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7/14/01 02:08 PM
Savannah Georgia Offshore Fishing [Post#: 332 ] Reply to this post

"Kicking Fish Tail Since 1956"
POB 30771
912 897 4921 OR 912 897 3470 FAX
July 7, 2001

Everything that our area has to offer is biting.  Take these few suggestion and run with it.  The surf fishing is great at this time of the year.  You can catch Spottail bass using cut mullet by casting into the surf. There is a by-catch when doing this type of fishing. Either before or after the bass bite, sharks, whiting, and blue fish should keep you busy.  The best tide to fish for the bass is the incoming, but don't let the tide chart slow you down.  If you are there and have time, go for it.  The flounder fishing has picked up.  You will need to get your minnow trap out of the garage.  These fish are born killers and are attracted by bait that's trying to escape.  The best bait to use for this fish is a live minnow such as ploywogs, mud minnows or just plain so called small fish.   Also, I might add, the best way to get your minnows trapped filled quickly is to put in some saltines and a piece of raw chicken.  Fried chicken just doesn't seem to work as well.                                                          
The mid summer bite is still on with the Spanish mackerel. However, the arena has change a bit.  The mackerel have been staying close to the bottom feeding on schools of bait that are content with the dark green waters.  This situation has made it hard to locate these fish without the aid of a fish finder.  However now that the water temperature is in the eighties the fish have decided to take to surface feeding, which is what we call "sight feeding."  At this time of the year Spanish mackerel push the baitfish to the surface and go into a feeding frenzy.  This feeding stage gives everyone a piece of the catching pie.  The advantages are that the birds now can help you locate the feeding schools, you can smell the oils that gather on the surface from the shredded baitfish, and you can present your bait offering on the surface.  I have been using cagen poppers and small bird exciters with small Clark spoons in tow.   With these surface rigs you can actually see the fish hit at the bait and finally get mad enough to take it.  For those of you who want to use light tackle and cast to the fish, now is the time to do so.  All you need to do is to situate your boat up wind of the school and cast into the school. Use you lure of choice, most all surface-pulling plugs will work.   

The bottom fishing at the Savannah Snapper Banks has been hot and cold.   This bite situation could leave any fishermen frustrated, including me, but there is an end to the bite uncertainly.  The bottom fish are a bit more sluggish at this time of the year.  So therefore with this low activity schedule the less food that they require. Another problem that we as fishermen are faced with is the fact that there is too much bait.  The bottom fish have a smorgasbord of bait at their fin tips, which means less movement and little hunting for food.  It's like they have called in for a "take out."  Don't worry this can only last for so long and the end is near.  Soon the bottom fish with have to go back to working a little more for their meals.  The baitfish will start their normal cycle movement pattern, which means summer vacation for the bottom fish is over!  Give these few pointers for catching these sluggish bottom fish a try.  The best time to catch them is on the slack tide, less movement for fish, which means the bigger bottom fish are going to give feeding a shot. I have been using the "Captain Judy's Slammer" double hook bottom rig, which has 3/0 to 4/0 hook on board. This size hook is little enough to catch the smaller mouth fish such as the vermilion snapper and strong enough to also hold a large big red genuine snapper.   You have two choices for bait.  Squid will always work.  I can't ever remember a bottom fish turning this bait down.  However your best shot for a larger bottom fish is to use a live cigar minnow or any other smaller fish that you might have caught.   When using a live fish always hook through the lips. After locating the school, you should drop directly into the school, and reel up a few turns quickly.  The larger fish have a tendency to hold and fed above the smaller fish.  The theory being that larger fish don't want to fight with a bunch of smaller fish over their intended meal.  Don't stay on one fishing area to long.  Keep moving to different locations, this takes the edge off of scattering the school by drifting these small location over and over.  Here's a Captain Judy special secret.  When looking on your favorite ledge for larger bottom fish the rule of my thumb is…if the bottom fish are feeding the smaller fish shouldn't show up on you fish finder screen.  In other words, the larger fish scare the smaller fish into to small round ups or into the safety of the ledge.   Bottom line is to always drop into these areas even if you don't mark but a few a fish.  If the fish were there once, trust me they haven't left the area!   

If you have been following my fishing report you would have noticed that I have been reporting a lot of blue water fish being caught at the CCA artificial reef.   Well, here comes another out standing catch from that same area. Lee Bryant who is among one of the fishing team on the boat "Southern Pride" has made his mark.  He caught a release a sailfish from this area.  Congratulations!  For those of you who haven't been following my reports numerous blue water catches such as wahoo, yellow fin tuna, sailfish and dolphin have been caught over the years in this area at this time of the year.  
I consider the Blue Water Trolling Fishing Season officially over around the middle of July every year.  Well, as you on know that date has passed us and the top fishing has slowed down as expected for this time of the year.   So it's time to drag those lures over the ledges at the edge.  These areas always hold lots of bait.  So therefore the big fish know that and tend to hang to feed.   I have gotten several l bottom fishing reports of large gag grouper being caught in 150 to 200 feet. Your best bait to target these fish is live bait.  You will have to stop at the snapper banks to catch your own.  Don't wait till you arrive to the deep water to get your bait because they aren't any to be found.  I have found that hardy bottom feeders like ruby red lips, sand perch, bank sea bass, vermilion, and small Black Sea bass make the best bait.  Don't forget to pop their air bladder before you put them in the live well.  If you do not, they will not survive the ride from the snapper banks to the ledge.  Don't forget to put a flat line while you are drifting.   We are still getting a few wahoo, king mackerel, and dolphin hits.  

My father loved to fish.  He loved it so much that he started this charter boat company in 1948.  Not only did he love to ocean fish he loved different kinds of inshore fishing.  He liked trout fishing especially using the traditional float rig.  His favorite saying,  "just watching the sinking of that cork was always a thrill."  His other favorite inshore favorite was to pull Cisco kid lures in the Savannah River for striped bass.  He always knew when they were biting.  I wished I had taken pictures, but at 6 years old it wasn't top priority.  He would always take me along.  Some of his trips were boring to me, but I will always remember the most exciting ones.  Daddy called it "Mullet jumping."  After my first experience with this fishing I knew I had to make some changes in my attire.  I guess I should explain exactly what mullet jumping is.  It simple really. We would get the old wooden rowboat out, load it up with the essentials, and take off for Mud Puppy.  Mud Puppy was a small creek located just down from out house. The ride seems long, at least to a 6-year-old.  The essentials were simple.  Daddy brought along a white sheet and a flashlight.  Oh, I forgot to mention you had to do this at night during a low tide.  Not only at night, but also during a new moon.  You know the moon stage where there isn't any light.  At any rate it was dark and spooky at least for a six-year-old.   Daddy would run our rowboat up into the creek to his special location.  I would hold one end of the sheet and Daddy would hold the other.  He then pointed the flashlight on the sheet and mullet jumped into the boat.  It was strange to have all of these fish jumping in the boat.  Some didn't hit the sheet.  They would hit me in the head and all over.  It was fun, but spooky to me.  So as I told you earlier in this story that I changes my attire after my first mullet-jumping trip.  I added a kitchen pot to my head and an old catcher mask to my face.  I then felt safe, but I looked plain ridiculous.  The bottom line is that you can't argue with dressing for success. No more mullet in my hair or in my face!   Now lets not forget about the mullet that jumped into the boat.   Daddy and I screaming as I went picked through the fish and only kept the ones that were suitable for smoking.  It was great being raised on the water!  Wish you all could have been there!   

Sea You Later

Captain Judy

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