Fishing has continued to be quite good this Fall and anglers can expect it to improve in November. Lower water temperatures combined with chilly mornings remind redfish and trout that it is time to eat before all the food disappears with the onset of Winter. Take some time with the family to go fishing around the Thanksgiving holiday and make the most of what our fishery offers.
Per usual, redfish have begun to congregate in big schools that will only grow larger. Reds gather together for protection in numbers from dolphins. Dolphins, who do not slow down in the Winter, find sluggish redfish to be easy prey. Finding and casting to pods of 50-100 redfish can be exhilarating and even make your knees tremble on the bow. Smaller jerk shad artificial lures rigged on 1/8oz. jigheads have proven to be quite effective.
You won’t even need to change your lure when you decide to target trout. The same rig of an artificial lure on a jighead produces just fine here as well. If you catch one trout, there will likely be plenty of others nearby. Move your lure slowly as the fish are moving slowly too. If possible, try to bounce the jighead off the bottom and set the hook when you feel the resistance of a striking fish. Lures in darker hues of blue and gray are performing the best.
For the angler with a fly rod, the focus switches from tailing tides to the large schools of redfish on the flats at low tide. Darker flies are working well but don’t be afraid to throw some copper flies with lots of flash. Above everything else, make sure to take your time and approach these fish quietly as even a modest disturbance will send these spooky fish scrambling away.
See you on the water!
Fall has arrived with shorter days and cooler weather. But don’t put your boat away just yet because we’re about to experience the best fishing of the year! Fishermen can continue to find success with live bait but artificial lures should become increasingly effective. Make time to get out on the water, you won’t regret it.
Redfish have been eagerly eating live and cut bait fished on the bottom. Mullet and menhaden are pervasive in our waters and can be easily netted. We’ll rig the bait on a size 3/0 circle hook paired with a carolina rig. You can use this setup under docks as well as on the flats. Just put the rod in the holder and wait for the reel to start screaming as the fish hook themselves.
Artificial lures have begun to really produce for trout and the traditional paddle tail design has been great. I’ll use a 1/4oz. jighead and tie a loop knot to give the lure even more action. Vary your rate of retrieve as you search for pockets of fish. 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 as artificial lures become 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.
With the cooler weather, redfish are beginning to form bigger schools. These large schools make for excellent sight fishing and happy fly fishermen. On clear days, you can see these packs of redfish swimming in circles with their golden backs flashing in the sun. 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 the school.
See you on the water!
My group mentioned they wouldn’t mind trying for a shark or two. I agreed and had a suspicion we might run into something else as well. Well, we found bonnetheads, sharpnose and blacktip sharks but also big bull redfish and lots of them. Live menhaden out the back kept the rods whipping over all afternoon. Highlight was Peter’s 41″ red.
With the onset of Fall, the seasonal species that occupy our waters are on the way South. However, someone forgot to tell the ladyfish it was time to leave. Lots of hard strikes and acrobatic leaps to keep everyone entertained!
The perfect storm that makes fishing so great in the fall is about to begin. The combination of lower water temperatures, tons of bait and fewer fishermen on the water makes for fantastic conditions. The fact that cooler days will make fishing much more pleasant doesn’t hurt either!
Many different approaches will work this time of year and popping corks are a favorite. An angler can catch so many different types of fish: redfish, trout, flounder, ladyfish, shark etc. I use a weighted popping cork so I can increase the distance of my cast. Then I put an 18″-24″ fluorocarbon leader from the cork to a size 1 circle hook. Mud minnows, shrimp and artificial shrimp all work well as baits.
When focusing on redfish, we begin to use artificial lures as Fall approaches. Jerk shad lures paired with flutter hooks are my go-to option. Usually 4″-5″ in length, these lures imitate small baitfish. Flutter hooks have a weight on their shank that produces really great action. Try flutter hooks in size 3/0 with a 1/8oz. weight and lures in natural hues like silver and grey.
For trout, the topwater bite has been very strong first thing in the morning. I’ve tried lots of options but I overwhelmingly use Super Spook Jr’s. My favorite colors are black head/ chartreuse body and silver shad. Alternate your rate of retrieve until you find one that works. Don’t be surprised if every now and then a big redfish takes a swipe!
Ladyfish, a personal favorite, are more plentiful than any year I can recall. We’ve spent many charters watching ladyfish blow up balls of bait heading toward the boat. Toss a live mud minnow or shrimp in their path and get ready for some great action. These acrobatic fish are very entertaining as they fly through the air. While these fish will fade as the water cools, we should still have a few more weeks of activity.
See you on the water!
Larry had never been saltwater fly fishing and decided to give redfish a shot. Found lots of small schools who were largely indifferent to us and would lazily cruise by the boat. Patience was rewarded and we put reds in the boat with a black and purple mullet fly. Larry welcome to a new addiction!
Spent last week flyfishing in the mountains of Colorado and New Mexico. Lots of rainbow and brown trout happily eating dry flies with nymphs rigged underneath. Bring on the redfish!
Even with the arrival of the heat of the summer, fishing has continued to be quite productive. By leaving first thing in the morning, anglers will tilt the odds in their favor. Once on the water, fishermen will have no shortage of options whether it is stalking redfish on the flats or chasing some of the big toothy critters in the middle of the harbor.
Redfish have been making short work of any well placed bait. Use your cast net to grab some finger mullet or menhaden and head for structures like docks and rock groins. We’ve been fishing these live baits on carolina rigs with a 3/0 circle hook. It’s important that you use a weight heavy enough to hold the bait stationary or your rig will tumble along the bottom until it snags.
As for trout, nothing new here. Popping corks remain the way to go. Surprisingly, we’ve had better luck with mud minnows under corks than with shrimp. It usually has been the other way around. If little fish keep stealing your live shrimp, switch over to a D.O.A. 3” artificial shrimp. Their Glow/Gold Rush Belly color has been quite effective.
Anglers fishing for flounder have been reporting good success. Try fishing finger mullet along the bottom around the same structures mentioned above. When you think you have a bite try to wait a few seconds (if you can) before setting the hook. We’ve been picking up quite a few flounder with mud minnows under a popping cork as well.
Fly fishing has been interesting. We have been finding larger schools of redfish on the flats at low tide. However, they have been eating the best on high flood tides when often cruising alone or with just a few other fish. Spoon flies in copper and gold have been the way to go. Make sure that your flies have a good weed guard so you don’t get hung up in the grass.
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.
While catching trout and reds, I got the call that the shark bite was hot in the inlet. With no hesitation, the Kircher family, visiting from Germany, said let’s go! Caught several nice bonnetheads with Dad helping his daughter and son land them. Apparently shark fishing is a hit worldwide!