The Fall is the best time to fish in Charleston as cooling water temperatures let fish know that they better eat up because food will begin to disappear. Time remains to catch summer seasonal species like Spanish mackerel, ladyfish and shark. Although, by mid-September they will begin to head out in search of warmer climates. To top it off, lots of anglers will turn their attention to football and hunting which will leave you plenty of space on the water!
Redfish will begin to aggressively take artificial baits during this time of year. Plastic lures that resemble the baitfish in our waters are quite productive. Zman’s 3 ¾” streakz in smokey shad is a great choice. I pair this with a 1/8oz. jighead, however conditions sometimes call for a heavier weight. Vary your rate of retrieve as you work this lure. Just speeding up or slowing down the pace of the lure can make the bite come to life!
When focusing on trout, popping corks remain a great option. While live shrimp are a good choice, small fish will often demolish that shrimp in seconds. To counter this, we have been sticking with mud minnows paired with size 1 Owner circle hooks. When hung up on shell rake or structure, popping corks can be hard to recover. While it’s rare you will get all the pieces back, there is a simple trick that will save you money and time. Attach 20-pound test line to the top of the cork and attach a 15-pound test line to the hook from the bottom of the cork. When you tug hard, the line will snap at the hook and you will get your cork back.
Anglers are consistently catching bull redfish (36” inches plus) currently at the jetties or at nearshore reefs. Increasingly, these same fish come more into the harbor and inlets as they follow schools of large baitfish. A great set up for these fish will have a stiff rod paired with a heavy test braided line connected to a 50-60lb. leader and 7/0 circle hooks. Fresh chunks of menhaden, mullet or smaller fish are very effective. Look for spots where there are marked changes in depth and wait for the huge strikes!
See you on the water!