Good news for fans of salt water fishing off Savannah: Capt. Judy Helmey’s charter service has reopened and is going full blast, she said last Tuesday morning.
She had closed it because of the pandemic, but the situation appears to be easing a bit, everybody hopes. Precautions are still necessary, such as wearing masks and social distancing.
She said inshore fishing “is incredible, with great catches of red fish, spotted sea trout and flounder. Some of the trout are running between 5 and 7 pounds, which is huge for the species. We try to release the big female trout because they are the babymakers,” she said.
Another proven technique is the use of smaller equipment such as popping floats or adjustable floats because “the softer the splash, the shallow fish won’t be spooked.”
Mud minnows, finger mullet and live shrimp are the baits of choice and everyone planning to fish on their own should bring dip nets and cast nets, the latter of the right size. “Just check in the store where cast nets are purchased and one of the clerks can tell you the size needed once he is told where you’ll be fishing,” she added.
• Condolences to the family of Coach Pat Dye who passed away earlier this week. Back in the late 1950s, retired Navy Rear Admiral Richard Hawes, of Thomson, Ga., invited this writer to check out Hawes’ Briar Creek Shooting Preserve and bring a few guests. The latter consisted of Syd Newton, Pat Dye and his brother Wayne.
We shot chukar partridge, mallard ducks, pheasant and quail and I shot several rolls of 35mm film. After the hunt ended, we took the birds to the Dyes’ home near Blythe where their mother cooked all of them. What a feed!
Capt. David Willard, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed, full-time professional fishing guide specializing in hybrids, stripers and trophy largemouth bass. Boat phone: (706) 214-0236. Residence: (803) 637-6379. http://www.crockettrocketstriperfishing.com. — On Wednesday, the surface temperature on the lake was in the high 70s and the water was clear. After being bothered by east winds most of the week, they were out of the west and the bite was very good. Kyle Wall, his wife, Becky, and father, Skeeter, from Milledgeville, Ga., had a great time catching a limit of stripers and hybrids. They fish for crappies in Lake Oconee, but caught their biggest one ever on this trip. We didn’t weight it, but it was a nice one. Last Tuesday, Michelle Jackson and her husband, Billy, from Atlanta joined me on the boat. They also limited out including some nice Kentucky spotted bass in the 3- and 4-pound range. Thomas Stevens and family, from Savannah, fished with me last Monday. They caught an early limit of stripers and hybrids and also caught some white perch by jigging Berry’s Flex-It Spoons. We fished live herring in 24 to 36 feet of water.
Capt. Billy Murphy, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed, full-time professional fishing guide specializing in crappies, hybrids and stripers. (706) 339-4784 — Last Friday, I took out Larry Freeman, of Grovetown, and my son, Brad, on a scouting trip. We fished live herring just off the bottom in 20 to 30 feet of water (just three winds of the reel handle after the bait hit the bottom). Not only did we find fish in the Keg Creek-Chigoe Creek area, but limited out early. Last Tuesday, my grandson, Johnathan Murphy, and his fianc, Haley Smith, and Larry Freeman wound up with 40 fish including a 1 1/4-pound yellow perch. Haley couldn’t get over that fish’s beauty.
Capt. Eddie Mason, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed, full-time professional fishing guide specializing in stripers and hybrids. http://www.masonsguideservice.com — (803) 637-5395. Cell phone: (706) 829-0428. — Summer is here and fishing isn’t the only thing that’s hot. The lake is slightly above full pool. We are still fishing on the lower end of the lake, using down rods and fishing live blueback herring just off the bottom. As the sun climbs, we’re moving to deeper water. Last week, we took out two groups of old friends and their families. Tal Mims and his daughter, Bailey; Sam Godby and Leah Baker, all of Edgefield, caught limits of fish. On May 29, Jeffrey and Amanda Brewer of Lexington, S.C., his mother, Andrea and her son, Buddy Brewer, of Saluda, S.C., and their friend, Jake Owen, of Gilbert, S.C., also caught limits of fish. The only thing that would have made the trip much better would have been the presence of Andrea’s husband, Bobby, who passed away some time ago.
BEAUFORT, S.C. & VICINITY
Capt. Ralph Goodison Jr., Fripp Island, (843) 838-2530 —Fishing for red fish and spotted sea trout has slowed a bit, but some nice flounder are being caught off the North Hampton rocks, Worrell’s Landing and the waters between Fripp and Pritchard’s Island. Big lemon and hammerhead sharks are being caught (and released) in Fripp Inlet and off the bridge, using mullet for bait. Fishing for blues has slowed around the Fripp reef, but bottom fishing for trigger fish and black sea bass in that vicinity is good. There are some nice cobia being caught around the 6HI buoy as well as a few small king mackerel. The Gulf Stream is producing good catches of swordfish while fewer wahoo and dolphin are being caught. Some big prawns are being caught in cast nets in the canals, while blue crabs are active.
SAVANNAH & VICINITY
Miss Judy Charters, Capt. Judy Helmey, (912) 897-4921 (www.missjudycharters.com) 124 Palmetto Drive, Savannah, GA 31410. — The cobia run is still on and our 10 inshore and four offshore guides are staying busy. Trolling Nos. 0 and 00 Clark Spoons are catching Spanish mackerel, while live bait (mullet) is catching king mackerel. Here’s a tip: Don’t mix shrimp and mud minnows in the same bait bucket. The minnows will eat the eyes out and the legs off the shrimp. For fishermen who bring their own boats, they also should bring the right size cast nets to catch shrimp for bait. The inshore bite continues to be red hot.