the boat it traveled through the structure up through helm, hit the Captain's hand, went up his arm, and out his shoulder leaving a large exit wound. He immediately went into shock, but did live to tell the story. This happened over forty years ago.
Sea You Later,