Visiting from Germany, Julia had fishing on her list of things to do in Charleston. We set out early on a sunny morning searching for her first redfish. The big schools of reds weren’t hard to find but getting them to eat required alot of patience. We posted up and tossed chunks of cut mullet on circle hooks. At our second spot, a school of redfish blew up as they approached the boat and then one of the rods doubled over. Julia played the fish like a pro. Before long, she had landed herself a beautiful seven pounder!
Sixty degrees and sunny has become a rare commodity this Winter but we were blessed with it today. Another day of light winds combined to make for stellar conditions. Pulled up to a flat that I knew had a huge school of big redfish. It took awhile to locate them but when we did it turned out to be an epic thing. The bite was constant with redfish eating cut mullet cast close to the bank. Average fish was in the 8-10lb. class and Sue set the mark for the biggest red of the year with this sweet fourteen pounder!
The lucky recipient of a fishing charter for his birthday, Art and his friend Michael joined me on a sunny afternoon. The goal was sight fishing both sides of low tide. Using small jerk shad artificials on jigheads, we began to stalk redfish in skinny water. Michael struck first by landing a nice eight pounder. As the winds increased to a steady 15+, we lost visibility and would post up casting into the schools of reds. Even in choppy waters, jerk shad continued to produce. The birthday boy is pictured above with the biggest fish of the day!
We had been working a dock for the better part of an hour but it had been twenty minutes since the last bite. We decided to sit down and have a drink and of course one of the rods immediately snapped over. John grabbed it and after several minutes the red had us wrapped around something on the bottom. I assumed we were done for but miraculously the fish came free! After another few minutes of tugging, John dredged up this slab of a redfish. Another victim of the newly available cracked blue crab.
Caught a break in the weather and had a morning full of sun with little wind. No problems seeing the big schools of redfish circling on the flats at low tide. Found groups of reds literally a hundred strong who wanted nothing to do with our artificial lures. Once we staked up and put out cut mullet, it was a different story as we would hook into a redfish every time the school drifted over our way. As noon approached and the water warmed, artificials began to work and as we poled down a bank we put another half dozen fish in the boat.
My clients had clear cut instructions for our charter. After catching lots of smaller reds on their own, they wanted to target big redfish. We left the dock at first light in order to fish as much of low tide as possible. We stopped where I had been catching good sized reds and started casting popping corks while fishing cut mullet out the back of the boat. Non stop action for two hours ensued with reds hitting both kinds of bait. Will landed a handsome 26″ redfish, his biggest fish ever, but Lacey stole the show by reeling a sweet 10 pound redfish, her biggest fish ever as well. Great job!
Ray and Marv came up from Florida for another three days of fishing. They had some specific goals in mind and we met them all! First day was for quantity and the duo landed 30-40 rat reds on mud minnows under corks. Second day was sight fishing on the flats where we saw tons of backs and tails crushing bait in the skinny water. These fish had a preference for cracked blue crab and we caught reds up to 9lbs. Third day was docks where we managed to dredge out fish up to ten pounds. A great run!
On a road trip from Washington, Nick and his friend Chad joined me for a couple of days on the water. Had beautiful sunny days with modest winds and these two really got after it! Played all parts of the tide cycles and found fish cruising in the grass at high tide and large schools on the flats at low tide. Whether the duo were working artificials, popping corks or fishing on the bottom, they caught redfish no matter what. See you guys again soon!
Fall has arrived bringing with it cooler weather and shorter days. But don’t put your rods and reels away just yet because we’re about to experience the best fishing of the year! Fishermen will continue to find success with live bait but artificial lures should become increasingly productive. Make time to get out on the water, you will have a blast!
As water temperatures decline, redfish have begun their annual phenomenon of forming large schools. Schools of fifty redfish are common and the numbers will reach 100-150 in some cases in the depths of Winter. These fish become a little more wary this time of year and artificial lures can spook them. Instead of chasing the schools, we have been setting out as many as three lines with chunks of cut mullet or live mud minnows on Owner #3/0 circle hooks. When schools of redfish swim over your bait get ready for some ferocious strikes!
The water is teeming with shrimp – trout simply cannot get enough of them. Lots of smaller fish can’t get enough of shrimp either. When these bait stealers run rampant, I switch over to DOA 3″ artificial shrimp which I find most effective when fished underneath a popping cork. I like the glow/gold and nite glow colors which look like real shrimp in the water. When fishing a popping cork, it is important to make sure that you reel in any slack line on the water so you are ready when a fish hits.
With the most recent set of very high tides, we probably saw the last true tailing tides of the year. Sight fishermen should turn their attention to chasing the large schools of redfish on the flats. Late morning or midday low tides will be key as the flats will warm up a few degrees and make for active fish. Darker lures are working best although don’t be afraid to throw some brighter lures with lots of flash.
See you on the water!
It had been eight years since Bill and I last fished together but it made enough of an impression he booked again. Along with his friend Michael, we had a great day of Fall fishing. For the duration of six hours, we were catching fish including four legal trout and redfish up to eight pounds (pictured). Beautiful day!