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Capt. Judy: Inshore fishing: The more bait options, the better
Capt Judy catching
While inshore fishing with Capt. Kevin Rose of Miss Judy Charters, Neal McCarthy and Randy Booker, both of Atlanta had one heck of a catching day. Each fisherman caught quite a few red fish that had to to be released, because they were oversized. Photo provided.

Inshore report

If you want to get the most out of fishing inshore, I suggest making sure you’ve got bait choices. It seems that during these hot water times, if you have more than one kind of bait, your bite is going to be much better.

So if possible I suggest having on board in the old live well any or all of these for baits: mud minnows, finger mullet, peanut menhaden and live shrimp. I know that sounds like a lot of bait, but if you happen to get on a finicky inshore fish bite, the best way to change it is to keep changing your bait used. Presentation is everything.

Most inshore fishermen, and I am no different, want to go with the most used and accessible terminal rig. Now in my case this would be a traditional adjustable float or a standard popping cork rig. Yep, they work like a charm until they don’t, and here’s the crazy thing – you might stop at your best drop and give it try with these rigs, not have any luck, and then quickly move on.

Heck, unless I know the darn fish are going to bite for sure, 15 to 20 minutes in the same place with no action, well, I’d be gone. And if you fish a lot you already know you should give your spot a good once over, meaning fish all the way around your boat at different depths.

Now here’s where you need to add yet another step to your fish catching equation. I suggest giving a Carolina style rig a try.

Why? Well, with normal rigs, the bait hangs under the cork.

When using a Carolina rig, the bait is anchored on the bottom but it’s free to swim up into the water column.

Who knows, the fish might just be looking down to feed instead of up. If you need a prescription to purchase more rods and reels, call me and I am happy to oblige!

Artificial reefs report

The Spanish mackerel plight: Sometimes they bite and sometimes they don’t! But here’s the thing, the bait is here and the fish are here, so give it an old college try before giving up.

Fish the areas where you’ve got some sort of structure. We have been catching them while trolling #1, #2 and #3 planers with 0 and 00 Clark spoons in tow.

Believe it or not: Bob Paschal’s mullet gizzard gravy

I have a photo of my father, Capt. Sherman Helmey, that has many rowboats in the background. I don’t know how many we had, but we always had quite a few. The reason I remember this so well is when it rained we bailed them out a lot.

As I can remember, it rain a lot when Daddy wasn’t home.

So this was one of my childhood duties, bailing out the rowboats. Some children raked the yard or washed the dishes. In my case, I bailed out all of the boats. My father never worried about them sinking.

According to my father, a good sinking was good every now and then for wooden boats.

They should have been all called Leaky One, Two, Three, etc.

This is a great story that I wrote/published many years ago. I was looking through my log of Little Miss Judy stories when I came upon this one.

And instantly I remember the wonderful time and grand conversation that I had with Bob Paschal in regards to mullet gizzard gravy.

This is one of these super true stories through and through. The fact of the matter is it put a big smile on my face then and it still is doing it now.

I hope you enjoy and I hope Bob gets to read it again too! (I would love to get a call, 912-897-4921!) Back in the old days, my father smoked, fried and cooked mullet all of the time. According to my father, there wasn’t much better eating fish than a just-caught, cleaned up and cooked mullet. And you already know this was most likely is true, because my father wasn’t a small man.

When we had fried or smoked mullet, we had yet another Capt. Daddy Special Meal. He called it mullet gizzard gravy, which was very good. However, I never knew how he fixed it, but after talking to Bob I now can share with you in detail how to fix mullet gizzard stew.

While I was in Perry, Georgia, at the Georgia Wildlife Sportsman Show I got the opportunity to meet some new faces and see some old ones, too.

This one gentleman in particular stopped by our booth and was talking to one of the captains. I overheard them talking about mullet.

I love to talk about mullet chasing back in the old days, because just when you think you have heard it all, in comes another way to catch these rascals. I turned and introduced myself to Bob Paschal, who was visiting from nearby Roberta, Georgia. I already knew from the twinkle in his eye that we were going to hit it off. So the conversation began with him sharing some of the things that he experienced while working as a mate on a commercial boat.

My favorite thing to ask someone about mullet isn’t about catching them, but did you know that they have a gizzard? Most of the time I get a surprised look and strong quick “no” as an answer.

Well, when I asked Mr.

Paschal, “Did you know that a mullet had a gizzard?” He smiled and said, “If it hadn’t been for mullet gizzards we would have gone to bed hungry!” So I had to ask, “How did you cook them?” This is when the conversation really got good, because he started telling me exactly how to cook mullet gizzards!

As he talked I could tell he was reliving the whole entire thing, as I was, too. You see my father used to make mullet gizzard gravy all of the time. It was good over grits, but I really never knew how to make it.

The only part I played in this cooking ordeal was the eating.

I do have to say that I held the cup in which he dropped each and every gizzard.

For those that want to make mullet gizzard gravy, here’s the recipe as told by Bob Paschal.

As you read the recipe you will find that I haven’t listed the exact amounts to add of what. This is because we never measured anything back in the old days. A cup of sugar or flour was basically a large hand full. My father measured salt by taste only and all other ingredients just got added as we needed them.

Heck if a recipe called for two eggs and we only had one, that’s what we’d use. However, it was always my job to run over to the Groovers house next door and see if one of their free range chickens had made a deposit. Sometimes I found eggs and sometimes it didn’t.

Mullet Gizzard Gravy: All you need is a pound of bacon, pound of mullet gizzards, one cup of strong coffee, and some other stuff!

• One pound of bacon

• Grease bacon provided

• One pound of mullet gizzards • One cup of strong coffee (one cup)

• Flour (couple of handfuls)

• Salt and pepper

• Milk (one cup)

• Water (as needed) Fry up a good pound of bacon, take out of frying pan, drain on a piece of paper, and set aside. Leave the bacon grease in the frying pan. Lightly flour each cleaned mullet gizzard.

I guess I should tell you how to clean a gizzard. All you have to do is open it up just like you do a regular chicken gizzard and cut a few slits on the backside. Wash good and let them drain.

Once the gizzards are dry, lightly flour them and drop them into the frying pan that has the bacon grease. Fry till they are golden brown, flipping them over as needed. Then remove and drain.

After this you should still have some bacon grease and now droppings left from frying up the gizzards. Shower in a hand full of flour, stir this around and let it brown a bit.

Whatever you do, don’t burn anything at this stage or else you will be eating just fried gizzards, not those in gravy.

Once the flour is browned, pour milk and strong black coffee. Once all is warmed up, reintroduce the browned gizzards back into this gravy. If your gravy gets too thick, you can add more milk, coffee or some water.

It’s best to let this all simmer a bit – that’s if you can stand to do so. Gizzard gravy Bob Paschal style is great when poured over white bread, rice, grits or mash potatoes.

Now for some unfinished business! Mr. Paschal was going to explain to me how he basically knocks a triggerfish so as to loosen up its skin, which makes it much easier to clean.

I hope I get to hear this story soon.

Thanks for reading!

Capt. Judy Helmey can be reached at 912-897-4921 and

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