St Simons Island Fishing Report 3/31/2019
With weather being a key element in any outdoor endeavor, especially fishing, I would say we have had a very typical March pattern. Periods of rain, wind, warming trends and cold fronts. This time of year, St Simons most sought after fish, the spotted sea trout, becomes just plain difficult to pin down. March 2019, has been no different for the specks, as anglers have been hard pressed to find a concentration of trout at any one spot. The good news is redfish, sheepshead, black drum and whiting have filled the trout-gap amazingly well this spring. March 2019 saw more redfish than I can remember in the last 10 years. Red fish from 15-30”, have been schooled throughout the marshes of Jekyll, St Simons, Little Saint Simons, and Sapelo Island in numbers not seen in quite awhile. Most of these fish have staged in the back of oyster laden creeks and in the many fallen trees that line the banks of deeper creek bends. In two recent trips Captain Travis Harper and myself released over 100 redfish from under and around two isolated fallen oaks.
While our nearshore sheepshead fishery has been hampered by weather a bit, the inshore sheepshead bite in the Golden Isles has been very good the last couple of weeks, with many sheepherders reaching their limits. While the limits are very generous for sheepshead, we encourage anglers to release sheepshead under 14” inches as the yield of meat is very minimal in the smaller fish. While there is no imminent danger to the population, letting the smaller schoolie fish go will result in more and bigger fish down the road.
Another fish, that is easily caught, very abundant, and very good eating, is the whiting. Fresh dead shrimp soaked in the rivers, sounds, and surf in 14-24 ft. will generally produce all the fish you are willing to clean. Move around until you find them. The periods around the tide changes seem to produce better. This is another fish we generally self-regulate, as we do not keep whiting under 10”. The yield is simply not there to remove the smaller fish.
Going forward, sheepshead and whiting should remain productive thru the first half of April. Strong tides will return around the 16th of April and remain until the 22nd. As the weather warms after the full moon on the 21st we should see the (spotted) sea trout return to their normal haunts along main river and creek edges. This will also welcome the return of Spanish Mackerel off our beaches, larger sharks, triple tail, flounder, and as the full moon passes in May, tarpon!!
By Captain Tim Cutting