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Here’s a curious little place for your next fishing adventure – Georgia’s St. Simons Island. Even though it’s among the Golden Isles’ largest barrier islands, St. Simons is no bigger than Manhattan. Small but mighty, this coastal gem attracts over three million visitors and angling enthusiasts each year. But what makes it so alluring to tourists and anglers?
A unique geographical location, pleasant climate, breathtaking scenery with moss-hugged trees, first-class dining, important historical sites, and endless recreational activities.
The list goes on and on. Name your favorite pastime and the chances are that St. Simons will treat you to it. Ours is angling and if you’re reading this, something tells us it’s yours, too.
Stay with us and find out what the St. Simons fishing hype is all about. We promise to walk you through the island’s underwater offer, fishing seasons and regulations, the best hotspots, and the most efficient ways of angling around here. If you’re ready, gear up, and let’s get started!
What fish can I catch on St. Simons Island?
Surrounding marshes and wetlands imply that you can expect inshore celebrities. But St. Simons has access to the Atlantic as well, so big offshore names are also in the picture. Here’s a breakdown of the most commonly caught fish in these waters.
No fish are as sought-after as Reds when fishing on St. Simons Island. Why? Well, the area enjoys the reputation of being a paradise for Bull Redfish. Bulls are impressively large Redfish. Think of them as the jumbo-sized trophy fish you’ve been dreaming about all your life. And St. Simons paves your way to getting a hold of them. Here’s how.
Firstly, you should be familiar with their season. While Georgia Redfish fishing is a year-round activity, Bull angling is usually reserved for spring and fall. Then, pay attention to their whereabouts. Sure, you can wet your line anywhere and end up with a Redfish or two, but the brag-worthy catches are mostly concentrated around river mouths and bay areas.
Now that you know when and where to look for Bulls, let’s see how you can land a 50-pounder. Redfish will gulp just about anything you throw at them, but they prefer mullet over spoons. Lure them your way with a tasty mullet and prepare for their powerful pulls and unpredictable runs.
Depending on your preference and skill, you can practice wading, sight casting, or fly fishing. Regardless of your chosen approach, we recommend medium-light spinning tackle. Tight lines!
Speaking of angling methods, here’s great news for all fly fishing fans out there – a three-digit Tarpon is waiting for you in St. Simons! We aren’t exaggerating, behemoths between 100 and 150 pounds are regular here. Even 200-pounders aren’t uncommon! St. Simons is a Tarpon fishing hub, so it makes sense for these “Silver Kings” to rule the fishing scene.
Unlike their neighbors, Redfish, Tarpon peak in late spring and summer. Early May marks the beginning of the Tarpon angling season. Come August, fishing on St. Simons for Tarpon turns from excellent to exceptional. They love to feed on menhaden and, luckily, the island is brimming with them, so you’ll easily spot Tarpon bulking up around the schools of bait fish in the morning.
Gear up with a 10–12 weight rod and align your hunt with the new and full moon phases. This is when they’re on the move with only one thing in mind – devouring menhaden.
Sharks are all the rage in coastal Georgia. Spinner, Blacktip, Hammerhead, Tope – St. Simons has them all! Plus, you can fish for them almost anywhere around the island. Both the inshore and offshore fishing grounds will treat you to remarkable specimens. So, apart from quantity, St. Simons Shark fishing is synonymous with quality, too.
The Shark fishing bonanza lasts from May to September. Summer is your best bet at landing trophy fish. Surf fishing is a popular angling method for catching Sharks here. Thrill seekers can meet the deep blue at the 8-mile mark and unlock a fishing frenzy around shrimp trawlers. But regardless of the location, chumming will be the name of the game for grabbing the Sharks’ attention.
Spinner Sharks, as their name suggests, can make your head spin. But not even they can outperform Mahi Mahi. Mahi Mahi knows how to put on a show. If you plan on spending an entire day offshore when you go St. Simons fishing, you have to put these gorgeous beasts on your agenda. A Mahi Mahi pursuit is so action-packed that it really gets the blood pumping!
You’ll usually find them patrolling around floating debris and different offshore structures in summer. In case you can’t spot them right away, you can always make them blow their cover with fast trolling. They won’t resist baits such as flying fish, squid, mullet, and balao. Truth be told, they’ll fall for artificial baits, too. After all, Georgia’s state record was caught on a Mold Craft Chugger lure.
… And More!
Of course, there’s more! You didn’t think that your St. Simons fishing safari would be limited to only four species, did you? Sure, the above-mentioned fellas are headliners – and you’ll most likely cross paths with them – but they’re far from the only underwater residents here. St. Simons is home to inshore stars such as Snook, Permit, and Black Drum.
Snappers and Groupers will entice you to go bottom fishing, while speedsters like King Mackerel, Bluefish, and Cobia will make you battle until you break a sweat. And if you’re more into odd-looking creatures, St. Simons doesn’t lack Flounder and Sheepshead either. All in all, we just confirmed what you already knew – St. Simons’s fisheries are teeming with life.
When should I go to St. Simons for fishing?
Whenever you feel like it. Really, you can wet your line in the island’s waters whenever you want. St. Simons is a year-round angling playground. The real dilemma is whether the fish you want to catch is around or not. For this reason, we recommend that you always check their season before you plan your vacation.
If you’re after Drums, they’re up for grabs throughout the entire year, but the odds of landing Bulls are in your favor in spring and fall. Mahi Mahi regularly meander the offshore waters, but summer is when they truly come through. Cobia season runs from March to October, whereas Bluefish is open for harvesting between May and February. Meanwhile, Sharks thrive from May to September.
For more information on fish species and their seasons, visit the Georgia Department of Natural Resources website.
While there are several ways in which you can explore these waters, they’re essentially divided into two categories. You can either opt for conquering these fisheries on foot or via different vessels. Take a look at the most efficient ways of fishing on and around St. Simons Island below.
No other angling approach will give you the all-around experience that fishing with a certified charter operator will. Not only will your captain provide you with a top-notch vessel and high-quality equipment, but they’ll take care of your fishing license and ensure the bag and size requirements are met.
But that’s not all! Your St. Simons charter operator will dedicate their time and expertise solely to you. They’ll share their local knowledge and years of experience to help you land that trophy fish. So, apart from the boat, rods, reels, tackle, and permits, fishing with a captain guarantees valuable local insight and promises a memorable angling trip.
Casting from the beach is another popular angling method when fishing on St. Simons. If you prefer solid ground to wavy seas, surf casting is perfect for you. Sure, your chances of reeling in bigger and meaner fish are better further from the coastline, but boatless angling doesn’t lag far behind. Surfcasting on St. Simons Island can yield pretty impressive results.
You can actually battle almost all the inshore headliners when casting from the beach. Decent-sized Redfish regularly grace the ends of anglers’ lines when surf fishing. Not to mention that you can overpower insanely big Sharks when fishing from the shore! So, you don’t need to go far offshore to return home victorious from your angling trip.
If you want to move from the beach and cast your line a bit further in the shallows but you don’t want to get your feet wet, then pier fishing is made for you. While fishing piers aren’t plentiful on the island, St. Simons is the proud owner of a well-maintained pier that’s also one of only three ocean piers in coastal Georgia.
St. Simons Island Pier extends into the Atlantic and you can fish for Flounder, Redfish, Trout, and Sharks from it. It’s equipped with resting areas and comes with tray tables and water hoses for cleaning your catch. The pier is also home to several shops including bait and tackle ones, as well as first-class restaurants. But while it’s admission-free, you’ll need to buy a fishing license.
If none of the above are your preferred ways of fishing, how about kayak angling? St. Simons Island is blessed with many kayak-friendly fisheries. There are numerous access points where you can effortlessly launch your kayak. From marshes and wetlands to inlets and bays, St. Simons Island welcomes kayak anglers.
While kayak fishing tends to be the sport of professional anglers, it isn’t reserved only for them. Novices can try their luck at casting and reeling in from a kayak, too. You’ll need to perfect your balancing skills, though. Fortunately, St. Simons Island has enough beginner-proof fisheries where you can practice kayak fishing.
Where can I fish on St. Simons Island?
Whichever approach you choose, you’re sure to find a prolific fishing spot. Be it the beach, a pier, a kayak, or a charter, there’s a corner for every type of angling. Here are our suggestions for each of the above-mentioned ways of conquering St. Simons Island’s waters.
- F Artificial Reef. Should you opt for charter fishing, check out the artificial reef labeled as “F.” This productive cluster of rubble and barges lies 9 miles offshore and is well-known for Snappers, Groupers, Black Seabass, and Sheepshead.
- St. Simons Island Pier. If pier fishing is your thing, there’s no doubt about the location you should wet your line from. St. Simons Island Pier is well-maintained and has a decent offer of Flounder, Redfish, Trout, and Sharks.
- Boat Launch SSI. This place is ideal for kayaks. However, Boat Launch SSI is rather a departure point than an actual fishery. But it allows easy access to Village Creek. The area may be tide-dependent, so pay attention to the depth before launching.
- Gould’s Inlet Public Beach. The beach is made for surf casting and kayak fishing, too. It has direct access to the Atlantic on one side and Gould’s Inlet on the other, so you can choose where to cast your line.
Anything else I should know?
Angling aboard a St. Simons fishing charter boat means you don’t have to worry about any permits. If you are, however, venturing on your own and you’re 16 or older, you must buy a valid fishing license. There are different types of permits, and depending on how long you need one, you can choose between annual and one-day licenses.
There’s an option to pay extra for additional days in case you plan on having multiple fishing adventures while on St. Simons Island. For more information on fishing licenses, visit the Georgia Natural Resources Department’s official website.
Besides a valid fishing license, pay attention to bag and size limits if you’re fishing without a charter operator. To ensure that your catch is a keeper, check out the latest rules and regulations regarding bag and size restrictions.
Frequently Asked Questions
St. Simons Island Fishing: Coastal Georgia at Its Best
There are only a couple of islands on the coast of Georgia that offer superb angling opportunities and all-around entertainment, and St. Simons is one of them. So, if you still haven’t booked your next vacation, check out our St. Simons charter offer and treat yourself and your loved ones to a memorable angling getaway.
The post St. Simons Island Fishing: The Complete Guide appeared first on FishingBooker Blog.
This article originally appeared here and was republished with permission.