We fit the whole rotation into today’s six hour charter! Slack high tide found us catching bull reds and sharks with live large menhaden while we also snared bluefish with gotcha plugs off the bow. As the water fell, we hooked up with trout and a rouge flounder using mud minnows under popping corks. To finish, we went onto the flats at low tide and landed slot reds using blue crab for bait. Fall is a great time to be on the water!
As part of their honeymoon, Danielle surprised Drew with a morning of inshore fishing. Winds had been heavy out of the North for several days and I was wary that the flats I had planned to target would be blown out. Fortunately, even with winds at 15+, the bite was still on! The fish were finicky and you could only get one out of each school before they got lockjaw. Nonetheless, we boated reds up to 30″ and several nine pounds and over. It turned out to be a great morning!
As a introduction to lowcountry fishing, David brought his friend Steve, a renown hand model, out on the water this morning. Fishing low tide on the flats worked well with blue crab and let Steve get those precious mitts around some nice redfish. Transitioned to popping corks and caught more reds and trout with mud minnows. A steady current and lots of bait kept the bite steady for rest of the charter.
Started at first light to try to catch the last bit of outgoing tide. We were hoping to fish the same smoking hot ladyfish bite we found yesterday. Unfortunately, there was no bait to be found along the grass edges and the ladyfish were absent. Moved into the inlet around slack low and spent the next three hours fighting sharks and cow nosed rays one after the other. Sharks were eating anything thrown at them but seemed to prefer cut bait fish. Great action for most of the morning!
Set out this morning trying to capture the small window when there would be enough water to get up on the flats but before the redfish could get into the grass. We got it just right! Pushed up to a set of shell rakes and immediately put a 31″ beauty in the boat. Landed five more fish over the next hour with the smallest at 5lbs. and the average around 8lbs. With the water up, we fished popping corks with mud minnows along the grass lines and had good success catching trout. It’s great when a plan works.
With a perfect storm of conditions in place, anglers can be certain inshore fishing will really pick up this month. A combination of lots of bait, cooler water temperatures and much less traffic on the water should make for fantastic fishing. While most people will turn their focus to football and hunting, fishermen who save some time for wetting a line will be well rewarded.
Redfish on the flats have been finicky and for the most part are spooked by artificial lures. That being said they are actively feeding but the right tactic requires some patience. We’ve been setting up the boat a good ways from the schools and waiting for the redfish to return to us. Putting out chunks of blue crab has been very effective. Use size 3/0 circle hooks and make sure the hook point comes out nice and clean to ensure a good hook set. It’s best to leave the rod in a holder and only pick it up once the drag starts singing.
Trout and popping corks remain a perfect match. Trout are feeding more aggressively and in greater numbers. Even better, we’re starting to catch multiple fish in the two to three pound range along with lots of smaller fish. We’ve been using mud minnows as bait almost exclusively as shrimp just get shredded by bait stealers. Try throwing artificial shrimp instead and you’ll be pleasantly surprised how well this works.
Fly fishing can be challenging during this time of year with water clarity sometimes minimal. At low tide, however, you will sometimes have no problem seeing the redfish as they charge down the bank feeding on shrimp. Poppers worked across the surface to imitate fleeing shrimp can draw explosive strikes and you can literally watch the reds slash toward the fly with their backs out of water. It can be so hard to do when fishing these flies but always strip set the hook when a fish hits before raising your rod tip.
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.