The Complete Guide (Updated 2022)

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From metropolitan areas to serene towns, each state on the East Coast has a variety of unique fishing hotspots. Georgia is no exception. Besides the angling opportunities big cities offer, Georgia is also proud of its smaller gemstones. One such jewel is Jekyll Island. Often overshadowed by its cosmopolitan neighbors, Jekyll Island deserves at least its five minutes of fame, because fishing on Jekyll Island is nothing short of majestic. 

A beautiful view of Jekyll Island's sandy beach against the soft waves on a sunny day

Situated off the coast, this is where the offshore realm meets the inshore kingdom. Being engulfed in the river, along with sound and ocean waters can only mean that the island is every angler’s paradise. Whether you’re a wader, fly fisherman, charter angling fan, or surf casting enthusiast – Jekyll Island is the perfect fishery for you!

Something tells us that you’ll consider it for your next vacation, so let’s get you prepared. Read on and find out about species, hotspots, and the latest regulations. We’ll also mention different ways of fishing and answer a couple of frequently asked questions near the end. So let’s get started.

What fish are biting on Jekyll Island?

While the focus is mostly on fish patrolling the area closer to the shore, Jekyll Island boasts a plethora of pelagic species, too. This means you can cross paths with both inshore stars like Redfish and deep sea giants such as Mahi Mahi. How about a closer look at the most commonly caught trophies? Scroll down and meet the protagonists. 

Red Drum

If you only pursue one fish when you’re rummaging through Jekyll Island’s waters, it has to be Red Drum. Reds are all the rage for both professionals and novices alike, especially Bulls (large and impressive specimens). Their appeal lies in the fact that they’re inspiring opponents. Stubborn and powerful, they’ll make you show everything you’ve got. Sound interesting? There’s more!

A photo of an angler standing on a Jekyll Island fishing charter and holding a Red Drum with both hands

While Reds can be creatures of habit, it isn’t uncommon for them to surprise you with being unpredictable. At least you don’t have to worry about bait – they’ll mouth just about anything you throw at them. Bear in mind, though, that Bulls prefer cut mullet and clams over spoons and surface plugs.

Late summer and early fall mark the beginning of the spawning season. This is when Jekyll Island fishing transforms into Reds’ playground. You can experiment with wading, fly fishing, and sight casting. Or browse through the flats, creeks, and estuaries. You can mix and match your approaches until you find your winning Bull combo. And you will find it!

Sharks

Adrenaline seekers looking for something edgier might be swept away by the Shark offer here. The very mention of these dangerous beings instills awe and excitement in every angler. So, if you’re up for a hair-raising dance with Sharks, think about Jekyll Island. It’s home to species like Blacktip, Bonnethead, Hammerhead, Spinner, and Tope Sharks.

A photo of three anglers overpowering a big Shark on a Jekyll Island beach

You can find Sharks pretty much anywhere around the island. They patrol both the areas close to shore and further away from the shallows. You can even beach surf for them and end up with an excellent bragging story. Don’t be shocked if you stumble upon Sharks while hunting for other fish, too. If you want to intentionally lure them your way, however, chumming is the name of the game!

Tripletail

Want to keep on spicing your Jekyll Island fishing adventure up? Say no more. These waters are abundant in feisty battlers. Tripletail continues the long line of strong rivals available and invites you to test your skills against them. There’s no dilemma that these determined fellas will enliven your experience. Let’s see how you can have the upper hand though.

A photo of an angler and captain standing on a Jekyll Island fishing charter with their Tripletail catch

Tripletails love coastal areas and muddy estuaries. Needless to say, Jekyll Island is a perfect hideout for them. However, they aren’t proficient at hiding. You can easily spot them. This is especially true when they frequent wrecks and weedy regions in search of food. It only makes sense that sight fishing will be your go-to method for landing them. 

If they’re cautious and refuse to be seen, you can always outsmart them by tempting them with delicious shrimp. Bear in mind that they’ll have one final blow – their razor-sharp gills. Don’t forget to wear gloves when showing off your trophy!

Sheepshead

Our next star is a showstopper in its own category – quirkiness. While back-breaking action is out of the question, Sheepshead are fast swimmers with a few tricks up their sleeves. Firstly, they’ll hypnotize you with their looks. Besides their black and white bars that have contributed to their “Convict Fish” nickname, Sheepsheads’ human-like teeth are an inevitable conversation starter. Not to mention that your little ones will be obsessed with them.

A photo of an angler holding an impressive Sheepshead specimen with both hands

Not only will Sheepshead leave you in awe with their eerily presence, but they’ll also impress you with their stealth abilities. They’ll sneak up on your bait and steal it without you noticing. A fitting skill for a Convict Fish, isn’t it? But once you hook one, you’ll have the picture-perfect catch. To sum it up – Sheepshead guarantee an entertaining fishing trip for the entire family.

… And More!

There are more underwater residents than just Reds, Sharks, Tripletail, and Sheepshead. While Red Drum are anglers’ favorites, we can’t complete this article without mentioning Black Drum. As the largest members of their family, they’re equally as popular as Reds. Speaking of popularity, let’s not forget about Tarpon, Snapper, Flounder, King Mackerel, Spotted Seatrout, Cobia, and Mahi Mahi either.

A photo of an angler sitting on a boat and holding a Spotted Seatrout caught while fishing in Jekyll Island’s waters

We could go on and on about which creatures call Jekyll Island home. But where’s the fun in that? We scratched the surface and now it’s up to you to discover what else these waters have in store for you. And we’ll move on and tell you more about how you can go after that dream fish of yours. Let’s take a look at the most common ways of fishing on Jekyll Island.

How can I fish on Jekyll Island?

Charter Fishing

Jekyll Island is surrounded by different bodies of water, so the best choice for covering all those fisheries efficiently is by charter boat. The benefits of teaming up with a licensed charter operator are numerous. First and foremost, you have the undivided one-on-one attention of the captain. This means that you and your experience are the priority.

A view from behind of a captain helping an angler while standing on a charter fishing boat and bottom fishing

Apart from assistance with locating and landing the fish, Jekyll Island fishing charters will take care of your angling gear and permits too. All you’ll need to bring is your personal items and a good mood, and your captain will take care of everything else. After all, who better to show you around than a local captain?

Surf Casting

Remember how we said that you could have a blast while angling from the beach? It’s true! The island is rich in shoreline angling possibilities. Believe it or not, you can easily reel in muscular Reds or notorious Sharks! So, if you prefer solid ground and sandy bottoms to choppy seas, surf casting from Jekyll Island is the right option for you. 

A photo of several anglers surf casting from Jekyll Island beach

Regardless of whether you decide to surf cast on your own or with a private guide, you’ll have to purchase a valid fishing license ahead of time. A helping hand from a local captain is welcome if you’re new to the area. They know where the best hotspots are and they’ll gladly share their tips and tricks with you. If you’d rather fish alone, Driftwood Beach is a good starting point.

Pier Fishing

While the island can’t brag about a quantity of fishing piers, it’s a proud owner of a well-maintained facility located in the Clam Creek Picnic Area. Jekyll Island Fishing Pier is open year-round and it’s suitable for families with children. It’s equipped with restrooms and picnic tables, so you can comfortably spend the entire day here.

A beautiful sunset view of a crowd-free Jekyll Island Fishing Pier

If you don’t have your own gear, bait, or ice, don’t stress about it. Jekyll Island Fishing Center is right next to the pier, so you can buy or rent anything you may need for a successful day of angling. Jekyll Island Pier is also a great place for crabbing. Just don’t forget to buy a fishing license before wetting your line from the pier.

Fly Fishing

Where there are Redfish and Tarpon, there are fly fishing addicts, too. Fly fishing is a big thing on Jekyll Island. And while angling is a year-round activity here, fly fishing tends to follow the season. This doesn’t mean that you can only practice fly fishing during certain months. It’s rather tied to the specific fish you want to target. Tarpon on the fly, for example, is the best between July and September.

A photo of a fly fisherman with a fly fishing rod behind him and a Redfish in front of him caught while fly fishing in Jekyll Island’s inshore waters

As with surf casting, you can venture out there on your own or get in touch with a local guide. If you’re a seasoned fly fisherman yourself, you won’t need any assistance. Beginners, however, are recommended to hire a professional. Fly fishing is an intricate sport reserved for experienced hands, so if you aren’t confident in your skills, reach out to a local guide.

Where can I fish on Jekyll Island?

Jekyll Island is in the midst of water, so you don’t have to overthink your fishing spot. You can cast your line anywhere and still end up with a decent dinner. If, however, you would like a couple of starting points, take a look at our suggestions below.

An infographic featuring the best Jekyll Island fishing spots and text that says "Jekyll Island Fishing Spots" and names of the hotspots against a blue background with the FishingBooker logo
  • Jekyll Island Fishing Pier. If you’re after a scenic view and good angling, Jekyll Island Fishing Pier is your hotspot. Situated at the north end of the island, the pier taps into the East River and Saint Simmons Sound’s waters. 
  • Driftwood Beach. Facing the Atlantic Ocean, Driftwood Beach is the ideal place for surf casting. Not only will you battle inshore celebrities here, but you’ll also get to spend some quality time with your family and friends.
  • Jekyll Harbor Marina. The island’s harbor is studded with top-notch vessels and it can be a good departure point for exploring Jekyll Island’s fisheries. To secure your spot aboard a first-class fishing charter, book your captain in advance. Better safe than sorry!
  • Jekyll Island Public Boat Ramp. Should you decide to use your own boat or kayak, check out the island’s public boat ramp. This well-maintained area allows easy access to the East River, Jekyll Sound, and nearby marshes.
  • St. Andrews Beach. The southern part of the island is home to another beautiful beach that offers solid angling opportunities – St. Andrews Beach. Be it fishing, crabbing, or relaxing, this clean and quiet gem is worth a visit.

Jekyll Island Fishing Rules and Regulations

An infographic featuring Georgia's state flag with text that says "Jekyll Island Fishing Regulations" and "What you need to know" against a blue background with a charter boat and the FishingBooker logo

Both residents and visitors who are 16 and older must possess a valid fishing license if they plan to wet their line in the saltwater or freshwater fisheries around Jekyll Island. The license is available in annual and short-term forms and it covers basic fishing privileges. To find out more about what license you need and how to obtain it, visit the Georgia Natural Resources Department’s official website.

If you’re fishing with a certified charter operator, you don’t have to worry about permits. Your captain will take care of them. The same goes for bag and size restrictions. Your guide will ensure the latest rules and regulations are respected. If you’re venturing out on your own, however, don’t forget to double-check if your catch is within allowable limits.

Frequently Asked Questions

An amazing sunset shot of a Redfish caught while fly fishing inshore
  • Where can I buy my Jekyll Island fishing license?

    There are several ways in which you can obtain your Jekyll Island fishing license – online, via an agent, or by calling a local representative at 1-800-366-2661. You can also purchase your permit at most local bait and tackle stores.

  • How much do Jekyll Island fishing licenses cost?

    Depending on whether you’re a resident or visitor to the state, the price of your Georgia fishing license will differ. It will also vary based on the type of permit you want to buy – annual or short-term. You can find a detailed price list on the Georgia Wildlife website.

  • Is fishing on Jekyll Island seasonal?

    The short answer is no. Angling on Jekyll Island’s waters is a year-round activity. On the other hand, some months are more productive than others. This is especially true if you’re after a specific fish such as Tarpon. All in all, you won’t make a mistake if you hit Jekyll Island anywhere between July and October.

  • What should I bring on my Jekyll Island charter fishing trip?

    If you’re fishing aboard a Jekyll Island fishing charter, you don’t have to bring rods, reels, and tackle. These will be provided by your captain. All you need to do is pack some personal items, proper clothing, snacks, and drinks.

  • Are Jekyll Island fishing charters kid-friendly?

    Absolutely. Since they’re mostly focused on inshore and nearshore adventures, each Jekyll Island fishing charter welcomes children.

Jekyll Island Fishing: Where Inshore Meets Offshore

A side view of an angler holding a rod and fishing while standing on a charter fishing boat

After everything we’ve written so far, don’t you agree that Jekyll Island is worth the hype? The place radiates small fishing town vibes with big angling hotspot opportunities. That’s probably our best summary of what fishing on Jekyll Island is like. But we’d love to hear what you think. Drop us a line and tell us all about your Jekyll Island experience.

Have you ever been fishing on Jekyll Island? What did you catch? Any hidden corners we should know about? Hit the comment button below and share your Jekyll Island stories with us!

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