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Cold weather could make fishing challenging
Capt. Judy
Will Dillon, 6, with his grandparents Cornelia and Mike Dillon of Isle of Hope, show off a spotted sea trout they caught recently while inshore fishing with Capt. Garrett Ross of Miss Judy Charters. Photo provided.

Inshore report:

The fish are still biting.

Warmer temps than normal have kept the inshore bite pattern a little on the fall side instead of the winter side.

What does this mean? Well, two things: We haven’t had any real winter-like temperatures.

So our fish, such as spotted sea trout, have not gone into the cold water hibernation mode.

The second thing is we still have shrimp in holding patterns in both deep holes and coming out of the grass as the tide falls.

However, as I am writing this the coldest air temps that we have had so far this year are prevailing. This week’s inshore fish bite for spotted sea trout could prove very challenging.

Capt. Garrett Ross of Miss Judy Charters is good friends with my cousin Mickey Holbrook, owner operator of MAD GILLZ Fishing Guide Service.

He caught a nice striped bass while fishing with Mickey during the holidays.

So what does this all mean to you? Well, if it’s freshwater fishing you desire, give Mickey a call at 470-262-6035. And if it's saltwater fishing you wish, give Miss Judy Charters a call!

The bottom line is this: Fishing is darn good no matter what and you now got more options.

Offshore report:

Now for those that can go offshore anytime of the week, I suggest keeping an eye on the weather patterns and windy conditions because the sheepshead/ black sea bass fishing at the artificial reefs is awesome, which means it is time to go!

For those that don’t know, purple back fiddlers are the best bait to use when targeting the old sheepshead. Where do you get them? Well you can catch your own. However, you had best know for sure where you can legally dig for them or not.

Or you can give Capt. Brad Steward of Stewart Outfitters a call at 912-656-1868. He sells them and if he doesn’t have them on hand, you certainly can make an order.

I got to tell you, these crazy weather fronts have been landing on the weekend for a few weeks now. As soon as they start moving more during the week we offshore fishermen will be able to make way on Saturday or Sunday. However, the last couple weekends the winds have blown and blown and blown!

But then it is that time of the year!

When we get to go, I have found that this bite has been pretty darn good for sure. As I am forever reporting, you got to “look if you want to hook!”

What does this mean? Black sea bass can be found at the artificial reefs located in more than 50 feet of water. However, they are not schooling everywhere and there might be some looking for fish in your future.

Once you find a school of black fish, they are usually very accommodating – meaning they will eat just about anything you throw at them.

I like using cut squid wings because it’s easy to cut up and hard for the fish to get off the hook. So this is bait that keeps a fish coming back for more. If you don’t hook it up on the first hit, as long as the bait is still there more bites will follow.

And sometimes just the smell of where the squid was hung on the hook will work.

Sounds crazy doesn’t it?

If you want proof, take a two-hook bottom rig and put squid on both hooks. Then before dropping to the bottom remove the squid from one hook.

I can assure you that if you drop this rig into a school of black sea bass, you are going to still hook up two fish.

This little experiment proves just how powerful the smell of squid is to a fish!

Fishing clinics

Miss Judy Charters is offering inshore and offshore fishing clinics Feb. 22-23. Clinics will be on the water, in boats, and are $150 per person.

Morning clinics are from 8 a.m. to noon, and afternoon clinics are from 1-5 p.m.

Snacks and drinks will be provided. For more details, call 912-897-4921.

“Role reversal” During my father’s fishing time, wooden lures were a hit.

This was due to the fact that this was the only style that had been invented.

They came in standard colors, such as two-tone black/sliver and red/white. The standard one-color lures came in basic black, green, red and blue. The two-tone lures that I mentioned weren’t first out on the market.

They came out much later.

My father always re-painted his lures after they had been hit. My father had a theory about wooden lures and fish.

Most fish are color coordinated to help camouflage them. For instance a fish is mostly dark on the topside and light colored on the underside. According to my father there was a good reason for the color scheme.

Fish that travel at all depths of the water column are two-toned. In other words, when they are swimming up off the sea bottom any fish below would have trouble seeing them. The lighter color underneath blends in with colors seen when looking up.

So with keeping my father’s logic in mine, he changed all two tone lures. All two tone lures that had dark on the top and light color on the bottom he changed immediately and reversed the colors. He would put dark on the bottom and light on the top.

This color change increased visibility of the bait so any fish swimming under the lure would be able to see it if it looked up.

And that my fishing friend is just one of the interesting things that my father thought of when it came to outsmarting a darn fish!

Thanks for reading!

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

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