• Captain Judy's March 2018 Savannah fishing forecast!

    Miss Judy Charters
  • Miss Judy Charters provides Inshore fishing, Offshore fishing, and Gulf Stream fishing charters. Whether it's sport fishing for the serious angler or a leisurely day for the family, we have the trip for you. We have been fishing in Savannah, Tybee and adjacent waters for over 50 years. We have the knowledge for your inshore and offshore fishing adventure.

  • Captain Judy's March 2018 Savannah fishing forecast!

    By the time March rolls around this year the fish will know that the cold season has just about run its course. And thank goodness for that! Snow on Georgia’s coast was not a good thing! I believe that fish no matter the size look forward to the month of March. After all being able to migrate as well as eat at anytime is a big plus for a fish during this time. This is the month when water temperatures will start to rise and not even a passing cold front can stop it, because it is still going to happen! There is an old saying that my father used all of the time especially when talking about the water temperatures in March. He always said, “When it’s 65 everything is alive!” It is true when the water reaches this temperature everything truly does comes alive! I guess you could call March the beginning of the end of hibernation month!

    Inshore bottom fishing in the sound, just got more interesting!
    Bottom fishing is great in the sound, because everything is on the move. Bull whiting should start showing up near sands bars in the sound. The best bait for this great size pan fish is going to be small pieces of peeled shrimp laced on small hooks fished directly on the bottom. (Best hook size is #4 to #6 Khale hook also known as a wide gap hook or a #4 to #6 classic J hook) No matter the hook used it is best to make sure it is thin tinned style. As far as best bottom rig, I suggest Carolina style rig. This rig keeps your bait near the bottom allowing for a better hook up opportunity. You could find yourself catching spotted sea trout, summer trout, flounder, trophy red fish, flounder, and shark. The reason being is all fish are on the move and they are hungry. Please remember that it is best to use a light tackle rod/reel set up with 10 to 15 pound test main line when targeting whiting. I like using monofilament, but braded will also work. For larger fish such as sharks or big trophy red fish I suggest going with a little heavier tackle. I use 20 to 50 pound test main line and as far as the rig I suggest a Carolina style made with 30 to 60 pound test leader material. As far as best hook size, I suggest Classic J hook 4/0, 5/0, or 6/0. For those that prefer circle hooks instead 9/0 to 12/0. If using live bait, make sure the hook size and style matches bait used. You don’t want to use a hook that is going to hinder the natural movement of the bait used. However, sometimes it is better to use a fish steak as opposed to a live fish. My best used and most hit bait during this time is a whiting steak. To get the best whiting steak, cut the slice just like a loaf of bread. The secret is to not use too thick of a piece and also to cut off any pieces hanging. If you don’t smaller fish are going to assault your bait leaving you with a piece of leftover fish that no larger fish is going to be attracted to. Another thing to remember a fresh cut whiting steak is going to only last so long so for more serious (bigger) bites change it frequently. All steaks once cut should not put on ice. They need to stay out on your fishing cleaning table allowing them to dry. Once introduced back into the water the true fishy scent will be repaginated.
    Every time I use this word repaginated I get called on it, because if looked up in the dictionary...it doesn’t fit. However, my father and I have use this term for many years in regards to a piece of bait that has been left out to dry. The scent/smell of a piece or part of fish is actually brought back to life when introduced back into water. In our book it is call repaginated. ...you can use or not, but I wanted you to know why I was using it!

    Savannah Slam, red fish, spotted sea trout, and flounder!
    For those fishermen that prefer inshore trout and reds fishing March is a great time to look for potential fishing spots. The water is clear and it is the best time to see exactly what’s down under. And of course while you are slowly making way, I suggest dragging some sort of lure behind you. Best artificial proven baits are DOA’s shrimp patterns and Berkeley gulp “alive” swimming mullet and mud minnow/croaker soft baits. When you find any sort of action I suggest stopping and giving it a try. As far as best live baits when fishing floats or not, of course, is going to be live shrimp. However, they might be hard to come by and also very expensive. Your best live bait and it travels well, is going to be the ever popular cold water loving mud minnow. The best news is you can catch your own. All you need is a minnow trap and a place such as a shallow tidal slough to set it. As far as bait for the trap I suggest using raw chicken parts, tube of saltines, bacon, cracked crabs or oyster or clams. Another great bait is dead old last year’s smelly shrimp preferably with the heads still intact. Any of these baits will work like a mud minnow attracting charm. The mud minnow can be fished lip hooked under a traditional or popping float rig. This bait also works great when just fished directly on the bottom with a Carolina style rig or hooked up just plain naked. And in some cases two minnows on a hook are better than one. This hardy bait is not anywhere as delicate as a shrimp and can be used a number of times even after it has been bit and hit. I had a fisherman tell me the other day that he always let the minnow go after it caught a fish on it. He called it giving back, I called it chumming!

    Fishing artificial reefs areas equals to Short Boat Rides to the Fish!
    During this time if you would like a short offshore boat ride to the fish I suggest heading out to one of the near shore artificial reefs. And the next question would be, “Your boat or mine?” These areas are holding some pretty interesting catching options. Normally the black sea bass also known as sea bass, are holding on low relief bottom. There are pallet balls, tires, concrete piles, and culver pipes, which offer these fish a lot of feeding opportunity. As far best bait I suggest using cut squid or fillet of fish. Heck, jigs tipped with or without any sort of bait “artificial or not” jigged or placed directly on the bottom will also work. I have found that artificial reefs such as J, L, CCA, or any others located in 55 plus feet of water to hold the most concentration of large black fish. The secret is to stop, drop, and move until you find the fish. And since we have had several close encounters over the last few years with hurricanes some artificial bottom has been moved or is covered with locking bottom sand. So, if you mark a few fish up off the bottom, there is most likely a lot more locked down in the sand sitting in the current below them. This is where stopping, dropping, and checking could turn into some serious catching. Please know when drifting bottom spots at this depth too many drifts will scattered the fish. I suggest making a couple of drifts, moving off, and looking for more active bottom. After waiting 30 minutes or so circle back and fish this same spot. If the fish have moved, I suggest looking up or down current around the next structure.

    The offshore sheepshead aka convict fish bite should still be strong for the first two weeks of March. I suggest keeping your search of these fish to those artificial reefs or wrecks located in less than 50 feet of water. Any structure that offers lots of vertical feeding opportunity will hold the most sheepshead. Normally this is the time that this fish bulks up for their journey back to the inshore waters.
    The best bait when targeting this fish is the purple back or black back fiddler. Did you know that a Sheepshead can hit your fiddler so hard that it can **** the insides out of the crab while leaving only its empty shell left balanced on your hook? So therefore with this shared knowledge I suggest always giving your fiddler crab a good once over before sending it back to the bottom. After all, no respectable Sheepshead would be interested in an old empty fiddler shell! And you must know what I mean; after all when you have eaten all of the deviled crab stuffing, the interest is gone!

    You might call this application fish catching magic! I don’t often suggest purchasing something at least unless I have tried it first. I have been using these fish attractors for many years. And to be honest I don’t like to make my bottom rigs without them. Heck, even my first mate calls to me, if I happen to forget them, and says, “Where are the attractors?” These attractors do exactly what they proclaim, they really do attract fish. And the best news it that they can be added to any kind of jig or bait! So really it doesn’t matter whether you are bottom fishing or trolling (inshore or offshore) adding this attractor attracts a better fish bite! I have added electron fish attractors to all of my bottom rigs. http://www.lifesparkfishingtackle.com/ Take a look at their site and give it a good read over. It explains the concept behind this catching magic. As with anything, it helps to be where the fish are supposed to be in the first place. However, I really like using them, because they do attract fish. I know it is hard to believe that these small attractors do work. However, I remember when a lots of different kinds of lures that we thought would not work, but they did.

    Savannah Snapper Banks
    Best places to GO FISH brought to you by Captain Judy!

    This live bottom area is located about 29 miles off our coast. It takes a longer boat ride, but certainly does offer a lot of different catching opportunity. The bottom fishing is great and no matter the amount of baited hooks used, hook ups should happen! The best bottom rig is going to be a two hook rig made with 3/0 to 4/0 J or circle hooks. I like making my rigs out of 80 pound test monofilament line. In the charter boat world, 16 ounce bank sinkers are the best. However, you can get away with 8 to 10 ounce especially when there isn’t as many fishing at one time. (Don’t forget the fish attractors!) As far as the fish catching possibilities I will name a few: large green head black fish, 5 gallon bucket size trigger fish, nice hog nose snapper, knobbed head porgy, amberjack aka reef donkeys, masked almaco jacks, banded rudder fish, football sized vermilion, solider fish, and I could keep on listing, but I think you get the just of it all! Lots of different species of fish for sure!

    This is a great time of the year to bottom fish around the naval towers as well as the live bottom areas located at the Savannah Snapper Banks. Believe me, I have fished these areas for years and they are still holding fish! I call these fishing spots meeting places for fish! I have broken it down into three areas: North snapper banks: R7 3149.000/8016.500 Naval tower, live bottom areas: 3144.970 /8013.890 this is a good area to start a bottom fishing drift. 3144.192 /8013.021 this is the coordinates to a ledge, which runs 160 degrees and 330 degrees from this coordinate will keep you on the ledge.

    Middle snapper banks: R6 (M2R6)3132.000/8014.000 Naval tower, live bottom areas 313 5.350/8021.660 ledge and 3134.990/8022.900 scattered live bottom. South snapper banks: R2 3122.530/8034.010 naval tower, live bottom areas 3124.768/8036.795 (tight/small area but very productive) and 3124.658/8035.262 (Once locating this coordinates work your way back 290 to 310 degrees to find more live bottom areas) Prior to heading out, it is best to always check the coordinates/areas in which you are planning to fish. I suggest purchasing a TOP SPOT Georgia offshore Brunswick to Savannah waterproof chart Map number N229. I provided coordinates to this company many years ago. These coordinates are proven to hold the attentions of fish!

    Blue Water Fishing
    Where to go and what to do when you get there!
    It’s about a 60 mile run and is considered a more serious boat ride for sure. Please know that the secret to success when it comes to this type of fishing is that you must always factor in the weather. The most popular areas to fish are going to be South and Triple Ledges, which are located in about 160 to 200 feet of water. These areas certainly do hold the interests of some colorful fish. It’s a great time to catch Yahoo Wahoo and black fin tuna. Now you might not see them, but they are there. During this time “old school trolling techniques” is the rule! We pull standard Ilanders lures black/black and red/black rigged with medium/large ballyhoo, naked cedar plugs soaked in menhaden oil, and Trackers Ilanders rigged with dink/pewee ballyhoo. To some fishermen this means the basics, but for us elders, it just works! If you are a planer user type fisherman this method especially during this time of the year is very effective, because are holding much deeper. I like using #3 and #4 inch planers with at least 30 feet of monofilament leader between planer and lure used. The oldest of oldest type of spoon that we use is a 31/2 inch Drone spoon. My preferred is http://www.dronespoons.com/ now there is a reason for using this style of spoon. The Drone spoons have two rings, which is what causes it to make erratic moves when trolled at about 4 to 6 knots. This movement definitely gets a fish’s attention. If you have spoons in your tackle box that only have one ring I suggest highly to add a second ring. And in fact I always like to have extra and assorted size split rings just in case the Drone spoons are missing that extra ring. Double rings on a spoons changes everything is regards to the movements made.


    Best ledges to work during this time of the year are going to be South Ledge.3106.416/7955.300, Deli Ledge 3132.961/7943.493, and Triple Ledge 3116.769/7952.069. These ledges hold the interest of black fin tuna, Wahoo, and numerous kinds of bottom fish. You can troll the area; give vertical jigging a try, or just go plain old bottom fishing with a two hook rig. Believe me one way or the other you will catch fish! For those that want to do a little deep water wreck blue water fishing give these spots a try...Deep Water Wreck dump scow 3121.525/ 7950.403 Hopper Barge 3142.878/7958.577 Tug Semarca 40’ 3142.434/7958.281
    For free online sea surface temperature charts go to http://sstcharts.com/ and this site also offers for sale different types of blue water charts sets. They are very good fish finding aids, because coordinates are correct and are well proven.
    I always suggest before heading out to check for any fish closures. Please go to http://safmc.net/ for the latest information. If you have trouble finding information please contact Cameron Rhodes, Fishery Outreach Specialist, Phone: 843-725-7577, Email: cameron.rhodes@safmc.net or Kim Iverson, Public Information Officer, Phone: 843-571-4366, Email: kim.iverson@safmc.net

    Thanks for reading! Captain Judy

    Captain Judy Helmey
    912 897 4921
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