Captain Judy

Inshore report Another Women Georgia State Record in broken!!

Bonnet Shark - Women's Record in GA

Amanda Page is the new record holder of the women’s Georgia state bonnet head shark. This fish was caught in July while fishing off the beach at St Simons Island.  It weighted in at around 23 pounds.  Now here’s something interesting…the world record bonnet head shark is 26 pounds…A big congratulation goes out to Amanda! 


It’s Gator Trout Time

Gator Trout

Photo by Captain Kevin Rose

 Gator trout

This is a picture of a beautiful spotted sea trout, which Captain Kevin Rose sent me.   This size fish is also referred to as gator trout.  This large trout couldn’t pass up a single live shrimp under a small Cajun popping cork!!  This is why you always should have a dip net on board!!  

Inshore trout fishing…I guess I should have said “Inshore Catching!”

 There is a lot of talk about the windy and muddy water conditions.  However, it seems that maybe the fish have gotten used to some of the mayhem.  I know the fishermen have.  The trout bite, at least in my fishing world, has been very good.  I am not saying, “Gang busters and coolers full” I am saying, “Some real nice trout have been caught this week while using live shrimp as bait!” So if you happen to know a place that you think holds the interest of trout now is the time to pay it a visit!


Bottom Fishing at the Artificial Reefs

Atlantic Croaker

 This Atlantic croaker was caught while bottom fishing at the artificial reefs in about 45 feet of water.  Normally these fish are caught while fishing inshore.  I guess this particular fish wanted to spread its fins and do a little traveling.   Don’t worry it’s still swimming and making way!!


Bottom Bumping or not at the artificial Reefs

Black Sea Bass

Black sea bass bite

When targeting black sea bass especially during these hot water temperatures I suggest fishing structure located in 55 plus foot of water.  These fish are considered bottom huggers.  However, if there is live bait of their choice, such as any small fry, these fish will definitely feed in the upper water column.  So I guess you could say “Fish on the bottom or not!” 


Offshore Shark catching while “just plain drifting live and dead baits!”

 Off Shore Shark catching

        Nice shark caught while drifting offshore

 We caught this shark on a blue runner, which was rigged up with hook placed behind the dorsal fish.  This allows the bait to swim more naturally bringing on more attention from these big toothy monsters.  As you can see it worked like a charm.  This shark was caught fought and released back to the while!!

   Amber Jack Attack

 Amberjack attack back!!

 I wouldn’t say that 2012 has been a bonus catching amberjack year.  However, when we do happen up on a school of amberjacks also known as reef donkeys big strong pulls can happen.  This fish inhaled a medium size ruby red lips that was being fished in the mid water column. 

Mahi Mahi

       Dolphin also known as Mahi Mahi

While bottom fishing at the Savannah Snapper banks a school of dolphin came to the boat.   We caught two dolphins on small pieces of semi floating squid and the rest of the school swam off as quickly as they arrived.    The bottom line is when bottom fishing this area to always be prepared for any surfacing swimming visitors.  

 Blue Water Report

 Please go and let me know!!


 Freshies Report


Call Bill Vanderford, because I hear it’s time to go!!

Bill Vanderford is “Lake Lanier’s Legend!”

For more about my long time friend Bill Vanderford as well as his accomplishments, his freshwater charter trips or wildlife tours, books written and his special line up of tackle offered, please visit his site for all the details!  For more details go


Thanks for reading!  Captain



“Kicking Fish Tail Since 1956”

PO Box 30771


912 897 4921 PHONE

912 897 3460 FAX

Captain Judy’s email


The Summer Time Shark Bite by Captain Judy

The Summer Time Shark Bite!

It’s time to go shark fishing or I should say, “Shark Catching!”

 As far as the shark bite goes it has been simply fantastic!  This means that we have catching and releasing lots of all size sharks from the sounds to the ocean.  It’s that time of the year where bait locations dictate where the shark bites take place.  It’s a known fact that where you have bait-swimming-you-got-sharks-a-feeding!

pic 3

Sharks in the old shark hole

I know I sound like a broken record, but shark fishing in the old shark hole can be and it very interesting.  This past week our customers while using cut and live whole fish caught about 10 nice sharks from lemons to bulls to spinners.  All sharks were fought caught, and released.  So the bottom line to this report is they are still in the sound and growing while they are swimming!

 Artificial Reefs

Black sea bass are on the Wide Open Mode!

pic 5

Black sea bass continue to be the main fish caught while bottom fishing at the artificial reefs.

 Savannah Snapper Banks

 The bottom fishing is great and even there is a top water bite!

What’s on tap???

 Bottom Condition

As far as bottom fishing the bite has been awesome.  The reason being is in most cases is that every time you drop your hook you get hooked up!  Now I am not going to say, “It’s a big fish every time! However, what I will say, “Lots of action to be had for those that love the reeling the fish in!” 

 Mid Water Condition 

Our 2012 Cobia also known as ling and lemon fish has been very good.  Our customers have been having a great time catching this fish.  Did you know that if you pull this fish will pull back? Did you know that if you don’t pull on this fish it will basically swim right to the boat?  These fish can be caught at any depth at any time from the sound to the artificial reefs to the snapper banks to the blue waters of the stream 

Amberjack also known as Reef Donkeys can now be found guarding the reef.  This means that if this fish is guarding it’s in the feeding mode, which is exactly what us fishermen want! We have been also catching quite a few banded rudder fish also known as the cousins to the amberjack!

Top Water Condition

For top water we now have king mackerel, little tunny, Spanish mackerel, and dolphin also known as Mahi Mahi.

pic 5

 Banded rudder fish

While bottom fishing in about 100 feet of water our customers caught some nice banded rudder fish.  This fish looks just like a miniature version of an amberjack, but in my fish world I say they are 2nd cousins!  The bottom line is that they are fun to catch and make for good table fare too!!

 Out in the Gulf of Mexico

Drew Zeigler finds fish!

2,700 feet of water

 pic 6

 Captain Drew Zeigler is holding a nice dolphin fish also known as a mahi mahi

While fishing in 2,700 of water in the Gulf of Mexico off a crew boat Captain Drew Zeigler caught this nice size dolphin as well as a few yellow fin tuna.  Yes the whole crews had fresh fish for breakfast, lunch and dinner!!  I would call this the freshest fish ever!! 

 Blue water report

The bills are the deals!!

Pic 7

Photo by Captain Kevin Rose

 Bill fish doing what it does best, which is getting lots of air! 

The blue waters have and always will be an interesting place to fish.  The reason being you really never know what you might catch.  However, you can be sure that when you do it most likely will be big and powerful! Bill fish such as the one shown in the picture are also called “the man dressed in the blue suit!

 Freshies Report

Bill Vanderford is “Lake Lanier’s Legend!”

For more about my long time friend Bill Vanderford as well as his accomplishments, his freshwater charter trips or wildlife tours, books written and his special line up of tackle offered, please visit his site for all the details!  For more details go

 Little Miss Judy’s Believe It or not!

Pic 8

Yes this is me, (Captain Judy mid eighties) holding shark caught at the shark hole, which is located inshore!  This is when I wore white shorts instead of blue.  As you know from the time I can remember I wore white and navy blue.  I guess I tried stepping outside the box, but it didn’t work for long!!  Been back in my uniform since late eighties!

Atlantis the Lost Empire

I think everyone has an opinion about Atlantis the lost empire and then there are some that lived it.  Since I am no stranger to interesting people visiting I would like to share yet another story about this unbelievable visit.  This happened in the late eighties and I wouldn’t have remembered about it, but I made a note of it in one of my diaries.  And while flipping through the many loose pages I came upon the story about the man that received information from the back of his head.  I am getting ahead of my self.  So with that being said, “Let me start from the beginning!”

Thanks for reading!  Captain Judy


“Kicking Fish Tail Since 1956”

POB 30771


912 897 4921 912 897 3460 FAX

Captain Judy’s email


Captain Judy's Fishing Report pt. 2

Savannah Snapper Banks

The Macon Fishing Team hits town and we GO FISH!!

Macon Fishing Team

Jason Maddox is holding his just caught gag grouper, Captain Kathy Brown of Miss Judy Charters is holding up two great fishermen, and Robby Miller is holding his charging cubera snapper.  (And the net that dipped them up!) 


Savannah Snapper Banks Bite

Well, believe it or not I do believe that the big bottom bite has finally evolved around to being a bit more solid.  Now when I am talking about a bigger bottom bite I am not talking about genuine red snapper, because it seems since there is so many of these fish that we catch/release these almost year around.  So I guess the genuine red snapper have changed their feeding habits and it making room for other big fish such as the grouper and cubera snapper offering them a better chance to feed a bite more.  Both of these fish in the above picture ate a live fish.  The grouper inhaled small ruby red lips, which was lipped hooked. When the grouper decided to take the bait it went just like old times “freight train pulling event!” I used to say, “It hard to stop a train when it’s heading down the tracks!”  When it comes to a grouper especially a gag, once it decides to take the bait it basically jumps on the tracks.  This boils down to the fact that it’s headed back to the safety of the ledge that it just came out of. 


Gags and their noises made…

Back in the old days when my friends and I used to dive when you heard a certain noise, which I wish I could describe, it meant watch out, because a herd of big gags (also know as charcoal bellies) might be charging out from under the ledge.  We all came to the same conclusion that when a big gag, which is under a ledge decides to make a move it quickly slams shut its jaws.  This act of slamming its jaws makes somewhat of a muffled, but very noticeable underwater noise.   Now here’s the thing…when a school sometimes referred to as a “herd of gags” start to leave the safety of the ledge the noises made are very noticeable. 

The fact of the matter is I might have heard it many times before, but just didn’t know what it meant.  Well, it means if you are in front of the ledge to either duck close to the bottom or move over to the side of the ledge.  This way you can see what just quickly swam over or right by you!!


Cubera population at the Savannah Snapper Banks!

It’s my opinion that the cubera population has gotten better over the past few years.  We seem to be catching more of these fish every year.  This is one fish that once it decides to eat what’s on your hook it puts it’s given K-9 teeth to work.  It bites and then holds its intended meal until it supposedly turns it around so quickly that not even the bait itself knows what is going on!  I guess from bait’s point of view this is a good thing.  The cubera in the above pictures gladly attacked, killed, and ate our lip hooked small sand perch.  But here’s the thing, although I can’t prove it I bet this fish hit several baits before getting hooked up.  I watch two fishermen holding rods get hard hits, but no hook ups and then the captain’s rod when down.  I also caught a few snapper and grouper on a small piece of squid slowly dropped through the water column.  This boils down to the fact that this is one fish that eats just about anything that catches their eye. 


In next week’s fishing report I will publish recipe for making “floating through the fish rig!”  


Gulf Stream

The Big Bill Thrill!

The Big Thrill

Photo by Captain Kevin Rose

It’s that time of the year where a trip to this area can prove to be very interesting!!


Freshies Report

For your freshwater fish catching needs call Bill Vanderford

 Bill Vanderford is “Lake Lanier’s Legend!”

For more about my long time friend Bill Vanderford as well as his accomplishments, his freshwater charter trips or wildlife tours, books written and his special line up of tackle offered, please visit his site for all the details!  For more details go


Thanks for reading!  Captain Judy


“Kicking Fish Tail Since 1956”

POB 30771


912 897 4921

912 897 3460 FAX

Captain Judy’s email



Captain Judy's Fishing Report Pt. 1

My fishing statement: To try to insure that fishing stays in the hearts that love it and to help the ones that are going too!!

  Inshore Report

 Trophy red fish have arrived in the rivers and sounds!! Captain Alan Collins wife Sherry shows us the way!

Trophy Red Fish

Photo taken by Captain Alan Collins

Captain Alan Collins of Miss Judy Charters took his wife Sherry on a short inshore fishing trip.  They fished for about one hour and Sherry caught her first red fish.   The red fish measured in at 271/2 inches long and was sporting some interesting tail spots.   Captain Alan carefully tagged and released it! Once again Captain Alan wins his customer’s over!  (I guess I should say winning Mrs. Captain Alan Collins over!)  

 Trophy Red Fish

Captain Alan Collins

Trophy Red Fish

Photo by Captain Alan Collins

Bennett Blair and his father Kevin decided to take a morning inshore fishing trip with Captain Alan Collins of Miss Judy Charters.  Bennett is holding up a nice trophy red fish, which was one of many that he tagged on this fishing day.  You will be seeing a lot of Bennett in the up coming fishing reports!!


Inshore spotted sea trout report

This  picture say it all!  The fish are biting and so are the fishermen!!

John Henry Hammond age 11

Savannah, Georgia

Spotted Sea Trout

Photo by Captain Kevin Rose

John Henry Hammond and his father Chris fished went inshore fishing with us last week.  Captain Kevin Rose took them out and showed them the way.  The inshore fishing was great, but the catching was a whole lot better!!  Live shrimp is this month’s bait of choice…voted in by fish bites taken! 


Artificial reefs

 Located in less than 50 feet of water 

A summer trout event

Artifical Reefs

There has been an amazing amount of summer trout also known as weak fish being caught off these artificial reefs.  The fact of the matter is it’s not uncommon to catch 15 to 25 legal summer trout on a four hours offshore trip.  The best news that I can tell you is that this fish population seems to be growing!!  Georgia state regulations allow each fisherman to keep one summer trout.  They have to be at least 13 inches tail length to keep!!

Trigger fish dance!!

Artifical Reefs

Captain Kathy Brown of Miss Judy Charters is holding up a nice trigger fish, which was caught at the CCA artificial reef this past week. Quite often these great to eat fish will hit a bottom rig and a great circling fight begins!!

 Artificial Reefs

Located in 55 plus feet of water

It’s a place where top water fish such as cobia, king, and Spanish caught.  Even if you can’t see them feeding on the surface nine times out of ten they are gorging themselves on all the bait fish.  This has been one of those years where bait fish along with their whereabouts has not been common knowledge to us fishermen.    When I can’t see them on the surface or catch them while fishing deep on the wreck areas I usually say, “If we can’t find them neither can the fish!” 

 Bottom fishing in these areas can certainly be interesting, because most of the black fish caught meet the new 13 tail length size limit.  As of July 2012 black sea bass have to be 13 inches tail length to keep.  When this new regulations went into effect most of the black fish caught in 50 foot and less were right a 121/2 inches long meaning “no much keeping here!”  However, if you plan on fishing the deeper water artificial reefs your catch to keep ratio is going to be a hold lot better.  The bottom line is when you know where the fish are going it’s easier to catch and keep!!



“Kicking Fish Tail Since 1956”

POB 30771


912 897 4921 912 897 3460 FAX

Captain Judy’s email


Tricks of the Trade by Captain Judy

Tricks of the Trade!

Pic 1

Spotted Sea Trout Bite

Since purchasing or catching shrimp has been a little on the lean side, inshore fishermen have had to start doing a little tweaking in order to catch the allusive spotted sea trout

 I am always saying, “All fish whether they are inshore or offshore will eat a shrimp.  This is the number one bait that is sought after “DEAD OR LIVE!”  From a fish’s stand point the old shrimp is easy to eat, easy to figure out and easy to find. Now that last statement of “easy to find” especially in our current conditions might be a point that I needs to be left out..  At this point they are not easy to find by the fish or the fisherman!! Here’s the thing by the time that you read this the brown shrimp might have arrived and all is good in the shrimp catching and purchasing world.  Here are a few pointers that you can use when the situation prevails in your situation:

 It has been brought to my attention that during a time when the shrimp aren’t available   artificial baits used need to be cast further and retrieved faster.  This boils down to the fact that if you find a trout bite doesn’t move your boat to close.  Another factor to consider is the fact that your artificial bait used really does need to be retrieved faster than normal. Before these current factors we retrieve artificial bait by casting to the spot, letting the bait fall to the bottom, then reeling a few times, let it  fall back to the bottom, and somewhere between falling back it was hit by the trout.  As this time for some reason the trout prefers it retrieve fast as possible.  The best way to accomplish the art of fast retrieve artificial baits is to cast into place, dip your rod tip almost to the water, and fast crank.  I am not suggest wildly cranking I am suggesting a direct fast retrieve.  When it come to this type of cast and retrieve you might need to consider a little heavier jig head.  The best artificial are going to be flukes, because they have a sharp tail section and when retrieve fast looks like the real deal!

The Mud Minnow Affair

The mud minnow can most likely be considered the toughest little bait in town!!  The reason being is that it not so affected by hot water conditions and it can live even if your old circulating pump crashes.  However, keeping that bait well water circulating will just insure a livelier minnow.  The mud minnow is considered a two and sometimes a 3 part type of bait.  It suggested to stay by lip hooking the minnow first.  The hook up job allows your minnow to wiggle more freely, which can get the attentions of all kind of fish.  Normally when a fish hits a bait hooked up like this it goes for the head first.  After all that’s how they eat them.  Best thing I can tell you is this with the type of hit the hook normally is the first thing they get not the mud minnow. 

 Once you have retrieved your fish nine times out of ten the mud minnow is still alive and kicking.  It’s time to re-lip hook your bait that just caught you the first fish.  I suggest if possible re-situating the hook and cast into place once again.  When the second hit occurs, once again the hook most likely will win this attack.  Once retrieved, I suggest placing the hook through the top of the eyes.  This way if your bait is half alive it still will look more than not.  And that’s story on getting 30 hits with only 10 minnows!  This is bait you can use and use and use!

The shrimp have arrived!

 Adams Bait House has bait! 

912 898 1550

For those that want to do a little casting and catching the shrimp tides have turned!  After struggling so far the 2012 shrimp year these crustaceans have arrived.   So fishermen are going to have to decide how much and whether they want go casting for shrimp or purchasing them.  During this time it’s normally easy to catch enough shrimp for their fish day and maybe for supper too.  It’s going to be up to you.  The bottom line is doing forget to put your cast net in the boat. 

pic 2

Here’s the deal on bait, if the shrimp are too small…

It has been said my many fisherman including myself that all fish will eat a shrimp.  However, when the baits are so small you sometimes have to team them up.  This means if two shrimp on one hook doesn’t look good enough add another!!

Thanks for reading!  Captain Judy


“Kicking Fish Tail Since 1956”

POB 30771


912 897 4921 912 897 3460 FAX

Captain Judy’s email


Captain Judy's Fishing Report

 Inshore Report

Bottom fishing in the sounds can certainly be interesting!


Shane Hogan of Savannah Georgia and Captain Judy are having a lot of fun holding up his just caught shark.  Shane was plain old bottom fishing when this 4 footer came a calling!!  After the smiles the shark was released to swim once again!!

It’s spotted sea trout time!!

Spotted Sea Trout

Just ask Colby Chapman

Captain Greg Davis of Miss Judy Charter takes Colby Chapman and his father Josh fishing!

Spotted Sea trout

Best tide time to target spotted sea trout, at least for this week is…21/1 hour into the falling tide.  Best baits are going be live shrimp, mud minnows, or finger can serve these baits up under an adjustable float or rig them up with leader and hook only. 

 Ethan Perry goes inshore fishing, which boils down to a “whole lot of CATCHING!”

Black Drum

Ethan Perry is showing off his black drum, which was caught in the Savannah River Area.  This fish chased Ethan’s live shrimp around until big bites happen.  This all boils down to when you go saltwater fishing you really never know what might bite your hook.


Artificial Reefs

Bottom fishing in these areas can be very interesting.  The bottom line is all you have to do is to bait your hook, drop in to the bottom, get ready for a bite, start reeling, and catch your fish!!


Circle hook catch more fish!!

Since we are now using circle hooks when bottom fishing offshore most bites results in a solid hook up!  The only down side to circle hooks is the fact that you can’t set the hook!  The up side is circle hooks means more fish for tomorrow!!

  Reminder:  Circle hook requirement in the South Atlantic snapper-grouper fishery effective March 3, 2011 (It’s the law and it’s a good thing!!

For more information

Joe Jasmon and Jack Hogan fishing crew!!!


Joe Jasmon and Jack Hogan

I have to tell you it’s amazing what you might catch while fishing at one of Georgia’s near shore artificial reefs.  The group photo proves it too!  All fishermen are holding a nice summer trout also known as a weakfish.  The legal size limit for the summer trout is 13 inches and over.  The bag limit is one per person.  On this particular 6 hour fishing trip we caught 45 legal trout.  The boils down to the fact that we kept 6 fish and release 39 summer trout.  We also caught an assortment of different size black sea bass and trigger fish!  A good day was had by all!!

 July 17, 2012 Tuesday

Fishing at the CCA artificial reef

Chad Kendrick on boat “Always Rollin’s” his son Brennan Jamar, and Austin Grimes headed out for a fun day of fishing!!

King Mackerel Smiles!!

King Mackerel Smiles

Austin Grimes holding very nice king mackerel while Brennan Jamar definitely makes this fishing pictures complete.

While fishing with Captain Chad Kendrick on boat “Always Rollin’” at the CCA artificial reef the crew had a very interesting fish day.  Austin sent me a fishing report, which was very helpful, because it’s loaded with lots of good information as well as some darn good fishing tips.  The team’s first stop was a little east of the Ossabaw Island, which is where they cast the net and caught quite a few pogies.  These baits were quickly put in the live well and off to the east they headed to destination Savannah Snapper Banks.    

With weather conditions to the east it was decided to stop at the CCA artificial to start their fish day.  This is where I was fishing at the time for the exact same reason.  My weather machine was showing lots of scattered, but severe looking clouds with water spout possibilities.  I decided to hold tight and fish right where I stopped, which turned out to be a very good catching thing!

When “Always Rollin’” called me on channel 68, asked about what I thought about the weather?  I told him that I was holding tight at this spot.  

Once we talked we both decided to hang tight at this area.  I was already bottom fishing and was having some pretty good luck with 13 plus inch black sea bass.  Always Rollin after trying a little bit of bottom fishing decided to do some slow trolling, which turned out to be the right decision.  

While in the trolling mode Brennan (Always Rollin) spotted a huge pod of bait fish.  Once putting over the bait they were literally surround by at least 5 different giant pods of baitfish.  According to the report received from Austin, “I’ve never seen that much baitfish holding in one area for so long!”  Austin reported that the different pods stayed on the surface for a good 4 hours.  In my book this is what you would call a “target rich environment!”  It screams, “Fish here,” which they did. 

While working the pods of bait they had plenty of action from the toothy monsters (barracuda).  They then, caught a nice king mackerel, and two nice cobias. 

What did we learn from this great fishing report?

It’s best to always take a cast net on the boat with you when heading offshore, because catching live bait can make your catching day!   Fishing where your see surface bait is always a very good idea.  This is called from a fisherman’s prospective, “thinking like a fish and then catching one!”  It’s always good to consider changing destinations when there are any sort of visible weather concerns. The bottom line is this if you see weather holding to the east, which is where you are headed “just fish” closer, because as you can see that works too!! A big congratulation goes out to Captain Chad Kendrick on boat “Always Rollin” his son Brennan, and Austin Grimes!!

Savannah Snapper Banks

Big bottom fish catching days have arrived!  More next week!!

Gulf Stream Report

The 2012 blue water fishing season has not let us down.  According to bill fish reports from those that know, it has been one of the best years ever!  With that being said, “It’s time to pay the bills some attention!”


Freshies Report


Captain “Uncle Bob” Morrissey doing what he does best, which is catch fish every time he goes fishing!     This is one nice rainbow trout, which was caught at Hauser Lake, Montana on July 18, 2012

Bill Vanderford is “Lake Lanier’s Legend!”

For more about my long time friend Bill Vanderford as well as his accomplishments, his freshwater charter trips or wildlife tours, books written and his special line up of tackle offered, please visit his site for all the details!  For more details go

 Little Miss Judy Believe it or not!!  To be continued next week!!


“Kicking Fish Tail Since 1956”

POB 30771


912 897 4921 912 897 3460 FAX

Captain Judy’s email


What to wear fishing this HOT summer!

"What to Wear Fishing this HOT Summer”

By Tom Branch, Jr.

Fishing in the summer can be fantastic, unless you choose the wrong clothing. For summer time fishing, you should be wearing clothing that will protect you from the dangers of the sun and still be comfortable fishing. The technology involved in creating a quality of summer clothing is incredible today. It wasn't too long ago that when I went fishing during the summer, I put on a baseball cap, tennis shoes, tee-shirt and blue jean shorts.  Back in the day there just wasn't the clothing available to fish comfortably and protect your skin as there is today. Manufacturers like Columbia, Simms, World Wide Sportsman and Bass King have created some excellent choices for the summer angler. Their clothing looks stylish and protects your skin from the dangerous UV rays put out by the sun, and it keeps you cool. In this article, I will go over what you should be looking for in good summer clothing while you are outside on the water or fishing from the bank. At the end of the article you will find some of the items I wear on the water in the summertime.

Sun Screen
Let’s start out by protecting your skin first. I like to use a sweat proof quality sunscreen that will bond to my skin on contact and won't run down my eyes and sting. You need to find a sunscreen that doesn't leave a greasy residue which could adversely affect your grip. Look for a formula make up that is oil free, hypoallergenic and waterproof. A good sunscreen should soak into your skin very quickly. I still have not been able to find a fragrance-free sunscreen for my sensitive skin, especially on my face and neck. In the summer time, I reapply my sunscreen every few hours. Two small suggestions, keep baby wipes in your boat for wiping your hands off after applying your sunscreen. Lastly, purchase new sunscreen every year, sunscreen does go bad.

Base Layers
A thin t-shirt should form your base layer while fishing in the summer. Try a specially treated 100% polyester fabric with 50+ UPF rating.  There are fabrics available out there that wick away moisture. My favorites are the fabrics that are made to be water repellent and stain resistant with anti-odor properties that will battle the outdoor elements alongside you. As this is the layer that will be directly next to your skin, it is important that the material can allow moisture to escape from your body. If sweat can dry on your skin, it can quickly make you feel cold.

Bass Tech

On top of this base layer, a top made from nylon will help to keep cool. Look for an ultra-quick-dry 100% nylon button up shirt that is light, breathable and has “Spills Technology” to ward off blood-and-guts stains. I chose the long-sleeve version because you can protect your arms and roll them out if needed. These style shirts are very cool to wear on the water. Many of them come with front/back ventilation that keeps air flowing even as the roll-up collar protects your neck from harsh UV rays. I prefer the muted grays and light blues instead of the bright color shirts. Remember when you are fishing shallow water you want to look like the sky. Light blues and grays blend the best, I call it sky camouflage. Many of the quality brand shirts now are offering an SPF factor to the shirt material. These shirts are quick drying and cool to wear in the hot weather.

Long days on the water call for versatile clothes, and my preference are pants that have zip off legs like the convenient long pant style that convert to shorts. That way, I can have shorts on during the day and add the legs back on to the shorts if it gets cool on the return ride in the evening. Just like the shirt, listed above, remember to look at a stain resistance material. The short material has to have a minimum UPF 50+ sun protection. Wrinkle-resistant 100% nylon construction features allow these pants to travel in your luggage and still look good while on the water. My pants have to have plenty of pockets because I carry a lot of stuff on me when I am fishing. Now there are days when I just want to wear shorts and I leave the long pants on shore.

I have two shoes/sandals I wear when fishing in the summer, one is a flip flop and the other is a water shoe. Comfortable feet are a must when I am fishing. I want a lightweight sandal that has a soft foot bed. If you wear sandals, you want a flexible material, light weight and ventilated. The upper material should conform easily to your foot. If you want comfort on your feet, you must look forward to spending around $25. A quality product will also be UV-resistant, odor-resistant, slip-resistant and easy to clean. If I want to wear shoes fishing during the day, I wear a shoe that is made with waterproof materials. You want a shoe that will dry fast when it gets wet. My shoes have a drainage tunnel to remove water quickly from inside the shoe. That way, I am not sloshing around in my shoes, on the boat deck causing blisters on my feet. Try the shoes with elastic bungee lacing because you can pull them tight once they get wet and loose. Like any shoe on a boat, you want to have a non-slip and non-marking rubber outsole.


A hard hat liner might sound a bit unconventional, but it will keep your neck, ears and head warm in cold weather. In the summer, I wear a wide-brimmed hat on the water. This will guard against sunburn, overheating and overexposure to the sun. The preferred head covering is a wide bream hat, not a cap. Although the popular and seen-everywhere ball caps help some, a hat with a full brim is made to protect the head, face, neck and ears. Make sure the hat is made with a breathable material so your scrap can breathe. Keep in mind that water reflects the sun. It intensifies the effect of the rays, and even brings them up from the water surface to your face that is under a hat.

Lots of anglers don't like wearing gloves while fishing, as it can make casting the rod and reeling in catches much more tricky. If you go on fishing boat trips, you'll probably want a pair though to keep your hands warm on the journey, before the actual fishing starts. However, in the summer time, you need protection on your hands. A few years ago, I had the chance to talk to Shaw Grigsby, and he told me once you had a skin cancer cell removed from your hand you will wear gloves all the time. The pain from the surgery is very bad, and it is so simple to put on a pair of gloves to protect you from the dangerous sun rays. The best gloves have a built-in UPF sun protection.

Strike King Lures

 This summer I am wearing the Costa Rockport sunglasses. They are their newest rimless sunglasses from Costa Del Mar. These sleek, sporty shades are unique with full eye coverage and lightweight fit, without compromising durability. The Rockport sunglasses offer thicker, wider temples to block light from entering from the sides. These glasses will make you forget they're on. I wear 100% polarized lens because they block yellow light from entering the eye which eliminates glare. I really like the Rockport sunglasses because they fit my face properly. If the sunglasses are correctly fitted, it will allow the lens to breathe around your eyes. More than anything, this will not allow the sunglasses not to fog up when air is passing between your lenses and the skin about the eyes. Remember what I say about good sunglasses; you get what you pay for and you must demand quality!

Costa Del Mar

 The latest fishing crazy for summer time is the face covers or buff’s. Wearing one of these means you can wear it as a face mask to skip the sun screen in your face. No smelly stuff on your wonderful bait any more. The stretchy, seamless microfiber polyester buff’s fabric comes in different patterns and looks. The material is designed to wick moisture at the surface for lightweight and comfortable protection from sun and wind. These buff's may be worn comfortably as a neckerchief, scarf, headband or balaclava. They are perfect for fishing, hiking, paddling and many other outdoor activities. All of them machine wash, and you should allow them to air dry before the next usage. Another reason to wear this item is the bugs. My last trip out night fishing with all those tiny little gnats/bugs started buzzing around and getting in my face, nose and eyes I was covered with my buff. More than anything I really like all the different ways you can wear them!

Additional Extras
The number #1 most important thing we all should not go to the lake without is a good-quality life jacket. I must admit, I never go fishing or even just boating without wearing it; I love my family too much. Remember if you every fall in with all the above on, you must be able to swim. A live vest should be worn on top of everything else it is really hardly noticeable, and it could save your life.  I would recommend looking at the Mustang Survival Competition Inflatable PFD Vest; this vest cost $289. This type of life jacket inflates only under hydrostatic pressure. Just buy the automatic inflatable type vest, there is no substitute. The competition version of this vest is stylish. It features a secure zip closure that can withstand rigorous activity; heavy duty coated nylon for increased durability, and is very lightweight, comfortable, and compact. It will keep you on top of the water long enough to allow yourself to get back in the boat. Attach your kill switch to your life vest any time your gas motor is running.

Wearing the right clothes is essential for anglers, as it's inevitable that you're going to be spending large amounts of time sitting around in the sun. Even when you're actively fishing, there isn't that much physical movement involved, so you can't rely on this to keep you cool, in the summer. Please dress with protection and safety in mind!


What I use & wear:

  • Coppertone Sport Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 50

  • Bass King – BassTech Sun shirt

  • World Wide Sportsman Blue Water Amphibious Shoes for Men – Olive
  • Crocs™ Modi Flip Sandal for Men – Black
  • Hats
  • Gloves
  • Sunglasses - Costa Rockport
  • Facemask - Buff
  • Life Jacket - Mustang Survival Competition Inflatable PFD Vest with HIT


About the author: Tom Branch, Jr. is a freelance outdoor writer, a full time Lieutenant/Firefighter-Paramedic with over 27+ years of service with the Gwinnett County Fire Service in Georgia and a part owner of Wave Away, LLC.  He has been working and consulting in the Outdoor Industry for over 17 years and is currently creating and managing a pro fishing team, developing new products, promoting products through demonstrations, designing packaging, and he participates in different forums, radio & television shows.  Tom and his wife, Kim are volunteers with Operation One Voice. They live north of Atlanta near Braselton, GA with their lab “Jake”.

Follow him on  and




Blog by Captain Judy


“Kicking Fish Tail Since 1956”

My fishing statement

 To try to insure that fishing stays in the hearts that love it and to help the ones that are going too!!

Here is the link to the fishing reports. On the right side of the page there are videos. The fishing report will be located there.

Tiger Shark - GA

Pam Page sets Georgia State Record for Tiger Shark

On June 3, 2012 Pam Page, while fishing on board with the X-TA-SEA fishing team, scored a big one!!  This big tiger shark tipped the scales to the 190 mark declaring her the new Women’s Georgia State tiger shark record holder!  While fishing regular at the artificial reef “J” this tiger shark couldn’t resist a quick snack.  Pam has now become one of those that caught the biggest!  A big congratulation goes out to Pam Page and the X-TA-Sea fishing team!!

 Are big shark dangerous to those that swim in the sea?

When questions are asked like this one it’s best to go to the above water source.  Cathy Sakas is the education coordinator for NOAA Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary and she knows about these sharks.

According to the sources that do know, tiger sharks don’t fit into the aggressive types.  However, all fish of all sizes when food is available want to eat.   The tiger shark is no different.  Here are some scenarios to consider not doing:  Diving or swimming where sharks are feeding, which is normally around schools of bait fish.  If you are a spear fishermen (diver) beware that those fish that you are killing for supper are sending off some great distress signals, which a shark’s keen sense can detect.  These sounds  are ringing the dinner bell for a shark.  The bottom line is that all fish live to eat.  So therefore any signals sent that imitate a code of distress just might be visited.   The bottom line when it comes to shark fishing is if you are not going to eat them don’t keep them!!  If you are not sure, which sharks are legal to keep, don’t keep them.  I always suggest to my customers to take a picture and let them keep swimming!!  Please check all state and federal fishing regulations before heading out to fish!  Fishing, catching, and releasing is one thing, and keeping is another!


Inshore Flounder Fishing


Inshore flounder fishing

The sounds are holding some nice flounder and where you catch one there are bound to be others.  Here are a few tips:  they like to move when the tide is slack, love live bait such as shrimp and mud minnows, and where you catch one there is bound to be others.

 Live shrimp, dead shrimp! Let’s talk about bait mate!!

Let’s face it with water temperatures in the upper eighties all live bait in are going to be stressed and in most cases expire.  pire.  When the water is hot I suggest waiting until the last minute to purchase your bait.  Adam’s Bait house normally has plenty of live shrimp.  To contact him please call 912 898 1550.  For those that like to catch their own I suggest making is a bait day or a fish day.  The reason being doing both on the same day is going to be tough especially during these hot times. 

Once you have your bait, make sure that your circulation pump is doing its job.  Also it’s not going to hurt to throw a little ice into the well to bring the temperature down a bit. It’s a known fact that shrimp are not a hardly baits and don’t survive well in warm water.


 Captain Ray Crawley has his ways of keeping his bait alive as well as hardy.  This plastic grate offers a shrimp some where to hold on and rest.  If your live well makes them swim all the time then by the time you get to the fish your best will be completely worn out. 

  Rock and Burlap

Another old school suggestion is to take a piece of burlap and wrap it around a rock and place it in the bottom of your live well.  My father called this “shrimp rides!”  I really never understood what this was all about until I got older.  It helps to offer your shrimp a place to rest. 

Frozen bottles of water

I suggest freezing a couple bottles of water and then laying them on the bottom of your live well.  This will bring the water temperature in your bait well down a bit.  Or you can wrap burlap around your frozen bottle and get two saving jobs done at once. 

 How to be accomplished “bait chaser!”

Menhaden mayhem!

Menhaden Mayhem

Captain Kathy Brown can throw and winning cast net!

  Menhaden Catching

The question is how do you get you best chance at catching menhaden when they are holding in 20 feet plus of water?

After running this by John Pirovano at River Services (912 354 7777) we both came to this conclusion….

You need a net that is going to sink faster than these bait fish can swim to get away from it. After all if you think about it the old menhaden and the school it swims in have eyes in the back of their heads.  And they also have what could be known as a connected radar system, which is tied together with all fish in the same school.  So therefore if one fish detects a problem all menhaden in the school are quickly notified.  With all this brought to light it’s time to fight their safety escape mode. 

There are two nets that are best used to get this catching job done in deep water.  The first is a Betzs Sea Green 7 foot 5/8 mesh net, which falls fast. (Least expensive) The second is a West Coast 8 foot 3/4 mesh cast net.  (Most expensive) Both cast nets are weighted properly to get this sort of catching job done.  The West Coast net has coated circular weights, which means not as much noise or damaged when it hits your deck!!  For those fishermen out there that want more information on these nets please contact John Pirovano or Allan Coney at River Services (912 354 7777) They are expecting your call!!

 Artificial Reefs

Alice Bring and her daughter Ali…

What’s for dinner??

Got Fish

First mate Lee hicks, Alice Bring and her daughter Ali, and Captain Deidra Helmey Jeffcoat of Miss Judy Charters “GOT FISH!”    Alice and Ali are very well known customers and friends over here at Miss Judy Charters.  They are holding two nice summer trout, which couldn’t pass up their small pieces of cut squid!  So therefore it looks like trout almondine tonight!

 Spanish Mackerel

 Spanish mackerel here and there

While fishing the sounds, beach fronts and artificial reefs we have caught a few Spanish mackerel.   My suggestion is to find a school of fish, stop outside the school, and pitch directly into them…or troll the out skirts, or just plow right through the school…believe me one of these fishing plans should work!

I have started seeing Spanish mackerel haphazardly getting some serious air anywhere from about 3 miles to 20 miles offshore.   It’s my prediction that these fish will stay more and more on the surface over the next couple of weeks.  The reason being is once they spawn between August 6 through August 9 the will be happier and a whole lot lighter!!

Savannah Snapper Banks Tips for catching vermilion!!

When fishing for vermilion snapper you should drop directly into the school and reel up a few turns quickly.  I determined depth fished by where I mark the largest school on the fish finder.  It seems on most occasions that the upper water column holding vermillions are at 5, 10, or 15 feet up.  The larger vermilion has a tendency to hold and feed above the smaller fish.  The theory being that larger fish don’t want to fight with a bunch of smaller fish over their intended meal.  Don’t stay on one fishing area to long.  Keep moving to different locations, this takes the edge off of scattering the school by drifting these small location over and over.  Here’s a Captain Judy special secret.  When looking on your favorite ledge for larger bottom fish the rule of my thumb is…if the bottom fish are feeding the smaller fish shouldn’t show up on your fish finder screen.  In other words, the larger fish scare the smaller fish into to small round ups or into the safety of the ledge.   Bottom line is to always drop into these areas even if you don’t mark but a few a fish.  If the fish were there once, trust me they haven’t left the area!  

 Top Water FishFor those fishermen that like light tackle fishing or should I say “catching” live bait is the ticket to the screaming ride. A good plan would be to stop at one of the artificial reefs and do a little live bait fishing.  This means load up the old live well and take them to the Banks, rigged them up, cast them out at different depth, and play the drifting thing, 

Gulf Stream Report  

Bills and deals!!

Bills Deals

 It’s time to catch a bill fish…just about anywhere…

 With water temperature reaching and staying in the mid eighties it not unusual to see a bill fish getting air from the artificial reefs all the way out to the Gulf Stream.  The best suggestion that I have is if you see one, throw what have at them, and hope for the best!!

 Freshies Report

Bill Vanderford is “Lake Lanier’s Legend!”

For more about my long time friend Bill Vanderford as well as his accomplishments, his freshwater charter trips or wildlife tours, books written and his special line up of tackle offered, please visit his site for all the details!  For more details go

 Little Miss Judy Believe it or not!!

Running Naked

My father always told me that Warsaw Island was the only beach that he knew of that you could legally run around and sun in the nude!  Please don’t try this without checking out the rules and regulations!

 Thanks for reading!

Captain Judy Helmey
(912) 897 4921



Don’t Be Scared, Competition is Good

 I love good competition in the workplace and on the field of play. No matter what job you have or sport you play in it is going to be there. This applies to athletes, supervisors, employees and surprisingly in life.

If you want to succeed in fishing, no matter what you do or where you go there is always going to be competition on and off the water. There are going to be other anglers ready and willing to hand you a loss or even work harder for a sponsor than you do. If you are number one, you are who everyone else is chasing. 


 Photo Courtesy of James Overstreet

 What about in the creation of a “newfangled” gadget that is going to change the outdoor market forever? You are dang right, you are going to have competition and they are going to challenge you in more ways than you ever could image. In the stores, at shows and maybe in the courtroom. I say stick that chest out and dive head first into the battle.

 Some people don’t see the competition in the work place as a positive. You might want to get a certain promotion in your current job or position, but you are scared of who else could be trying for that same promotion. You must have better knowledge, good training and more education than everyone. Make others look your way!  Don’t take the time to look over your shoulder at who is after you and wanting your job. Show your boss you are the best!

 Some people believe there is no competition in life, but I must beg to differ. There is going to be competition every day in your life. There will always be people that can do a bunch of things better than you. Now you know the truth, so strive every day to be better than all those people who dare call you the competition.



Tom Branch

 About the author: Tom Branch, Jr. is a freelance outdoor writer and full time Lieutenant/Firefighter-Paramedic with over 27+ years of service with the Gwinnett County Fire Service in Georgia.  He has been working and consulting in the Outdoor Industry for over 17 years and is currently creating and managing a pro fishing team, developing new products, promoting products through demonstrations, designing packaging, and participates in different forums, radio & television shows.  Tom and his wife, Kim are supporters and volunteers with Operation One Voice. They live north of Atlanta near Braselton, GA with their lab “Jake”.

 Follow him on  and



Captain Judy's Fishing Report

Inshore Report

The inshore bite dilemma!

The fishing inshore the past week hasn’t been what I would call a bonus catching time.  Our inshore captains have been struggling with catching or even purchasing live bait.  It has always been my thoughts that if we can’t get live bait then the fish can’t either.  With that being said, “The artificial stuff will work at least most of the time!”  However, there is something about an artificial lure and it seems that if the one holding the rod while using it doesn’t believe in it “bites might not happen!”  It’s true what they say about us fishermen we are definitely set in our ways!

So reporting a great catching week is going to be difficult to do.  However, I can report out of all of my captains, some had great luck while others did not.  As far as catching lots of spotted sea trout, red fish, and flounder, unfortunately this did not happen.  It’s like a “hot July bite” is already taking place with “those other bitters getting to the hook first!”  For those fishermen whether it was while visiting us or for those that fished on their own it was a very difficult week for sure!


 Bait Report

Not much to report!

Inshore fishermen are scrabbling around trying to purchase or buy any sort of live bait.  As you know I am always saying, “All fish will eat a shrimp.”  Well, that is definitely a true statement.  I had a few reports from bait fishermen that took to the creeks and rivers to do a little casting for shrimp on their own.  Well, the reports were not good.  I had two reports and neither was good.  Both fishermen duo’s struggled to get any live shrimp at all.  I had one fishermen report that they cast at the right tide, in all the right places and still came up with not so much.   


It’s a mixed bag affair!!

Flounder Bite

Flounder Bite

Fishing on the bottom with live bait such as mud minnows, sand perch, croaker, finger mullet and shrimp could get you a solid flounder bite.  When live isn’t available I suggest using stripped bait such as thin filets and belly strips.   They are tough and will last on your hooks a long time.  Once these strips are introduced to current  this is one bait that  waves looking just like something that is really alive.

 Red Fish Bite is light and sometimes they don’t bite!

We are catching some nice red fish inshore.  However, the bite isn’t consistence enough to say, “Red Hot!”  The best news that I can tell you is that when you do catch them they are a nice size and when you don’t get hooked up its still fun trying!

Spotted Sea Trout Bite

Good one minute and bad the next!

This is one fish that bait used dictates size of fish caught.  All fishermen including myself want to catch a big fish.  Heck, after all in some cases that’s why we all “GO FISH!”  So here’s a tip for targeting larger spotted sea trout.  A larger trout didn’t get that way being stupid.  So therefore it’s going to eat what will fills its stomach in one strike.  Lively baits such as a pinfish or finger mullet are the ticket to this ride. 

 When anchored up I suggest using artificial bait such as 1/8 to ¼ ounce jig head rigged with some sort of fluke or screw tail plastic.  While working your jig I suggest float lining one of these live fish. (Pinfish or finger mullet)  To insure a solid hook while not holding the rod I suggest using a small circle hook that is tied on to a fluorocarbon leader.   The secret to hook size used in to make sure it doesn’t over power the live bait.  In other words the bait should still be able to swim seemly free without fighting the weight or size of the hook. 


Artificial Reefs

Bottom fishing is just about as active as it’s going to get!

Artifical Reefs

Dave Zelski is pointing and Captain Kathy Brown is holding a nice 20 inch weak fish also known as a summer trout. 

Black sea bass still are being caught, fought, and kept.  The best news I can tell you is it’s possible to catch your limit and then move on the other types of fish.  The current black sea bass regulations are:  They have to be at least 12 inches tail length to keep with a bag limit of 5 per person.  Please always check current regulation before heading offshore to fish.  Best website to visit for up to date changes is  This is one website, especially if you are an offshore fishermen that you need to know and use!


Spanish and King Mackerel Reports

News you can use when it comes to trolling!

Trolling at the time of the year is also an option for catching fish. When going this route you really don’t need any bait just dragging different size spoons works just fine.  And for those that want to pitch to surface schools of fish I suggest small lure types with scoops on the front.  The reason being when you are retrieving this lure it dives.  The faster you retrieve the deeper it will go.  And when you stop reeling it reverses back right to the surface, which offers yet another way to get a fish’s attention!!

 However, we have not seen many Spanish mackerel schooling on the surface!

We have been catching a few Spanish while trolling Clark spoons on the surface, middle, and down deep in the water column.  As far as seeing schooling jumping and schooling on the surface this has not happened as of yet.  So therefore finding schools so that you can pitch to them has not happened yet.  

 King Mackerel

For those that want to target this fish I suggest making way to one of the artificial reefs located in 50 feet plus of water.  The first artificial reefs that come to mind are L Buoy, J Buoy, and CCA Buoy.


As far as suggestions on how to get hooked up I suggest catch some live bait with your sabiki rigs and putting the baits in well circulated bait well.  The best baits are going to be cigar minnows, Spanish sardines, jack mackerel, pinfish, Boston mackerel, and blue runners.  These baits worked great when rigged on light tackle wire (30 pound test wire) rigs with double or triple stinger treble hooks. 


Savannah Snapper Banks

Lots of good catching opportunities!

The bottom as well as the top water bite continues to be good with fishermen catching a little of everything.  It’s getting to be that time of the year where the blue water fish get mixed in with those fish that mostly swim to the west of them. 


Blue water fishing report

Third Place

  Cotton Picker

June 8 and 9, 2012

Report sent by Captain Kevin Rose

 We fished the Bohicket billfish invitational on the Cotton Picker and placed third.  We caught and released two white marlin on the first day and a blue marlin hooked up four minutes after lines in was called on the second day. It was my first blue marlin as an angler after years of being the wire guy, hookup guy or captain. They say the early bird gets the worm and this one got the marlin, I was the lone angler in the cockpit when the buzzer rang and Capt. Geno and John were busy. We landed the Blue and two whites on 60# flour leader and 30# mono. All fish were caught with circle hooks on naked ballyhoo. Captain Kirk Sutlive another Savannah captain got second on the Miss magnolia with two blues and one white in one day.

 For more details on the winners, please go here


Freshies Report

Captain Bob Morrissey wins bet with his son Mike!!

By just dragging a lure!!


Captain Uncle Bob Morrissey while rowing his 15’ Heritage is holding up his just caught spotted bass.  While rowing in Lake Lanier and dragging a plain old lure the master caught this fish.  This proves that you will catch more fish with a hook in the water than not!  

For more information on Captain Uncle Bob’s 15 foot Heritage go to  The best news that I can tell you is that it’s easy to accomplish paddling speeds of 5 knots or better and the best news “no gasoline or oil needed!”

 Now for the rest of the story. Mike, Captain Uncle Bob’s son bet him that he couldn’t catch a fish while paddling much less trolling in the lake.  Well, as you can see the proof is not only in the picture but also on the hook!! 


Those fishermen that want to “GO FISH LAKE LANIER”

Bill Vanderford is “Lake Lanier’s Legend!”

For more about my long time friend Bill Vanderford as well as his accomplishments, his freshwater charter trips or wildlife tours, books written and his special line up of tackle offered, please visit his site for all the details!  For more details go


 Here’s my line now bite my hook!

My fishing statement: To try to insure that fishing stays in the hearts that love it and to help the ones that are going too!!



“Kicking Fish Tail Since 1956”

POB 30771


912 897 4921 912 897 3460 FAX

Captain Judy’s email




Beat the Heat With Summer Trout Fishing

Fly Fishing

Summer time in Georgia usually means one thing---heat and lots of it.  Although we don’t get the super heat of our nation’s arid areas, it’s still plenty hot enough for me.  When it seems as if you’re on the verge of melting in the humidity as you fish local reservoirs and a boat ride sounds good just to cool off, think about a great alternative.  I’m not talking about kicking back in the living room as the AC blasts a steady climate of 72 degrees.  I’m talking about trout fishing in our north Georgia streams and rivers.  The Department of Natural Resources does a superb job in managing hundreds of miles of  very productive trout fisheries that are just a short drive away.  Imagine yourself on a wide river in the morning as wisps of fog unfurl along the water’s surface.  The telltale rings of rising trout are visible as you plan your next cast.  It seems like you’re on a legendary river in one of our great western states, but this is a typical scene on the Chattahoochee and Toccoa River tail race fisheries.  If you’re interested in catching a lot of trout, these are the places to be.  The waters from Lakes Blue Ridge and Lanier flow very cold below their respective dams.  They create optimum conditions to support trout.  Due to size and popularity, both rivers are heavily stocked throughout the summer months.  Access is easy on both, with the Chattahoochee getting an upper hand for an abundance of public land along the river.  I’ve fished quite a few trout streams in the Appalachians over the years and the Hooch is hard to beat for consistent quality fishing, whether you’re dunking a worm or casting tiny flies.  While I have not personally fished the Toccoa, some seasoned anglers claim the fishing is even better.  Both rivers are fishable as long as water from the upstream reservoirs is not being released.  For water release schedules phone (770)945-1466 for the Chattahoochee and (800)238-2264 (option 4 followed by option 23) for the Toccoa.  Of particular note is the Chattahoochee law that requires life vests to be worn by all persons on the river from Buford Dam to the  Georgia Highway 20 bridge (Yes, I do sound like the recorded message.) which is three miles downstream.  This is for a very good reason.  Know the release schedules and if you hear horns sound, get out of the water immediately.  Some of our streams are managed by special regulations.  For instance, on the Chattahoochee, anglers cannot use live baits below the Highway 20 bridge.  Get up to speed by picking up a copy of the regulations at a local tackle shop or visit

 Choose Bright and Dark Colors for Lures

Fly Fishing

 If you enjoy catching fish on light tackle, trout fishing is a perfect opportunity.  Although some anglers use ultralight rod and reel combos paired with six pound test, four pound string will yield more strikes.  Some avid anglers even use two pound test line.  Spinning tackle is superior in this application although some anglers opt for spincast or underspin outfits for ease of use.  If you’re getting beginners or youngsters into the sport, the latter options are very fine choices because they are easily mastered.  Ultralight rods in the four to five foot range are the norm.  There are some who prefer much longer rods and this includes me.  On larger waters they offer greater casting distance and line control.  I even use a seven foot ultralight model on mountain streams with tight quarters and have no trouble flicking a lure or live bait into a run that might hold a fish or two.  I also prefer a larger reel than most use for light line applications.  Very small reels typically have very small spool diameters.  This means the line has somewhat restricted flow during a cast.  Line flows more easily off a larger diameter spool.  I feel that the heavier reel weight balances the rod tip better as well.  We now have a few smaller reels that boast extra wide spools making them super for light line fishing.  Try an Extreme or Pro Qualifier reel paired with a Micro-Lite spinning rod for a fine set up.  When it comes to line, choose green colors.  This shade best blends in the water for nearly any angling situation.  Fluorocarbon lines have a more invisible light refraction index but can be tough to handle with lighter tackle.  Popular lure types include spinners and minnow shaped plugs.  When it comes to the former, you can’t go wrong with models from Mepps, Panther Martin, or Rooster Tail.  For the latter, look for the brands Rapala and Yo-Zuri.  The myriad of color choices among these categories can seem like a sojourn into Alice in Wonderland.  As a general rule of thumb for spinners, choose a few bright colors and a few darker earth tone and natural insect colors.  For the minnow plugs, the bright colors are fine choices along with brown trout, brook trout, and rainbow trout patterns.  Both lure types are very easy to effectively fish.  Simply cast quartering upstream and retrieve as they swing down with the current.

 Get Hooked on Fly Fishing 

If you really want to have some fun, I recommend fly fishing.  Fly fishing and trout streams were meant for each other.  Using the right techniques, you can often catch more than you would by tossing artificial lures.   Fly fishing has a vastly undeserved reputation as being difficult to master.  At the age of thirteen I self-taught myself how to cast a small popper using the manual that came with my Abu-Garcia fly reel.  This can only mean that anyone can do it.  It opened up a new and very exciting way to catch bluegill and small bass on local farm ponds.  Today’s instructional books and DVD recordings make it easier than ever to get started on the right foot.  A good outfit including line can be had for a very reasonable price.  Pick a floating line as it will serve well for presenting dry flies and weighted subsurface nymphs or streamers.  Fly outfits are classified by weight.  A four or five weight set up with an eight to eight and a half foot rod is a great all around choice for our area.  You’ll want to pick up a few leaders and some tippet material while you’re in the shop.  For our larger fisheries such as the Chattahoochee and Toccoa Rivers, weighted subsurface nymphs and streamers will produce the most fish day after day. The former often sport metallic bead heads for weight and are fished under strike indicators.  A bushy dry fly can make a fine strike indicator as well.  As a bonus, aggressive trout will often smash the surface fly.  To be effective, nymphs are fished with a drag free drift; that is to say they need to move with the same speed as the current versus ripping along at a faster pace.  A technique called “mending” during a drift adds more productive drag free time to the presentation.  Streamers are hugely fun to fish and work very well on larger waters.  Simply cast quartering upstream as you would a spinner or plug and retrieve with sharp tugs as the fly swings down and through its final downstream arc.  When on smaller streams, I’m nearly always fishing a dry fly.  There’s nothing quite like anticipating the surface strike as it drifts through a run and watching as a hungry trout slashes to take it.  It only gets better when you’ve constructed and tied that fly yourself.  As with the weighted nymphs, dries are most productive when cast mostly upstream and given drag free drifts.  If you’ve hesitated to wade in the fly fishing world, do a little research and you could become hooked. 

 Float Tubes Expand Your Reach


 It’s worth merit to discuss accessories and other things that will make your time on rivers and streams more enjoyable, efficient, and productive.  The first thing is a handy tool that includes precision line clippers and a device for tying a nail knot used for connecting leader to fly line.  On another front, a valid question is does one opt for waders or go without?  While angling on small streams you’ll seldom be in water above your knee or mid-thigh and the cool water along with shade is really nice on a hot summer day.  The two prominent large rivers mentioned herein are a different story.  Their waters are colder than mountain streams and waders are a must.  Sweat pants or fleece models worn underneath provide a welcome layer of insulation.  These days, most anglers wear lightweight and breathable stocking foot style waders.  These are designed to be worn with wading boots.  Boots will provide an extra measure of ankle support while negotiating across slippery rocks.  With thick socks worn to compensate for waders, wading boots make excellent choices for small streams as well.  Floating larger rivers provides yet another dimension to the angling experience.  The small investment of a float tube will actually contribute to safer wading and open up areas that are inaccessible to many.  On a larger scale, when paired with a friend or two and a downstream take out vehicle, a tube enables you to explore miles of water.  Remember that a float tube does not meet the qualification of a life vest.  Speaking of vests, a fishing vest is your wearable tackle box on these river and stream expeditions.  Multiple pockets make convenient storage for small boxes of flies, leaders, bug spray, water bottles, and your lunch of course.  And what could be finer than taking a lunch break while sitting on a rock and listening to the sound of moving water as you contemplate angling adventures that lie around the next bend?  In closing, I’m going to state that even in this age of the catch and release ethic, it’s morally okay to eat trout.  They’re delicious when breaded in seasoned flour and fried or cooked on the grill in foil with lemon, butter, and herbs.  I will keep trout from streams that are regularly stocked.  This use is one of the purposes for plentiful stockings in public areas.  If a fish’s color is exceptionally bright along with long fins, I release it.  This is typically a wild trout and should be preserved.  In closing, I hope you’ll take a relaxing break and give our abundant trout populations some attention this summer.  It’s a perfect way to cool off, unwind, and get back in touch with nature.  Until next month, take care and have a wonderful summer!


“Kicking Fish Tail”

My fishing statement

 To try to insure that fishing stays in the hearts that love it and to help the ones that are going too!!



Flounder season has arrived

The flounder bite has been getting better and better.  The best baits are going to be the live stuff such as shrimp, mud minnows, and finger mullet.  There is a rule of thumb to live by when targeting flounder where you catch one there are bound to be many others. 

 Tips that you can use:

When trying to catch a fish that sees like a rabbit, is as cunning as a fox, and strikes like a cobra, there are a few things that you need to consider.  

It’s my suggestion to fish an incoming tide stage.  The reason being is that the water usually is clearer at this tide stage.  The flounder is a sight feeder so the clearer the water the better.  When the tide is slack, flounder go into the moving mode not so much to feed, but to make sure that they get enough needed oxygen.  My suggestion is to get situated while the tide is completely low and be ready when the tide starts to flood.  After all, the flounder is doing the same thing, moving and getting ready to set up to feed as soon as the tide goes into the flood mode.    


Shark Bite Report

Shark Bite

With the water temperature in the mid seventies and over, sharks have to swim, prompting an unbelievable eating pattern.    On this particular day we caught 10 sharks, which we released after getting their picture.  There is something that all fishermen need know when it to comes to handling a shark, “they are strong and their strength will sometime shock you”.  So therefore when handling any size shark please be careful, because they can deliver a very nasty bite.  If nothing else just with a flip of a tail a couple of layers of skin will be gone.  However, bites and shark sanding on your skin offers up one heck of a fish catching story.  Believe me I have plenty of scars to prove it!


 2012 black sea bass season is open

Black Sea Bass

Now this is what you might call a soon to be big mess of black fish filets.  The best news that I can tell you is this and I don’t eat fish a lot, but if I do it most likely will be some fresh fried black sea bass. And on top I would pour Georgia cane syrup.

 The black sea bass season is officially open and believe me there are plenty of these tasty fish to catch.  Best places to fish are artificial reefs and Savannah Snapper banks…best baits are anything from cut squid to cut fish to artificial plastics, please always check regulations before heading out to do any sort of fishing…


Savannah Snapper Banks

A place to catch a little of everything!


This is a great area to get a chance to catch a little of everything.  For those that want to bottom fish only, there are all kinds of catching possibilities.  When it comes to this area and due to the fact that there is a lot of scattered live bottom, drift fishing just plain works.  


Gulf Stream Report

 Wahoo also known as “tail cutter!” 

Tail Cutter

This is the head of a nice size Wahoo, which from its opened mouth spread it can eat pretty big bait without any problem.  The nickname for this fish is “Tail Cutter.”  The reason being is that it’s capable of running through different size baits from small to large while removing the tail section only.  This is one smart fish, because as all fishermen know, the tail section is the smallest part of the fish.  With the tails sliced off the bait while still being alive it tries to swim, which is just about when the Wahoo makes a quick 180 degrees turn back to the strike zone also sometimes referred to the eating zone. 

Bona-Fide Wahoo Bite Delivered!

How do you know if it’s a bona-fide Wahoo bite? What does it mean to us fishermen?

 Well, the best thing I can tell you is this is a fish that makes initially one hard hit, which is usually when its sharp teeth cut the tail completely off.  Under normal circumstances a fish can’t swim at least too much with its tail cut off.  So if the bait you are pulling has had it tail removed I suggest free spooling it back as soon as possible.  And not only do I suggest dropping the bait that was hit, but also all other baits too!  This is called prospect fishing at its finest!

 Freshies Report

 Please meet Nikki and her husband Matt…A catching story that needs to be told…

What does that mean?

Nikki and Matt

Please meet Nikki and her husband Matt Ivie.  He is holding Nikki's first fish caught. 

Nikki and her husband Matt Ivie, along with his brother Clay, decided to do a little fishing at Lake Seed.  It was Nikki’s first time for going fishing and she was excited about the prospect of hooking a big one.  For bait Nikki was using a Green Pumpkin trick worm, which the bass gladly hit and the rest is catching history. 

However, I must fill you in on some of the details, which I find interesting since I am around those that fish every day. First, when the bass was trying to eat Nikki’s bait, it appeared to her that she might be hung on the bottom.   Matt, screamed “Nikki, set the hook,” and Nikki screamed back, “what does that mean?”  After making that comment Nikki kind of threw the rod over to her husband, which must have subsequently set the hook! After “fish on” point was made clear Nikki was handed the rod back and she reeled the fish in. 

Believe me, now that I think about this and since Nikki brought it up, “this is oh so true!”  More people don’t than do know what “set the hook” means.  The reason I know this is because when I am screaming set the hook quite often the fishermen holding the rod will ask that same exact simple question as did Nikki, “what does that mean?” 

After Matt removed the fish off the hook for Nikki he said, “It’s customary to kiss your first fish!”  And Nikki said, “Please just put it right back into the water, because that will be no first fish kissing today!”   And now you know the rest of the story!

 Those fishermen that want to “GO FISH LAKE LANIER”

Bill Vanderford is “Lake Lanier’s Legend!”

For more about my long time friend Bill Vanderford, as well as his accomplishments, his freshwater charter trips or wildlife tours, books written and his special line up of tackle offered, please visit his site for all the details!  For more details go

 Little Miss Judy’s Believe It or Not!

Summer camp 1958 

Capital Judy

Little Captain Judy and her dog Skippy!  

The summer of 1958!

During our childhood I guess we all went to some type of summer camp at least once. I fall under the category of “at least once.”  My father thought he was doing the right thing, but upon arrival I wasn’t so sure.  After a long thought process my father decided to send me to a two-week summer camp.  As well as I remember it wasn’t too far out of town.  In fact, if memory serves me, which it does sometimes; it was located on the west side of town.  At this time, when most roads weren’t triple lane much less paved, traveling from Wilmington Island to the west side of Savannah took about 1-½ hours.   As we rode my father told me how wonderful he thought this experience would be for me. At this point, I wasn’t sure, but I still listened as daddy talked about all of the wonderful things that I was going to be doing.  At this point I am not sure who he was trying to convince the most..

 Upon arrival, we unloaded, checked in, and then it was time for daddy to leave.  I wasn’t sure about this part because I didn’t know if I even wanted to stay.  After a few tears shared from both of us it was decided that I would at least give it a try.

 I believe the name of the camp was “Union Mission”.  There were lots of cabins.  The camp was split into two sections, one for the girls and one for the boys.  All cabins had adults staying in each one.  After all, I was about seven years old and that wasn’t such a bad idea.  The cabins were lined with bunk beds.  There must have been 10 bunk beds to each cabin.  As normal we all fought for the top bunk.

 After getting settled in it was about lunchtime so all-camp attendee’s met at the big building in the middle area, which was the cafeteria/meeting hall.  I was a little hungry because crying and unpacking did take a lot out of you. As we were eating a big tall person came in and started telling us about all of the things that we were going to get to do.  There was swimming, canoeing, fishing, horseback riding, and boat rides. The only thing that really interested me was horseback riding.  My father would never buy me a pony, even though we had a place to keep it.  He always said, “You might end up on the highway and get run over.”  I never believed that for once, there just wasn’t that much traffic on Wilmington Island.  At any rate I never got that pony!

It seemed like a great place if you like this sort of thing.  Everyone seemed to be happy with the possible up coming events. After one night and thinking about it I made my decision.  I took all of my clothes and threw them in the dumpster.  I knew it wouldn’t be long before I would be seeing daddy again, which did happen quicker than I thought. 

 The bottom line when it came to camp was a simple one. We lived on a creek and I could go swimming when I wanted to.  I had my own boat in which I could go riding when I wanted to.  Fishing was optional.   I could go with daddy to the ocean or just fish in the creek.  As I looked at it, camp only had one thing to offer that I didn’t already get to do on a regular basis, which was horseback riding.  After weighing all of the facts horseback riding just wasn’t all that great after all!

On the way home we didn’t talk about the missing clothes.  I just remember talking a mile a minute.  I was so happy to see my father and to be going home.  Somehow now that I think about it all involved knew that I just wasn’t cut out for any sort of camp. By the way, I am stilling living in the same place that I was when I was seven.  I still don’t want to go to camp or have a pony, but I still can go fishing when I want.  Now that I think about it absolutely nothing has changed. 

Thanks for reading! Captain Judy


“Kicking Fish Tail Since 1956”

POB 30771


(912) 897 4921

(912) 897 3460 FAX

Captain Judy’s email



Today while I am surfing around the web I came across - . This is an interesting web site that has tons of information on it that could be useful to some and handy to many who support the “Right to Bear Arms”.

 The Right To Bear Arms

"The Second Amendment to the Bill of Rights protects an individual's right to possess a firearm, unconnected to service in a militia and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home." I call it your right to carry protection when and where the governments say it is okay to carry it!

A Georgia Weapons Carry License allows you to carry a handgun on or about your person, openly or in a holster or similar device, in which event the weapon may be concealed by your clothing, or a handbag, purse, attaché case, briefcase, other closed container, or in any location in a motor vehicle.

Now let’s make this simple (not really, just a play on words) – where you cannot carry a gun in Georgia if you have a “Georgia Weapons Carry License”: a Government Building, a courthouse, in a jail or prison, in a place of worship, in a state mental health facility, in a bar unless the owner permits carry (the owner has to grant permission for you to be able carry), on the premises of a nuclear power facility, polling location and on any school grounds. More details can be obtained by reading Georgia Law - 

O.C.G.A. 16-11-120 The Georgia firearms and weapons act.

Last interesting fact: the State of Georgia does not require the registration of firearms owned by its citizens. Georgia law actually prohibits local city/county governments from registering firearms when applying for a firearms license.

Now that you are educated, go obtain a Georgia Weapons Carry License at your probate court in the county in which you live in.


 Tom Branch

About the author: Tom Branch, Jr. is a freelance outdoor writer and full time Lieutenant/Firefighter-Paramedic with over 27+ years of service with the Gwinnett County Fire Service in Georgia.  He has been working and consulting in the Outdoor Industry for over 17 years and is currently creating and managing a pro fishing team, developing new products, promoting products through demonstrations, designing packaging, and participates in different forums, radio & television shows.  Tom and his wife, Kim are supporters and volunteers with Operation One Voice. They live north of Atlanta near Braselton, GA with their two labs “Jake” and “Scout".


Follow him on  and



Top water baits at an affordable price!

I recently took the time to do a little product testing of my own with our $3.99 XPS line of baits. I chose a couple of top water baits since it is that time of year and wanted to see how they would perform along side some of the high dollar baits I have and man was I surprised. I picked our XPS Z-Pop and our XPS Slim dog as the ones I wanted to test .Now the XPS Z-pop is a chugging or popping style bait like the Pop-R and the Slim Dog is a walk the dog style bait.

The XPS Z-pop size I chose was the 3 ¼” size. I wanted a bigger profile bait since I would be fishing deeper water so the fish could see it. I was very impressed first with the cast ability this bait has and the action. The rod I like to throw my top water on is our BPS Crankin stick. This rod is a glass composite rod made for throwing crank baits, but because it has a lot of bend in the rod it gives top water baits a lot of extra action and has some give to it so that it is slower to react and allows the fish to eat the bait more for a better hook up rate. The XPS Z-pop has a great side to side action along with a great chug or popping noise to attract bass. I have caught several spotted bass and large mouth bass on different lakes with this bait in the few short weeks I have been using it.

The Slim Dog bait is another great walking bait. This lure moves side to side just as well as some of the better known walking style baits. Again, I throw this bait on our BPS Crankin Stick rod due to the action it gives to the bait and the bend it has which again gives the fish more time to eat the bait for better hook ups. I was just recently out on a fishing trip and caught a 3.5lb largemouth and lost one about the same size a few casts later. This bait can be fished quickly or slowly to entice some great strikes. It also fishes a little quieter on slick calm days which can be an advantage during those high presser days when the bass seem to be finicky.

But the one great attraction to both of these baits is the price at $3.99, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a great top water bait. If you would like to see these baits you can go to click on freshwater fishing chose hard baits-lures then chose top water, and then select Bass Pro Shops as the brand of bait on the left hand side and you will see all of our line along with the two I am talking about today. So if you are on a budget or just want a great bait for a great price then come in or go online and purchase a few today.


Hope to see you on the water!

Josh Panyard


Maui Jim = Guy Harvey

Meet the new Maui Jim – Guy Harvey Collection Sunglasses

 Guy Harvey

Guy Harvey, world-renowned artist, photographer, scientist and conservationist, has teamed up with Maui Jim to create his own line of unique sunglasses. A few weeks ago, I received a pair of these sunglasses to review and give my thoughts to the manufacturer.

As most of you already know I am a very honest person that calls it as I see it. The Maui Jim - Guy Harvey collections are very stylish looking sunglasses for general wear. These sunglasses definitely fit a slender person’s face very well.

Every pair of sunglasses in the Guy Harvey Collection sports have a really cool looking painting on the inside temples featuring Guy Harvey’s artwork. The sunglasses come with a patented temple design that lets you create a custom retainer by threading a piece of fishing line through the built-in openings located on the arms of the sunglasses. These sunglasses offer sleek lines, a rubberized nosepiece for added comfort, and tall temples that better block the side glare you get from the sun. The lenses are made of SuperThin glass technology that features polarized which are both scratch and impact resistant, and nylon frames. The blue rectangular frames are very lightweight and durable.

Experience Guy's new Maui Jim sunglass collection. The best performing polarized sunglasses on the market look even better with Guy's distinctive art! MSRP $309.99

Thanks for reading…… BRANCH


About the author: Tom Branch, Jr. is a Prostaffer at bass pro Shops in Atlanta, GA, a freelance outdoor writer and a full time Lieutenant/Firefighter-Paramedic with over 27 years of service with the Gwinnett County Fire Service in Georgia.  He has been working and consulting in the Outdoor Industry for over 16 years and is currently creating and managing a pro fishing team, developing new products, promoting products through demonstrations, designing packaging, and participates in different forums, radio & television shows.  Tom and his wife, Kim, live north of Atlanta near Braselton, GA with their two labs “Jake” and “Scout."

Follow him on  and



Swimbait Time on Lake Lanier!

By Eric Aldrich

It's that time of year. The post spawn period happens directly after bass spawn. While some anglers think this is a hard time to fish I must disagree. It may help if we break the post spawn time into three segments. 1st- The first few days after bass leave their beds. 2nd-The next two weeks after bass leave their beds and 3rd- The late spring early summertime period.

The first few days after the spawn, bass are almost impossible to catch. These fish are very tired and they basically suspend in the water column outside of prime spawning areas while they gather the energy they will need to chase down food. These bass are often beat up looking, but they should make a 100% recovery in the next month.

The two weeks after the spawn, bass start eating to fill their empty bellies. These fish will be fairly aggressive as they target the biggest baits they can find because they need to replenish. Lures that mimic their forage base will work the best. On most lakes this forage will be  threading shad, gizzard shad, brim and herring, to name a few. Because these bass are looking for a big meal swim baits are an excellent choice for anglers to use. One of my two favorite swim baits are both manufactured by SPRO-The BBZ1 4-inch shad and the BBZ1 6 inch trout jr. These lures were designed by swim bait guru Bill Siemantel and they will work on just about every lake you can fish.
Click here to check out this video I shot of Bill during the post spawn period.

The late spring early summer time signals some of the best fishing of the year. The bass have recovered and they have only one thing in mind...eating! This is my favorite the time of year to cast the BBZ1 6 inch slow sink for both size and numbers. Many anglers over think swim baits. The good news is that you can basically go down the banks casting to docks, brush and stumps. Vary your retrieve and impart sudden stops and starts through out the retrieve. The strikes can be very aggressive so hold on to your rod! Later in this post spawn period move on out to deeper water and call them up to the surface by v-waking a floating BBZ1 or go down after them with a fast sink BBZ1.


Go Outdoors! It's good for you!

Go Outdoors


Free Outdoor Essential Classes and Kids Summer Kickoff Challenge

Springfield, Missouri—(May 1, 2012)—Ask any adult what they remember best about childhood and chances are they will recall riding their bikes, building forts and tree houses and generally playing outdoors until after dark.  Kids were connected—to each other, their family and the outdoors.  And, according to several studies, they were physically and emotionally healthier. Information taken from The Conservation Fund website at states that researchers suggest “that the decline in children’s health is linked, in part, to their growing disconnect from nature and outdoor activity.”

Much national attention is being paid to this dilemma—so much that in early 2011 a report entitled America's Great Outdoors: A Promise to Future Generations”  was released that was part of President Obama's America's Great Outdoors Initiative.  It’s an effort to reconnect Americans to the outdoors. A separate report was produced based on "youth listening sessions" in which young people expressed a strong desire to spend time outdoors.  (Read more about the report )

Bass Pro Shops has long recognized the short and long term benefits for kids and adults being involved in the outdoors.  Their National Go Outdoors Event was developed as a way to give families the opportunity to learn all of the outdoor skills needed to make their next outdoor adventure a great one and to reconnect with each other in the beauty of the great outdoors.  This year’s Bass Pro Shops Go Outdoors Event will take place at 55 store locations in the United States May 18th-28th.

Exciting free events at the stores could include canoe and kayak demonstrations, casting contests, rock climbing walls, GPS classes, kid’s crafts, outdoor skills workshops, Dutch oven cooking, outdoor survival training and much, much more. There’s even the opportunity to get a great FREE 4x6 Family Photo download. (Events will vary per store.  Please visit ((beginning May 7)) and select individual store location for events listing.)

The Go Outdoors event offers great Outdoor Essentials classes for adults May 18th - 20th .

Friday, May 18th :

  • 6pm :  Hiking Basics --learn about the best equipment to use for a successful hike
  • 7pm:  Campfire Cooking --discover a new way to prepare tasty, over-the-fire meals
  • 8pm:  Kayaks & Canoes --find out how to select the best kayak or canoe for float trips

Saturday,May 19th:

  • 1pm:  Life Jackets –learn about proper life jacket fit and how to choose the best one for your needs
  • 2pm:  Inflatable Life Jackets –see how they work
  • 3pm:  Camping Essentials –if you’re a beginner camper this is the class for you
  • 4pm:  GPS Tips & Techniques –bring your GPS for hands-on advice
  • 5pm:  Backpacking –discover the latest features and benefits of backpacking gear

 Sunday, May 11th:

  • 1pm:  Dutch Oven Cooking –learn tips and techniques using this delicious cooking method
  • 2pm:  Inflatable Life Jackets –see how they work
  • 3pm:  Tent Set-up --learn tent set-up and the importance of choosing the proper tent
  • 4pm:  Smoker Tips & Techniques –learn the tips and techniques of smoker selection, food preparation and cooking

The Go Outdoors Event includes a “Summer Kickoff Challenge” with free weekend activities for kids Memorial Day weekend May 26th and 27th. From 11am to 4pm kids can learn how to set up a tent, compete in a sleeping bag race and enjoy a metal detector treasure hunt.  The first 100 kids in each store to complete the Summer Kickoff Challenge each day will receive a fun bug glider.  Kids will also be able to do a sand art craft from 12noon until 4pm Saturday, May 26th and paint a wooden insect craft Sunday, May 27th  (while supplies last; styles may vary).

Kids may also bring in their best wildlife photo for a chance to win the Summer Kickoff Photo Contest.  First place prize is a Bass Pro Shops 10x26 mm Compact Binoculars and a $25 Bass Pro Shops Gift Card and Second Place winner receives a $20 Bass Pro Shops Gift Card.

 “One of the most exciting and invigorating places to go this summer is just beyond your front door,” said Larry Whiteley, Bass Pro Shops Manager of Communications.  “Bass Pro Shops is committed to helping adults and children across the nation put away their laptops, video games, and cell phones and head outdoors.  Whether it’s fishing, hiking through a local park, or simply laying on your lawn watching the stars at night, there are so many great things to do outdoors this summer.”

While at Bass Pro Shops, register to win the “Outdoor Maui Adventure”—a 7day, 6-night trip to Maui, Hawaii.  One National Grand Prize will be awarded to one winner and their guest who will win the Maui Jim® and The North Face® Adventure Package that also includes airfare, hotel and car rental.  The total combined approximate retail value of the prize is $5,667.  (No purchase necessary to enter or claim prize. Open to legal residents of the 50 United States and District of Columbia and Canada ((excluding Quebec)) who are 18 years of age or older at time of entry.  All federal and other tax liabilities are the sole responsibility of the winner.  Sweepstakes begins on 5/18/12 and ends on 5/28/12.  See store for more details.)

Each store location will also select a First Place winner who will receive a gift package of one MasterBuilt Cookmaster propane smoker, one Pacific Bamboo BBQ tool set, one The North Face Terra 45 backpack, and one pair of Maui Jim sunglasses.  The total combined approximate retail value of the prize is over $500 (specific items are to be selected by Sponsor).

This year, commit to getting outdoors with your kids for all your health’s sake.  Visit Bass Pro Shops during the National Go Outdoors Event, interact with your family in the great outdoors and make some memories to last a lifetime.

About Bass Pro Shops Group:

Bass Pro Shops -58 retail stores in 26 states and Canada visited by over 112 million people annually; international catalog and internet retailing; American Rod & Gun wholesale division selling to over 7,000 independently owned retail stores worldwide; Outdoor World Incentives also selling Bass Pro Shops gift cards through over 132,000 retail outlets across America and a restaurant division with 26 locations.

For more information regarding Bass Pro Shops store locations, products or special events, please visit  To request a free catalog call 1-800-BASS PRO.

Tracker Marine Group – Manufactures and sells Tracker, Nitro, SunTracker, Tahoe, Grizzly, and Mako boats through Bass Pro Shops retail stores and dealers worldwide. For more information go to

Resort Group – Big Cedar Lodge and other resort properties including restaurants and golf course. For more information go to,, or


May Brings Topwater Action

May Bass Fishing

Take a poll among avid anglers and you’ll find that favorite seasons to fish are varied and opinions run strong.  Some prefer the immediate pre-spawn period in April while others prefer the advantages of finding concentrations of fish during the summer and winter months.  But, one thing that most anglers will agree on is that the late spring topwater bite is the best time of year to be on the water.  Both spotted bass and linesides are feeding heavily at this time.   Aggressive wolf packs of these predators often chase schools of baitfish right up to the surface making for some very exciting opportunities.  Few things in nature rival the adrenaline rush of watching a calm surface erupt with slashes and boils of feeding fish as you’re trying to get your plug into the action.  This phenomenon can get pretty dramatic and it’s common to spot activity from long distances in calm water conditions.  Look for topwater schooling to begin in early May and go strong through the month.  Striper action will typically taper off by early June while spotted bass with continue this activity through the summer months.  Although action can occur at any time, early morning and evening periods tend to be the most productive.  As always during the spring, weather factors can have a big influence on the fishing.  While it’s a great time to exploit topwater action, a strong frontal system can put the bite down for a day or two.  It’s important to have a back-up plan in case surface action does not materialize.  While searching for this, focus your efforts from the middle sections of creeks out to main lake areas near the creek mouths.  Although the predators are keying on roaming schools of baitfish, remember that “points point out the fish”.  Activity will very often erupt in the vicinity of a prominent point or submerged hump which is typically the extension of a point.

V-Wake a Redfin

 If you’re parked off the best looking point in your favorite creek and looking for surface activity, blind casting is always a good idea.  Just remember that you should be covering open water with some significant depth and not targeting the shoreline.  Blind casting a plug can put a lot of extra fish on the end of your line.   What type of topwater plug should you choose?  It’s no secret that fishermen are a highly opinioned bunch.  While “swear by” lure choices will vary widely, there are a handful of tried and true favorites that you’ll not go wrong with.  It’s now been over a decade since the Sammy by Lucky Craft hit the topwater scene.  And, it’s still going strong.  It’s a pricey choice at about $15 per copy but the results are hard to argue with.  The trademark American shad is a great color if you’re shelling out a few dollars for one of these.  If you’re looking for a more modest investment, you’ll not go wrong with the old fashioned Zara Spook.  This plug has been around for quite a few decades with good reason and still evokes lots of strikes from surface feeders.  The classic color for this classic lure is blue shore minnow.  It’s a north Georgia favorite.  While the original Zara Spook is very good, I eventually became a big fan of its newer big brother, the Super Spook.  As the name implies, this is a beefed up version and weighs in at nearly an ounce.  Long casts can be important when pursuing schoolers and this lure can be fired to impressive distances with the right tackle.  It also sports rotating treble hooks that really make a difference in improving the strike to fish on ratio.  Bleeding Shad is the only color I need for the Super Spook.  Another plug to consider is the Redfin by Cotton Cordell.  Technically, this lure is a jerkbait and will run subsurface on a medium to fast retrieve.  Savvy anglers use a different approach.  They use a slower retrieve and keep it on the surface producing what is known as a “V-wake”.  This has a great effect on stripers and will elicit strikes from real bruisers of the spotted bass world.  Die hard Redfin fans pick the chrome and blue color and swear that it’s even better when the finish is chipping off exposing the bone colored plastic beneath.  There is also a sub-cult following of the Smokey Joe color.

Two Rods Are Better Than One

Lures such as the Sammy, Zara Spook, and Super Spook mentioned in the previous paragraph are often called stick baits because of their basic shape.  There’s only one way to present this style of topwater plug.  The proper retrieve is referred to as “walking the dog”.   Reeling combined with short twitches of the rod tip will cause a stickbait to zig-zag or dart from side to side resembling a fleeing baitfish.  It only takes a little practice to master this and some plugs are engineered to walk with a minimum of effort imparted by the angler.  When it comes to topwater tackle in May and early June, opt for medium heavy gear.  Both casting and spinning set ups are appropriate.  Six and a half to seven foot rods get the nod.  Pair these with reels that will handle at least eighty to one hundred yards of twelve pound test line as a minimum.  If you pick up your favorite shallow spool model that’s in vogue with bass fishermen, you’re playing with fire because stripers are out there waiting.  When it comes to line, avoid fluorocarbon products.  While they do a superior job in many applications, they are heavy and will suppress the action of topwater plugs.  This is especially true with maximum distance between you and the lure.  Spool up with your favorite traditional monofilament product and you’ll be in good shape.  On the subject of tackle, it pays to have two rods rigged and ready on deck.  Backlashes and tangles do happen.  This is good insurance for those times when you’re on top of a school of predators kicking up water as they churn the surface.  Simply drop one rod and pick up another.  If you’re downed bait is floating motionless in the attack zone you may want to put one foot on the rod butt or put it in a holder…..just in case.  I’ve actually had fish become hooked up when striking a free floating lure attached to a tangled rod on a couple of occasions.  It can be quite the circus, especially if you’re fighting another fish as well.  On another note, it pays to be cautious when landing fish hooked with large topwater plugs.  I highly recommend investing in a good lip gripper type device.  These have become very affordable for the average angler and are much cheaper than a trip to the emergency room at the local hospital. 

Stay Mobile to Find Fish

If you’re out for striper action, live bait fishing will often pay off while searching for the topwater bite.  When searching an area and making blind casts with your favorite plug, bait up and trail a couple of flat lines about a hundred feet behind the boat.  Tie a small balloon inflated to golf ball size about ten feet above one bait and weight the other line with a medium size split shot about six feet up the line for a slightly deeper presentation.  Frisky blue back herring or shad are great choices when it comes to live bait.  If one rod hooks up on two consecutive fish, switch the other one to the same style of presentation.  If fish are erupting on the surface all around, the live bait flat lines can quickly become more trouble than they are worth.  This is especially true if you’re doing a lot of maneuvering with the electric motor.  This time of year, it really pays off to stay mobile. If conditions are favorable and you’re not seeing signs of life in seven minutes or so, move on to the next spot.  For greater efficiency, have a route planned in advance.  Although topwater action is the name of the game, choppy water can inhibit the surface bite.  However, in these conditions, a good jerkbait can produce well when cast towards the points.  As late spring turns into summer, striper action fades but good news is that the spotted bass continue to chase bait at the surface.  Windows of opportunity during the summer months are mostly early and late in the day for schooling action.  Smaller surface plugs tend to become more effective as the season progresses.  Poppers such as the Pop-R by Rebel are good choices along with smaller versions of the earlier mentioned lures.   Sometimes bass will key on small baitfish and ignore even these smaller topwater plugs.  One classic trick is to use a saltwater popping cork with a trailing leader.  On the end of this leader, tie on a very small shad imitator such as a Pop-N-Stripe or the highly realistic Gummy Minnow.  You’ll find the latter stocked in the fly fishing shop.  In closing, there’s plenty of room for opinion about the best time of the year to go fishing but most will agree that May is hard to beat.  If you’re up for the excitement and adrenaline of some serious surface action, this could become your favorite too.  Until next month, take care and enjoy the lake!

Thank you for reading!

Tommy H. Wilkinson


The one thing no one will talk about…..

The one thing no one will talk about…..

By: Tom Branch, Jr.

 Top Secret

So what type of fishing rod, reel and line should I be using to cast one of these new fangled contraptions called an Alabama Rig (also known as: The Deadly 5, Bait Chaser Rig, The Swarm)? For starters, you’re going to need heavier types of outfits as your Alabama Rig (hope it’s ok to call it this….) fishing rods and reels must be able to handle heavy weighted lures.

It’s not just the weight of the rig which alone can weigh up to 5/8 ounces without any baits attached to it. I add five – 3 ½ inch Paddle Tail Shad in white and five quality jig heads and you will be pushing a total weight in excess of four ounces. Some of us bass fishing guys are just not used to casting a lure that weighs as much as a wet tennis shoe. So, you guys fishing with your light-weight rods – BEWARE. Fishing with a lighter rod, will cause you to make a return trip to your local tackle store to purchase another fishing rod.

In general terms of rod selection for the Alabama Rig, you’re going to need is a minimum of 7' 6" foot fishing rod that is at least medium heavy power. The rod action should be a moderate to fast action. More than anything make sure you are using a fishing rod designed for casting (and retrieving) this particular lure. I like a rod that is light weight, tough and can handle the stress of the weight. Make sure the rod has some nice performance features; which should include a high grade 85 million modulus graphite blank at a minimum, good carbon wall construction, with strength and power. I have been impressed with the Fuji New Concept stainless steel K-guides with Alconite rings. These guides can handle a braided fishing line between 65 and 80 pound without any problems. The reel seat should be comfortable on your hands and be low-profile and a two-piece exposed-blank reel seat with a Soft Touch finish.

When choosing a fishing reel you should remember it will be handling a heavy rig with some very heavy line. You must get a top-quality reel that will be able to give you power and support the torque. I chose a reel that has at least a 6:4:1 gear ratio.  I would suggest finding a reel that is “bulletproof inside and out”! The frame needs to be die cast aluminum and have removable side plates. This allows for a thorough cleaning and allows you to adjust the braking system on most reels.  Lately, the aluminum spools that float on stainless steel ball bearings have become very popular. Quality reels will come with Japanese stainless steel bearing.  Just as important as the bearing, make no mistake a quality drive gear is number-one in my book; the gear does all the work when you really need the torque to reel in that monster bass. A dual braking system on a baitcasting reel will assist you more by minimizing your backlashes. Many companies stated their reel will decrease your backlashes. You are going to backlash your reels when cast this rig, just be prepared. There is no such thing as a backlash-free casting reel! Remember you are only tossing this Alabama Rig not overhead casting it. If you start casting it like a spinnerbait you are not going to last 30 minutes fishing the Alabama Rigs.  I do not like using the slower gear ratio reels on the Alabama Rig because you lose too much power. More than anything chose a reel that is nice and smooth so as not to tangle you’re individual baits in mid-air, and you can crank it for a few hours with minimal stress. 


 Braided line is better designed to handle the complexity of the Alabama Rig. It cast smooth, has a good retrieval, a very strong hook set, and will not break under pressure. The purpose of all braided lines is to have less stretch, be durable, and overall be able to handle heavy conditions and fish. The heavier line will allow retrieving those Alabama Rigs when they get hung up. I would rather straighten a few hooks than lose a complete rig.

Don’t go out there and waste your hard-earned money on junk! I want you to catch more fish so you will buy more rods, reels, lures and line.  So invest in the quality gear and catch more fish with tons of confidence. The fishing success has been incredible using the Alabama Rig and similar baits. I have heard people from coast to coast catching them. It’s a proven tournament winner bait or lure. Take what I have told you to heart and fish with confidence!

My Alabama rig combo of choice is the Bass Pro Shops Johnny Morris Signature Series II Trigger Rods Model: JML76HT, my reel is the Johnny Morris Signature Series model JMX10HD with a gear ratio of 6.4:1 and my line choice is the Vicious Fishing Braid Fishing Line either 65-80 pound in moss green.


Thanks for reading…… BRANCH

 Tom Branch

About the author: Tom Branch, Jr. is a freelance outdoor writer and a full time Lieutenant/Firefighter-Paramedic with over 26 years of service with the Gwinnett County Fire Service in Georgia.  He has been working and consulting in the Outdoor Industry for over 16 years and is currently creating and managing a pro fishing team, developing new products, promoting products through demonstrations, designing packaging, and participates in different forums, radio & television shows.  Tom and his wife, Kim, live north of Atlanta near Braselton, GA with their two labs “Jake” and “Scout."

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Fishing Report - Lake Sinclair

Date Fished: 4/23/2012
Water Temperature: 70
Water Clarity: 0

Fished Lake Sinclair two days this weekend-Practiced Friday and then the BFL Bulldog Division tournament on Saturday. The bass were on the docks and the small ones bit the shaky head rigged trick worms as usual. In practice I basically ran the same pattern I have in past years and caught keeper bass down lake in the clearer water but I found some larger fish up in Little River. When I say larger I mean the 12-13 inch fish down lake vs. the 13 - 15 inch bass up in the muddy water. Sinclair is a fickle lake for me and some days you can catch 12 pounds and just barely be in the money while other 12 pounds can win. Saturday, the day of the tournament, I started down lake because I had an area where I thought I could catch a quick limit but that wasn't the case. After only 1 keeper for my non-boater in the first hour we left that and headed up Little River. I fished an area back in a pocket that had slightly less muddy water and caught a limit by 10:00 skipping the docks with a one eighth ounce Gamaktsu Alien Head with a June Bug colored Shakin' Squirrel. Then I started culling but the fish I had were all 1.5 pounds so, even though I love skipping docks, I switched over to cranking the brush piles I had marked on my 998c Side Imaging the day before. I caught a 4 pound bass on the new SPRO Fat Papa but couldn't get any more bigger fish. My secret to cranking the brush is to slow roll the crank bait through the branches and if I got hung I would just give the line some slack and 9 out of 10 times it would just float loose. Fluorocarbon or braid are essential when cranking so you can feel everything. I ended up with 11.5 pounds but had a dead fish penalty (the first one I ever had in the BFL) so I lost a place and ended up getting a small check for 17th place. I was happy with that because I moved up into 3rd in overall standings. I will be back out on Lanier for the next month as we have a slight break before the Oconee BFL in June.

Good fishing and God Bless! Eric Aldrich