As part of a birthday celebration, Shar and Char joined me for a morning on the water. A lower than forecast tide gave us an extra hour on the flats. Things slowed down and as I picked up a rod to make a move, it whipped over. A few minutes later Shar had a 29″ red in her lap. Happy birthday!
Tried fishing the big water as well as popping corks to start the charter without much luck. Fortunately, the tide was dropping out quick and let us get up onto the flats. Lots of action as reds smoked cut mullet. Brian’s first redfish ever turned out to be the biggest of the day at 29″. You can tell by his smile how happy he was!
What a great time to be fishing! With our waters now teeming with bait, the fish have strapped the feedbags on and are eating heartily. All the summer seasonal species have arrived and when combined with our traditional gamefish, provide a whole host of options for an angler. If your fishing season hasn’t yet begun, there’s no better time to start.
As the water temperatures climb, redfish are becoming more active and attacking artificial lures. Jerk shad lures rigged on flutter hooks are my go to option. These artificial lures, usually 4″-5″ in length, imitate small baitfish. Flutter hooks have a weight on their shank that let you cast a far distance and also put motion on the lure. I use flutter hooks in size 3/0 with a 1/8oz. weight. Make sure to cast to the edges of the schools, if you cast right into the middle you stand a good chance of spooking them.
Per usual, it’s that time of year for topwater trout action at first light. Heddon’s Super Spook Jr. in their silver mullet color works great but my favorite is the chartreuse and black. Vary retrieve speeds as you work these lures back to the boat. This is a lure that you should reel tight to the fish before raising your rod tip. Good luck with that as a violent boil erupts around your lure! Once the topwater bite fades, suspended twitch bait lures can keep things going for a little while longer.
Sharks have returned to our waters and several species like bonnetheads, sharpnose and black tips are already prevalent. You’ll start to see the fins of sharks slicing through the water as they seek out prey in skinny water and also find them foraging along drop offs in the harbor and inlets. Chunks of blue crab, cut bait and live shrimp both work well on these predators. I favor 7/0 circle hooks and just put the rods in the holders. Fishing for sharks can be a great way to get younger anglers involved as sharks are usually hungry and put up great fights
See you on the water!
With huge tides and muddy water making for some tough inshore fishing, I asked Matthew what he thought about sharks. He replied that catching a shark would make his year. Off we went! Caught bonnetheads, sharpnose and blacktip consistently on cut shad. Needless to say, Matthew was happy!
Hey now! Team Aquifer reunited for our annual fishing trip as Bob and Erin were eager to continue the tradition. The fish proved finicky in front of an incoming storm system. Nontheless, we pushed on and caught our usual mix of redfish and trout. Pour one for Jesus!
On a foggy morning, the action started right away as fish crushed cut mullet and blue crab. The first time a rod whipped over I thought it was a small redfish but it turned out to be a 21″ trout. Even better, it was the first fish Laura had caught…..ever! Continued the day catching reds in the 6-8lb. range until it was time to head a home. A great morning on the water!
Having never caught redfish before, Tim and Sam started out with a bang! The pair simultaneously landed two solid 11 pound reds while dodging each other, dock pilings and exposed rocks. Hard to top that experience but we continued the day with more reds and legal trout that hit mud minnows under corks. Great job guys!
Jeff already had the bug for targeting big redfish and this time he brought his Dad along too. Eating heartily ahead of the big storm system, reds whipped the rods over again and again. Cut mullet was the bait of choice. By the end of the charter, the redfish averaged over ten pounds while David set the bar with a 13 pounder, his biggest fish ever!
Charleston was set to bypass Winter and cruise straight into Spring up until the last two weeks. Abnormally chilly weather sent the water temperatures plummeting and made the bite slow down. Redfish hung in there but trout seemed to go back to their normal slumber. With April however, rising temperatures combined with the arrival of baitfish will get things cranking again!
While redfish remain in large schools, they will begin to break up as the water warms. These fish will leave survival mode and become active feeders once again. Over the last few weeks, redfish have been finicky with artificial baits but this should improve. Jerk shad rigged on flutter hooks as well as paddle tail grubs on jigheads will both be effective. Try colors that mimic the natural hues of baitfish like such as silver, grey and translucent blue.
When redfish are hesitant, a great solution is to throw chunks of freshly cracked blue crab. Blue crab is simply redfish candy and bait that is rarely refused. Remove the top of the shell, the pinchers and the legs and cut the remainder down the middle. I use size 3/0 circle hooks and put the hook through the bottom flipper hole. This setup will work on the flats, under docks and anywhere redfish are holding. Put the rod in the rod holder and don’t pick it up until the reel is screaming!
The trout bite will begin in earnest this April. The preferred rig of live bait under a popping cork is hard to beat. Live shrimp is now available and will give you another option than mud minnows. It’s a good idea to start carrying your cast net and see if you can find some finger mullet. Finger mullet under a cork is just deadly. Remember to vary the rate of your retrieve and don’t be afraid to let the current take your cork well past the back of your boat.
See you on the water!
Started as the tide began to fall and had some luck around docks. Once the tide started rolling the popping corks started dropping! Trout ate both live shrimp and mud minnows with our biggest trout at 3lbs. Headed to the flats where reds were happy to hit cut mullet. Things went so well that Jake even let his dad catch a few. Make Charleston family fishing a part of your next vacation!