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!
Having looked at the tide charts, Beezer gave me a call when he realized we could have a morning of sight fishing on the flats. The winds were light and you could see the schools moving all around us. Even thought the reds were feeding aggressively on shrimp they wanted nothing to do with artificials. So, we put out fresh cut mullet and mud minnows and waited. Mud minnows were the choice of the day and the rods snapped over again and again as the circle hooks did their magic. Put lots of reds in the boat and headed home after a successful morning!
With a perfect set of conditions in place, anglers can be confident that inshore fishing will really pick up in September. The combination of lots of bait, cooler water temperatures and less traffic on the water should make for great fishing. While most people will turn their focus to hunting and football, fishermen who save some time for wetting a line will be well rewarded.
As usual during this time of year, redfish will begin to increasingly take artificial baits. Plastic lures that mimic the minnows in our waters are very effective. Zman’s 3 ¾” streakz in smokey shad is an excellent choice. I pair this lure with a 1/8oz. jighead but conditions may call for a heavier weight. Make sure to vary your rate of retrieve as you work a spot. Sometimes just slowing down or speeding up the pace of the lure can make the bite come to life.
We continue to find our best trout bite by fishing topwater lures first thing in the morning when temperatures are cooler. Our perennial favorite lure remains the Super Spook Jr. with a black head/chartreuse body. Something about the contrast in colors seems to really get the trout fired up. As the topwater bite fades with the rising sun, try switching over to MirrOLure suspended lures and you can usually find more eager fish.
It’s not uncommon to catch bull redfish (36” inches plus) during the summer time at the jetties or at nearshore reefs. During the Fall, these same fish come increasingly more into the harbor and inlets as they track down large baitfish. Rods rigged for these fish will have heavy test braided line connected to a 50-60lb. leader and 7/0 circle hooks. Fresh chunks of mullet, menhaden or smaller fish are effective baits. Target spots where there are marked changes in depth and wait for the massive strikes!
See you on the water!
Left the dock at first light driving into a stiff breeze at 15-20 out of the Northeast. Tried topwater for half an hour with success getting strikes and follows but no hookups. We took shelter on bank that offered protection from the wind and the chop. We caught trout, ladyfish and bluefish with mud minnows under popping corks. Most importantly, as far as Sam was concerned, we caught sharks on blue crab!
The Harris family joined me for a kid’s fishing trip with a focus on sharks. We found a few bonnetheads in deeper water right on the ledges but moved to shallower water to see what would happen. One of the rods with half a blue crab quickly bent over and the drag started screaming. Ian told me he thought it was a ray as it surfaced a few times. Once it was close to boat we realized it was a huge redfish! The fishing gods were kind and let us get the fish in the boat where it taped out to 39″. Makes me really excited for the Fall run of bull reds!
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. Charters at first light have been meeting with some great success.
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!
Every year Ray and Marv drive up from Florida for three days of fishing. Despite all the options available, they want one thing: big redfish under docks. So bring out the shark rods, 60lb. test and chunks of blue crab and away we go! Had our best year yet with hot action every day. Rods would snap over and Ray and Marv would have those few pivotal seconds to get that fish out from under a dock before it wrapped around a piling. Good times. Lots of redfish ten pounds or more. Can’t wait until next year.