FISHING CHARTERS   Savannah, GA






General Blue Water Fishing Tips

Locating Fish:

  • Bait
    Even when not actively feeding, game fish can usually be found near food. Areas holding bait are those most likely to be holding game fish. Bait, like game fish, hold in areas where they can find food. For bait, this means areas with a good supply of plankton. Factors that cause plankton blooms are described below.
  • Bottom contours
    Sharp rises in the bottom, such as ledges and humps, can cause an upwelling of deeper water. This water is more nutrient rich than most surface water, allowing plankton to build up in these areas. Unlike other factors that attract bait and game fish, bottom contours are stationary. Good bottom structure consistently holds game fish because they do not have to hunt for it and they do not have to move to stay with it.
  • Temperature breaks
    Temperature breaks along the western edge of the Gulf Stream indicate where coastal water is pushing against Gulf Stream core water. In addition to being warmer, core water has a higher salinity level and lower nutrient content than coastal water. This difference prevents these two water masses from mixing easily. (It is also what makes green water green and blue water blue.) Because coastal water contains more nutrients, it also contains more plankton. Plankton floating in coastal water, stopped by the barrier between coastal and core water, is forced to build up along the edges where these two water masses meet. In addition to plankton build up, temperature breaks along the Gulf Stream also cause rips to form. Rips are strips of calm water that run along the top of a temperature break, usually surrounded on either side by rougher water. The calmer surface of rips causes floating debris to gather in them.
  • Floating debris
    Bait is attracted to floating debris and can usually be seen hanging just under patches of weeds or boards. Most species of surface feeding game fish are also attracted to floating debris. Dolphin are especially known for hanging under any floating debris they find. Whenever weed lines or other debris are found, lures should be trolled past them.
  • Birds
    Birds are the most effective tool for finding active areas from a distance. Birds will stay above of feeding game fish, picking off bait that is driven to the surface by these fish. Watch any flying birds in the area. If the birds circle to stay over one area, troll to that area. When game fish move or sound and resurface, birds will move with them, showing you where the fish are. Larger groups of birds pecking at the surface are usually hanging over schools of smaller fish. Small groups of birds hovering and diving are usually hanging over larger fish.

Trolling Tips:

  • Speed:
    Seven to 10 knots, depending on surface conditions. Surface lures should occasionally skip out of the water. Rough conditions may require slower speeds to keep the lures in the water, but speed should not drop much below seven knots. Dropping lures farther back can keep them in the water on rough days.
  • The "drop back":
    Many game fish will attack a bait by striking it to stun it, then come back and eat the still bait. If a lure is hit but then dropped, immediately free spool line on that rod for ten to twenty seconds to simulate a stunned bait. Then set the drag and check to see if a fish is on.

Dolphin Fishing Tips

Behavior:

  • Smaller dolphin, called schoolies, travel in schools.
  • Large dolphin, called bulls and cows, travel alone or in male/female pairs, though they can often be found near schools of smaller dolphin.
  • All sizes are attracted to floating debris and will hang under it.
  • Dolphin are surface feeders, and tend to spend most of their time at or near the surface.

Where To Find Them:

  • Dolphin can be found from points along the 30 fathom line east to well beyond the 100 fathom line. When water temperatures rise in midsummer schoolies can be found as far west as the Savannah Banks (Snapper Banks) and the Grand Banks.
  • Dolphin can be found in water temperatures between 70F and 82F, but prefer 75F to 78F.
  • Dolphin are often found hanging below floating debris such as boards and patches of grass.
  • Watch for birds. Terns pecking at the surface, especially over floating debris, are often hanging over schoolies. One or two birds hovering and occasionally diving over an area are often hanging over larger fish.

When To Find Them:

  • Larger dolphin begin moving up from Florida into Georgia's offshore waters in April and remain until mid June, being found in greatest numbers in May.
  • Smaller dolphin (schoolies) can be found throughout most of the year.

How To Catch Them:

  • Trolling:
    • Troll at 6 to 8 knots.
    • Pull dead ballyhoo rigged behind skirts or rubber and/or mylar lures, trimmed short to expose the back half of the bait, or pull rubber and/or mylar lures alone.
    • Whole squid can also be an effective bait. Rig squid on a wire leader run through the body to keep it straight, with an egg sinker twisted into the leader at the tail and the hook at the head, tucked under the mantel to make it weed less.
    • Lures and baits should run at or near the surface, and should splash and leave a good bubble trail. Use lures with flat or concave heads. Run one lure with a small bird splasher rigged in front of it.
    • Best lure/shirt colors: yellow/blue/green, pink/purple/blue/black.
  • Pitching for schoolies:
    • After locating a school, throw pieces of cut squid or ballyhoo to them to get them near the boat, then pitch cut squid or ballyhoo to them on light tackle.
    • Keeping one hooked fish in the water can help keep the school near the boat.
    • Any larger dolphin in the area will come over to see what the schoolies are eating and will take a piece of cut bait just as readily as the schoolies.

Tuna (Yellowfin and Blackfin) Fishing Tips

Behavior:

  • Tuna of all sizes travel in schools. Schools are made up of fish in the same size range.
  • Smaller tuna are attracted to floating debris and sometimes hang under it.
  • Tuna are surface feeders, but tend to spend most of their time well below the surface.
  • Tuna are primarily night feeders.
  • Tuna prefer smaller, easily digested baits.

Where To Find Them:

  • Tuna can be found from points along the 30 fathom line east to well beyond the 100 fathom line. When water temperatures rise in midsummer smaller tuna can be found as far west as the Savannah Banks (Snapper Banks) and the Grand Banks.
  • -Yellowfin can be found in water with surface temperatures between 64F and 80F, but prefer 72F to 73F. Blackfin can be found in water with surface temperatures between 70F and 82F, but prefer 74F to 76F.
  • Tuna prefer areas where bottom contours change significantly, such as ledges and humps.
  • Smaller tuna and occasionally larger tuna can be found hanging below large patches of weeds.
  • Watch for birds. Terns pecking at the surface, especially over floating debris, are often hanging over small tuna. One or two birds hovering and occasionally diving over an area are often hanging over larger fish. Tuna tend to move as they feed, so birds will be moving rather than hanging over an area.

When To Find Them:

  • Yellowfin can be found in Georgia blue water areas from late April through July, though they will be in north of the Deli in July.
  • Blackfin can be found in Georgia blue water areas from November through April.
  • Because they feed mostly at night, early morning and late evening are the best times to find them.

How To Catch Them:

  • Trolling:
    • Troll at 7 to 9 knots.
    • Keep lures and baits well behind the boat, 300 to 600 feet.
    • Keep ahead of visible schools. Determine which direction they are moving, run past them, then turn the boat so that the spread passes in front of the school.
    • Pull dead ballyhoo rigged behind skirts or rubber and/or mylar lures, trimmed short to expose the back half of the bait, or pull rubber and/or mylar lures alone. Cedar plugs are also effective.
    • Lures and baits should run at or near the surface, and should splash and leave a good bubble trail. Use lures with flat or concave heads.
    • Best lure/shirt colors: yellow/blue/green, pink/purple/blue/black, red/black, purple/black.
  • Different surface behaviors:
    • Traveling under the surface: Moving schools will make the water look as if a breeze is blowing over it - ruffled in calm seas, a patch of flat, dimpled water in white capping seas. Get well ahead of them and drop trolled lures/baits well back. Consider shutting off the engine and chumming to draw the school to the boat, then chunk baits or jigs. Use a fast retrieve.
    • Feeding on the surface: Troll the perimeter of the feeding school and any visible bait schools. Use lures that are the same size as the schooling baits.
    • Rocketing: When tuna rocket out of the water while feeding they will be moving fast. Troll the perimeter of the school at a fast speed, making lures skip out of the water, and keep a close eye on the school's movement.

Wahoo Fishing Tips

Behavior:

  • Wahoo travel alone or in small groups.
  • Wahoo feed and travel below the surface, from a few to several feet down.

Where To Find Them:

  • Wahoo are found in water from 150 feet to 300 feet deep. They are found most often directly over ledges.
  • Wahoo can be found in water with surface temperatures between 70F and 86F, but prefer 72F to 77F.

When To Find Them:

  • Wahoo can be found in Georgia blue water areas year round.

How To Catch Them:

  • Trolling:
    • Troll at 7 to 9 knots.
    • Pull dead ballyhoo rigged behind skirts or rubber and/or mylar lures, trimmed short to expose the back half of the bait, or pull rubber and/or mylar lures alone.
    • Long, thin hard lures such as Rapalas can also be productive.
    • Lures and baits should run below the surface. Use downriggers or large trolling weights to get lures and baits down.
    • Best lure/shirt colors: red/black, purple/black.
  • After the hookup:
    • Wahoo are known for making a very fast initial run away from the boat that can strip 100 yards or more of line, so use tackle that can handle pressure and hold a lot of line. You may want to set the drag lighter than the usual one-third of line strength.
    • After the initial run, wahoo sometimes turn and run at the boat. Be ready to reel fast to keep the line tight. Some anglers will put the rod tip in the water to help keep pressure on the line. If you are driving the boat, be ready to speed up to keep ahead of the fish.
    • When one fish is on, dropping another bait down on a downrigger or weight can pick up another wahoo that may be hanging with the hooked fish.



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