Merry Christmas! Despite winter officially beginning on the 21st we have already had several hard freezes. Fishermen south of Savannah have reported seeing some dead seatrout around Ossaabaw and St. Catherines. Last week water temperatures rose with several sunny days. When a cold front hits and water temperature rapidly decreases fish are more vulnerable. When the change is more gradual its likely fish can more easily find water where they can survive. Last winter’s prolonged cold was tough on the seatrout. Hopefully this winter when fronts hit we will have a warming trend soon to follow.
Despite last week cold there was good action particularly with redfish on the flats! Some anglers limited out. That said its not all taking a limit. Its about having an enjoyable time. One angler last week with me caught what would have been several limits on plastics. His plan was to keep one for supper but each time he said the fish looked so pretty he wanted to release it. Its guaranteed if you keep that fish you wont catch it again. My feeling is keep only what you plan on eating and release the rest. Redfish are a fun fish! Its likely there are more redfish in our waters now than when I was a child. That said, catch and release is still a very good thing!
Fishing the flats this week was good if not great! A variety of jigs, jerk worms and flies will work just fine! One local fisherman has said a redfish will eat just anything. This isn’t that much of an exaggeration. Lots of times redfish will push tight up on the flats to avoid the dolphins. With this in mind the sweet spot is generally tight to the mudbank. A cold water bite is usually a bump rather a strong bite. When you feel the bump tighten up, set the hook and yell fish on! The exception is when don’t want to draw attention to yourself. Then you pass on yelling “fish on” and bring the fish to boat unbeknownst to any boat around you.
Fished one day last week with Chris Weber, veteran fly tier and fly fisherman. Lots of nice reds on flats! Chris is an excellent salt water fly tier!
Don Adams closed his shop on Thursday. He typically opens again March 1st. Some years Don will keep his doors open as long as the weather is relatively mild and he is finding shrimp. Don said the shrimp have moved out. Those of you who like bait fishing. A small piece of dead shrimp can make an excellent winter sea trout bait. Winter sea trout will sometimes feed on a small shrimp, locals call hard backs. These shrimp are typically in the grassy matter under floating docks. Its not unusual for whiting fishermen to produce good catches in deeper water during the winter. Dead bait can work well for redfish as well as for stripers. The lowly mud minnow is all purpose live bait that can produce a variety of inshore species with sheepshead as the exception. Sheepshead love fiddler crabs, oysters and clams! It been said when you see snails climbing the stalks of the marsh grass there sheepshead that are feeding on them.
Good reports on both inshore and offshore sheepshead! Both Tybee Island Bait and Tackle and Adams Bait House are closed for several weeks. Bait shops that might have fiddler crabs are Larry’s Bait 912.966.6946 and Tackle and Bandy’s 912.354.6444. Best bet call ahead to arrange your bait.
Tides look pretty fishy as we head into the New Year! Water temperature is between high 40’s and low 50’s. Fish will eat but anticipate a soft slow bite. On sunny mild days the bite could be hot! Best action redfish on flats, stripers upriver as well as inshore and offshore sheepshead!
Hope this is of interest and help!
Fish On! Capt. Jack McGowan