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Captain Deidra Helmey Jeffcoat and Christopher Miller with a fistfull of king mackerel. Photo by Captain Judy Helmey
Captain Deidra Helmey Jeffcoat and Christopher Miller with a fistfull of king mackerel. Photo by Captain Judy Helmey

Hibernating Fish Can be Found

By the time January rolls around in Savannah, the migrating coastal inshore fish have left and the ones that are staying have gone into the hibernation mode. Spotted seatrout are normally wintering in deep holes in the creeks, rivers or sounds. The best way to catch them when in the hibernation mode is using a small freshwater jigs with curly tails or paddle tails while using 4- to 6-pound test main line. I’m old school and prefer monofilament because of the extra stretch and cushion it provides. The braided type main line, which slices through the water column, will also work but make sure the drag set matches the main line used.

Spotted seatrout have soft mouths and a hook can easily be pulled free. I have always used a freshwater jig called Jiffy Jigs, because they are super small, they work, and come in all sort of sizes/shapes/weights. As my father always said, “The jig actually  wakes the trout when it bumps into it, which makes these cold water hits a more triggered strike than a studied one!”

Cast into the deepest part or the hole, let your lure hit the bottom, wait, reel a few times, wait, and repeat. Then I suggest casting your lure to the sides of the hole and repeating this sequence. The secret: work your lure as slowly as you can while still keeping it on the bottom. Deep holes that are holding occupants are most likely guarded on the surface by cormorants.

Offshore
Now is the time to get the best shot at a trophy redfish also known as bull redfish. It’s important to note that the redfish is catch and release only when caught offshore. Handle with care and release as quickly as possible! Don’t forget to take a picture first to show your friends!

The best natural baits, believe it or not, are cut squid/fish, finger mullet, and mullet steaks. These natural baits work great when fished on the bottom with a Carolina style rig. The best artificials are any sort of jigs with white hair rigged with small curly or paddle tail lures. Diamond jig with a bare hook or a red or green plastic tube attached is the best old school lure. Once you cast into the school the redfish should hit your lure on the fall. If two or more are fishing I suggest throwing any of these artificial lures about 5 seconds apart. Upon splashdown these lures send bait-imitating signals that are music to redfish ears!

 

Special classes. Inshore February 21 – 22, 2015 and Offshore March 7 – 8, 2015. For more information contact Captain Judy at 912-897-4921 or email fishjudy2@aol.com

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