By Capt. Bert Deener
Satilla River – Forget it again this week. The river level increased and will continue to do so.
Catfishing on the lower Satilla (White Oak Creek) is the only thing I would consider for the next week or two.
The river level Thursday, July 8 at the Waycross gage was 13.3 feet and rising fast (76 degrees). The Atkinson gage was 10.1 feet and rising (it came up almost 6 feet for the week).
Local Ponds – A couple of Pierce County anglers fished a pond and caught 21 bass up to 3 1/2 pounds. They caught them on lots of different lures, but crankbaits, worms and stickbaits fooled the majority of them.
Brody (10 years old) fished with his dad (Anthony) with Brody catching his personal best bass – a 5-pounder. He fooled it with a Rat-L-trap.
David Freeman caught a 9-lb., 6-oz. bass from a pond while using a green pumpkin Bandito Bug rigged on a shaky head.
St. Marys River – The river level at the MacClenny gage July 8 was 15.4 feet and rising fast.
Altamaha and Ocmulgee Rivers – The river was right on the cusp of good fishing ... then Elsa happened. It will rise at varying rates, but the bottom line is spend your time on flat water during the next couple of weeks and let the water flush out.
You can still catch a few panfish in the oxbows in the lower river and some catfish as it’s rising, but don’t expect to load a cooler.
The Doctortown gage on the Altamaha was 7.5 feet and rising.
Okefenokee Swamp – Warmouth reports have been slow, but Zane, Timothy, and I went to the Folkston side and had a blast.
We casted and trolled Dura-Spins in the canal and caught a couple dozen bowfin and some pickerel. The most notable pickerel were the 18-incher and 22-incher that both Zane and Timothy caught that earned them Youth Angler Awards from the Wildlife Resources Division.
Zane caught his on a crawfish colored spinner, while Timothy’s ate a red-white version. Zane lost a 10-pound class bowfin at the boat, but he did catch one just over the 20-inch minimum for an Angler Award. It was a really fun day, except when we got into a really shaded area with overhanging trees.
The latest water level (Folkston side) was 121.0 feet.
Saltwater (Ga. Coast) – Before the storm, saltwater fishing was pretty good oceanside.
Don Harrison and I fished the St. Marys Jetties and flung bucktail jigs to the rocks. We had one of the best days I’ve ever had for bull redfish. We boated 10 redfish from 30 to 44 inches (three over 40 inches), broke off three that powered us into the rocks, and pulled off one.
All of the fish ate either electric chicken or mullet-colored bucktails. Along with the bulls, we caught a trio of black sea bass just under the legal limit. We did not bring back anything except sore muscles, mangled rigs, awesome photos, and some memories.
Ed Zmarzly and Justin Bythwood fished the St. Marys Jetties and had a great day, as well. They pitched bucktail jigs and Assassin Sea Shads rigged on Jetty Jigs to the rocks and caught, tagged, and released nine bull redfish (they ran out of tags), and broke off three other bull reds.
Ed caught his biggest Spanish mackerel ever – a 5-pounder. Their best colors of Sea Shads were pearl white, fire tiger, and several other colors with a chartreuse tail. They moved closer to the beach to catch some fish for the cooler and ended up with four flounder a keeper black sea bass, and a trout to go with the mackerel.
Capt. Greg Hildreth said he found a few tarpon last week and the inshore trout bite improved before the storm.
I got a few reports this week of some sheepshead and a few flounder inshore. I got a good gigging report – the group passed on several smaller fish but nine nice flounder.
Ocmulgee Public Fishing Area (near Hawkinsville) — Troy Morgan of Dublin caught the biggest bass I heard of last week. It was a 24-incher, and he caught it from his kayak.
Paradise Public Fishing Area (near Tifton) – David Haire of Tifton had a great day while fishing with his family. He landed a 9-pound bass, took photos, and released it.
For the latest marine forecast, check out www.weather.gov/jax/.
Capt. Bert Deener makes a variety of both fresh and saltwater fishing lures. Check his lures out at Bert’s Jigs and Things on Facebook. For a copy of his latest catalog, call him at 912-288-3022 or e-mail him (email@example.com). For a 20% discount on some really comfortable fishing shoes (the Miami style is my favorite style of Skuze Shoes…), use the CAPTBERT20 discount code at checkout on their website skuzeshoes.com.