Inshore: A very mild winter has kept the inshore fishing going, said Capt. Greg Hildreth. “We’re still sight fishing for reds — there’s been plenty of that — and we’re still catching trout. It’s 72 degrees outside right now,” Greg said on Friday, January 20. “This is the mildest winter we’ve had a while, so it stands to reason, the fishing is going to get cranking early this year. Last year we caught some big, quality trout last year in February by fishing live shrimp in deeper holes — 12 to 18 feet of water — in the backs of some of the creeks. Capt. David Newlin said up the coast the hot bite has been striped bass. “We’re catching a lot of stripers. It’s been good in the rivers — the Savannah, Ogeechee and the smaller rivers. Fish the bridges, just work the pilings, and also the creek mouths on the outgoing tides,” David said. He recommends Rapalas, bucktail jigs and Yo-Zuri jerkbaits.
Nearshore: The nearshore reefs are excellent for sheepshead right now, Capt. Newlin said. Any of the nearshore wrecks are good, and the best bait is live fiddler crabs. Most of the fish will average five to eight pounds. Capt. Hildreth said the same thing about the south coast — sheepshead on the wrecks. “You’ll get ahold of several each trip that you can’t do anything with,” he said.
Offshore: Weather dependent, but plenty of fish to be caught with the water temperatures very mild offshore. Capt. Newlin said the bite for sea bass and snapper had been good on the hard bottoms in 70 to 110 feet of water. We don’t get to go a lot especially at this time of the year, but we sure do talk about it. Capt. Judy Helmey said the near-shore reefs and the excellent sheepshead and other bites are attracting many trips this time of year. “The near-shore artificial reefs give us fishermen quite a bit of fishing pleasure and also a short boat ride to the catching grounds. The Savannah Snapper Banks is a great place to fish at this time, but the weather has been a little unpredictable. However, that situation is changing by the moment with warming trends just over the next wave. Spring fishing is just around the corner. In the next 30 days we will be back to fishing full force while catching everything that this area has to offer,” Capt. Judy said.