Fall and Winter Report in St. Simons Island

Scott OwensGeorgia Fishing Reports

Well it’s been about 2 months and I have not posted a fishing report and I owe you a good one I know. Fishing in the last 2 months has been really good. Large schools of redfish fill flats and the trout finally showed up in BIG numbers and were some of the best quality I have seen.

As the weather has now dipped into the upper 20’s at night I sit back and remember that it was only 10 months ago that the southern states witnessed one if not the longest and coldest winters we have ever seen. Species like speckled trout, snook, tarpon, goliath grouper, bonefish, and many other indigenous and non indigenous fishes died by the tens of thousands from Texas all the way around to the Carolinas. Florida seemed to be hit the hardest and last I read had lost as much as 40% of the snook population.

Now sitting in the warmth of my home I can’t imagine the catastrophic effects of another winter like 2009. But here we are in Early Dec. and it’s in the low 40’s at 1pm in the afternoon. Should we all just move farther south? Who knows maybe but for now lets talk redfish.

The events of 2009 had some or at least seemed to have some positive affects on some species like redfish (red drum). These magnificent fish invade our coastal waters in October and November to spawn around new and full moons and send millions of fertilized eggs into the bays and backwaters of out fertile ecosystem. While other fish died in the cold they seemed to thrive. I believe there was just less predators feeding on the juveniles as they moved into the rich back country waters. I think most of the fish whether pin fish, trout, blue fish, ladyfish, or what ever else would feed on them either were freezing to death in the 38-45 degree water or moved far off shore to avoid the colder waters. either way the redfish thrived and now 1 year later we have redfish everywhere.

One example is the 2010 Cystic Fibrosis Red-Trout tournament we have here in St. Simons each year where 30+ boats compete to catch the most redfish and trout in 2 days. Most years the trout out number the redfish as much as 30 to 1 but this past October that changed and my anglers alone caught over 160 redfish and about 30 trout. Other boats pulled in similar numbers like Capt. Ashley and his anglers who caught over 90 redfish the fist day alone. It was crazy and I could not wait until I got back from the Bahamas to do some sight fishing for redfish. (we will discuss the Bahamas next) When I got back the weather could not have been better and the fishing was as good as I have seen it. Water conditions were perfect with visibility of about 2 feet on some flats. It was set. I had a full week of fly fishing and Monday started one of the best weeks I have had in my 10 years of guiding. With to anglers NEW to salt water on my Hells Bay we set out and by 10am we were in the double digits!!! Generally making the double digits in a full day is a great day but not today as we ended the day with over 20 fish to the boat! WOW!!!! Then tuesday come and the guys I had were seasoned anglers and we started off fishing a small flat off the ICW. The flat paid off and we boated 7 fish in about 3 hours all on poppers and gurglers. We moved and had the same action most of the 6 hour trip and ended the day with just under 20 fish. The week played out about the same and thursday we headed ocean side to look for some bulls around the high slack tide. That proved to be slow until one lone fish came cruising across the bow and Jim laid the heavy lead eye fly just passed the fish and one strip later and he was hooked up. A short fight later and I grabbed ahold of a solid 30 pounder. Jim could not have made a more perfect cast. That morning we landed 13 fish all in the 5 to 12 pound range and then a 30 pounder to top it off. What a day and what a week. Anyway fishing has been great! I have been busy until now and things have slowed down a bit but when the wind stops blowing im going so tight lines and until next time.


Captain Scott Owens is a licensed FULL TIME guide offering his clients a life time of experience and over a decade fishing the Coastal Georgia and North Florida as a full time guide. He is located less than an hour from Savannah and Jacksonville and offers clients fishing along the entire coast of Georgia as well as North Florida. These area’s include Amelia Island, Florida – Cumberland Island Georgia – Jekyll Island Georgia – St. Simons Island Georgia – Sea Island Georgia – Little St. Simons Island Georgia & Sapelo Island Georgia. Captain Scott specializes in fly fishing as well as light tackle trips. Charters can be arranged by calling 877-605-3474 or by email.