Now that we’re able to move about the country a little more ‘freely and safely’, folks have been asking me about my favorite places to fish. My answer is usually, “Wherever they are biting”.
But since summertime is upon us, I thought I’d share my Top 5 places in the southeast to go fishing in the summer. There are literally hundreds of great destinations that could make it into the top slots, but these are my go-to places where you are sure to stretch a string.
#1. A neighborhood pond or lake. There are small bodies of water throughout the southeast that are briming with fish. And there’s probably one within a short walk or a couple miles of where you live. I’m not suggesting you just go ‘willy-nilly’ on private property and start fishing. You’ll need to get permission from the landowner. But these little freshwater gems provide a great way to spend an afternoon fishing for bream and bass. And you don’t need a boat or expensive tackle. A spinning reel, a tube of crickets or a tub of worms, and a couple of bobbers…and you’re set. Go early morning or late afternoon and cast from the bank. If you can arrange to fish on a full moon, the bream will likely be on bed, and this is the perfect time to take the kids along and get them hooked on fishing. By the way, a lot of state parks have ponds that are regularly stocked as well.
#2. Trout fishing in the north Georgia, Tennesse and Carolina mountains. Take a break from the summer heat and spend a day or two on a cool mountain stream fishing for trout. Again, depending on the stream, you can fish with crickets or worms, small spinners and crank baits, or learn to fish with a fly rod. There are numerous designated public trout streams, all stocked by the DNR, across the southeastern mountain range. And there are also plenty of managed, private streams where you can go with a guide and learn the ropes of fishing for trout. A couple of my go-to guide services are Unicoi Outfitters in Helen, GA, and Cohutta Fishing Company in Blue Ridge, GA. Give these folks a call for an exciting adventure on the water.
#3. St. Simons Island, GA. Besides being a wonderful destination in its own right, the coastal waters off Georgia’s barrier islands are an awesome fishery. In late June, the big fish show up along the coastline. And I mean big fish! Bull redfish over 30 pounds, spinner sharks that put on a saltwater acrobatic show like you’ve never seen, and large tarpon all roam the nearshore waters in search of their next meal. It’s a quick trip to the fishing grounds, and screaming drags. A great resource on the island is the St. Simons Fishing Center and Capt. Mark Noble.
#4. The southeastern striper and hybrid bass impoundments. There are at least a dozen reservoirs that offer excellent summertime fishing for stripers and hybrids. And 50+ fish days are not unusual. Lake Lanier, Allatoona, Oconee, Hartwell and Clark Hill in Georgia. Lake Murray and Greenwood in SC. Lake Martin, Lewis Smith and Wedowee in Alabama. In North Carolina, High Rock, Norman and Badin Lake are great summer fisheries. As the water warms up, the fish tend to go deeper, so umbrella rigs and leadcore line are tactics commonly used to put your baits in the strike zone.
#5. St. Augustine, FL. In June, and throughout the summer, herds of king mackerel gather just a couple miles off the coast. Mixed in with the kings will be cobia, large jacks and sailfish. Trolling large natural baits and diving plugs will draw strikes all day long. Be sure to put a couple baits down deep with your Scotty downrigger to attract the bigger fish. And if the sea conditions keep you inshore, you can wrestle with big flounder, speckled trout and redfish in the backwaters. Call Capt. Scott Shank of Full House Charters for a great time on the water.
These are just a few places that will satisfy your fishing hunger, and there are so many more. Do a little homework, make a few calls and start planning your next fishing adventure in the southeast. There’s a fish out there just waiting to jump on your line. If you’re having trouble deciding, check out our recommended guides and destinations on the Nuts & Bolts of Fishing website.
Tight lines and calm seas,
Capt. Cefus and Buck, the Wonder Dog.