Great day on the water with Chelsea and Brendan who decided to give saltwater fishing a shot. They picked it up quickly and in no time we bringing fish to the boat. Caught a mixture of trout and reds including one that was tagged. Fish of the charter was Chelsea’s nice 20″ trout. Good job!
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!
Redfish have been hungrily eating cut and live bait fished on the bottom. Mullet especially are pervasive in our waters and can be easily netted. We’ll rig the bait on an Owner size 3/0 circle hook paired with a carolina rig. You can use this setup on the flats as well as under docks. Just put your rod in the holder and wait for the reel to start screaming as the fish hook themselves.
Artificial lures have started to really work for trout and the traditional paddle tail design has been great. I’ll use a 1/4oz. Trout Eye jighead and tie a loop knot to give the lure even more action. Vary your rate of retrieve as you prospect different spots for pockets of fish. To make your lure even more attractive, 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 fish find hard to resist.
Even as artificial lures become more effective, keep tossing those popping corks. Live shrimp, mud minnows and artificial shrimp have been working great when suspended about 18″-24″ below the cork on a fluorocarbon leader and an Owner size 1 circle hook. Redfish, trout and flounder 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.
With the colder water temperature, redfish are starting to form bigger schools. These large schools make for excellent sight fishing on low tides. On clear days, you can see these redfish swimming in circles with their golden backs flashing in the sun. Use patience when approaching the schools and when you make your first shot make sure to cast to the edges so as not to spook the school. Jerk shad artificial lures rigged on Gamakatsu size 3/0 flutter hooks are the way to go.
See you on the water!
The Tipton family joined me for a half day charter and we weren’t sure what to expect post Hurricane Florence even though Charleston received very little rain. Well, it fished great! A dozen fish at the first spot as reds and trout alike hit mud minnows under popping corks. Most of the reds were of modest size and then one rod got smoked. After an extended battle, we landed this sweet nine pound red and it was truly a family effort. Great job!
Jake and Kim booked me again almost exactly on the same date as last year. They knew to expect some great Fall fishing. As it turns out, that’s exactly what they got! Tons of smaller reds, trout and ladyfish with the occasional bruiser in between. Kim’s red was the biggest of the day and it fought so hard it pulled us off anchor! A truly beautiful ten pound red…….hopefully the duo will be back next year!
The Fall is the best time to fish in Charleston as cooling water temperatures let fish know that they better eat heartily because food will begin to disappear shortly. There is still time to catch summer seasonal species like shark, Spanish mackerel and ladyfish. However, by mid-September they will begin to head out in search of warmer climates. To top it off, lots of anglers will turn their attention to hunting and football which will leave you plenty of open water!
Redfish will begin to increasingly take artificial baits as usual during this time of year. Artificial plastic lures that resemble the minnows in our waters are quite effective. Zman’s 3 ¾” streakz in smokey shad is a great choice. I pair this lure with a 1/8oz. jighead but conditions sometimes call for a heavier weight. Vary your rate of retrieve as you work a spot. Just slowing down or speeding up the pace of the lure can make the bite come to life!
When targeting trout, popping corks remain the best option. While live shrimp is an excellent choice small fish will often eat that shrimp in seconds. As a result, we have been sticking with mud minnows paired with size 1 Owner circle hooks. Once hung up on structure or on a shell rake, popping corks can be hard to recover. While it’s rare you will get the whole rig back there is a simple trick that will save you time and money. Attach 20-pound test line to the top of the cork and attach a 15-pound test line to the hook from the bottom of the cork. When you pull hard, the line will snap at the hook and you will get your cork back.
Anglers are regularly catching bull redfish (36” inches plus) currently at the jetties or at nearshore reefs. During this time of year, these same fish come increasingly more into the harbor and inlets as they follow schools of large baitfish. A great set up for these fish will have a stiff rod paired with a 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!
With a very low tide to start the trip, it was the perfect opportunity to fish for sharks in the inlet. Once set up on a ledge, the rods started whipping over as soon as the cracked blue crab hit the bottom. Got to the point where we couldn’t even keep two rods out at one time. Everyone on board was into the hot action. Fantastic way to start a charter!
John booked three mornings well in advance to make sure we had the best low tides for sightfishing on the flyrod. We were able to find agreeable fish every day but the bar was set high right out of the gates. In the first hour of the first day, John fought a fish for such a long time I thought the drag on his reel was set too light. I was very wrong as the fish turned out to be a 31″ redfish, the biggest on a flyrod so far this year. Great work!
Our fishery is in full swing with lots of bait and an incredibly diverse mixture of fish to target. During August, it will be key to get out early to beat the heat. You’ll not only be more comfortable fishing in the morning but also more productive. The high temperatures in the afternoon can put species like trout down. You may lose some sleep but launching at first light has plenty of rewards.
Popping corks are very effective this time of year. You can catch so many different types of fish: redfish, trout, flounder, ladyfish, shark etc. I use a weighted popping cork so I can increase the distance of my cast. I run an 18″-24″ fluorocarbon leader from the cork to a size 1 circle hook. When your cork drops under water, reel until you feel the weight of the fish and then lift the rod tip. Mud minnows, shrimp and artificial shrimp all work well as baits.
Topwater is a fantastic option when you are starting early. Try to get to your spot just as it is becoming light. Fish will strike topwater lures based on the commotion they make on the surface and aren’t able to see that the lure isn’t a real struggling baitfish. These lures work well for trout, ladyfish and redfish. Heddon’s Super Spook Jr. lures in chartreuse and black or red and white are the ticket.
This time of year you’ll want to carry your cast net not only for shrimp but also for baitfish like finger mullet and menhaden. Finger mullet under a popping cork are deadly for trout and can’t be torn to bits by little bait stealing fish. Menhaden fished live on the bottom with big circle hooks are great for reds and sharks. Fresh cut menhaden or mullet put out a scent trail that few fish can ignore.
See you on the water!
Popping corks were the way to go today and we fished with them for the entire charter. Fish were equally happy with live shrimp or mud minnows and ate well in front of an incoming storm front. Almost all reds but one nice four pound trout surprised us all!
Things were a bit slow as we fished both sides of slack high tide. We caught some trout but when the current started running the fishing took off too! As the water dropped and the bait was pulled out of the grass, the redfish started eating. Our corks kept dropping as redfish bit our mud minnows. Michele not only caught her first redfish but with lots of coaxing even agreed to hold it!