Jake and Kim booked me again almost exactly on the same date as last year. They knew to expect some great Fall fishing. As it turns out, that’s exactly what they got! Tons of smaller reds, trout and ladyfish with the occasional bruiser in between. Kim’s red was the biggest of the day and it fought so hard it pulled us off anchor! A truly beautiful ten pound red…….hopefully the duo will be back next year!
Started out the day hunting clean water and good current. Kept our popping corks rolling along with mud minnows underneath. Not much interest at the first two spots but plenty of happy fish at the third. Julie let her cork float way back in the current and it got hit hard! After a couple minutes of fighting the fish against the current, Julie had a four pound trout in the boat. Her new personal best – great job!
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!
Things were a bit slow as we fished both sides of slack high tide. We caught some trout but when the current started running the fishing took off too! As the water dropped and the bait was pulled out of the grass, the redfish started eating. Our corks kept dropping as redfish bit our mud minnows. Michele not only caught her first redfish but with lots of coaxing even agreed to hold it!
With just a couple reds in the boat, we were looking to pick things up a bit on our morning charter. As low tide exposed lots of structure, we kept working popping corks in the current. Wick got bit and the action let us know it was most likely a flounder. Little did I know it would be a boat record! Wick’s fish weighed in at 6.5lbs and measured 25″. Needless to say, that was the daymaker!
Fishing has been very active so far this summer and anglers can expect it to stay the same in August. It will be important to get out early or stay out late to beat the heat. It will not only be more comfortable to fish during these times but also high temperatures in the afternoons can put the fish down.
It’s hard to find a more effective setup than the popping cork. You can catch so many different types of fish: redfish, trout, flounder, ladyfish, shark, etc. Try using a weighted popping cork to increase the distance of your cast. I attach an 18″-24″ fluorocarbon leader from the cork to a size 1 circle hook. Shrimp, mud minnows, and artificial shrimp all work well as baits.
When you are starting early, topwater is a fantastic option for trout. Do your best to get to your spot just as it is becoming daylight. Fish strike topwater lures based on the commotion they make on the surface as they can’t discern that the lure isn’t a real struggling baitfish. These lures will also catch redfish as well. Heddon’s Super Spook Jr. lures in silver mullet or chartreuse and black are the way to go.
Of all the species, the shark bite may be the most consistent of all during August. They certainly don’t seem to mind the heat. Menhaden are great bait so bring your cast net along. Make sure you use enough weight to keep your bait stuck to the bottom. In the harbor and in the inlets, you may need to go as heavy as four to six ounces when the current rips.
See you on the water!
Reds circled our boat on the flats for two hours but only a lone eleven pounder would eat. So, we switched our focus over to trout. While popping corks produced nice legal trout, lines fished out the back with mud minnows were the story of the day. Two trout over 20″ smoked our baits with the largest at four pounds!
With the wind and tide in her favor, Emily patiently drifted her cork down a grassy bank. After a few misses, her cork dropped again and she reeled tight! A few moments later, Emily had a nice looking trout in the boat. Great job!
July is one of the most productive months of the year for fishing. The combination of traditional targets like redfish and trout and summer seasonal species like shark, ladyfish and Spanish mackerel make for a very active fishery. Anglers can expect lots of different opportunities during all tides!
Fishing for redfish has been great. The large schools of redfish have now broken up but you can still find pods of ten to twenty fish especially on the flats. Putting a scent trail in the water and an easy meal in front of redfish is a tactic bound for success. We usually put cracked blue crab or live mullet on the bottom with enough weight to hold it stationary. Use circle hooks in size 3/0 combined with a heavy test line and hold on!
As for trout, popping corks paired with live bait is the way to go. We have been using mud minnows as pervasive little fish will steal live shrimp right off your hook. Choose a popping cork that you can easily throw and see. Oval corks weigh more and cast farther. Orange can be easier to see than green or yellow when there is chop on the water. Throw your cork in an area with current and you will be catching loads of trout.
Spanish mackerel are plentiful and are often best found at first light. If you find schools of fish busting bait on the surface, toss reflective casting jigs and reel them quickly through the school. Move your boat gradually around the school; running through a pod of fish will put them down. If you know fish are present but not up top, try trolling Clark Spoons at different depths and different speeds.
See you on the water!
Fishing had been steady out of the gates with lots of smaller reds and trout. All that changed quickly when Mark’s cork dropped and the drag started humming! What I thought would be a nice redfish made us all do a double take when it turned out to be a 22″ trout. One of the biggest so far this year. Great job!