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As 2015 winds down the sea trout bite is heating up! Water temperature is still in the low to mid 60’s. Fishermen have both complained and commented on large numbers of small sea trout. Keep in mind to have larger sea trout we must have more smaller ones. Despite large numbers of small sea trout its possible to catch larger fish from the same school particularly in early to mid fall. With mild conditions this fall our bite is likely a little late. For fishermen this can good news with a good bite later in the fall and into winter as well. As conditions get colder anticipate the school of fish to segregate out according to size. While conditions are mild fishermen could find a mix of small and medium sized sea trout in the same school. Look for clean water and current. Usually this will mean fishing areas with hard bottoms and some structure. Sea trout can be in or out. This means they could be found close to the shore line or in the middle of the channel. Also experiment with the depth you’re fishing. Typically start shallow and fish then fish deeper to search the water column. If you find success….repeat!
The bait of choice on the Georgia/Carolina coast is shrimp. For sea trout this means live shrimp. Live shrimp can mean the difference between catching fish or not. When asked will plastics or artificials work? The short answer is absolutely. If shrimp are in the local waters and you get some – then why not? Yes, there are other good baits that can work well.
Despite plenty of fish in local waters keep what you want to eat fresh and release the rest. Also everyday is little different. On some days catching a few might an accomplishment. Nonetheless the numbers of sea trout look good! Keep in mind the Georgia Department of Natural Resources recently increased the minimum size from 13 inches TL to 14 inches TL effective January !, 2016. The net of this change could mean sea trout numbers could bounce back more quickly if we experience a fish kill due a cold winter. For fishermen the increase in size could mean in as short as a year or two we could see a doubling or tripling of sea trout as well as more larger fish. The bottomline is that the one inch increase could potentially benefit all coastal fishermen. We could see more fishermen catching more fish more often.
With mild conditions there’s still a variety of little fish in local waters. Some these are pin fish, yellow tails, sea bass, and sand perch. These little fish can be annoying. As conditions continue to cool these little will drop off to deeper holes. Local bait shrimpers Don Adams is still finding shallow water shrimp. Likewise as temperature drop these shrimp will fall out. For now good conditions look good for sea trout!
I hope this report has been of interest and help! Keep only what you want to eat and release the rest!
Fish On! Capt. Jack McGowan, Coastal River Charters 912.441.9930