Found a brief break from the wind and when combined with a nice mid morning low tide, conditions were perfect. The schools of fish were easy to see but still a bit finicky. We posted up and waited for them to come to us. The reds preferred cut mullet over mud minnows. Long time customer, Steele, set his personal best with a sweet 28″ red.
Spring has arrived! With days full of sun and temperatures holding in the 70’s, our fishery is rapidly changing with many new signs of life. Trout and flounder are entering the mix and anglers now have several species to target instead of just spooky redfish. Bait is filling our waters and the fish are hungry!
Redfish are no longer focused simply on preservation but are now feeding again. Anglers should consider using artificial plastic lures that mimic bait fish. One good choice would be “jerk shad” lures that have become very popular and are available in a wide variety of colors. I’ve been finding that silver hues have been working best although I’ll occasionally throw a darker color when water clarity is poor.
As trout become more active, popping corks cast along grass banks and over oyster beds will be a good bet paired with mud minnows and live shrimp. I usually use a 18”-24” leader and a size 1 circle hook. When working the popping cork, always try to keep slack out of your line and when that cork drops just reel tight to set the hook. You’ll find that the circle hook will do most of the work for you.
Often considered our tastiest fish, flounder are a frequent target. We’ve been catching them mostly when fishing with mud minnows on the bottom or mud minnows under popping corks. You’ll need to focus on structures when targeting flounder. Old pilings and docks are good places to prospect. Remember that flounder will hug the bottom in hopes of ambushing their prey, so you’ll need to keep that bait down on or close to the bottom.
See you on the water!
The reds were a little wary to start the charter. A few times our rods tips would bend slightly then spring back. This all changed once the water started moving! Our rods whipped over time and time again. Broke off plenty of big fish as they quickly dove for structure. Managed to get a few to the boat with the biggest at 32″!
Rain or shine, Barb was determined to go fishing. The storm system stayed away from us and we also caught lots of redfish! On the flats, around shell rake and under docks the bite was on everywhere. A great morning on the water.
We had one goal for our charter: catch Kerri’s first redfish. We started with a modest flounder which was her first fish ever. As the winds picked up, conditions deteriorated. Not to be denied, Kerri kept at it and eventually a rod snapped over! A few minutes later Kerri had her prize for the day, a beautiful upper slot redfish.
As our colder months end, temperatures have been working their way higher over the last few weeks. Warmer water makes for happier fish and the Spring bite will soon be well underway. The usual suspects, redfish and trout, will be our primary targets and both will be increasingly more active. Don’t wait a couple months, grab your rods and start catching now!
Over the last few months, redfish have been doing their best to avoid hungry dolphins. Now they will switch modes from just trying to survive and instead become predators. Redfish remain in huge schools and the most productive fishing will be at low tide when they are concentrated. These fish will be spooky so you’ll want to be quiet and slow on your approach. Sometimes, the best option is to post up and wait for the school to swim within range of you.
If they are being skittish, these big schools of redfish will often turn their noses up at artificial lures. Instead of casting at them to no avail, we’ll fish bait on the bottom. Toss out chunks of blue crab or cut mullet on size 3/0 circle hooks. Place your rod in the rod holder and leave the rod alone when you see the line begin to tighten. The circle hook does all the work for you and when your drag starts to sing you are in business!
The trout bite has just begun. Artificial lures will be your best bet with little natural bait in the water. Fish these lures slowly and try to let them sink to the bottom. These trout are sluggish as well and it pays to get the lure right in front of their nose. Plastic lures that imitate small minnows are a good choice and the Zman 3.75” Streakz in smokey shad is our go to choice. Matched with a 1/8oz. or 1/4oz. jighead, this combination will work well throughout the year.
See you on the water!
Left at first light, excited about a forecast for warmer weather and sunshine. At our first stop, the redfish were clearly happy about the change in conditions too. Put a couple of ten pounders in the boat as well as some in the five to six pound range. Reds ate cut mullet and mud minnows. Able to see healthy schools of reds for most of the charter. Great weather forecast through the weekend!
Left at dark to get as much low tide fishing in as possible. Spent the first two hours targeting large schools of redfish on the flats before they went into the grass. Until it warmed up a bit the reds were finicky eaters, often picking up our cut mullet and mud minnows just to drop them right away. Had several bites on cut mullet and then moved over to the docks. Found a dock holding some beasts that smoked our rods. Even with 40lb. test these reds were hard to get out quickly from the pilings. Nice to see the bite turning up with the better weather.
David had booked a charter in Janauary to see some of the huge schools of redfish building in the Winter. The fish sure didn’t disappoint today! Spent most of the charter at one spot as pod after pod made its way down the bank and over our baits. Whether we had cracked blue crab or cut mullet on the bottom, the rods would snap over every few minutes. The action was so fierce that we even called the trip early and headed back to the landing with good memories and tired arms.
While traditionally this season conjures up thoughts of the holidays, don’t write off fishing until the Spring. One of our fisheries’ greatest phenomenon is taking place as the temperature drops. Redfish are building into huge schools sometimes numbering in the hundreds. Casting into a pod of redfish so big it looks like a dark cloud in the water will make any angler’s heart skip a beat.
These schools form as the redfish’s metabolism slows down with the dropping water temperature and they seek protection in numbers from the faster dolphins. The redfish will try to stay in as shallow water as possible and come up onto the flats at low tide in hopes of evading their predator. In addition, on sunny days, the mud flats will hold a few extra degrees of temperature which attracts these schools as well.
As you might expect, these fish are spooky and if chased will not eat. Once a school is located, it is often best to wait until the school eventually comes close to you. There is nothing more effective now than a chunk of cracked blue crab putting out a scent trail in the water. Rig these baits with a size 3/0 circle hook and it is imperative that the hook point come cleanly out of the bait. Put the rods in a holder and wait until the reel starts singing before you pick it up.
Bait isn’t the only way to catch these redfish. Fly fishermen have an advantage here as flies can land softly and quietly. Darker flies have been working the best with a size #2 black wiggler drawing some fantastic strikes. Should black not work don’t be afraid to rotate over to a size #2 white/chartreuse clouser minnow. As always, aim towards the edges of the school; a cast right over the middle will send the fish running for cover.
Sheepshead, also available, have begun their seasonal migration offshore although there will still be some stragglers around. You’ll want to target these fish around barnacle covered pilings or docks. Fiddler crabs and pieces of oyster have been working well. Suspend your bait vertically next to pieces of structure using a small sinker weight a short distance above your hook. The bite of these fish, sometimes referred to as “convict” fish because of their black stripes, can be difficult to detect. Given their fight and taste though, anglers find them well worth the challenge.
See you on the water!