How To Use Sea Surface Temperature Information for
Green Water Fishing

The location of game fish is affected by two things: Comfort, and the availability of food. Water temperature can be the determining factor for both.

Comfort: Finding Areas With The "Right" Temperatures

Each species of offshore game fish has a water temperature range they prefer, and a wider range outside of which they will seldom be found. The following is a list of these temperatures for species in the Georgia coastal area.

King Mackerel 70 88 75-78
Spanish Mackerel 68 88 72-82
Cobia 68 80 70-78

Bottom Structure

Green water fishing off the Georgia coast means fishing in significantly shallower water than blue water fishing. Bottom structure like live bottom, ledges, rock piles or other man-made "reefs" tend to hold bait schools in this shallower water, when water temperatures over these areas are right. 

The "right" water temperature for these areas is relative and varies throughout the season. In general, a good temperature for bait and gamefish over near shore bottom structure is a degree or two cooler than the immediate coastal water (which can be a warm as the gulf stream's core from May through September), but is a degree or two warmer than the coldest water that usually sits between the coast and the edge of the gulf stream. Watch out for pockets of colder water that move across bottom structure. These can push bait and gamefish off of the structure.

In hotter months, sound entrances also tend to hold Spanish and cobia, and in some cases kings.  Spanish and cobia can often be found around the buoys marking these entrances.  Kings can be found around the offshore ends of deeper entrances, such as the Savannah River and Charleston Harbor entrances, which have been dredged to accommodate large ships.  These gamefish will only be present in these sound entrances when schools of bait are present, so watch for diving birds and check your depth finder for these schools.  Troll around these schools of bait, wherever they happen to be in the entrances.

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