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Charleston Fishing Report – May 2022

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Charleston-Fishing-Report

It’s a great time to be fishing! Our waters are now teeming with bait and fish are eating heartily. All the summer seasonal species have arrived and when combined with our traditional gamefish, provide a whole array of options for an angler. If you haven’t begun fishing yet, there’s no better time to start.

Consider making the most of live bait when targeting redfish. Menhaden is a favorite choice whether fished cut or alive. We’ve been catching some nice redfish by pitching chunks of menhaden under docks. You’ll need to use enough weight to hold your bait to the bottom so it doesn’t move and get snagged. I use pinch-on split shot that can be easily changed, just add or remove these weights as needed.

Topwater trout action is plentiful at first light! Heddon’s Super Spook Jr. in their silver mullet color works well but my favorite is the chartreuse and black. Vary retrieve speeds as you work these lures over shell rakes and grassy banks. When a fish strikes, reel tight before raising your rod tip. Good luck with that as a violent explosion erupts around your lure! Once the topwater bite slows, suspended twitch bait lures are a good choice to continue the action.

Sharks have filled our waters with several species like bonnetheads, sharpnose and black tips easily accessible. You’ll start to see the fins of sharks as they seek out prey along river banks and also find them foraging along drop offs in the harbor and inlets. Blue crab, cut bait and live shrimp all work well on these predators. I favor 7/0 circle hooks. Just put the rods in the holders and wait for them to rip over!

See you on the water!

O Menhaden, Where Art Thou?

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Isle Of Palms Fishing

Found big schools of menhaden flickering at first light in the ICW and knew we were setting up for a great day. Cut them up into chunks and fished docks as the tide rose from slack low. Rods stayed bent over for the whole charter with redfish crushing our baits. Broke off plenty but ultimately landed seven pigs with the heaviest at 13lbs. as well as plenty of slot fish. Fresh menhaden make fishing so good!

Johns Island Fishing Charters

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Johns Island Fishing Charters

All year I had been waiting to get my hands on some blue crab thinking no redfish would resist. Turns out they couldn’t care less but smoked cut mullet. Spent most of the charter fishing docks and tangled with reds that shark rods and 60lb test simply could not turn. Fortunately, we had tons of chances and Chuck ended the day with this 13lb. beauty!

April Fishing Report

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Charleston-Fishing-Report

Redfish are no longer focused simply on preservation but are now feeding again. Anglers should consider using artificial plastic lures that mimic bait fish. One good choice would be “jerk shad” lures that are available in a wide variety of colors and have become very popular. I’ve been finding that silver hues have been working best although I’ll occasionally throw a darker color when water clarity is poor.

As trout become more active, popping corks cast over oyster beds and along grass banks are a great bet paired with mud minnows and live shrimp. I usually use a 18”-24” leader and a size 1 circle hook. When working a popping cork, always try to keep slack out of your line and when that cork drops just reel tight to set the hook. You’ll find that the circle hook will do all of the work for you.

Regularly considered our tastiest fish, flounder are a frequent target. We’ve been catching them consistently when fishing with mud minnows on the bottom or mud minnows under popping corks. You’ll want to focus on structures when targeting flounder. Old pilings and docks are good places to explore. Remember that flounder will hang tight to the bottom in hopes of ambushing their prey, so you’ll need to keep that bait down on or close to the bottom.

See you on the water!

Folly Beach Fishing Charters

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Folly Beach Fishing Charters

A blown up reel, shredded leaders, pulled hooks……….it was perfect! Jeff had seen enough of my pictures with big redfish and wanted to go hunt some himself. Spent the day fishing docks and structure. While many got away, we caught reds as heavy as eleven pounds and as long as 31″. A few fish were so large that Jeff could barley move them much less gain line when they made their runs. A great time!

Sullivan’s Island Fishing

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Sullivan's Island Fishing

Visiting from France, Cedrik refused to let winds gusting 30+ out of the NE to keep him from catching redfish. We motored slowly over to one of the few corners with shelter and began to work the docks. Found a surprisingly strong bite given the conditions with cut mullet and mud minnows on jigheads both working. Good call Cedrik!

March Fishing Report

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Warmer weather is arriving in the Lowcountry and we’ve already seen a few afternoons in the 70s. As the water temperature rises, redfish and trout will become more active. For all of you eager to get out on the water, the time has come!

Albeit starting to break up, redfish will still be in huge wintertime schools where you can easily find 50-100 fish in closely knit pods. To be successful, anglers will often have to be patient and fish bait on the bottom. Casting anything on these schools can send them fleeing! I’ll alternate between cracked blue crab, mud minnows and cut mullet on a size #3/0 circle hook. Set the drag lightly, leave your rod in the holder and let the fish set themselves.

It depends on the year as to when trout reappear. Usually by mid-March, the trout bite has begun. Popping corks cast over oyster beds and along grass banks will be a good bet paired when with mud minnows. I usually use a 24” leader and a size #1 circle hook. When working the popping cork, always try to keep slack out of your line and when that cork drops just reel tight to set the hook. Again, the circle hook will do most of the work for you.

See you on the water!

Charleston Harbor Fishing

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Charleston Harbor Fishing

It was a gusty afternoon but the redfish were still happy! Needed to work hard to find places shielded from a heavy NorthEast wind but it paid off. Caught reds by structure with mud minnows and popping corks. Dotty produced the nicest fish of day, a 7lb red that fell prey to the old reliable blue crab.

Kiawah Island Fishing Charters

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Kiawah Fihsing Charters

Long time regulars, David and his son joined me as we targeted redfish at low tide. The reds were somewhat finicky but ultimately they couldn’t resist fresh chunks of blue crab. Robert caught his biggest red ever, a 27″ beauty while Dad put a nice eight pounder in the boat as well. Finished the charter catching trout with corks.

November Fishing Report

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Charleston-Fishing-Report

Fishing has been quite good this Fall and anglers can expect it to improve in November. Chilly mornings combined with lower water temperatures remind redfish and trout that it is time to eat before all the food disappears with the onset of Winter. Take some time to go fishing with the family around the Thanksgiving holiday and make the best of what our fishery offers.

As usual, redfish have begun to congregate in large schools that will only grow bigger. Reds huddle together for protection in numbers from dolphins. Dolphins, who do not slow down in the Winter, find sluggish redfish to be easy prey. Finding and casting to pods of 50-100 redfish can be thrilling and even make your knees tremble on the bow. Smaller artificial lures rigged on 1/8oz. jigheads have proven to be quite effective.

You won’t have to change your lure when you decide to target trout. The same rig of an artificial lure on a jighead produces fine here as well. If you catch a trout, there will likely be plenty of others nearby. Move your lure slowly as the fish are moving slowly too. If possible, try to bounce the jighead off the bottom and set the hook when you feel the resistance of a striking fish. Lures in darker hues of gray and blue are performing the best.

For the angler on the fly rod, the focus switches from tailing tides to the big schools of redfish on the flats at low tide. Darker flies work well but don’t be afraid to throw some copper flies with lots of flash. Most importantly, make sure to take your time and approach these fish quietly as even a small noise will send these spooky fish scrambling away.

See you on the water!