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Outdoor Life: Summer fishing on the Georgia coast

Summer is here and there are lots of salt water options along the Georgia coast in the coming month.  Whether you want to fish inshore or offshore there are plenty of charters going out every day from Savannah to St. Mary’s.  Got your own boat and some skills of your own?  Got the itch to go it alone?  June and July are great months to see what you are made of.  There will be a variety of willing fish showing up in the next thirty days and there is something out there to suit every style and taste.  Before you go be sure to check the fishing regulations for rules, limits and size limitations because there are a myriad of restrictions depending on the species.
    If you are planning do some inshore or near shore fishing the redfish bite should still be on.  You can sight fish for them in the shallows around grass beds or float a cork baited with shrimp along the oyster bed in major creeks, especially for slot fish.  This is one of Georgia’s premier game fish and arguably the best tasting.
    The spotted sea trout fishing is just going to get better and better over the next month.  The big females can be caught in the sounds and as the month goes along they will begin to show up on the beach fronts.  Again live shrimp is one of the best ways to hook up with a gator trout.
    Shark fishing is always hot off the Georgia coast this time of year and if you want to tie into one of the most powerful fish found in our waters you need to target them.  Bottom fishing is the most efficient way to take them.  Catching a triple digit shark on medium tackle is one of the best fights you’ll ever have.  You don’t have to go far to catch these big boys in all shapes and sizes.  As the month wears on the bigger ones are going to get closer and closer to the beaches.  Spinner sharks usually show up early followed by numerous other kinds over the next couple of weeks.
    Whiting is another species that is a target in June.  They can provide you with some fine eating and though they don’t grow to a large size are relatively easy to catch with light bottom rigs baited with pieces of shrimp.  Often the best time to catch these tasty morsels is around low tide.
    One of the most high profile fish available in June is the tarpon.  They often travel in schools this time of year and their spectacular leaps and drag ripping strength makes them on of the most sought after all salt water trophies.
    Other fish that can be caught inshore during June include flounder, Spanish mackerel, cobia, sheepshead, and black drum.  All of these can provide you with the fight of your life and quality table fare.
    If you are in an offshore fishing mode it’s a good time to go.  Check the state and federal regulations for vermillion snapper, grouper and black sea bass. All these species can be taken in areas like the Savannah Snapper Banks or any of the numerous artificial reefs.  The big vermillion snappers are crazy about cigar minnows and the more active those baits are the better.  Those wanting to catch grouper should use bottom rigs baited with cigar minnows or Spanish sardines.  You can find loads of GPS numbers for the various reef locations on line at http://crd.dnr.state.ga.us/assets/documents/ReefBooklet.pdf
    In order to catch the bait fish like menhaden and cigar minnows a Sabaki rig with gold hooks fished over the reefs is the ticket but bring plenty of them.  They have a tendency to get cut off when barracuda, sharks and other top predators get a whiff of blood in the water.
    Cobia is another popular game fish that can be found in good numbers this month and these can be taken over the reefs or around the buoys.  They love eels and large live shrimp.  It is also an excellent time to catch Spanish mackerel and they will often be found in large schools.  Most guides recommend a small spoon to take them regularly.  King mackerel will also begin showing up in the month ahead and the best fish are usually taken trolling a variety of diving baits, spoons and live bait.
    Lastly there are going to be an abundance of blue water fish in and around the Savannah Snapper Banks.  Some of the most popular and prolific species are amberjack, dolphin, wahoo and billfish.
    No matter whether you enjoy inshore or offshore salt water fishing June is a great time to be on the Georgia coast and there are plenty of different ways to satisfy your adventurous spirit.   

    Alvin Richardson is a contributing writer, retired educator, and public speaker. Contact him at dar8589@bellsouth.net.

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