David had booked a charter in Janauary to see some of the huge schools of redfish building in the Winter. The fish sure didn’t disappoint today! Spent most of the charter at one spot as pod after pod made its way down the bank and over our baits. Whether we had cracked blue crab or cut mullet on the bottom, the rods would snap over every few minutes. The action was so fierce that we even called the trip early and headed back to the landing with good memories and tired arms.
Had fantastic conditions today and were treated to warmer than expected temperatures and glassy calm water. Big schools of redfish cruised up and down the banks sometimes exposing their backs at low tide. The reds happily ate cut mullet and mud minnows fished on the bottom with circle hooks. By the end of the day, we not only had the first redfish of the year but also Michal’s biggest fish ever!
While traditionally this season conjures up thoughts of the holidays, don’t write off fishing until the Spring. One of our fisheries’ greatest phenomenon is taking place as the temperature drops. Redfish are building into huge schools sometimes numbering in the hundreds. Casting into a pod of redfish so big it looks like a dark cloud in the water will make any angler’s heart skip a beat.
These schools form as the redfish’s metabolism slows down with the dropping water temperature and they seek protection in numbers from the faster dolphins. The redfish will try to stay in as shallow water as possible and come up onto the flats at low tide in hopes of evading their predator. In addition, on sunny days, the mud flats will hold a few extra degrees of temperature which attracts these schools as well.
As you might expect, these fish are spooky and if chased will not eat. Once a school is located, it is often best to wait until the school eventually comes close to you. There is nothing more effective now than a chunk of cracked blue crab putting out a scent trail in the water. Rig these baits with a size 3/0 circle hook and it is imperative that the hook point come cleanly out of the bait. Put the rods in a holder and wait until the reel starts singing before you pick it up.
Bait isn’t the only way to catch these redfish. Fly fishermen have an advantage here as flies can land softly and quietly. Darker flies have been working the best with a size #2 black wiggler drawing some fantastic strikes. Should black not work don’t be afraid to rotate over to a size #2 white/chartreuse clouser minnow. As always, aim towards the edges of the school; a cast right over the middle will send the fish running for cover.
Sheepshead, also available, have begun their seasonal migration offshore although there will still be some stragglers around. You’ll want to target these fish around barnacle covered pilings or docks. Fiddler crabs and pieces of oyster have been working well. Suspend your bait vertically next to pieces of structure using a small sinker weight a short distance above your hook. The bite of these fish, sometimes referred to as “convict” fish because of their black stripes, can be difficult to detect. Given their fight and taste though, anglers find them well worth the challenge.
See you on the water!
The Malishenko family joined me for a morning of fishing. First cast and the popping cork dropped right away for Wyatt’s first redfish ever. The corks kept dropping while reds would nibble but not fully take cut mullet on the bottom. As the water warmed that changed and our rods kept snapping over as they inhaled the mullet. By the end of the trip, Dad had his first redfish and then some!
It turns out your can still catch plenty of redfish when the water temperature is in the 60s! We spent the day putting mud minnows out on circle hooks and letting the redfish schools swim over to us. For every fish that hooked up, there were at least ten that nosed the bait and the line. Both Noll and Pat caught their first redfish ever. Pat set the bar high for his personal best with this 12 pound beauty!
Fishing in October was fantastic and we can expect November to be great as well! Chilly nights remind redfish and trout that they had better eat soon or it will be a long few months ahead. Per usual, artificial lures become very effective as natural bait leaves our waters. Take advantage of sunny days and go catch a mess of fish!
As water temperatures dip, redfish have begun their annual phenomenon of congregating in large schools. Schools of fifty redfish will become commonplace and they can grow as large as 100+ in the depths of winter. These fish do become more wary this time of year and artificial lures can spook them on the flats. Instead of casting at the schools, we have been setting out as many as three lines with chunks of frozen mullet on #3/0 circle hooks. Eventually the redfish will find your bait and whip your rods over with some amazing hits.
For trout, artificial lures rigged on a jighead are working quite well. Trout hang together and when you catch one there will likely be others in the immediate area. Lures in darker hues of gray and blue are performing the best when paired with a 1/4oz. jighead. Remember to move your lure slowly as the fish are beginning to move slowly as well with the colder waters. Try to bounce the jighead off the bottom and wait until you feel the resistance of a striking fish.
Popping corks are still very effective for both trout and redfish. Live shrimp can be used with confidence now that the small bait stealers are gone. I’ll attach a two foot leader to the cork and a size 1 circle hook on the other end. Cast along grass banks, over oyster beds and at creek mouths and watch for that cork to dive under! It can be so hard to do but when that cork drops, reel the fish tight and let the circle hook do the work.
See you on the water!
Another beautiful October day full of active fish enjoying warmer than usual temperatures. Redfish repeatedly whipped over our rods as we fished chunks of blue crab and mud minnows on the bottom. Found success around shell rakes as well as under docks. Most of the reds were over slot with the biggest at 27 inches. Good times.
Started early and crossed the harbor with the sun just coming up as we raced to fish the entire charter with moving water. On our very first cast, the popping cork dropped and it didn’t stop for the rest of the trip! Reds, trout, flounder and blues gulped down our mud minnows. Only fished two spots for the duration of the charter. Catch of the trip was a four pound redfish that Jax helped his grandfather reel in.
Fall has arrived with shorter days and cooler weather. But don’t put your boat away just 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 time to get out on the water, you won’t regret it.
After a week of very windy conditions, the weather has thankfully calmed down and water clarity is improving. Redfish will start to form larger schools and sight fishing on the flats should be great. We are throwing jerk shad artificial lures about 4″-5″ in length and in hues of grey and blue. I rig these lures on size #3/0 flutter hooks that provide great action.
Artificial paddle tail lures have begun to really produce for trout. 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 pockets of fish. Again, we’ve been staying with darker colored artificials. To make your lure even more attractive, try putting a piece of shrimp on the hook. You can use pieces of live or frozen shrimp and it will put a scent trail on your lure that is hard to resist.
Even with artificials becoming more effective, keep tossing those popping corks. Mud minnows, live shrimp and artificial shrimp have been working well when suspended about 18″-24″ below the cork. Redfish and trout alike will eat these baits as they pass by suspended in the water column. Corks have been working best fished along grassy banks at mid and high tide.
See you on the water!
Starting fishing right off of low tide with the water rising at a pretty good clip. Found a pocket of fish where about ten rat reds and a couple keeper trout fell for mud minnows under popping corks. Switched to another shell rake and found a strong rat red bite and literally dozens came into the boat. Midway through the charter, one cork dropped hard and the drag started singing. I thought it was just a solid red mixed in with his smaller brethren. Instead, as it came to the boat, it was the biggest flounder I have seen caught in the lowcountry. A 6lb. 23″ beauty so large I could lift it into the boat by its tail. Had to return to the landing for a bigger cooler to hold the thing. Quite a thrill!