Capt. Judy Savannah Fishing Report – April 5, 2018


Creeks, rivers, and sounds

Tom with a nice snook. Photo credit; Brian Nelli.

April fishing brings fishermen closer to the act of catching.  Bait shops should start to catch and carry live shrimp, which is the bait that gets all fish’s attention.  With live shrimp in the well traditional adjustable floats from large to small and popping corks are going to be your best bet for not only finding but catching fish.  If a red fish, spotted sea trout, or flounder gets close to this bait they will eat it.  Another way to present live shrimp is to “just fish naked” meaning light leader, small split shot, and small hook.  All you need to do is hook your shrimp up under the horn and cast into place.  The shrimp goes where it thinks its safe, which is just about where the fish is in waiting.  Whatever you do, don’t forget your dip net or your camera!

If you like to add to your inshore and offshore fishing spots lists.  I suggest purchasing a TOP SPOT chart (map no N232 for inshore) and a Top Spot chart (map no N229 offshore) These charts list coordinates in GPS and they are pretty accurate.

Plain old bottom fishing in the sound

During the month of April the sounds come alive with everything from whiting to sharks to blue fish to stingray to trophy red fish to cobia to other strange creatures.  It’s fun just dropping down to the bottom and waiting to see what just might get on your hook.  When the fish quit biting thinking that they have moved might not be the case.  So I always suggest changing your bait.  While using small pieces of shrimp on light tackle rigs even the smaller fish offer some nice action.  We have found that smaller fish also get tired of the same old bait plan.  So we came up with the “Captain Judy’s whiting cocktail.” It is a changeup bait as well as alternative bait.  Fishing with small pieces of cut shrimp will work for a while.  However, adding a small piece of whiting fillet sweetens the bait and offers enough of change to turn the bite back on.  When the bait slows again just go back to the small pieces of shrimp or just pieces of whiting filet.

This is the time of year where that small fish can be turned into a big fish biting option.  The smaller fish that you just caught can be used either whole live or fresh dead.  You can also cut them up in steaks just like you do a loaf of bread.  With a little heavier rod/reel combo as well as terminal tackle, you can use any of these baits and drift them out with a float or not or fish them right on the bottom.  Believe me this will definitely bring on the bigger fish bite.  At this point, this is all up to you!

For rigs when fishing the sound no matter the size of fish that you are targeting I have to suggest the Carolina style classic.  (Egg sinker used on main line then tie on the swivel then the leader and then the hook) For the smaller fish I suggest 10 to 20 pound test monofilament line or up to 50 pound test braid main line. As far as the leader I suggest 15 to 20 pound test fluorocarbon or just regular monofilament line. Best hook style is going to be Kahle #4 or #6.  I like Eagle Claw L 141 G Kahle hooks.  Standard “J” thin tinned hooks in same size range are also good to go. I also like using Eagle Claw L 197 G series circle hooks, which come in assorted sizes.  Always purchasing offset circle hooks offer the setting of the hook or not option.

Just remember if the hook is too big it can detour even a small bite.  When you are changing from small pieces of shrimp to steaks or whole fish as bait I suggest using 30 to 50 pound test monofilament or 50 to 80 pound test braid as main line. I suggest using a little heavier rod/reel combo set up. When setting up your Carolina rig for the larger bite I suggest using 40 to 60 pound test line. For large fish I suggest using a circle hook from size 9/0 to 14/0 or a standard “J” from 6/0 to 8/0.   As far as egg sinker I suggest having on board sizes from 1 to 8 ounces.  The currents in the sound can get strong!

Offshore Artificial Reefs

This is the month where water temperatures are on the rise.  With that being said, “When the water temperatures are on the rise fish are on the move!”  The more a fish moves the more it eats, which is just about where you the fisherman comes into play.  The artificial reefs can hold the attentions of all sorts of fish from bottom to top water.  When bottom fishing you could catch black sea bass, flounder, blue fish, white bone porgy, summer trout, cobia, and other biters.  When it comes to top water fish normally large Spanish mackerel have arrived.  These fish feed on any baits that they can find staging from the  surface to right on the bottom.  Just because you can’t see the mackerel on the surface certainly doesn’t mean they are not here.   So this is a tip to catch a fish that most don’t even know exists in these areas during this time.  The best bait is going to be the ever popular small to medium Clark Spoon.  I suggest either trolling the spoons deep or pitching them right over the structure!  I will also suggest bringing along a suitable dip net, because you most likely are going to need it to land this fish.

Another fish that frequents the artificial reefs at this time is the little tunny and they can come in sizes from one to twenty pounds.  This fish offers a strong fight on just about any size tackle that you care to use.  One sure fired way to catch this fish is pull a cedar plug  way way back.  Cedar plugs come in assorted sizes.  When targeting fish in these areas at this time I suggest pulling the smallest plug way back.  This boils down to about a distance of 200 feet plus.  I know that sounds like letting out a lot of line, but for some reason when the boat approaches this fish dives and right after the pass the entire school surfaces again.  So if you are pulling bait way back, well, hits are going to happen.  Now if you are not going to eat this fish please return unharmed back to the wild.  However, I also suggest checking on the web for some suggested recipes for this fish.  You just might be surprised and I do know that “little tunny” are good when smoked!

The further you opportunity for catching fish I suggest make yourself a copy of Georgia’s artificial reefs.

Savannah Snapper Banks

This is the month  where we fishermen know that we have exactly one more month before grouper season opens.  (It opens on May 1, 2018 till December 31, 2018.) Offshore fishermen still make way to the banks at this time to take advantage of the incredible amount of large bottom fish available such as vermilion snapper also known as B-liners, white grunt, triggerfish, amberjack, black sea bass, red porgy, and white bone.  As far as top water fish cobia and king mackerel can certainly be caught while plain old bottom fishing.  When bottom fishing cut squid, frozen/fresh cigar minnows whole or pieces, and cut fish are great working baits. By using any or all of these suggested baits all fish whether they are bottom dwellers or not will come a calling or should I say a biting!

Gulf Stream

For the fishermen that seeks blue water status this would be the time to make that happen.  For tuna, dolphin, Wahoo, Mako shark, and bill fish the 70 mile run it is definitely worth it.  For bait I suggest single hooked chin weighted dink ballyhoo and cedar plugs.  For a large bite I suggest Ilander lures rigged with horse ballyhoo.  This brings on great possibilities for a serious Yahoo Wahoo bite.

High speed trolling should be put high up on your list of things to do to catch big fish.  While heading to the stream you cover lots of water so you might as well get the best out of it.  Dragging a couple of high speed lures should be next on your list.  Here are some web sites that have high speed already proven trolling lures:,

While at the blue water of the stream there is another option and that’s to give bottom fishing a try.  With small pieces of squid you catch football vermilion, mega triggerfish, sand tile, knobbed porgy, and fish not even listed in the identification booklet.  All fishermen when targeting the snapper grouper species have to use circle hooks.  It’s the law!  Here’s the good news about circle hooks, all you have to do is to get your bait to the bottom, fish will eat it, try to swim off, and fish will be hooked up!   I always suggest checking for current fishing regulations before heading offshore.  The best website for up to date federal fishing regulations is    For those fishermen that would like to receive my weekly fishing report please email me and ask to be added.  I would be happy to do so!

Thanks for reading! – Captain Judy

Captain Judy Helmey
Kicking Fish Tail Since 1956
124 Palmetto Drive
Savannah, Georgia 31410
(912)-897-4921 or (912)-897-2478
(912)-897-3460 [Fax]

You can see Judy’s previous report here.