You wouldn't expect to see an alligator cruising off the Jekyll Island Fishing Pier, but that's exactly what we spotted as we parked our bikes and started up the incline to the pier.
"I didn't know alligators liked salt water," Scott said. I didn't either, but, as Dad, I was supposed to be on top of these things. "I think they're okay with brackish water, son, and Clam Creek empties out here, so Mr. Gator is probably doing fine in the mix."
From the heights of the pier, we watched for a while as the gator cruised around, weaving among the maze of fishing line angling from the pier's sides.
Whoever caught a fish first, Mr. Gator was going to help them get it off.
The Fishing Pier is a landmark on Jekyll Island. Located in the Clam Creek Picnic Area , it serves area residents and visitors alike as a prime spot to catch salt water fish from land.
Jekyll Island Fishing Pier, courtesy Meredith Freeland
Or nearly land. The pier (built in 1969) extends 360' out into St. Simons bay. It's shaped kind of like an anchor, with a long walkway to get you "out there" - out there being a 520' bow-shaped perpendicular section (partially covered) attached to the end of the walkway. And on each end of the "bows" there are 95' covered and shady "fluke" sections. Hence the anchor analogy.
And it's a great place for families to gather and fish (or crab) away a lazy day. Those covered, shaded sections really come in handy.
On any given day, you'll find grizzled old timers shoulder to shoulder with 10 year old youngsters, each with their fishing rig and bucket of bait, and everyone happy to show off their catch and dispense advice.
What can you catch from Jekyll's fishing pier? How about
Crabbing is also good from the pier, using a string crab trap. Fishing and crabbing are best with an incoming tide.
You can bring your own gear, or stock up on essentials (and advice!) at Capt. Larry Crew's Jekyll Island Fishing Center , located adjacent to the pier. You can also get a fishing license there (you'll need a salt water license).
So grab a pole, hook on some slimy bait (cut squid works good), and cast a line from the Jekyll Island Fishing Pier. Just be sure you have a camera with you - the next state record may be your own!