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Fishermen can find more than fish sometimes
Capt Judy fishing trip
Roger Payton of California and Don Perry of Savannah stand with Capt. Justin Rahn of Miss Judy Charters and the red fish they caught recently during an inshore fishing trip. Photo provided

Inshore report

What is fun fishing at this time of the year? Well, since the whiting are biting in the sound it’s time to target this fish! 

They are very plentiful, fun to catch on light tackle and great to eat. And that’s not all – the bait used is easily ascertainable. Why? The whiting loves the taste of shrimp. So give them what they want. 

It is best to use a Carolina style rig and bait up with small pieces of shrimp. And here’s a tip: you can peel your shrimp or not. If you don’t peel them the whiting will do it for you.

The whiting bite in the sound has been on fire. Catching a whiting isn’t as easy as it looks, but this is one fish where persistence pays off big in fish bites, which results in hook ups. 

Both sides of the Wilmington River after passing Landing Harbor Marina (heading toward the ocean) are great areas to fish. The whiting are normally caught while fishing any depth from 15 to 30 feet of water. The best bait is going to be small pieces of shrimp and small pieces fresh cut whiting fillets. 

Capt. Judy’s ‘whiting cocktail’

What is Capt. Judy’s whiting cocktail? A small piece of peeled shrimp and fillet of whiting with the skin intact. 

Believe it or not, but the whiting is the only fish that I know that peels its shrimp before eating it. And they do it just like most people. 

However, my father never peeled his shrimp. He basically picked up a hand full of boiled shrimp and threw them into his mouth. After a few moments of serious mouth movement he would spit out the removed cleaned shrimp shells and chew up the leftover meat. 

I will say it again, my father was something else for sure. What does that mean when it comes to my father? Well, he was a card, persuader, leader, not much of a follower, cunning, street smart, good looking, had some serious charisma, conspirer, planner, ladies’ man, darn good mechanic, navigator, fisherman, charter boat captain, gangster and – I think you get the picture. He was certainly something else!

Artificial reefs report

Artificial reefs in less than 50 feet of water are still holding the interest of sheepshead, black drum and red fish. The best bait when it comes to targeting these fish is to use purple or black back fiddlers. 

My father always said, “The bigger the bait the bigger the fish!” Well, when it comes to using fiddlers, sometimes this rule does not hold true. 

Capt. Ryan Howard of Miss Judy Charters had been catching some really nice sheepshead, black drum and red fish while using small purple and black back fiddlers. So I would say, “This bite is still right and you still have time to catch a few of these fish. Your boat or mine?”

Now to add to this already grand light tackle bite, the old summer trout have arrived. And yep, this fish will hit just about anything including fiddlers, small pieces of squid or shrimp. 

When these fish are on the move, they have a tendency to feed at different depths, meaning they are not necessarily bottom feeders. 

This is one fish that follows the food source. If it moves to the mid-water column, so does the summer trout. 

Why? The summer trout is only migrating through and they will do anything to get fueled up to be able to make their next move. 

Believe me when I say, “Fish miles are not the same as human ones.” So 5 miles to us fishermen are like 25 to a fish.

Artificial reefs located in more than 50 feet of water are holding some very nice bottom fish and even some top water fish too.

Savannah Snapper Banks

It is that time of the year when a fish spreads it fins by traveling to areas that they usually don’t. Why? They are all on the hunt for food, and sometimes the bait that they are feeding on moves illogically and they happen to follow suit. 

What does this mean? You could find yourself catching almost any type of top water fish from a little tunny to a king mackerel to a Spanish mackerel to an amberjack to a cobia to a mahi mahi to just about anything that cares to eat.

Gulf Stream report

The bite is on! Now it is time to go, because now you know.

Believe it or not: 

Floating mines

I know everyone has heard about the old World War II ocean mines. I haven’t seen one in person, but my father has. 

I do remember seeing one of those science fiction shows where submarines would get hung on them and a diver would have to leave the ship and try to untangle the cable that held the mine from the ships rigging. 

Yep, and those watching hope that neither the diver nor the ship touched the trigger mechanism located on the mine. 

I can only assume since my father was around to tell this story he knew messing with a floating mine was very dangerous. 

According to this story, Daddy just happened up on this rough iron-looking floating mine. I assume many years of soaking in the saltwater and then the salt air was taking a toll on the iron it was made out of. 

At any rate, Daddy described the mine as covered on the surface with protruding prongs, which had all kinds of things hanging off of them. According to Daddy, if you hit one of those, “BOOM” you are gone! 

When hit, these prongs were supposedly the detonating device, or what I called the trigger switches. Daddy told me it looked pretty weird, not to mention the fact that it might still be able to blow up something if it was plowed into. I had already started having visions of this scenario. 

Capt. Steve “Triple Trouble” Howell is my internet connection and can find just about any kind of picture I need. He is basically a “picture finding whiz.” He found a picture showing the mines floating up into the water column at different depths. 

Each mine was attached to the bottom and once released, each would float up into the water column, but only as far as their lead would allow. 

Submarines, hopefully not ours, would get tangled in the mine’s lead and as soon as the sub hit the trigger button a big explosion took place. 

Daddy said that he examined the one he found but not too closely. He tried to contact the Coast Guard, but to no avail. It was either his radio or the Coast Guard’s that wasn’t working properly. In the ‘50s, it could have been either. 

At this time Daddy was about 10 miles offshore, which is almost screaming distance. So he decided he would just report it when he returned home. 

On his way home he had started having thoughts about all of the things that might have happened. A ship or even worse, another small boat, could have run into. 

He kept trying to make contact as he got closer to the dock and finally he got though. He told the coast guard of his strange finding, and I assume that they sent a boat in hot pursuit. 

They never found the broke loose floating mine. The good part of this story is that no one else did either! 

Now I have to believe that the Coast Guard did find it and most likely were given orders to blow it up. This was something that would be considered not salvageable for sure. A few shots from a distance would certainly take care of this job, I am just saying! 

Now for the radio and that caused the problem. My father’s radio, as well as everyone else’s at that particular time era, had tubes in it. 

However, my father’s radio had an added attraction – a dirt dauber liked the radio so much it made a nice nest right between some of the tubes. I mean the dirt dauber really packed the damp dirt hard between the tubes. 

When the dirt dried, it pushed one of the tubes just enough to break its contact with the radio’s panel. The tube only made a half descend connection when the boat rocked in the tube’s favor, pushing it back to a contact situation. Thus allowing daddy to complete his radio contact with the Coast guard. 

You got to love a boat, all of its possible associates and hitch-hikers! 

Thanks for reading and be safe!

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

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