Between recent spring tides, near freezing temps and fog that continues to keep the coastal boat angling fleet well below the norm for this time of year, the catch action among those going out indicates the shift from fall to early winter action is on course.
We didnâ€™t expect to hear much positive news this week about inshore or offshore action, but reports indicate fish being caught both inshore and offshore, even when conditions are at their worst.
Capt. Judy Helmey (912-897-4921) in her weekly web report (www.MissJudyCharters.com) told of both inshore and offshore action where both guides and clients fished when the weather was a mix of wet, cold and foggy and the bite was good.
Reds, black drum, sheepshead, trout, stripers, weakfish and black sea bass all are mentioned in this weekâ€™s fishing chatter.
Not much has changed in the harvest numbers relative to nearshore and inshore action, with reds still at the top of the list. A noted difference this fall has been the continued complaint among those targeting spotted sea trout that harvestable-size species continue to be in short supply -â€“ well below the norm for this time of year.
Last winterâ€™s lethal freeze temps may be one of the reasons for harvest-size trout being in short supply, but the continued catch and release of yearling trout is an indicator the fishery is continuing to rebound.
I did get one report of some excellent trout action. That came from Screven County resident Eddie Reddick and brother Alan who lives in McIntosh County near Shellman Bluff. They fished one of the barrier island inlets Friday, and limited out on both reds and trout while releasing a large number of both species.
Robert Bacot at Kilkenny Marina in Bryan County (912-727-2215) told of some excellent action Friday with at least one trout limit being reported.
He said almost all of the action took place during the morning hours. â€śOnce that weather front started to move in the bite shut down totally,â€ť he commented, noting almost no bite action or boat angling activity has taken place since then.
Raburn Goodman at Yellow Bluff in Liberty County (912-977-0062) said much the same, noting almost no boat angling traffic from Saturday through Tuesday.
Marvin Metzger who operates Coffee Bluff Marina in Chatham County (912-231-3628) told of weather conditions shutting down most angling action. But reds continue to lead the catch list, with trout well off the normal pace for this time of year, and inshore sheepshead action showing a definite increase.
Stripers, reds, weakfish
We have been hearing of some excellent striper action on the river systems, and last week briefly made mention of some trophy action taking place when guide Capt. Sean Yeckley recently put his brother Ty and his wife Monica on some big fish.
Capt. Yeckley (Tightlines Salt Water Fishing Charters 912-507-3130), is a relatively newcomer to the area licensed charter fleet, having started in April, but he is a seasoned angler, having been an avid fishermen in local waters most of his life.
Capt. Yeckley told of the mentioned catch, saying the two went with him the day before Thanksgiving and that together they caught and released several big stripers and redfish measuring 28 to 30 inches in length while fishing one of the area river systems. Monica also landed a 20-inch spotted sea trout, he said.
While most of our recent striper reports have come from the Ogeechee River, it is time for the tidal waters of the Savannah and other area rivers to be producing striper.
The artificial reef weakfish and black sea bass report came in Capt. Judyâ€™s dispatch. She and Capt. Kathy Brown put clients on both species in very inclement weather. The weakfish (summer trout) were apparently in a big school, with clients sometimes catching two at time, but having to release nearly all of them â€“ the catch limit on weakfish is one per day per angler.
The photos she submitted showed the black sea bass being caught indicate the current run is of excellent harvest size.
Tides again are beginning the spring relative to a new moon tomorrow, and are now in the low eight-foot range, but will begin to drop back into more favorable fishing levels through the weekend and continue there through Dec. 20. Tides then will begin to spring and climb into mid eight-foot range relative to a full moon on Dec. 22.
The Weather Channelâ€™s Tybee Island 10- day weather forecast shows iffy fishing conditions with rain predicted for Saturday through Tuesday.
Other than next Wednesday when the report shows sunny skies, the same report shows more rain is predicted, at least through Dec. 18.
John Burke can be reached at 912-655-8505, or by email at email@example.com.