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Look out for schooling jacks, shark fights
Capt. Judy fishing

Inshore report

Large schools of jacks can be seen schooling on the surface in the Wassaw Sound! Now what does a big fish like this care to eat?

Well, you can start with live shrimp under some sort of a popping cork or a traditional adjustable float. And then if you like casting and retrieving, I suggest some sort of lure when retrieve is pops on the surface or maybe a walking the dog type surface lure (Top Dog, Jr.).

The bottom line is this: If these big jacks are schooling on the surface, they are feeding on something down under. Before running up on the school, stop and assess the situation before approaching with bait ready. You can tell a lot by watching the school as it moves on the surface.

Check out the direction in which they are swimming. Are they circling or are they on a straight swimming mission? Are they feeding? Check for any surface oils, which are produced when the large fish feed on the smaller ones. Try to see if any sort of bait is breaking the surface, and if so, make sure the size of your lure matches the bait. This is where the phrase “match the hatch” comes into play.

Artificial reefs in more than 50 feet of water

Welcome to sharkville!

While trolling assorted color Jig jigs and pulling #3 planers with 3½ Drone spoon 30 feet in tow, we caught some very nice king mackerel.

But we were not the only ones interested in fishing for king mackerel.

It seems that some rather large sharks decided to eat at the same time.

One particular king we were darn lucky to get to the boat. We had to first fight the fish, and then fight the shark. The shark got a grand taste but didn’t take the time to take a big bite.

So here’s how this shark feeding frenzy event took place: After about the third time of having to pull the hooked king from the jaw of a hungry shark, a catching, keeping fish plan came together. If we hadn’t come up with a plan, the sharks would have gotten the bodies and we would have gotten the heads only.

We hooked up 11 king mackerel trolling rigged ballyhoo on three-hook Judy Jig rigs and while pulling 3 ½ Drone spoons behind #3 planers. And it turned into sharks versus fishermen.

We got to keep seven kings with assorted parts missing. The sharks kept four whole king mackerel – we didn’t even get to keep the heads!

Red snapper weekend

You can keep one genuine red snapper per person this Friday, Saturday and Sunday (July 10-11) and also on Friday July 17.

Believe it or not: Homemade outriggers

Back in the old days before I even knew what a real set of outriggers looked like, we had what was called “Sherman style.” I guess for those that don’t know about outriggers in the first place, I should maybe explain a bit about their function. The best way to describe outriggers for those that have never seen them is too think about a boat with thin outright wings.

On these wings is a clothesline or flag pole design with a pin/clip that holds your line and allows you to pull it to the end the rigger. These riggers extend out and away from the boat, allowing us fishermen to pull more lines, or I should say baits.

The good news is that once you have dropped back your bait to the desired distance from your boat, you can clip it, and clothesline it to the top of the riggers. Not only does the rigger allow you to pull more baits, it also keeps them out of the prop wash and outside of the boat’s noise.

Dragging lots of bait sends a schooling type signal and gets a fish’s attention, which most of the time triggers some sort of bite. When the fish hits the baits, which is being trolled behind the outrigger, the clip holding the line releases. The extra slack, which happens immediately, allows the fish to run, but for “seconds only” with its newly found kill. With outriggers installed, you can pull two to three extra baits. If you add baits being pulled from the cockpit and outrigger possibilities, you really could have your own personal moving school of baitfish, which you are in full control of. Outrigger costs can vary from $500 to $5,000plus. However, “Sherman style” outriggers did the same thing, but certainly didn’t cost as much. My father knew about outriggers and their concept. But he wasn’t about to pay for those that were already made.

Daddy visited our local hardware store, which was Woo’s at the time, and purchased the needed parts.

He asked for the longest ½-inch thin-walled aluminum pipe that they had.

Length was important, because if they didn’t have what he wanted, Daddy would just piece it together with inserts. Store-bought outriggers are made so they can swing in out from the boat. There are brackets made to hold outriggers at a certain angle. When under fast, making-way mode, outriggers should be pulled tight to the boat. In the case of fishing, you let them out like dropping a set of wings. In my father’s case, there were no brackets made, much less used to hold his homemade outriggers. All he did was drill a hole through the swinging pipe and through the stationery section, line them up, and pushed a nail through to hold them.

When he wanted the outriggers in the down-and- fishing mode, there was another hole drilled for this stage. I have to admit lining the hole up in rough sea conditions was a little hard, but it worked nevertheless. The best part was the string that held the nail, which was attached to the boat. No matter how many times you dropped it, you didn’t lose it! Thanks for reading!

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

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