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Georgia's Bottom Fishing

Captain David Newlin puts us on the fish!

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Here is the total catch form a bottom fishing trip.

Photo by Ron Brooks

We generally never think about the future while we fish, although I found myself doing just that this past week. On an assignment for Georgia Outdoor News, I was fishing on the “Captain D”, a party boat that runs out of Richmond Hill, Georgia. The article would be about bottom fishing off the Georgia coast, and just as I do on every trip, I learned something I probably already subconsciously knew.

We fished from 30 to 40 miles off the coast over live bottom, ledges and artificial reefs. Captain David Newlin, who has fished these waters professionally for the past twenty-five years, had a book of LORAN and GPS numbers. That in itself is not unusual – any successful charter captain has something similar.

I found it strange on the first drop that we only fished for a few minutes on that spot. I glanced at the Sitex color fish finder and the bottom was covered with fish. Yet, Captain Newlin moved several hundred yards to another small ledge after only a few minutes.

This pattern continued through the day and it never really hit me what he was doing until we made the last stop on the way back to the dock. This spot was one where he personally witnessed a fairly large boat go to the bottom. He thinks, and I believe that he is the only person that has these numbers.

As we approached the spot and slowed, Captain Newlin said we would make a couple of drifts and finish off our remaining baits. Five anglers each sent a double hook rig to the bottom and within a minute, ten good-sized black sea bass came over the side. Another drop yielded ten more. In less than five minutes we put almost forty fish in the boat, and the Sitex still marked a huge school of fish under the boat.

I was ready to make another drop when Captain Newlin said to put the rods away. He said he only makes two passes over this wreck on any given trip. It was at that point I realized what he had been doing all day. He was leaving fish for another day!

It’s awfully hard for the weekend angler to leave fish biting. The small boater doesn’t have a book of numbers he can pick and choose from. Once fish are located, most of us sit on that spot until they quit biting. We normally don’t think about future trips. That could be because on the weekend, you are liable to have several boats on the same bottom, all hauling in fish.

We can’t all be as good as Captain Newlin. He has logged more fishing hours on the water than most people have lived. His closely guarded LORAN/GPS numbers book keeps him in business. And it will continue to do that as long as he rotates the spots he fishes and only takes a few fish from each spot.

This trip yielded seven red snapper, two grouper, two amberjack, four barracuda, and 120 sea bass. It was a great day of fishing and learning from a Captain that knows his business. If you are in the area and want a great offshore fishing trip, give Captain Newlin a call. He is at 912-756-4573. Or go to his website at www.captaindn.com.

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