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Whiting bite is down, maybe catch a shark
Capt. Judy 5.28
Merritt Robinson, Mandy Robinson, Jacob Robinson and Nick Robinson show off the fish they kept while fishing recently with Capt. Garrett Ross of Miss Judy Charters. Merritt Robinson said she and her husband Jacob are not related to Mandy and Nick, but they are all friends and love to go fishing together.Photo provided.

Sound fishing

The bottom fishing in the sound has been a little challenging. Why? Well, if you’re looking to load up on the ever-popular whiting, the bite last week was a little slow. However, all sizes of sharks and stingrays were definitely interested in biting our hooks. Therefore, our inshore shark fishing trips have been definite line stretchers. So while using menhaden (fresh is better, frozen will work) cut into steaks and whole fish as bait, the big toothy monster did feed.

While heading out to the ocean this week, I notice lots of schooling peanut menhaden in the creek, which, when using live, work great as bait for sharks. Also, when I rounded the Wassaw sea buoy, the ocean menhaden (large ones also known as pogies), work great cut into the steak and used whole as shark bait.

Artificial reefs

Just so you know, and I don’t have a picture to prove it, but while bottom fishing at the J buoy, a great white gave us a slow cruise by. The great white slowly swam at about 2 feet under the water right by the Miss Judy Too.

Clear water conditions allowed Capt. Kathy and me to see this beautiful shark as is slowly made way. The shark was about 8 feet long. I couldn’t successfully determine whether or not it had been tagged.

The shark had a grand entourage of remoras swimming in tow. How do I know? Right before the shark passed our boat, two medium size remoras jumped on one of our bottom rigs!

Well, I have been reporting that the Spanish mackerel have arrived – well, they did and they didn’t. At least not so much this past week, and we experienced a beautiful ocean with clear water and somewhat calm seas.

However, we didn’t see any Spanish macks and no birds a-looking. We all know that fishing is fishing, not catching all of the time. So “the no Spanish showing” most likely is only temporary. The fact of the matter is, as I am writing this, they are out there right now getting some much needed air. What does that mean? They are jumping out of the water!

Artificial reefs in less than 55 feet of water

For those that like to target Spanish mackerel, you already know that when in this mode these fish are not always bite accommodating. We started trolling with Nos. 3, 2 and 1 planers with 15 feet of 30-pound test leaders tied to the 00 Clark spoons that were in tow. We could see the fish swimming right under the surface. Sometimes they would jump getting a little air between them and the sea.

It is a known fact, proven by my father, that Spanish mackerel don’t really start jumping until after the dropping of their eggs. This normally takes place after Aug. 6.

However, since it is not August yet, these fishing are semi-swimming on the surface. Sometimes spoons pulled near the surface work better than those pulled deeper in the water column. The secret to catching is your ability to want to keep changing the way in which you are presenting your lure.

Gulf Stream

Yep, it is great, it is a long ride, but it’s well worth it. The blue waters of the Gulf Stream can certainly offer lots of action during the month of May. Water temperatures to the west of the stream are still cooler meaning the edge is still strong. The best ways to find fish is to locate any temperatures breaks (go here // for free online sea surface temperature charts).

For those that want fishing information for fishing from your boat or mine, please give us a call 912-897-4921 or email

Freshwater report

The lake season is in full swing. People are getting out in numbers. The fish do not seem to mind though. We have had a nice spring bite and the bigs have started showing up. The water temperature is starting to steady in the mid-60s and holding, which is right where I like it. This is the time to go to get on fish and have the opportunity to use multiple techniques top water. My absolute favorite time to go is now. Get your adventure on the books.

Let’s go fishing.

Believe it or not: The captain’s whereabouts

The captain of the boat never wants to admit they don’t know exactly where they are. My father used to say, “as long as you don’t care in the first place, it really doesn’t matter.” My father was lost a lot, but always seemed to find his way back to the dock. He performed this act of arriving back to the dock “thousands of times.” You could be scratching your head in regards to how this could happen. Back in the real old navigation days, all you had was maybe a compass and only acquired seaman knowledge. There were no electronics in which to input coordinates into.

The fact of the matter is there weren’t many fish finders/depth finders even worth a darn. As the captain of your vessel, you were basically on your own with “knowledge only” in hand as your main guide.

There are many days I will never forget spent out on the ocean. This is just another one of those “like it just happened yesterday instead of 40+ years plus ago” stories. I had lots of “firsts” in regards to reaching out further offshore.

Our first official imaginary boundary line was the Black Fish Banks, which was only about 10 miles offshore from Savannah Beach. As times passed, my father kept looking toward the east at new un-fished areas, keeping in mind, that they were plenty of fish still being caught at the old Black Fish Banks.

You know the old saying; “the grass is always greener over there.” Well in this case, “the water was deeper, it was further offshore, and we had never been there before.”

The Texas Tower, which looked like oil rig, was located about 13 miles offshore. It marked the beginning of the Savannah shipping channel, also known by fishermen as “Tybee Roads.” This tower was the fisherman’s stationery navigational aid, meaning as long as you could see it you could find your way home.

So when my father took a heading offshore, as long as he could see the tower there was more hope for return. However, as you can only imagine, once arriving at this point he just kept heading out.

Since at the time the boat’s top speed was only 10 knots, we were trolling some of the most stupid lures for sure. However, I can’t deny we always caught plenty of fish. Among the line up were king mackerel, tuna and dolphin (mahi). At the time, only being familiar with king mackerel the others, identifications were made by my worldly fishing father.

Once my father was far enough out, it was normally decided that we should get home before dark. At this time “the big turn” was made and we headed for home. As the days, weeks and years passed, we ventured out farther and farther.

After taking over the Savannah Snapper Banks, my father decided that he wanted to make way to the “blue waters of the stream.” By the time we reached this time frame, 8-knot top speed wooden boats were out. We were running fiberglass boats, which were flying at a mere 15 knots. Progress in the speed department was acquired. It was time to take on more miles offshore.

If you know anything about our family’s fishing history, you already know that we did just that. This Capt. Judy Helmey can be reached at 912-897-4921 and

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