One of the warmest Winters on record has our fishery primed to get going early this year. You could even say it never fully went dormant as days in the 70s have kept water temperatures much higher than normal. Bait fish that usually disappear have been present and kept the redfish feeding. Trout should be ready to go in mid-March. It’s time to break out your reels and rods and get ready for a great season!
Having spent the last few months avoiding dolphins and laying low, redfish are now focused on feeding instead of simply surviving. Low tide will be the best time to target big schools of redfish that can number in the hundreds. These fish are still spooky, so a subtle and quiet approach is very important. On many days, it pays to rest in one spot when you find a school and wait for them to come to you instead of pushing them away.
As these reds are nervous, I’ll try to disturb them as little as possible by minimizing my casting. This is a perfect time to fish with bait on the bottom. I’ll put a chunk of blue crab or frozen mullet on a size 3/0 circle hook and just let it rest until the redfish swim over it. Make sure the barb of your hook is fully through the bait and the point is cleanly exposed. Place your rod in the rod holder and get ready for it to rip over once the circle hook sets itself!
As trout begin to feed, popping corks cast over oyster beds and along grass banks will be a good bet with mud minnows attached. I usually pair a 18”-24” fluorocarbon leader with a size 1 circle hook. While there is no shortage of choices, I use oval shaped corks that are heavier and can be cast further. When using a popping cork, do your best to keep slack out of your line and when that cork drops under just reel without lifting the rod tip. You’ll find that the circle hook rarely misses as long as your line is tight.
See you on the water!
Since 2009, Capt. Geoff Bennett has operated Charleston Charter Fishing providing light tackle charters. Clients choose from a full menu of 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.