Among the many natural features that make The Ford Plantation such a wonderful place is the water. From freshwater lakes and streams to blackwater creeks and the brackish Ogeechee River, to the salt water Little Ogeechee River and the Atlantic Ocean, if you enjoying the allure of fishing, then you’ll be hooked here. To get the most out of your time on the water, connect with Ogeechee Outfitters to discover the best way and best place to try your luck on property or offshore.
People already immersed in the fishing culture at Ford likely know about the perennial fishing tournaments, like the Fin-atic that requires anglers to pursue 16 species of fish, the annual Redfish tournament, the popular Silva’ Dolla’ Tarpon tournament, and the Sheepshead Madness tournament. It’s the diversity of fish in coastal Georgia’s waters that make the fishing so fun and challenging. There are hundreds, if not thousands of fish species, most of which require some special knowledge or technique to catch. Different fish thrive in different environments based on water pH, water temperature, salinity and depth, feeding habits and more. Thankfully the guides at Ogeechee Outfitters have cracked the code and can suggest the best locations, the most enticing bait, and intriguing casting and trolling techniques that fish find too irresistible to ignore.
Whether you’re new to fishing or just wish to try new fishing experiences, we’d like to introduce you to the recently expanded Ford Fleet at your disposal.
At the Marina
The Ford Plantation keeps three boats docked at the Silk Hope Marina. Each was thoughtfully selected to provide a different experience from casual to serious fishing. Note that the boats best-suited for casual fishing excursions and river cruises have the most cup holders.
The three boats are named Geechee Gal II, Model T and Deer Fly—feel free to ask Mike Womble, Director of Outdoor Pursuits, about the genesis of the Deer Fly name when the fish aren’t biting. There are also three certified captains on staff (Mike Womble, Danny Sharpe, and Brittany Dodge) who serve both as expert fishing guides and Coast Guard certified boat captains for fishing excursions from the Silk Hope Marina. More casual fishing trips, for an hour or two, can launch at any time with some advance notice with Ogeechee Outfitters so a captain can prepare the boat and gather equipment and bait. Going after the big ones offshore requires a bit more planning. Since it takes three hours to motor out to the Gulf Stream, serious offshore fishing trips typically depart the marina around 2:00 am (that’s not a typo—2:00 am). The good news is that returning back to the marina around 5:00 pm allows plenty of time to clean the catch and enjoy a fresh seafood dinner.
So if you’ve ever dreamed of battling a large gamefish to mount, like wahoo, tuna, grouper or snapper, you’ll need to awaken from your dream in time to arrive at the marina by 2:00 (still not a typo). Different fish are in season at different times of the year, but there is always something to catch when you have the right boat and the right guide at your disposal—which of course you do at The Ford Plantation.
On the Lakes
If waking up before the crack of dawn isn’t your idea of a fun day of fishing, you’re also in luck. The Ford Plantation recently purchased two 16’ Carolina Skiffs specifically for freshwater fishing—one boat is located on Lake Dye and the other on Lake Sterling.
While the team at Ogeechee Outfitters will gladly take you fishing, the beauty of the lake-bound boats is that any member who receives a brief (five-minute) check-out on the controls for the electric trolling motor can use the boats any time. Rather than owning a boat, trailering it to and from a lake, and mastering the elusive art of backing a trailer down a boat ramp, invest a couple minutes to learn the systems and safe operation of the lake boats and enjoy them whenever the mood strikes. And just like there is never a need for a tee time at The Ford Plantation Golf Course, there is also no need to reserve a lake boat—just call Ogeechee Outfitters for the key and you’ll be fishing in no time.
Lakes Dye and Sterling, as well as the other five lakes at Ford, are brimming with bass, bluegill, and crappie making the boats a the perfect way to access the deeper water where they hide. Mike recently took an inventory of Lake Sterling and can confirm that the lakes are full of fish including largemouth bass up to seven pounds. “My goal is to cultivate the lake into a trophy bass lake,” said Womble.
There should never be any trouble catching fish in and around The Ford Plantation. Still, Mike says there is always one thing a person can do to increase the odds of filling the live well, “Bring a guide.” Mike shared a story about one member who lamented that he hadn’t caught a fish in two weeks. Hearing this, Mike took the member fishing, introduced him to a new technique of casting eight times from one location in a fan-like pattern. This technique from shore meant that some casts would fall in shallow water and others in deeper water. After casting eight times from the same spot, the next step is to relocate 25’ elsewhere along the shore and repeat the process of casting eight times. Using this technique, the member caught a fish on the third and fifth cast from the first location.
Few things are more relaxing than being on the water and enjoying nature, far from the sounds of civilization and the range of cellular signals. Even if fishing isn’t your thing, take a river cruise through the marsh and enjoy the sight, sound, and aroma of coastal living—it’s guaranteed to drop your blood pressure.
Brand: Cape Horn
Type: 31-foot center console
People: Up to 6 (plus crew)
Excursions: Offshore tolling for mahi-mahi, wahoo tuna, grouper, and snapper
Geechee Gal II
Brand: Grady White
Type: 25-foot center console
People: Up to 4 (plus crew); 6 people for non-fishing river cruises
Excursions: Shallow waters and offshore trolling for everything from sea trout to tarpon
Type: 22-foot bay boat
People: Up to 4 people
Excursions: Shallow water inshore fishing for triple tail and redfish
Yesterday and Tomorrow
Location: Yesterday at Lake Sterling; Tomorrow at Lake Dye
Brand: Carolina Skiff (both)
People: Up to 3 people (if the third person is a child)
Excursions: Lake fishing for bass, crappie, and bluegill