Even fishing guides need to take a trip once in awhile so we headed down to South Louisiana in search of bull redfish. We were certainly not disappointed! The reds started around 3ft. and some broke 40″. An amazing sight to see a fish so large take a popping cork in three feet of water. We’ll be sure to make this a regular journey!
With huge tides and muddy water making for some tough inshore fishing, I asked Matthew what he thought about sharks. He replied that catching a shark would make his year. Off we went! Caught bonnetheads, sharpnose and blacktip consistently on cut shad. Needless to say, Matthew was happy!
Having never caught redfish before, Tim and Sam started out with a bang! The pair simultaneously landed two solid 11 pound reds while dodging each other, dock pilings and exposed rocks. Hard to top that experience but we continued the day with more reds and legal trout that hit mud minnows under corks. Great job guys!
Jeff already had the bug for targeting big redfish and this time he brought his Dad along too. Eating heartily ahead of the big storm system, reds whipped the rods over again and again. Cut mullet was the bait of choice. By the end of the charter, the redfish averaged over ten pounds while David set the bar with a 13 pounder, his biggest fish ever!
Charleston was set to bypass Winter and cruise straight into Spring up until the last two weeks. Abnormally chilly weather sent the water temperatures plummeting and made the bite slow down. Redfish hung in there but trout seemed to go back to their normal slumber. With April however, rising temperatures combined with the arrival of baitfish will get things cranking again!
While redfish remain in large schools, they will begin to break up as the water warms. These fish will leave survival mode and become active feeders once again. Over the last few weeks, redfish have been finicky with artificial baits but this should improve. Jerk shad rigged on flutter hooks as well as paddle tail grubs on jigheads will both be effective. Try colors that mimic the natural hues of baitfish like such as silver, grey and translucent blue.
When redfish are hesitant, a great solution is to throw chunks of freshly cracked blue crab. Blue crab is simply redfish candy and bait that is rarely refused. Remove the top of the shell, the pinchers and the legs and cut the remainder down the middle. I use size 3/0 circle hooks and put the hook through the bottom flipper hole. This setup will work on the flats, under docks and anywhere redfish are holding. Put the rod in the rod holder and don’t pick it up until the reel is screaming!
The trout bite will begin in earnest this April. The preferred rig of live bait under a popping cork is hard to beat. Live shrimp is now available and will give you another option than mud minnows. It’s a good idea to start carrying your cast net and see if you can find some finger mullet. Finger mullet under a cork is just deadly. Remember to vary the rate of your retrieve and don’t be afraid to let the current take your cork well past the back of your boat.
See you on the water!
Started as the tide began to fall and had some luck around docks. Once the tide started rolling the popping corks started dropping! Trout ate both live shrimp and mud minnows with our biggest trout at 3lbs. Headed to the flats where reds were happy to hit cut mullet. Things went so well that Jake even let his dad catch a few. Make Charleston family fishing a part of your next vacation!
Wind, wind, wind as the cold front sits upon us. Headed to the docks to take cover. Turned out to be a great call. Big reds smoked cut mullet especially once the water starting falling. Had to dial the drags down as tight as possible to even stand a chance. Heaviest of the day came in at 14lbs! More productive Isle Of Palms fishing charters.
The warmest weather that I can remember has been terrific for our fishery. Higher than normal water temperatures have made for some productive fishing. I never thought I would say this but there has been a decent trout bite in February! With days filled with sun and 70 degree weather, anglers have to get out there to take advantage.
Having spent the last few months laying low and avoiding dolphins, redfish are transitioning from a period focused simply on preservation to now becoming predators again. With redfish still in big schools of up to hundreds of fish, the best fishing will be at low tide when you can sight cast to them. These fish are still spooky so stealth is of upmost importance when approaching a school. Oftentimes, it pays to anchor up when you find a school and wait for them to return to you instead of chasing them down.
With these reds being so wary, I try to disturb the water as little as possible and keep my casting to a minimum. When this happens, it’s time to soak some cut bait. I’ll put chunks of frozen mullet or blue crab on size 3/0 circle hooks and just let it sit on the bottom until the redfish swim over it. Put your rod in the rod holder and resist the urge (if at all possible!) to set the hook when you see a fish begin to eat. The circle hook will do all the work for you and when your reel starts to sing you are in business.
As trout become more active, popping corks cast along grass banks and over oyster beds will be a good bet paired with mud minnows. I usually use a 18”-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 to set the hook. You’ll find that the circle hook will rarely miss as long as your line is tight
See you on the water!