Miss Judy Charters: A life on the water

Judy Helmey has spent her life on the water leading fishing charters in Coastal Georgia.
Published: Sep. 13, 2022 at 1:29 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 13, 2022 at 3:33 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Out on Wilmington Island, down a small dirt road you’ll find her, Captain Judy Helmey.

Who is admittedly, one of a kind.

“I’ve been incarcerated for that once, but, that’s another story,” joked Helmey.

But this story is about her business, Miss Judy Charters.

“This could be a long story but I’m going to make it short,” Helmey said.

See it all started before Judy was even born.

“The company was started in 1948 by my father who was retired from working for Al Capone in the 30′s.”

Yes, that Al Capone.

“He had him fixing up rumrunner cars and installing the hiding holes for some of the bootleg liquor,” a Prohibition Museum employee told us in 2020.

But, “we’ll leave that to the side now because that’s a whole other story,” Helmey jokes.

Now, where were we, “this is my 57th year,” right, which means, “ever since 14 I’ve been running (fishing tours) and the Coast Guard let me run. Of course, it was illegal, but they knew daddy and things were different back then,” recalls Helmey.

While some things have changed since Judy was 14.

“If you came here in 1948 you might still see what you see here now because we haven’t changed anything.”

That includes the experience out on the water.

“We really do try to make a memory for you, and everybody here is on board with my vision of what it should be like. Which is, it’s gotta be fun, it’s not just fishing,” Helmey says.

So, although Judy clearly loves fish, “I’m still excited about catching fish because they always try and get away.”

It would seem her greatest love, is something she reeled in long ago and has no plans of releasing anytime soon.

“You know as long as they’ll put up with me, I might still run for a while.”

To check out Miss Judy Charters for yourself click here.