Fall fishing in the creeks and rivers means staying closer to the sounds and away from the backwaters. Last years brood will have made the move from the creeks to the bay and sound waters. Look for oyster bars, hard bottom, and anywhere the current cuts around a point or island. These are natural areas for the drum to congregate, and they can easily be caught on shrimp, small crabs, mud minnows, or artificial baits. Float a live shrimp just off the bottom with the current and let the bait move through the point or cut. Remember, the smaller fish need to be released, so handle them with care.
Look for any of the beaches of the barrier islands to use this surf fishing method. Reds will be on all of them that have baitfish migrating cross them.
Winter can be the most difficult time to find red drum, but they can be caught when you locate them. The smaller brood fish spending their first winter in the creeks are particularly susceptible to temperature extremes. Sudden cold fronts can kill small fish if they do not move to warmer water quickly.
Look for fish during the middle of the day, in shallow water that is being warmed by the sun. Often an entire school comprised of hundreds of fish can be found in one shallow sound. And it is literally possible to catch every single fish. So, again, take care of your catch and practice an easy release. Lower reaches of the Ogeechee, Canoochee, Altamaha, and St. Marys Rivers all have creeks and feeder creeks that will hold fish during the middle of the day.
Creek mouths that empty into a sound, and deep water cuts in the larger sounds leading to the ocean will hold the larger fish. Anchor in the deep water cut and fish the edge where it comes up to shallow water. These fish seldom run the middle of a cut. They will move with the tide along the edge of a cut, more often than not in a single file line that can total over a hundred fish.
Fish right on the bottom using blue crabs for bait. Small ones with a shell diameter no more than two inches can be used whole. Larger ones need to be halved or quartered. Bring a landing net, because fish in these cuts can reach fifty pounds!
Not many anglers make it out on a cold winter day, so you can have the entire sound to yourself! St Andrews, St.Simons, Altamaha, Doboy, Sapelo, St. Catherines, Ossabow, and Wassaw Sounds all have some deep-water channels and cuts that will hold fish during the winter.