Southeast Georgia Fishing Reports with Capt. Bert Diener – February 2, 2024 – Georgia Outdoor News

Southeast Georgia Fishing Reports with Capt. Bert Diener – February 2, 2024 – Georgia Outdoor News

Kenny McLean, of Knoxville, Maryland, fished a pond in the Brunswick area on Friday and caught this impressive 5-pound fish. Bass on 1/8 oz. Captain Burt’s Shaking Head and the Stick Worm.

The stable (but cooler) weather this week has produced some good catches. Rivers remain high, but are falling to fishable levels. Lakes, ponds and saltwater had the best catches reported this week.

Savannah River: Mark Vick took his youngest son, Waylon, to the river on Saturday, and they had a blast! Waylon caught his first female flyer and crappie (both eligible for GA Department of Wildlife Resources Young Angler Awards). Live minnows and white crappie jigs fooled the fish. They kept enough for a meal and released the rest. Jay Turner fished the backwaters of the lower river this week and had a great trip. He rigged small Keitech swimbaits in various colors rigged with 1/16- and 1/32-ounce weights. Zombie Eye Jigs are heading around the shoreline cover for lots of nice crappie, snouts and jigs. He caught them in bright colors (chartreuse) and muted colors (electric shadow and other shadow colors).

Saint Marys River: Matt Ross fished the Upper St. Mary’s this weekend and absolutely fooled some giant walleyes. He said they were some of the largest arrests anywhere. He pitched a 3-inch Texas bluegill Keitech swimbait on shore cover. All fish were foraged and fed before spawning.

Okefenokee Swamp: The water level is still high and fish are common in the prairies, but the water level is falling. This warm spell will increase the activity level of all species. I haven’t had any good reports this week, and made a short trip to the east side on Thursday afternoon. The latest water level (Folkestone side) was 121.33 feet.

Dodge County Public Fishing Area (near Eastman): Ken Burke caught and released a 10-pounder. Bass on Friday in the area. This is the first 10-pounder reported to district staff this year. He also fished a day this week and had a total of 20 1/2 pounds on seven bass. His three biggest fish were 4.75, 4.25 and 3.75 pounds that day. He caught them all using a crankbait in less than 6 feet of water. Count: 4 to 6 lbs. Bass in the lake is very impressive.

Paradise State Fishing Area (near Tifton): The best reports from the area have been on crappie this week. Patrick Lake (as always) seems to be the hot lake. One angler on Wednesday caught nearly the maximum number of nice spots with a few other panfish mixed in on his creel. I had another report from an angler who caught three bass but had to work with them.

Local ponds: Shane and Joshua Barber fished a pond in south Georgia on Saturday and threw a plastic crawfish on a toad hook during the afternoon. They had about a dozen bass up to 2 pounds and a decent pickerel (jackfish). They had nine keepers and kept seven bass. Kenny McLean fished with me at a Brunswick-area pond on Thursday while warming up. We targeted bass and were not disappointed. It started slow, only catching one during the first hour. But by midday, the bite started to improve as the water temperature rose. We find the fish in 3 to 6 feet of water chewing moving baits and shaky-headed worms. I lined the bank with a 4-inch Keitech from Tennessee tipped with a 1/8-oz. Naturally colored Zombi Eye head (3D silver red eye, 2/0 hook) and I catch most of my fish (up to 4 pounds) on that rig. My largest bass (5 lbs) ate a copper vibrating jig at the top end of the tree. Each Kenyan bass has a Canada creeper-colored stickworm rigged on a 1/8-ounce jig. A shaky blackhead I build using a 4/0 flat-eye Gamakatsu hook. Once the bite started, it stopped around 2pm, but we did catch 21 bass up to 5 pounds during the bite. Our five largest fish weighed just under 22 pounds. Jay Turner fished some Savannah area ponds this week, and it was all about the crappie. He threw 2-inch Keitech swimbaits and curly tails on 1/16-ounce jigs. Zombi Eye are shaking their heads and catching some giants on Saturday and Wednesday evenings. He had fish over 15 inches each evening, and had 16 inches on Wednesday. Cason Kinsel fished two ponds in the Savannah area this week and caught big crappie on every trip he went. He threw 2-inch junibug/chartreuse tail plastics for 37 boards that hit 2 pounds one afternoon. One of his little buddies woke up early the next day and had a few dozen large crappie in the same location by mid-morning on the same bait. Chad Lee fished a pond on his lunch break Wednesday and hooked a 6-pound fat fish. Bass with a great looking crankbait. I love his lunch breaks!

Saltwater (Georgia Coast): Captain Tim Cutting has put it on trout and redfish during his trips. Wednesday he had a really good meal with Keitech Easy Shiners and Berkley Power Swimmers rigged with Zombi Eye jig heads (spring guard version). The trout, redfish and flounder were chewing it up! On Thursday, his charter worked harder for 10 trout, seven redfish, a couple sheepshead and two flounder. Shrimp caught under Harper Super Striker Floats produced fish on Thursday. Wat-a-melon Bait and Tackle in Brunswick is open Friday to Sunday from 6am to 4pm every week. They have plenty of vibrant shrimp and fiddler crabs and also have live worms and freshwater crickets. They’re on Highway 303 just north of Highway 82. For the latest information, call them at 912.223.1379.

Saint John River (Astor, Florida) / Lake Crescent: I had several groups of friends heading south for crappie during the warm-up last weekend. The Crescent bite was excellent, the Astor bite was slower. Mike Harrell and his friends took to shallow cover using striped jigs and tricked large females that moved to spawn in the crescent. A group with Jamie Hodge also took their hit on Crescent – ​​hitting or getting close to their limit every day. They had several fish over 2lbs, with Jimmy’s biggest fish being 2lbs 8oz. He mostly trolled for them via long lines, but he directly sighted some of them and threw them as well. People fish the canals and rivers of Astor looking for shallow moving fish to spawn. They had about a dozen to 20 people a day per boat and used curlytail and shoetail plastics, as well as minnows for their fish. Big crappie waves will continue to pressure the shallows and back into shore over the next couple of months. For the latest fishing information or to reserve a room or cabin in Astor, you can call Kerry at South Moon Fish Camp at 386.749.2383.

The new moon is February 9th. To monitor all Georgia River levels, visit the USGS website ( For the latest marine forecasts, check this out

The river gauges on January 11 were:
Cleo on the Savannah River – 7.5 feet and rising
Abbeville on Okmulgee – 10.4 feet and rising
Doctortown on Altamaha – 9.3 feet and fall
Waycross on Satella – 10.0 feet and falling
Atkinson on Satella – 10.3 feet and falls
Statenville over Alapaha – 6.4 feet and falling
Macclenny on St Marys – 7.5 feet and falling
Fargo on Suwannee River – 10.5 feet and falling

Captain Bert Diener makes a variety of fresh and saltwater fishing lures. Check out his magic at Bert’s Jigs and Things on Facebook. For a copy of his latest catalog, call him at 912.288.3022 or email him at (email protected).

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