Fishing a fast falling tide, we started out with docks but the water was rushing out too quickly. Once the water slowed down, we moved out onto the flats and set out cut mullet and mud minnows on the bottom. As a school of reds moved over the baits, the mullet rod twinged and then the mud minnow rod snapped over! After a long fight on a light rod, Miller brought the redfish alongside the boat. It weighed in at a healthy ten pounds and swam away healthy.
Gary, a regular client, loves to be casting as much as possible during his charters. After throwing artificials at hundreds of redfish only to see them sprint away, we agreed that putting out cut bait and waiting might be the best option. Boy, did it ever pay off! Our first fish was a huge 31″ redfish and was Gary’s biggest redfish ever. With this beauty in the bag, we switched back over to casting around docks with mud minnows on jigheads and caught smaller redfish for the rest of the charter.
Fishing this past month was great and we can expect November to be just as productive! Chilly nights remind redfish and trout that they had better eat now or it will be a long few months ahead without any food. Artificial lures have become very effective as natural bait leaves our waters. Take advantage of sunny days and go catch some fish!
As water temperatures fall, redfish have begun their seasonal phenomenon of forming large schools. Schools of fifty redfish will become common and they can swell as large as 100-150 during the winter. These fish are more wary this time of year and artificial lures can spook them on the flats. Instead of casting at the schools, we will throw out as many as three lines with chunks of frozen mullet on #3/0 circle hooks and let them sit. Eventually the redfish will find your bait and bend your rods over with some astonishing hits!
For trout, artificial lures are working very well. Trout hang together and when you catch one there will likely be others in the immediate area. Lures in hues of blue and gray are performing the best when paired with a 1/4oz. jighead. Remember to move your lure slower than usual as the fish slow down with the cooler water temperature. Try to bounce the jighead off the bottom and wait until you feel the pull of a striking fish.
Popping corks are still great options for both redfish and trout. Live shrimp can be used again with the bait stealers gone. I’ll attach a two to three foot leader to the cork and a size 1 circle hook on the other end with a split shot a foot above the hook. Cast along grass banks, over oyster beds, and at creek mouths and watch for that cork to disappear! It can be difficult, but when that cork drops, reel as fast as you can and let the circle hook naturally set itself. A big hook set can sometimes rip your bait right out of the fish’s mouth.
See you on the water!
As part of their annual birthday celebration, Matt and Will booked our regular full day charter. While the tide was still in the grass, we picked at fish with minnows under popping corks. Once the water came out, the action was non-stop. Reds on the inside of docks smoked our corks. Once low tide hit, we fished docks where redfish made a mockery of our 60lb test braid rigged on shark rods but we still managed to get many in the 8 to 10 pound range out. As the water came back in, we tossed corks over shell rakes and continued to get pummeled. Caught literally dozens of redfish. Happy birthday guys!
Eric was adamant about a full day charter and boy did we wear the fish out! Started with mud minnows under popping corks and with the help of his wife, Pam, dozens of redfish came into the boat. As we reached slack low tide, we went hunting bigger prey under docks. Found fish so big that even the shark rods with 60lb. test could not turn them. However, Pam did manage to get a nice eight pounder out from the pilings. After that, we jumped dozens of ladyfish while catching trout as well. A great day!
Fall has arrived with cooler weather and shorter days. But don’t put your boat away just yet because we’re about to have the best fishing of the year! Fishermen can continue to find success with live bait but artificial lures should become increasingly effective. Take time to get out on the water, you won’t regret it.
Redfish have been eagerly eating live and cut bait fished on the bottom. Mullet are pervasive in our waters and can be easily netted while frozen bait can be used as a second choice. We’ll rig the bait on a size 3/0 circle hook paired with a carolina rig. You can use this setup under docks as well as on the flats. Just put the rod in the holder and wait for the reel to start screaming as the fish hook themselves.
Artificial lures have begun to really work for trout and the traditional paddle tail design has been great. I’ll use a 1/4oz. jighead and tie a loop knot to give the lure even more action. Vary your rate of retrieve as you search for fish. To make your lure even more seductive, try putting a piece of shrimp on the hook. You can use pieces of frozen or live shrimp and it will put a scent trail on your lure that is hard to resist.
Even as artificial lures become more effective, don’t stop tossing those popping corks. Mud minnows, live shrimp and artificial shrimp have been working well when suspended about two feet below the cork. Redfish and trout alike will eat these baits as they pass by suspended in the water column. Corks have been most effective when fished along grassy banks at mid and high tide.
With the lower temperatures, redfish are beginning to form bigger schools. These large schools make for excellent sight fishing and happy fly fishermen. On clear days, you can see these packs of redfish swimming in circles with their golden backs flashing in the sun. Take your time when approaching the schools and when you make your first shot make sure to cast to the edges so as not to spook the school.
See you on the water!
Heavy winds pushed us into the creeks. Fortunately, the Alphin clan is always up for chasing “the strike” wherever it may be. Started pitching chunks of blue crab into deep holes around docks. Redfish hit so hard and heavy that light tackle gear was of no use. Switched over to shark rods and turned the drag down so tight we could barely pull line out with our hands. Everyone had a big redfish by the end of the day but Hunter set the bar with a 33″ beauty!
Rolled up onto the flat at first light and the schools weren’t hard to make out. Large halos of nervous water cruised up and down the bank sometimes punctuated by a noisy blowup of a redfish crushing shrimp. We posted up and waited for a school to come to us. Soon after, a large school swam in our direction and you could see the push of their backs in skinny water. Colin made a perfect cast putting a grey artificial fluke a few feet in front of the school. Almost immediately, there was a tremendous commotion and his drag screamed. Several minutes later he brought this 14 pounder alongside the boat. Wish all mornings started this way.
The perfect storm that makes for awesome fishing in the fall is about to begin. The combination of lower water temperatures, fewer fishermen on the water and tons of bait makes for ideal conditions. The arrival of cooler days that will make fishing much more pleasant doesn’t hurt either!
Popping corks are often mentioned in our reports. Why? Because they work so well! Redfish, trout and flounder will all eat bait that’s suspended in the water column. I’ll attach a 18”-24” leader from the cork to a size 1 circle hook. When fishing this rig, it’s very important to keep the slack out of your line so you can react quickly when the cork drops. I keep my rod tip pointed at the cork and just reel when it drops. You’ll find your hookup rate improves compared to keeping your rod tip high and trying to set the hook by jerking back on the rod.
It is time to bid farewell to the summer seasonal species who will likely be gone by the end of the month. Meanwhile, sharks are still providing plenty of entertainment for the next few weeks. When fishing in deep water, it is crucial to use enough weight to keep your bait pinned to the bottom. Baits that are swinging around in the current usually won’t get hit. Instead of using one large 4 or 6oz. weight, I’ll use 1 or 2oz. weights attached to a slinker slide on my line to get the desired effect.
One of the upsides of fishing for sharks these days is you’ll occasionally hook into the bull redfish that are starting to appear. With the mullet run in full swing, these beasts follow the bait inshore. Cracked blue crab and fresh cut mullet make perfect baits. You’ll find these fish on ledges and drop offs in the harbor and inlets. Bites can be less frequent than with corks but with redfish measuring into the upper 30” class it is well worth your time.
See you on the water!
Under dark skies and with lightening cells off in the distance, we met early in the morning to fish the rising tide. While the clouds hung around for the duration, we stayed dry for almost the entire charter. Started off fast catching bonnethead sharks with blue crab at slack low tide. After everyone had one in the boat, we switched over to popping corks and mud minnows. By the end of the day, everyone had caught a redfish as well. Will ended the trip with this 9lb. beauty!