The long awaited St. Patrick’s day has descended upon the city! For many Savannahians and non Savannahians this is the favorite day of the year! In Savannah on St. Patrick’s day everyone is Irish for a day. The main activity is focused around the St. Patrick’s day parade. The celebration in Savannah is only second to New York city. What does St. Patrick day have to do with a fishing report? Around St. Patrick’s day the season begins to change from a dormant winter pattern to a vibrant Spring pattern flourishing with life. Azaleas are in bloom. The vast marsh expands surrounding the islands are still a canvas color but green be seen emerging from the grass. The schools of redfish have broken up as temperature rise. Most of redfish holding in the grass are by themselves or in small groups. Seatrout typically begins to get active and stay active around this time. Evidence of small peanut size menhaden can be observed by the occasional flickering of a bait fish hitting the surface of the water. Likely small blue fish are pushing the menhaden to the surface. Both seatrout and redfish love menhaden! A small menhaden can fished under a float rig or simply threaded on a jig sometimes after popping the head off. Placing a rod in a rod holder rigged with a small menhaden on a jig can produce some gorgeous reds!
For the most part the late winter bite has been a little off due likely to a colder than average winter. On a more positive note despite a cold winter there were no reports of fish kills and shrimp is presently available at local bait shops. Last week most the fish caught were redfish back in the grass. This is specialize fishing requiring keen eye sight, good casting, an intimate knowledge of what these fish like and last but least the proper equipment (rods, reels, lures as well shallow draft boat). The majority of reds caught in the grass will be by sighting the fish first. Blind casting while the norm in most fishing can be counter productive for reds in the grass. These fish will eat but there a lots of things that can go awry. On the other hand a redfish back in the grass are not as able to detect a fisherman. Fishing slowly and quietly is often the key. Capt. Ray Crawely of Miss Judy Charters specializes in reds in the grass. Ray prides himself on homemade concoctions that work! Each fisherman will have their speciality or what they enjoy the most. Capt. Ray enjoys the stealthy fishing of redfish in the grass. This type of fishing is particularly effective on big tides day. On days with big tides most fishermen will struggle is when a fisherman like Capt. Ray can shine. The marsh is flooded. Typically fishermen will find water silted from big tides and full debris. Water back in the grass will be clean. Areas that were unreachable are easily accessed. Boats that have minimal draft are a must for this kind of fishing. Knowing exactly where is critical. Its not uncommon for a fisherman to be so far back in grass that getting assistance would be impossible. Too complicate matters ridges that were unseen a few moments ago can quickly trap a boat. Scouting trip should be just that scouting trip. Once a fisherman knows the capabilities of his boat and his terrain then and only then should a fisherman expand his range. Its not uncommon for one group of fisherman to see a boat catching fish and try to join in. This type of fishing isn’t for all. Experience is the key. Anticipate the fisherman in the bow to have most of chances so rotate the bow and have fun! For fish reds in the grass definitely get a charter! My recommendation is Capt. Ray of Miss Judy Charters. On my boat we will penetrate into grass when conditions are favorable basically incoming water, tides 8.5 feet or higher. Beware of southwest and west winds. Water that high at one can appear to quickly go out. Use your watch not your senses. Your time could be as early as half an hour into the outgoing or as much as hour and half into the outgoing. Remember the longer your stay the more likely you are to get stuck. When you pushed things. When you try to make something happen that when you’re going to break equipment and possibility stick your boat. Let the tides work for you! Hope this of interest and fun! Hope to see you on the water!
Fish On! Capt. Jack McGowan