Are you looking for a sweet fishing spot in Southeast Georgia? If so, I’d like to offer up some advice. I happen to know of five spots that tend to prove productive all year long. Here they are:
The Okefenokee Swamp is one of my favorite places in Southeast Georgia because it is so unlike any of the places that I grew up around. The tannic waters can be quite shallow and weedy in spots. In my opinion, it is an excellent spot to catch bowfish and chain pickerel. Some of them can be downright ornery, so expect a good fight.
Based on my experience, the secret to catching swamp jacks is to use a large, flashy spinner with a fast and erratic retrieve. I’d also suggest using a strong, sharp hook and a wire leader because both the mudfish and the jacks tend to have a nasty bite. You can access the swamp from a few different spots including the Okefenokee Wildlife Refuge and the Stephen C. Foster State Park. The park offers boat rentals and a boat ramp.
St. Marys River
When it comes to sunnies, the St. Marys River is one of my “go to” spots. It is also a superlative site to catch bluegill and largemouth bass. The water can be tannic and weedy in spots, so I’d suggest that anglers stock their tackle boxes accordingly. I’d also recommend casting into the current and keeping an eye out for the gators. There are several great spots along the river to choose from. Anglers looking to stay on the Georgia side of the river may want to consider launching their boats from Traders Hill in Charlton County.
The Satilla River is a blackwater anglers’ paradise. It is home to bluegill, sunnies, catfish and largemouth bass. I’d suggest that anglers consider targeting the cover and deep holes around the U.S. Highway 301 Bridge. Another great spot to access the river is the Highway 17 boat ramp located in Woodbine. I’d also suggest fishing by boat. There are plenty of sand bars along the way where one can stop for an impromptu lunch. Spinners, popping bugs, crickets and white grubs tend to prove productive.
Paradise Public Fishing Area
The Paradise Public Fishing Area is a favored spot among Georgia’s anglers. It is situated between Berrien and Tift County. You’ll find copious amounts of bass, channel cats, bluegill, sunnies and crappie in the 60 bodies of water located within the fishing area. There are multiple, concrete boat ramps, public restrooms, boat docks, fishing piers and a fish cleaning station onsite. Camping is also available in the area.
When it comes to bait, you’ll need to leave the bait fish at home. Red wigglers and crickets are permissible. I’d also suggest that anglers bring a good assortment of stink baits, topwater lures, soft plastics and crankbaits. Out of the 60 lakes, Duck, Russell, Horseshoe and Patrick tend to be my favorites. Each offers a wide variety of fish including black crappie.
Dodge County Public Fishing Area
The Dodge County Public Fishing Area is located near Eastman and offers anglers a chance to catch crappie, catfish, bass, sunnies and bluegill. It features a fish cleaning station, a fishing pier, concrete boat ramps and public restrooms. I like it because the lake has a lot of natural and manmade fish attractors. I’d suggest that anglers target the rip-rap, emergent timber and the area around the island. Drop-shot lines, jig and pig combinations, topwaters, soft plastics and crankbaits tend to prove productive. I’d also recommend that you try a slow retrieve around the rip-rap. I have found it to be quite successful.
Killeen Gonzalez enjoys summer sports and recreation with her family. She is the former Executive Director of the Okefenokee Chamber of Commerce.
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