Anytime mother nature allows over the past month, Nearshore fishing has been a definite go to option for us. Dirty water and an inconsistent bite inshore has been the norm with the exception of some excellent flood tides last week. That being said, when conditions are favorable, early morning top water fishing and chasing tailing reds in the grass has been phenomenal. We have had some good success inshore on the bait bite , however the consistent action has just not been there as it typically is this time of year.
Nearshore fishing by our definition can entail a wide array of angling opportunities. It can be within just a couple of miles of the beach chasing, tarpon or jacks, shark fishing behind the shrimp boats, or sight casting tripletail just offshore. Nearshore fishing also means hitting the wrecks and reefs inside of 15 or so miles for bottom fish, cobia, king and Spanish mackerel, spadefish, and many more.
Although the tarpon are just around the corner, The shark fishing has been quite solid with plenty of high flying blacktip and spinner sharks eager to please as well as test your back and your tackle. We have run across a few schools of one of my personal favorites as well. You have to love schools of over sized jack crevalle that are insanely hard fighting and love to blast a topwater plug or fly.
Wrecks and reefs
The fishing options on the wrecks and reefs inside of 20 miles this time of year is impressive to say the least. I always take a wide array of tackle so that we are ready for any opportunity that may arise. Jigging metal jigs off the structure is still very productive at times, however I utilize that method more in the cooler months of early spring. I feel the aggressive fish always hammer the jig, but as the targeted species change, so do our tactics. Always have the trusty bucktail jig rigged and ready as cobia have been around in good numbers and they love that offering.
It is also a good idea to load up a ton of live baits on the way out for live chum as much as anything. By heavy chumming livies, we have had numerous cobia swim up to the boat. We have had giant jacks blast them on top, as well as kingfish skying everywhere. Needless to say, when you get the predators fired up, it is not too difficult to get them hooked up.
The main species that we are catching while Nearshore Fishing on the wrecks and reefs right now are as follows.
Cobia happen to be my personal favorite target. We are finding them nearly every day in decent numbers. We are seeing quite a few undersize and barely legal fish with some monsters mixed in. Live menhaden and buck tail jigs have accounted for the majority of our catches.
Mackerel are really turning on over the past month. Both King and Spanish are piling into many of these areas. These speedy fish can be caught a variety of ways, and getting them fired up with live chum is one of the fastest and most enjoyable ways to catch them.
Red Snapper are still prevalent in the shallower water and have been aggressive on both jigs and live bait. In addition there are plenty of black sea bass in various sizes and even some summer trout still around. We have even boated a few smaller grouper in the 40-50 foot depths.
Spadefish are holding on nearly every wreck in the ocean right now. They are a very hard fighting fish that like to congregate in large schools. If you want to target the spade, you must plan ahead and be able to find their favorite bait….jellyfish. If you are able to do that, be prepared for a very visual fishing experience. You will also tangle with an extremely hard fighting fish on light tackle.
Nearshore Fishing on fly
Last but not least, Nearshore fishing on fly is an awesome and opportunistic fishing experience. Fly fishing in coastal Georgia spans far beyond the realm of the shallow water redfish. You guys know that we regularly fish for tarpon, plus size jacks, bull reds, and even sharks on the fly. In the late spring and early summer, there are a wide array of additional fly targets just off shore.
Over the past couple of weeks, schools of lil tunny also known as bonito or false albacore have literally been everywhere from 8-30 miles off the beach. These guys will test your 8 weight or light spinning combo to the max and will crush small flies and spoons while they are feeding on the surface.
Small and mid size Spanish mackerel have also been numerous. They definitely don’t pull like the albacore but are extremely fast and aggressive.
Jack Crevalle from 6-40 pounds are also cruising the beaches as well as the offshore structure. The smaller versions are numerous when found, and are super fun on your redfish setup. However, the larger variety will test your big boy tackle to the max. We don’t call them GT’s (Georgia Trevally) for no reason!
Another Nearshore fly fishing option is the kingfish. You don’t have to pull live bait rigs with no drag to catch them! If they are abundant and fired up, they are excellent fun on fly tackle. Be sure to protect your fingers as that initial run can definitely do some damage.
Tripletail are another forgotten fish after June. They are still out there and abundant well into the summer months. Provided the shrimp boats are not heavily dragging the areas they like to be, there are plenty of sight fishing opportunities for tripletail just off of the beach. They are generally eager to chase a well presented fly. The biggest challenge with these fish is you definitely need a fly that you can see. They love to eat coming at you. If you miss the bite, they will spit your fly out just as quickly.
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In closing, Tarpon are trickling in and will be consuming our lives for the next few months. We still have a few August dates available, so CLICK HERE to reserve your spot. See you on the water!