Started the charter around high tide on a brilliantly sunny day. Went to the middle of the harbor while waiting for the current to pick up steam. Found plenty of Atlantic Sharpnose eagerly taking cut bluefish and croaker. After getting our fill of sharks, we headed off in search of other gamefish. Mud minnows proved to be effective either under popping corks or bumped along the bottom with a jighead. Caught many trout and ended the trip with a three pound flounder!
Well, no matter how much you fish, sometimes you witness the spectacular! Throwing trout back into the water attracted attention from a pack of dolphins who promptly surrounded our boat for a few minutes. The man in the video playing dolphin whisperer is one of my good friends and regular client, David P. Simply an amazing experience!
The Hable family joined me again this year for a morning of family fishing. As the tide fell, we worked grassy banks with mud minnows under popping corks and quickly found consistent action. A mixture of trout and acrobatic ladyfish kept the the corks dropping. Somewhat torn, we left the bite to go in search of redfish under docks. The gamble paid off when Eric muscled a big red into the boat to end the charter!
While the weather has been quite hot, it hasn’t slowed the fishing down. Fishermen can try starting early in the morning where they can find fish chasing bait on the surface as well as lighter winds that allow them to sight fish on the flats. Evenings also offer cooler temperatures and a chance to target tailing redfish on big flood tides.
The redfish bite has been great. The large schools of redfish have now split up but you can still find pods of twenty to thirty fish, especially on the flats. Putting a scent trail in the water and an easy meal in front of redfish is a tactic likely to succeed. We usually put live mullet or cracked blue crab on the bottom with enough weight to hold it in place. Use circle hooks in size 3/0 combined with a heavy test line and watch those rods rip over!
The trout bite is getting steadily stronger. We’ve started catching a healthy number of larger trout mixed in with smaller fish. Fishing mud minnows on jigheads is quite effective and lets you get your bait in front of trout in deeper pockets. I use 1/8 oz. or 1/4oz. jigheads. You can use heavier jigheads but make sure their size is not significantly bigger than the bait. Try alternating the speed of your retrieve as you work through an area.
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!
Headed off to Ranger school on Monday, Luke and his family wanted to get some fishing in before he left home. Started the charter watching bluefish and smaller trout mess with our popping corks. Kept moving until we found a strong trout bite that lasted for almost an hour with Luke putting the largest keeper in the boat. He wasn’t done yet. As we finished the charter, Luke’s cork got smoked and a few minutes later he had a beautiful 11 pound redfish onboard! A fishing memory that will hopefully keep a smile on his face throughout training.
Found a few seams of calm weather in an otherwise windy stretch of days. We were able to pole on the flats and the redfish clearly did not mind the bouts of choppy water. Schools of redfish could be seen flashing their bellies in the sun as they fed. There were no takers on artificials so we switched over to cut mullet. It sure did the trick as we caught redfish up to eleven pounds. The bite stayed on for a solid two hours until the water got up into the grass.
June is a great time of year to be fishing because there are so many options. The usual suspects, redfish and trout, are plentiful and active. Sharks are readily available to really give your arms a workout while ladyfish make your drag scream as they fly acrobatically through the air. Bait is easily accessible with a quick toss of a cast net. You just can’t go wrong.
Menhaden are redfish candy and our waters are teeming with them. Using a carolina rig, we’ve been fishing with both live and cut menhaden. Make sure to use a heavy enough weight to hold the bait stationary, otherwise your rig will tumble along the bottom until it snags. Try fishing docks and other structure immediately around where you netted your menhaden, you’ll be sure to find plenty of reds!
The popping cork remains the way to go when targeting trout. Fish these corks in front of creek mouths, along grassy banks and over shell rakes. Look for places trout can sit and ambush prey. Live shrimp and mud minnows are very effective but sometimes bait stealers and snapper bluefish make short work of them. When this happens, I’ll switch over to a DOA 3″ shrimp in their glow/gold rush color.
This has been one of the best years for shark fishing in recent memory. Bonnethead sharks have been especially thick and you can see their fins as they slice up and down the banks. We’ve been using carolina rigs here as well. Chunks of ladyfish or live menhaden work well as does cracked blue crab. Look to fish areas where there are sharp changes in water depth.
See you on the water!
As we left the dock, one of my clients mentioned that he lived in a prolific fishery and knew we would likely be catching smaller redfish. At our first stop, we put out chunks of blue crab and cut mullet on circle hooks. The rods bent over again and again as the redfish came out of the grass. The fish favored the cut mullet. The last redfish was a bruiser that weighed in at 14 pounds. Somehow, I think Charleston’s fishery can hold its own.
A day after a new moon, we were faced with a ripping tide that would drop over six feet in four hours. Started out by working docks with mud minnows on jigheads and caught redfish up to seven pounds. Moved over to the flats and threw out cut mullet. The current kept the lines taught so when a fish hit it was violent! Landed several nice redfish including a thirteen pounder.
Warm weather has arrived and with it comes a host of seasonal species like shark, ladyfish and bluefish. Our traditional targets, redfish and trout, are hungry as ever as bait fills our waters. Our fishery is teeming with life and opportunities for anglers are endless. You have more reasons now than ever to get fishing!
It’s time to make the most of live bait when fishing for redfish. Menhaden is a favorite choice whether fished live or as cut bait. We’ve caught some huge redfish by pitching chunks of menhaden under docks. You’ll need to use enough weight to hold your bait in place so it doesn’t drift and get snagged. I use pinch-on split shot that can be easily adjusted, just add or remove these weights as needed.
Now’s the time of year to start thinking about topwater trout action at first light. My favorite lure is a Heddon’s Super Spook Jr. in chartreuse and black while an easy fallback is their silver mullet color. Make sure to try a variety of retrieval speeds as you work these lures. When that trout hits, resist the temptation to lift the rod tip and reel the fish tight instead. It’s hard to beat those fantastic strikes!
Spanish mackerel are beginning to show up, especially in the harbor, and can be best found at first light. If you find schools of fish slashing across the surface, throw reflective casting jigs and reel them quickly through the school. Alternatively, if you know fish are present but not up top, try trolling Clark Spoons at different depths and different speeds. Remember to check your leader often as it only takes catching a few of these teethy fish to cut through it.
Per usual, sharks have returned to our waters with the warmer water temperatures. Just watch the shoreline and you’ll see bonnethead sharks slicing through the water as they seek out prey. These predators will eat most anything, but chunks of blue crab and live shrimp can be especially productive. Shark fishing is an easy way to get younger anglers involved as sharks are usually hungry and put up great fights.
See you on the water!