I’ve found the best hidden fishing spot in Georgia, and I’ll tell you exactly where it is.
St. Simons is a barrier island in southern Georgia just east of Brunswick. It’s the halfway point between Savannah and Jacksonville, Florida. On the north end, in an area known as East Beach where the Coast Guard station is located, you will find the hidden gem, Goulds Inlet.
Goulds is essentially the mouth of what becomes a tidal creek. I have fished it from that mouth to the point where a kayak can go no further. I have had success catching everything from 9-pound flounder, massive redfish, trout, whiting, and once, a 6-foot black tip shark.
When I arrived, my “Yankee” accent made locals a bit wary. Once the topic of fishing came about however, they could see I had spent a lifetime chasing all sorts of finned foe. I must say befriending a local legend, Pate Hall, helped me in more ways than I could count.
Pate was the first to take me to Goulds. At the mouth of the inlet is a beach, with sand bars that extend into the Atlantic, where the options are unlimited. As the waterway turns inland, it is bordered on its west edge by a rip rap rock shore, at its east edge is a sand bar that is six feet high during the low tide, and virtually disappears during the peak tide.
After Pate’s introduction my addiction took over, and I went there every free minute from dawn till midnight to explore the glorious opportunities. What I found was a season that started during mid-March, when the whiting would arrive. That would soon be followed by the arrival of trout, flounder, shark and redfish. The silver dollar-scaled tarpon made their appearance in late fall.
Maybe It’s Not So Hidden…
The beauty of this spot is its ease of access to the public. At the east end of every street on the shores of East Beach, there is that beautiful sign: “Public Parking.” This is an open invitation to take in some of the finest fishing on the coast of Georgia.
Whether fishing from the bank, or from a flat bottom boat, or even a kayak, Goulds presents amazing varieties for every fisherman. My best flounder success came in an eddy we dubbed “The Conveyor Belt.” This spot would fill with flounder feasting on bait fish that came in close to the rocks. When one flounder was reluctantly removed, another would quickly take its place.
As Goulds moves inland, it becomes bordered almost exclusively by oyster beds. Trout and red fish can be caught on both the incoming, and outgoing tide. These fish are best accessed by kayak. Ride the incoming tide in, fishing the entire way, then ride the outgoing out doing the same.
My main bait of choice was a Gotcha artificial shrimp. White in color with only the weight that comes implanted in the head of the soft plastic. Casting close to the banks, allowing the bait to fall gently, and jigging it back always produced some great excitement. Any type and color of jig can produce great success. Although many locals used live shrimp with compelling success, I always found it difficult to buy a bait that would be best eaten, and was cost prohibitive to the average every day fisherman.
Whether you like to keep both feet on the bank, or lodge yourself into a kayak, Goulds inlet on St. Simons Island is one of the best kept secrets on the coast of Georgia. The town bait shop, located in the village near the pier on St. Simons, will provide good insight. The locals are very friendly, unless your a Florida Gator fan!!
Feel free to ask for local legend Pate Hall. He will give you just enough information to get you hooked. Don’t expect to get the location of the “Conveyor Belt.” That spot is kept closely guarded.