Why Fish in the Golden Isles? There Are Plenty of Reasons, Starting With These Five

While the Florida shores and both Carolina coasts garner a great deal of attention from the fishing world, the Golden Isles continue to be a world-class saltwater fishing destination — it's just that fewer people know about it. From Jekyll Island fishing to St. Simons Island fishing, there are plenty of fishing spots and piers to test your luck and see what you catch.

So what does an angler have to look forward to here? A big part of the appeal in fishing off these islands is the variety of habitats: deep sea, surf, saltwater marshes, and inlets afford anglers the opportunity to pursue several different species of game fish ranging from monster tarpon to animated skipjacks.

Visit the Golden Isles fishing section for more details, or contact a local guide who can set you up with a day of fishing you won’t soon forget. 

In the meantime, these are just five of the quintessential fishing experiences you can look forward to:


1. Go After Tarpon and Snapper

Off the coast of the Golden Isles you’ll find two game fish that anglers will fly great distances to pursue: tarpon and red snapper. Catching a trophy tarpon can be the thrill of a lifetime. This ancient, prehistoric species has a reputation for acrobatics and fierce fighting — it is not uncommon for anglers to wage battle for 20 to 30 minutes to land a 75-pound tarpon. Larger fish can fight for even longer. 

Red snapper can be found in deeper waters, and their knack for battle is also legendary. But red snapper are also beautifully colored and renowned by foodies for their sweet, nutty flavor and firm texture.

Season: May and June, but throughout summer (tarpon) and July and August (red snapper)


2. Surf Cast for a Monster Redfish

From the mellow beaches of Jekyll Island and St. Simons Island, anglers can surf cast for a variety of fish, but the one that will really get your blood flowing is a redfish (also known as red drum). It is not uncommon for redfish in these waters to grow to 40-inches in length and 30-plus pounds in weight, giving fishermen a feisty challenge amidst the waves.

Season: Late summer and fall months, but especially in October.


3. Fly Fishing in the Tidal Rivers

From the tranquility of a flats boat or kayak, fly fishermen can stalk a variety of fish species in the tidal rivers and estuaries surrounding St. Simons and Little St. Simons Island. Compared to other estuary fisheries along the East Coast, these waters receive fairly light pressure from anglers, making them ideal for chasing redfish, Spanish mackerel, trout, cobia, tripletail, jack crevalle and even tarpon.

Season: Year-round, but particularly good in late summer and fall months.

Fly fishing in the Golden Isles marshes

4. Pier Fishing

The St. Simons Island Pier is a popular fishing spot for visitors to fish in the Golden Isles. This spot is ideal for a morning or evening of fishing, with stunning views of the water and the iconic Sidney Lanier Bridge.  You'll find the Jekyll Island Fishing Pier on the northern tip of the island, tucked away within the shady Clam Creek Picnic Area. Visit these locations and see what you catch!

Season: Year-round


5. Fishing Charters

The Golden Isles offers a variety of boating and fishing charters to its visitors who would prefer a more guided fishing experience. St. Simons Island fishing charters and Jekyll Island fishing charters are a great way to hit the waters for less experienced fishers, or those wanting a unique adventure. Some charters will even cook up your catch for you to have that night for dinner!

Season: Year-round