Left the dock at first light driving into a stiff breeze at 15-20 out of the Northeast. Tried topwater for half an hour with success getting strikes and follows but no hookups. We took shelter on bank that offered protection from the wind and the chop. We caught trout, ladyfish and bluefish with mud minnows under popping corks. Most importantly, as far as Sam was concerned, we caught sharks on blue crab!
The Harris family joined me for a kid’s fishing trip with a focus on sharks. We found a few bonnetheads in deeper water right on the ledges but moved to shallower water to see what would happen. One of the rods with half a blue crab quickly bent over and the drag started screaming. Ian told me he thought it was a ray as it surfaced a few times. Once it was close to boat we realized it was a huge redfish! The fishing gods were kind and let us get the fish in the boat where it taped out to 39″. Makes me really excited for the Fall run of bull reds!
After catching 20 or so small redfish, Debby said she was ready for something bigger. Off to the Stono Inlet we went. Put two rods out the back with cracked blue crab and got hit very quickly. Fighting to take in line in heavy current, Debby got her big fish fix when she boated this nice bonnethead shark! Caught several more and even had a double before it was time to head home.
Charleston is a great place to be fishing! No matter what type of fish you want to catch, they are all active and biting. Fishing for redfish and trout remains strong even with increasingly warmer water temperatures. Seasonal species like spanish mackerel, ladyfish, bluefish and shark are also still available.
We’ve been targeting redfish with artificial lures especially around low tide. The longer jerk shad lures that worked so well in the Spring are still productive. However, we have had better luck throwing smaller artificials like Zman’s 3 ¾” Streakz in smokey shad. With both, we have been using flutter hooks to put more action on the lure. Remember to vary your rate of retrieve until you find what works best.
Popping corks and trout remain perfect together. Local shrimp are still relatively small so we have been sticking with mud minnows paired with size 1 circle hooks. Popping corks can be hard to recover once wrapped around a dock piling or hung up on a shell rake. I’ll attach 20 pound test line to the top of my corks and attach the bottom of my corks to the circle hook with 15 pound test line. If all goes well when you pull hard, the line will snap at the hook and you will get your cork back.
For a species that fishes well irrespective of the temperature, sharks fit the bill. Even in the middle of the afternoon, they will be cruising and eagerly eating. With so many bait stealers around, we have at times been fishing an entire live blue crab on a 7/0 circle hook. You’ll find that sharks will drop such a large bait more frequently than smaller baits, but the sharks that hang on are the big ones!
Fly fishing has been quite good. The best patterns now seem to be shrimp imitations with or without epoxy. Especially at low tide, you’ll be able to see redfish streaking down the banks with their backs out of water as they try to corral live shrimp. Cast your fly in front of a charging redfish and hold on! The shrimp patterns work very well even when you can’t see redfish working the banks.
See you on the water!
Capt. Geoff Bennett operates Charleston Charter Fishing providing light tackle and fly fishing charters. Clients choose from a full menu of fly rods, artificial and live bait fishing options with charters tailored to their desires. USCG licensed and insured, Capt. Bennett is committed to providing a safe and enjoyable charter to anglers of all skill levels and ages. For more information, call Capt. Bennett at 843-324-3332, visit his website at www.charlestoncharterfishing.com or email him at email@example.com.