Summer Bound fishing report April 2023
After a roller coaster ride this winter we are hoping this front will be the last of spring and we will be Summer Bound! We saw temperatures drop into the upper teens around Christmas followed by an unusually warm January and February. February was extremely warm with most day time temperatures in the 80s. Then March showed up and showed it’s all ugly face with a frost the second week which caused water temperatures to dip from 74 degrees to 58 in just a few days. The bite shut off and everything we thought we knew changed..
As March ended and April began, spring break hit and business took off. Families looking to get out and enjoy some time on the water flocked to the coast. It was a warm welcome after a slower than usual fall and winter. Water temperatures stabilized and out of nowhere the trout bite fired off. After nearly two and a half decades of guiding I am always shocked at where all these die trout come from when the water hits around 70 degrees and stays there for a week or 2. It’s like someone opens the flood gate and out of nowhere they appear and make all our jobs as professional guides a little easier.
With April here the first cobia was caught this week of the season by Capt. Robert and the nearshore wreck fishing has been as good as we have seen it. Sheepshead, Snapper, Sea Bass, Spanish, and a host of other special are all just a 40-50ft drop away. Soon King Mackerel, Cobia, Sharks, Jacks, and Tarpon will flood our coastal waters and the summer bite will be here.
Rolling back the clock
I wanted to take a minute and address the elephant on the table here in the coastal area. Red Drum! After several town hall meetings held by Georgia’s Coastal Resources Division of the DNR, and lots of input from Recreational anglers and Professional Guides the head of CRD Doug Haymans proposed to the Board of Directors a change was needed. The change was what he hoped would satisfy both conservation minded anglers and the meat hunters. He suggested a reduction from 5 fish per person to 3 fish per person with no guide harvest allowed. He made this suggestion as a good faith trying to please both sides of the table and we actually got excited to see some type of move to encourage a more sustainable fishery. Well the joke was again on us and the whole process fell apart due top politics.
Old Uncle Sam
Who would’ve thought there was ever room for politics in science and fisheries management!! We can all thank our local representatives from Glynn/McIntosh and Chatham/Bryan Counties Jesse Petrea and Buddy Deloach. These guys may know politics but they are not marine scientist nor do either have the time on the water that myself or the other 100 guides and fishermen have who have provided input to the DNR showing concern about the health and state of our fishery. Do your self a favor and DO NOT support these public servants who don’t support a healthy fishery and our waters. Look at Florida and what they are doing for their waters. They know a healthy ecosystem brings tourism and revenue to the area. Maybe our politicians should be reminded of that. Vote them out and don’t support them financially.
As of now the entire push for a more sustainable red drum stock has been scuttled. There are not plans to revisit it until after the Regional stock assessment in 2024. This coupled with a very big increase in fishing pressure to our coast will be devastating to any rebound of the stock. This is my suggestion for Doug Haymans and Mark Williams at DNR, pull the damn Band-Aid off fast and once! All our saltwater fish state regulations here in Georgia are outdated and need to be overhauled. Everyone knows it and people are going to fight it but in the end a more sustained and better fishery will win. I can’t begin to explain to you the disappointment we hear from the local recreational fishing community at the marinas and fishing piers on a daily basis.
It’s sad yet people will continue to lie to themselves, on surveys, to politicians, and to the DNR because they are scared of government over management like we have seen with the federal fishing regulations in offshore waters. I mean look at what they have done to the red snapper fishery! They have had it closed down for almost a decade due to mismanagement which resulted in over fishing and a closure. But look lets all be honest, there are now more red snapper than there have ever been and that’s not my opinion. That statement comes from recreational fishermen, divers, and commercial fishermen on our coast.
No one likes anyone especially government telling us what to do but I think if we can all get our heads out of our }}}}} we can all agree red snapper and other fish with proper management don’t need closures. We don’t like change but we all need to think about our kids and their kids and what we are going to leave for them in the future not just what our buddies will think or the likes we get on a social media post.
If Georgia’s DNR won’t do the right thing and manage our fisheries for the increased pressure, natural disaster, and accidents like the Golden Ray ship catastrophe and other industrial polluter’s I ask you to do your part.
- Keep just enough for dinner
- Let them go if you don’t have plans to eat them fresh
- End the cooler filler mentality
- Don’t fish the same spots every day until there are no fish left
- Let the smaller redfish (14-16 inches) go
- Don’t keep 10 inch Sheepshead! There is no meat on a fish this size
- Don’t keep 12 inch Flounder! There is even less meat on a 12 inch flounder than a 10 inch sheepshead.
- Practice better fish handling. Especially the breeders like Big Reddrum AKA Bull Reds and Black Drum over 15lbs.
- Email your local legislator
- Email Mark Williams (Head of the Georgia DNR)
- Email Doug Haymans (Head of DNR’s Coastal Resources Division)
- Educate other fishermen and the youth
- Join Georgia Saltwater Anglers Association (Click Here)
There is a list with names and emails below this report of your representatives
Don’t get me wrong there are still fish to be caught. Some think our fishery is thriving but trust me if you have not been fishing the inshore waters here for over 10 years you can’t understand what we use to have.
While popping corks for trout 100 fish days were not unusual and 20 redfish caught on fly was pretty much the normal. Now those days can be cut by 50-70 percent on great days. I encourage you to look at the fishing regulations for North Florida, South/North Carolina and Georgia and you will see the surrounding states have made appropriate changes while Georgia is still in the stone ages. Have I forgotten how to fish? lost my mojo? I doubt it but ask around with the old guys fishing and I think you will hear loud and clear we have a problem.
Burrrrrrrrrrrr It’s Easter 2023 and it’s down right cold out. The wind is blowing 20-30 and it’s raining. I would much rather be back on the trout bite I left 2 days ago than cooped up in the house writing this report. The sunny side of this is it will end in a few days and hopefully we will return to sustained water temperatures and a good bite.
We are proud to be offering online booking using AnyCreeks platform. This will save you time and the hassle of trying to catch Scott while he is off the water to book a trip. We know there are still people who want to talk to us and me NEVER want to loose that personal touch and commitment with all our clients but we have grown. Over 7 guides means lots of phone time and less time with family when we get off the water form a long day. we don’t mind it but we ask that you book online and request your guide to call you if at all possible.
In the mean time if you don’t feel 100% comfortable booking online don’t hesitate to call and leave a message and I’ll get back to you as soon a I can. We want to thank our existing clients and repeat clients for their years and decades of business. We hope for an incredible 2023 fishing season and there have already been signs the beach will be hot this year!
Until next time
Capt. Scott Owens
Captain Scott Owens is the founder and head guide at Southeastern Angling Company. He brings over 2 decades of full-time guiding experience to his clients and also co-owns the Georgia fishing company with his business partner Captain Rob Aldridge. Their team of experienced guides offer clients decades of knowledge and the best equipment available. No need to look any further that our guide list. If you have a specific type trip you are looking for we have a guide specially suited for you.
want to know what past clients have said? HERE
Also don’t forget to book your travel with Kayak when you are visiting the Golden Isles
WHO SHOULD YOU CONTACT?
HERE IS A LIST OF THE GEORGIA LEGISLATORS CURRENTLY OPPOSING THE CRD’S PROPOSED REDFISH REGULATION CHANGE:
Representative Jesse Petrea
Representative Ron Stephens
Representative Bill Hitchens
Representative Buddy Deloach
Representative Steven Sainz
Representative Elect Rick Townsend
Representative Al Williams
Since most Legislators only listen to THEIR CONSTITUENTS, you can find YOUR LEGISLATOR by clicking the button below.