Thankful. What a great time of year to help us remember to be thankful.
If your holiday weekend includes a little time on the water, do a little research on the area you will be fishing (through the Blog or our Fishing Forecasts), find new places to fish HERE and, as always, be sure to get that fishing license.
All of us here at the Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division join together in wishing ALL of you a blessed and safe Thanksgiving Day and weekend.
Today we have a quick fishing report from Southeast Georgia. Please enjoy, and be sure to Go Fish Georgia!
(Fishing report courtesy of Bert Deener, fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
I hope each of you are going to, are having, or had (depending upon when you read this….) a wonderful Thanksgiving! We are truly a blessed people! With recent rains, successful fishing reports have mostly come from the St. Marys River, ponds, or saltwater over the last week. Full Moon is November 23rd. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website HERE.
J.J. at Altamaha Park said that the crappie bite is going strong for anglers fishing both minnows and jigs. One group of Waycross anglers caught 36 slabs on Saturday. They were fishing treetops near the mouths of feeder creeks and backwaters. Flatheads and channel cats were also biting. Live bait accounted for the flatheads, while worms fished in deep holes in the backwaters fooled the channels. A few bream were caught with worms and crickets, but that bite slowed with the rising water. The river level was 12.4 feet and rising (56 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 9.6 feet and rising (58 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on November 20th.
The river skyrocketed well into the floodplain in the upper river this week. Michael of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that the bite slowed down in the upper river, but folks still caught some crappie and a few bass on minnows fished in the backwaters in the Atkinson area. Bream were caught from backwaters by anglers using crickets. In the Burnt Fort area, quite a few big flatheads were caught by limb-liners using live baitfish. An angler reported catching 6 crappie on beetlespins while fishing for redbreasts and bluegills. The river level on November 20th at the Waycross gage was 12.0 feet and rising (60 degrees), and the Atkinson gage was 6.8 feet and rising.
ST. MARYS RIVER
The river is still in good shape, as the upper basin didn’t get the rains like the rest of the state. The crappie bite picked up this week, with minnows producing most of the specks. Some big bream and redbreasts were landed by anglers fishing both artificials and crickets. As usual, catfish were caught on just about any bait dropped to the bottom. The river level at the MacClenny gage on November 20th was 3.4 feet and falling.
The east side is still high (120.44 feet on Tuesday – I like it below 120 feet for the best fishing), but the west side is fishable. If you fish the west side, put a piece of shrimp on the bottom for catfish or pitch sallies for fliers and warmouth.
PARADISE PUBLIC FISHING AREA (near Tifton, More Info HERE)
The crappie bite has fired off this week all around the area. See photos below for great proof! Great catches were reported from primarily Lake Patrick and Lake Paradise, but fish were caught in the smaller ponds, as well. Some highlights were Alton Dawson’s 2 lb, 12 oz slab he caught on minnows on Sunday. A group of anglers caught 19 specks on Tuesday using shad-colored curly-tailed jigs. Their 19 fish weighed over 7 pounds – perfect size to filet. A group fishing Thursday from a pier caught a nice stringer of crappie (biggest was 1.9 pounds) by fishing minnows 5 feet deep under a float.
Chad Lee put it on both bass and crappie this week in Alma area ponds. On Saturday, a swim jig in natural colors (green pumpkins and watermelons) fooled bass up to about 3 pounds. Then on Sunday he fooled 8 crappie, and one of them was a true slab. Michael Winge said that crappie were the big deal this week in Waycross area ponds. Anglers reported the best catches during Monday’s cool, cloudy weather. One angler said that his minnow and cork barely hit the water before it would go down. Anglers reported catching specks on both minnows and jigs.
SALTWATER (GA COAST)
The inshore bite was on this week! Don Harrison and Chad Sexton fished the Crooked River area on Tuesday and flung Assassin Sea Shads suspended underneath Equalizer Floats. They managed 28 trout (6 were keepers), 5 keeper redfish, and a whiting. The deal for them was the incoming tide, and their best colors were space guppy and goldfish, but they also caught a couple on Calcasieu brew. The bite from bridges in the Brunswick area was hot. One group fished for a little over an hour on Friday evening and caught 6 keeper black drum, 2 keeper sheepshead (up to about 3 pounds), and 2 slot-sized redfish. Shrimp and fiddler crabs were the best baits. A group fishing Saturday reported catching 20 of the same species on the same baits. An angler fishing Tuesday afternoon caught 6 trout on a 1/4-oz. Flashy Jighead rigged with a clear-gold flake Sea Shad. He was fishing from a dock in Brunswick. I learned of several anglers fishing from boats that caught their limit or close to their limits on live shrimp and artificials. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that sheepshead were tops, with fiddler crabs and barnacles fooling them. Trout, reds, and flounder were also caught from the pier. At night under the lights, some big trout were caught with jigs. Crabbing was red-hot this week, and it didn’t take long to catch what you wanted. You can monitor the marine forecast HERE.
In freshwater, crappie fishing should be excellent over the holiday weekend. Float minnows around the deep areas of the pond if you like fishing live bait. Casting or trolling curly-tailed grubs (my favorite is the 2-inch Assassin Curly Shad in chartreuse or shad hues) will also produce a bunch of the tasty panfish. In saltwater, trout and redfish should continue biting well. It doesn’t matter whether you fish live bait or artificials, you should catch some fish, even with the bigger tides this weekend! To combat the higher tides, I like to fish the shells and creek mouths around slack high tide when the water clears or in the deeper holes around slack low tide.