Left at the crack of dawn in hopes of getting as much fishing in before a very high tide carried everyone into the grass. Mud minnows under corks proved to be the ticket and we caught many nice trout. We also caught some pinfish and bluefish which would be invaluable later. Once slack tide approached, we took advantage of the light winds and headed out to the inlet. No one carried about cracked blue crab but when we cut the heads off the pinfish the rods started snapping over. Caught bull redfish up to 40 inches and headed home happy!
Ray and Marv came up from Florida for another three days of fishing. They had some specific goals in mind and we met them all! First day was for quantity and the duo landed 30-40 rat reds on mud minnows under corks. Second day was sight fishing on the flats where we saw tons of backs and tails crushing bait in the skinny water. These fish had a preference for cracked blue crab and we caught reds up to 9lbs. Third day was docks where we managed to dredge out fish up to ten pounds. A great run!
Starting fishing right off of low tide with the water rising at a pretty good clip. Found a pocket of fish where about ten rat reds and a couple keeper trout fell for mud minnows under popping corks. Switched to another shell rake and found a strong rat red bite and literally dozens came into the boat. Midway through the charter, one cork dropped hard and the drag started singing. I thought it was just a solid red mixed in with his smaller brethren. Instead, as it came to the boat, it was the biggest flounder I have seen caught in the lowcountry. A 6lb. 23″ beauty so large I could lift it into the boat by its tail. Had to return to the landing for a bigger cooler to hold the thing. Quite a thrill!
As part of their annual birthday celebration, Matt and Will booked our regular full day charter. While the tide was still in the grass, we picked at fish with minnows under popping corks. Once the water came out, the action was non-stop. Reds on the inside of docks smoked our corks. Once low tide hit, we fished docks where redfish made a mockery of our 60lb test braid rigged on shark rods but we still managed to get many in the 8 to 10 pound range out. As the water came back in, we tossed corks over shell rakes and continued to get pummeled. Caught literally dozens of redfish. Happy birthday guys!
Having looked at the tide charts, Beezer gave me a call when he realized we could have a morning of sight fishing on the flats. The winds were light and you could see the schools moving all around us. Even thought the reds were feeding aggressively on shrimp they wanted nothing to do with artificials. So, we put out fresh cut mullet and mud minnows and waited. Mud minnows were the choice of the day and the rods snapped over again and again as the circle hooks did their magic. Put lots of reds in the boat and headed home after a successful morning!
Fall fishing is supposed to be great and so far this year has lived up to expectations! An abundance of bait has made for happy and hungry fish. The bite should keep getting better as cooler temperatures will remind the redfish and trout that they better eat now before all the shrimp and mullet disappear. Get out on the water and take advantage of this prime time!
Redfish will begin to school and form large groups of fish making sight fishing on the flats very exciting. Artificial lures that mimic the baitfish these reds are chasing become quite effective. Lures colored silver and blue work well. My favorite combination is a 4-5” jerk shad artificial lure rigged on a size #3/0 flutter hook. These hooks not only provide great action but also land quietly too.
Artificials can also be used with confidence for trout. Try paddle tail plastic lures paired with a 1/4oz. jighead. I attach the jighead with a loop knot to give the lure even more action. Again, we’ve been using artificials with colors that resemble the baitfish in the water. To make your lure even more attractive, try putting a piece of shrimp on the hook. You can use pieces of live or frozen shrimp and it will put a scent trail on your lure that is hard to resist.
Even with artificials becoming more effective, keep tossing those popping corks! Mud minnows, live shrimp and artificial shrimp have been working well when suspended about 18″-24″ below the cork. Redfish and trout alike will eat these baits as they pass by suspended in the water column. Corks have been working best fished along grassy banks at mid and high tide.
Fly fishermen eagerly await the phenomenon of schooling redfish. On clear days, you can see these fish swimming in circles with their golden backs flashing in the sun. Flies in shades of red and copper with a bit of flash are an easy selection. Take your time when approaching the schools and when you make your first shot make sure to cast to the edges so as not to spook them.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.