CAPTAIN JUDY HELMEY
"Kicking Fish Tail Since 1956"
SAVANNAH, GEORGIA 31410
912 897 4921
912 897 3460 FAX
July 16, 2001
It's that time of the year when the Spottail bass are just about everywhere that you throw your hook. However, you will need to put them in your fish stretcher to be able to keep them. Most of the Spottail bass are all running are about 11 to 12 inches in length. As we all know they have to be 14 inches (tail length) to keep them. Large Spottail bass are still being caught in the surf at Savannah Beach. They are hitting cut mullet and the bass seem to prefer that bait to shrimp. The smaller fish that are being caught in the creeks and rivers are hitting mostly live shrimp. You can catch and practice on these fish while you are fishing for the trout. They all are mixed and feeding together. By the way, I was just kidding about the fish stretcher. Some secrets just shouldn't be talked about.
Another inshore fish to target at this time of the year is the great flat flounder. These fish are known for burying themselves in the sand so well that they are unnoticeable not only to you, but any unsuspecting small fish that might unfortunately swim by. Don't associate these fish with the group of fish that isn't likely to move quickly. This fish is known to see like a rabbit, to be sneaky like a fox, and strike like a cobra. Live bait such as mud/small minnows or live shrimp will work for these fish. The livelier the bait the better. As with any fish, bait presentation is of the most importance. Use a rig that will put and keep your bait near the bottom, but will also allow it to swim seemly freely. A flounder can't resist this sort of fleeing situation.
Here a little need to know information about flounder habits. They always seem to lie on the bottom facing the current. This situation makes it easier for them breathe and it's usually where their potential meals come from. So therefore your fishing strategy should be to anchor so that you can cast your bait so that the current can deliver it directly to the fish. You should already know which way the fish is looking for it intended meal to be delivered. They like to move around on the slack tide. This is due to the fact it's hard to get enough oxygen while still or dug into the sand. This is not necessarily the best time to fish for them. They have more on their mind than eating. Incoming tide is the best time because the water is usually a little clearer. The ideal moving water is about 1 to 2 knots. Let me know how this works and by all means send me some pictures.
I have been doing a little Spanish mackerel fishing this past week and have come to a few conclusions. For one, you don't have to go far to catch these fish. I started trolling at red marker #16 in Warsaw sound and also started catching these fish as I headed to green buoy #13. I had been seeing them jump occasionally as I was heading home in the afternoon. So I though I would give it a try and it worked. Now don't get me wrong, in the sound, you can't get a lot of fish out of the same school. However, you can get a few mackerel out of each school, which leads me to my next conclusion. The schools were holding in the same spot. I found three bait pods in a holding pattern. I visited each pod making only one pass over the school, catching my fish and moving on to the next group. It's scientific, don't you know. Give it a try, you don't need a big boat to target these fish.
King mackerel fishing is hot and cold. One day you will catch lots of snakes and the next day you will get in the smokers. Both sizes of fish are usually caught on the same bait, at the same time. I have been catching my fish trolling with drone spoons deep and ridged ballyhoo on the surface. My trolling speed is around 6 to 7 knots, depending on the sea conditions. Other Captains have been catching their fish with down riggers and live bait. This being the slow-troll effect, which is executed by bumping the boat in and out of, gear just enough to keep your lines from crossing. This works very well and you never know for sure what fish you might catch. There were a few large red snapper caught last week doing this type of fishing.
The best bait to use for slow troll is menhaden (porgies) ribbon fish, or greenies. You can catch most of this bait around the buoys located at the artificial reefs. These fish don't have air bladders and last longer at most depths.
The red snapper and grouper fishing have maintained about the same crazy feeding habits, on the bite and off. As long as you keep providing these fish with live bait they will eventually give in and take the whole fish. I have found that if you keep moving from ledge to ledge you have a better chance of catching the big one. You can fish the same three ledges, but you must rotate so that you don't scare the fish back into their safety zone.
Now that the blue season is basically over you don't have to worry about making that long boat ride. However, for those of you who have to go listen to this. Captain Mike Carbo (Natalie Jean) caught wahoo, dolphin, and large king mackerel last week in this not blue water season. I might add that the fish weren't small. It was hard picking up the wahoo, which weighted in at over 65 pounds. All of these fish were caught to the north of Savannah and in the Deli Ledge area. He didn't have a lot of barracuda hits, which is very unusual at this time of the year. So therefore, blue water fishing has only slowed down for some! Let's drag those lines!
LITTLE CAPTAIN JUDY'S BELIEVE IT OR NOT!
July 16, 2001
There has been a lot of talk about sharks lately. So here is a good shark story that my daddy use to tell all of our customers that supposedly happened during the middle fifties. Here's how it was told to me. A large boat such as one that I have listed below was fishing the warm waters of the Gulf Stream for a large fish such as a marlin or big tuna. A rather large fish did hit one of their lines and a lengthy fight took place. As soon as they realized it was a mako shark they all knew that they had a fight on their hands. Well, they decided that they wanted to try and land this 500-pound plus fish. So they came up with a foolproof plan. The boat was equipped with a gin pole, which basically is a hoist type rig, which had a flying gaff attached. The plan seemed simple. They were going to get the big shark next to the boat, set the gaff, and hoist it up on the gin pole. Sounds good but as usual best-laid plans don't always work. They managed to get the shark next to the boat, the gaffer set the gaff, and the designated others were ready to act out their part. They were all ready for their job. Well, here's what happened as soon as the gaff was set. They started hoisting the shark up, it started going crazy. The Shark got off the gaff, but didn't fall back into the water, but rather into the cockpit of the boat. This is a bad thing. As I mentioned this was a big shark, very strong, and not even ready to die. So therefore it started thrashing back and forth destroying everything in its path. The fighting chair, which was previously attached, became a free moving object. Any thing that wasn't attached was flying and the things that were didn't last long before they also became moving objects. Finally the big shark, but only after what seemed to be many long minutes came to rest or so they though. All of the fishermen jumped out of the safety of the cabin. They tied a rope around the shark's tail and pulled this magnificent fish up with the gin pole. When they got the sharks tail to the top of the pole, it's large head still laid partially on the gunnel.
They were all very tried from all of the excitement. Just as everyone started to relax the shark came too once again. He started jerking back and forth trying to get off of the pole. Finally realizing that it was over the shark opened its mouth and bit down on the gunnel of this large expensive boat, which is where he died still holding on. When the fishermen arrived home it took crowbars and hammers to get that shark embedded teeth off of the gunnel. According to daddy there was about $15,000.00 worth of damaged done to the boat by the shark that day. I guess you could say, "During the fifties that was considered a lot of money to spend on a one day fishing trip." According to my father this happened on one of these local boats. It was either the "Waterway" or "The Ambos Yacht" or "The Citation" or "The Altimeter." As daddy repeatedly told the story time after time he did make his own changes. Some versions I have to admit were better than others. However, the good thing is that everyone loves a good fish story! How did you like my version?
Sea You Later,