John's Journal...

Fishing with Captain Greg Hildreth on the Georgia Coast Click to enlarge

Once-a-Month Reds

Editor’s Note: Captain Greg Hildreth of Brunswick, Georgia, fishes Georgia’s Atlantic Coast for speckled trout, redfish, flounder and tarpon. That’s right, tarpon. Most people don’t realize that Georgia has a saltwater coast. Few people even know that this is a tarpon hotspot during the heat of the summer. It also has some tremendous marsh and beach fishing and one of the most-unusual tripletail fisheries in the nation. Boaters and sailors up the East Coast sail down to Sea Island and Jekyll Island for tennis, golf and high-dollar resort living. Most people never consider the outstanding saltwater fishing available just off the fairways. This week, we’ll look at some of the finest saltwater fishing in the nation that receives little fishing pressure.Click to enlarge

Question: Greg, you’re catching redfish on a new moon and a high tide. How are you doing it, and when are you doing it?
Hildreth: A normal tide around the Brunswick area is about a 7-feet tide. When you get close to the full moon or the new moon, the tides are much bigger. Around that time, we have tides that will be 8- to 8-1/2-feet high. When we have those big tides, the water moves out into the marsh, which allows the redfish to get in the grass and root like hogs for fiddler crabs. When we have big tides, you can either wade-fish or use a small poling boat to get back in the grass and catch some redfish. If you get back in the grass during the big tides, you can see the tailing redfish (their tails stick up out of the water due to the very-shallow water), anywhere from 36- to 42-inches long. When we’re fishing the high tide on a full or a new moon, we’re still using jerkbaits, but we’re not using leaded hooks. We’re fishing with a standard No. 3/0 bass hook, and we’re rigging the bait weedless.Click to enlarge

Question: How are you getting fish to take the bait?
Hildreth: Once again, we’ll cast past the redfish, work the bait fast and attempt to get it to freefall in front of the redfish. Oftentimes, these fish will be so high in the water that their entire tails will be sticking up out of the water. You can easily see them in that flooded grass. These fish will be holding in water that’s 8-inches to knee deep. We’re catching these fish on a full tide instead of a falling tide. These big spring tides don’t come around except once a month, which means we only have about three days of prime in-the-grass fishing. The critical key to this type of fishing is to get the tide chart down and know when that tide will hit because you’re fishing with the tide. Most of the people who go fishing with me during those high-tide periods are booking well in advance, so that they know when the tide’s going to hit. Our entire trip will be based on the tide. You can double-down on this type oClick to enlargef trip because you can fish the high tide way back in the grass for the redfish. When the tide falls out, you can fish the low tide using the other technique I described earlier for the tailing fish. You can have a great trip at this time of year and catch fish that are coming and going. If you fish that new moon period, you can get six hours of fishing in by fishing the high tide back in the grass and fishing the low tide when it falls out. The big difference is that on the low tide, you’re using a jerkbait with a weight on it. On the high tide, you’re using jerkbait without a weight. Either way, we’re catching redfish on the Spike-It jerkbait. It’s the time of day and the tide that determine how we rig it.

Question: On the high tide, when the water comes in, how many fish are you catching?
Hildreth: We catch fewer fish on the big tide than on the low tide. Three or four reds will be a good trip. However, I enjoy being able to pole up close to those big redfish, get in close to them, and then take them. That’s the real thrill for me.

You can contact Captain Greg Hildreth at 912-261-1763, or visit

Tomorrow: The Tarpon Are Coming


Check back each day this week for more about " Fishing with Captain Greg Hildreth on the Georgia Coast"

Day 1: The Mystery of the Tripletail
Day 2: Look for Trout in the Cuts
Day 3: Use Jerkbaits
Day 4: Once-a-Month Reds
Day 5: The Tarpon Are Coming


Entry 355, Day 4