Bob and Lisa were understandably concerned about the quality of fishing following the heavy rains. The great news was our fishery returned to its regular productive self very quickly. Over the course of two days we caught lots of trout mixed with some quality reds on popping corks. We also found some large reds on the flats that smoked our blue crab. Both days were sunny with light winds and we couldn’t have asked for better conditions. Get back out there and enjoy our fantastic Fall fishing!
As part of their honeymoon, Danielle surprised Drew with a morning of inshore fishing. Winds had been heavy out of the North for several days and I was wary that the flats I had planned to target would be blown out. Fortunately, even with winds at 15+, the bite was still on! The fish were finicky and you could only get one out of each school before they got lockjaw. Nonetheless, we boated reds up to 30″ and several nine pounds and over. It turned out to be a great morning!
Fall has arrived with cooler weather and shorter days. But don’t put your boat away yet because we’re about to experience the best fishing of the year! Fishermen can continue to find success with live bait but artificial lures should become increasingly effective. Make some time to get out on the water, you won’t regret it.
Redfish have been hungrily eating cut and live bait fished on the bottom. Menhaden and mullet are pervasive in our waters and can be easily netted. We’ll rig the bait on a size 3/0 circle hook paired with a carolina rig. You can use this under docks as well as on the flats. Just put the rod in the holder and wait for the reel to start humming as the fish hook themselves.
Artificial lures have really begun to produce for trout and the traditional paddle tail design has been awesome. 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 prospect for pockets of fish. To make your lure even more compelling, 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 ignore.
Even as artificial lures become more effective, keep tossing those popping corks. Mud minnows, live shrimp and artificial shrimp have all been working well when suspended about 18″-24″ below the cork. Redfish and trout alike will eat these baits as they pass by riding along in the water column. Corks have been working best fished along grassy banks at mid and high tide.
See you on the water!
As a introduction to lowcountry fishing, David brought his friend Steve, a renown hand model, out on the water this morning. Fishing low tide on the flats worked well with blue crab and let Steve get those precious mitts around some nice redfish. Transitioned to popping corks and caught more reds and trout with mud minnows. A steady current and lots of bait kept the bite steady for rest of the charter.
Set out this morning trying to capture the small window when there would be enough water to get up on the flats but before the redfish could get into the grass. We got it just right! Pushed up to a set of shell rakes and immediately put a 31″ beauty in the boat. Landed five more fish over the next hour with the smallest at 5lbs. and the average around 8lbs. With the water up, we fished popping corks with mud minnows along the grass lines and had good success catching trout. It’s great when a plan works.
The perfect storm that makes fishing so great in the fall is beginning. The combination of tons of bait, lower water temperatures, and fewer fishermen on the water makes for wonderful conditions. The fact that cooler days will make fishing much more pleasant is a bonus!
We often mention popping corks in our reports. Why? Because they work so well! Trout, redfish and flounder will all attack 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 a popping cork, it’s very important to keep the slack out of your line so you can set the hook quickly. I keep my rod tip pointed at the cork and just reel when it drops. You’ll find your hookup rate is better when 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. When fishing in deeper waters, it is important to use enough weight to keep your bait on the bottom. Baits that are surfing in the current usually won’t get hit. Instead of using one large 4 or 6oz. weight, I’ll stack 1 or 2oz. weights on my line to get the desired effect. It makes provides more flexibility and makes casting easier.
One of the benefits of fishing in deeper waters these days is you can regularly hook into bull redfish who are quite active. With the mullet run in full swing, these huge fish will make their way inshore. Cracked blue crab and fresh cut mullet make great baits. You’ll find these fish on ledges and drop offs in the harbor and inlets. Fishing can be slower than with corks but with redfish measuring into the upper 30” class it’s well worth your time.
See you on the water!
At the beginning of the charter, Kelly let me know that she hadn’t fished that much. Just an hour into the charter, it was clear she was sandbagging her talents. In the first few casts, Kelly landed a four pound trout. Not long after, her popping cork got smoked by an eleven pound redfish which she deftly navigated out of the grass and to the boat. Many more trout and reds were caught and we ended the charter with sharks. Nice work!
Fishing has been very productive this summer and anglers can expect more of the same in August. During this month, it will be important to get out early or stay out late to beat the heat. Not only will it be more comfortable to fish during these times but also the high temperatures in the afternoon can put the fish down.
Popping corks are a very effective setup. You have the opportunity to catch so many different types of fish: redfish, trout, flounder, ladyfish, shark, etc. Use a weighted popping cork to increase the distance of your cast. I tie on an 18″-24″ fluorocarbon leader from the cork to a size 1 circle hook. Mud minnows, shrimp and artificial shrimp all work well as baits.
Topwater is a fantastic option for trout when you are starting early. Do your best to get to your spot just as it is becoming light. Fish strike topwater lures based on the commotion they make on the surface and aren’t able to discern that the lure isn’t a real struggling baitfish. These lures will also catch redfish and ladyfish. Heddon’s Super Spook Jr. lures in chartreuse and black or red and white are the ticket.
The shark bite may be the most consistent of all during August as they don’t seem to mind the heat. We’ve been fishing half a blue crab with its shell left on to keep the bait from being picked apart by little fish. Large menhaden are also producing. Make sure you use enough weight to keep your bait pinned to the bottom. In the inlets and in the harbor you may need to go as heavy as four to six ounces when the current rips.
See you on the water!
Visiting Charleston on their honeymoon, the Cornwell’s joined me for a morning on the water. Brilliant sun and light winds made for excellent conditions and the bite was on as soon as we stopped at the first flat. We slowly worked from school to school of redfish catching a couple before moving to the next. The charter was supposedly just for Chad but even his wife got into the act! Caught a total of eight redfish including one in the slot with the rest between seven and twelve pounds.
Leaving under the cover of darkness, we rolled up on a flat where we could barely make out the shell rakes. At dawn, you could see the backs and tails of redfish as they busted shrimp. Lobbed in half a blue crab and a 7lb. red was on before I could even put the rod in a holder. Bite was so strong during the falling tide we could barely keep one bait out at a time and caught reds up to 10lbs. Once the tide turned, the fish were more hesitant and we had lots of pickups and drops but still kept putting fish in the boat. Awesome morning!