Temperatures have been all over the place this Winter with a string of nice days followed by days in the 30s. Throughout it all though, it was possible to catch redfish especially on the sunny days. Expect the fishing to markedly improve as the arrival of Spring brings warmer water temperatures as well as the emergence of bait fish.
Having laid low the last few months to avoid dolphins, redfish will transform from simply surviving to becoming predators. With schools containing up to hundreds of redfish, the best fishing will be at low tide when they are exposed. These fish will still be spooky so stealth is of upmost importance when approaching them. It pays to anchor up when you find a school and wait for them to return to you instead of chasing them down.
During this time of year sometimes these big schools of redfish don’t want anything to do with artificial lures. When this happens, it’s time to soak some cut bait. I’ll put chunks of frozen mullet on size 3/0 circle hooks and wait until the schools of redfish swim over it. Put your rod in the rod holder and leave the rod alone when you see a fish begin to eat. The circle hook will do all the work for you and when your reel starts to sing you are in business.
With the end of February being quite cold, we’ll have to see if the trout bite will start in March. Working artificial lures slowly across the bottom will be your best bet. Plastic lures that imitate small minnows are a good choice. For color, stick with grey and silver hues that most resemble bait. Paired with a 1/8oz. or 1/4oz. jighead, the combination should work well when the trout return.
It’s hard to be stealthier than with a flyrod. This is one of the times of year when fly fishing can be a very effective way to target redfish. When a fly is cast well, it will make only the slightest splash. Right now, we are using smaller flies especially the tried and true white/chartreuse clouser minnow pattern. Cast to the edges of the schools and bring the fly slowly across their noses. The redfish may be somewhat sluggish but you’ll still elicit some dramtic strikes!
See you on the water!
Capt. Geoff Bennett operates Charleston Charter Fishing providing fly fishing and light tackle charters. Clients choose from a full menu of fly rods, artificial and live bait fishing options with charters tailored to their desires. USCG licensed and insured, Capt. Bennett is committed to providing a safe and enjoyable charter to anglers of all skill levels and ages. For more information, call Capt. Bennett at 843-324-3332, visit his website at www.charlestoncharterfishing.com or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.