Give this place a try next time you’re in Georgia!
When you look on a map, the Georgia coastline seems pretty small. From Cumberland Island to Tybee Island, it’s only about 100 miles. However, there are more than 3,400 miles of tidal shoreline when you include the marshes, estuaries and tidal rivers. That adds up to a lot of fishing possibilities for sea trout, redfish, flounder and other finned foes that inhabit inshore areas.
And it’s not just the “small” fish that hang around these shallow backwaters and barrier islands. You can also find some bona fide monsters prowling waist-deep water. If you can keep a secret, I’ll clue you in on a couple of Georgia’s saltwater hot spots where you can achieve big-fish nirvana, and also put a few tasty filets on the dinner table.
Richmond Hill: This historic town is home to Ft. McAllister State Park. The fort has been restored, and it’s definitely worth your time to stop by. Just before you get to the fort, you’ll find Ft. McAllister Marina on the Ogeechee River. This is a good launch point. You’ll have miles of prime sea trout, redfish and flounder territory. The marina has live bait and a tackle shop, plus a sling boat launch. Redbird Creek, Cane Patch Creek and Buckhead Creek are all good spots. If you’d prefer to have someone show you the ropes, the local fishing guru is Capt. David Newlin.
If you want to hook up with some whoppers, here’s another secret. The Georgia coast is a regular stop-over for migrating tarpon! From July through Labor Day, the silver kings come into Ossabaw Sound and the Ogeechee to feed on huge schools of menhaden. With a little patience and luck, you can find yourself connected to a 100-plus-pound tarpon. At the end of the day, you can take your flounder and sea trout into Fish Tales Restaurant at the marina, where they will cook it any way you like.
St. Simons Island: This is another small community on one of Georgia’s barrier islands. The sea trout and redfishing can be spectacular. Look at the tide tables and moon phase to pick a date with a falling tide at daybreak and a half-moon. Get out early, and use your Navionics charts to pinpoint draining creeks with nearby shell bars. Toss out a live shrimp under a Thunder Chicken popping cork and hang on.
In late summer, tarpon show up in St. Andrews Sound and Altamaha Sound on either side of the island. While you’re fishing for tarpon, you will probably hook up with mondo bull redfish and potentially a spinner shark. Both offer a super exciting fight. For me, the premier guide service on St. Simons Island is Capt. Mark Noble. He’s based out of Morningstar Marina.
If you can keep a secret, check out these destinations. They’re a little off the beaten path, which means they don’t get a lot of fishing pressure. Just don’t tell anybody else.
By Capt. Cefus McRae, Nuts & Bolts of Fishing Series