When we last fished together, the Williams brothers really cleaned up on the trout and wanted to try for redfish this time. We had perfect conditions with a mid morning low tide that would let us stay on the flats for the duration of the charter. Plenty of action right out of the gates with redfish tentatively biting on blue crab. Had lots of pickups and drops for the first two hours. Once the flats warmed up the rods started ripping over. Brought lots of feisty redfish to the boat with the heaviest at eight pounds.
Before the charter, Dale mentioned he didn’t have any interest in catching small bluefish. I very much agreed. In the process of catching trout and flounder under popping corks, we did land two and tossed them in the live well. It paid off! Bull redfish smacked slices of bluefish and ripped the rods over. First red was 36″ and the second 39″. Turns out bluefish aren’t so bad after all.
Launched on a morning so foggy we had to ramble slowly across the harbor. Once the sun broke through, the fishing heated up. Started by catching nice size trout on shrimp under popping corks. At our next spot, we encountered a school of reds including one 29″ character who we landed even after he wrapped us around lots of weeds. Ended the charter catching more trout and bluefish around rocky structure at low tide.
Steven and Justin had such a good time on a half day charter last year they booked me for a full day this time. We made the most of all parts of the tide cycle. Dead low brought a bevy of sharks in the middle of the harbor. The rising mid-tide brought trout and flounder with mud minnows under corks. Finished the day watching tailers up in the grass eat chunks of blue crab. Well played guys!
Over a six hour charter, Cheryl and Carrie fished a full falling tide. After the tide started moving, trout started hitting mud minnows under popping corks and Carrie landed the biggest at 19″. Moving over to the flats, reds were smoking cracked blue crab and Cheryl won the weight class with a 12 pounder. Fished rocky structure to end the charter hoping to maybe find a flounder. Sure enough, Cheryl put a 19″ flounder in the boat with minutes left in the charter. First lowcountry slam of the year!
With its blustery and rainy days, spring roared into Charleston over the last few weeks. This change in season will trigger lots of great things in our fishery. Redfish will be more active and aggressive. The trout bite will strengthen. Anglers can also expect the arrival of a whole host of seasonal species including shark, Spanish mackerel and ladyfish. If you haven’t been already, you need to get out on the water!
It’s time to break out the cast nets. Menhaden have become prolific and make excellent bait. Those same redfish that might have been ignoring your frozen mullet will devour a fresh chunk of this bait fish. Try fishing structure like docks and pilings at low tide. I’ll use size 3/0 circle hooks and leave the rods in the holders. Make sure to dial your drags way down because you will hook into some beasts!
As trout begin to feed in earnest, popping corks cast over oyster beds and along grass banks will be a good bet paired with live shrimp and mud minnows. I usually use a size 1 circle hook and a 18”-24” leader. When fishing with a popping cork, always try to keep slack out of your line and when that cork drops just reel tight to set the hook. The circle hook will do all the work for you.
With the warmer water temperatures, sharks have returned to our waters. Watch along the banks and you’ll see the fins of bonnethead sharks slicing through the water as they seek out prey. These sharks can be caught in a foot of water or in the middle of the harbor. Chunks of blue crab as well as live shrimp are go-to baits. Younger anglers love fishing for sharks as they not only tend to be eager eaters but also are great fighters.
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.