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Charleston Fishing Report | Charleston Charter Fishing

Charleston Fishing Report – October 2020

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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!

Charleston Fishing Report – September 2020

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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!

Charleston Fishing Report – August 2020

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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!

Charleston Fishing Report – June 2020

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It’s a fantastic time to be fishing here in Charleston! The usual suspects, redfish and trout, are now complimented by a host of seasonal species including spanish mackerel, ladyfish and sharks. Combined with warmer temperatures, the fishing conditions are now excellent.

Redfish have been making quick work of any well placed bait. Make sure to carry your cast net and try catching some menhaden or finger mullet. We’ve been having the most success around rock walls, docks and other structures while fishing live bait on a carolina rig. Make sure to use a weight heavy enough to hold the bait stationary, otherwise your rig will slide along the bottom until it snags.

As for trout, not much new here. Popping corks remain the way to go. Surprisingly, mud minnows have been outperforming live shrimp under corks. Usually, it is the other way around. If little fish keep picking at your live shrimp, switch over to a D.O.A. 3” artificial shrimp. Their Glow/Gold Rush Belly color has been quite productive.

Anglers focused on flounder have been reporting good numbers being caught. Work finger mullet along the bottom around structures. Move the bait slowly along and when you think you have a bite wait a few seconds before setting the hook. We’ve been picking up quite a few flounder with mud minnows under a popping cork as well.

My favorite summer time fish is the ladyfish. With the warmer weather, ladyfish will flood our waters. These exciting fish will smack bait under a popping cork and make your drag zing. Their acrobatic jumps and hard runs make these fish so entertaining. You’ll find them in some of the same spots that you find trout.

See you on the water!

Charleston Fishing Report – November 2019

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Fishing this past month was great and we can expect November to be just as productive!  Chilly nights remind redfish and trout that they had better eat now or it will be a long few months ahead without any food. Artificial lures have become very effective as natural bait leaves our waters. Take advantage of sunny days and go catch some fish!

As water temperatures fall, redfish have begun their seasonal phenomenon of forming large schools. Schools of fifty redfish will become common and they can swell as large as 100-150 during the winter. These fish are more wary this time of year and artificial lures can spook them on the flats. Instead of casting at the schools, we will throw out as many as three lines with chunks of frozen mullet on #3/0 circle hooks and let them sit. Eventually the redfish will find your bait and bend your rods over with some astonishing hits!

For trout, artificial lures are working very well. Trout hang together and when you catch one there will likely be others in the immediate area. Lures in hues of blue and gray are performing the best when paired with a 1/4oz. jighead. Remember to move your lure slower than usual as the fish slow down with the cooler water temperature. Try to bounce the jighead off the bottom and wait until you feel the pull of a striking fish.

Popping corks are still great options for both redfish and trout. Live shrimp can be used again with the bait stealers gone. I’ll attach a two to three foot leader to the cork and a size 1 circle hook on the other end with a split shot a foot above the hook. Cast along grass banks, over oyster beds, and at creek mouths and watch for that cork to disappear! It can be difficult, but when that cork drops, reel as fast as you can and let the circle hook naturally set itself. A big hook set can sometimes rip your bait right out of the fish’s mouth.

See you on the water!

Charleston Fishing Report – October 2019

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Fall has arrived with cooler weather and shorter days. But don’t put your boat away just yet because we’re about to have the best fishing of the year! Fishermen can continue to find success with live bait but artificial lures should become increasingly effective. Take time to get out on the water, you won’t regret it.

Redfish have been eagerly eating live and cut bait fished on the bottom. Mullet are pervasive in our waters and can be easily netted while frozen bait can be used as a second choice. We’ll rig the bait on a size 3/0 circle hook paired with a carolina rig. You can use this setup under docks as well as on the flats. Just put the rod in the holder and wait for the reel to start screaming as the fish hook themselves.

Artificial lures have begun to really work for trout and the traditional paddle tail design has been great. 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 fish. To make your lure even more seductive, 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 is hard to resist.

Even as artificial lures become more effective, don’t stop tossing those popping corks. Mud minnows, live shrimp and artificial shrimp have been working well when suspended about two feet below the cork. Redfish and trout alike will eat these baits as they pass by suspended in the water column. Corks have been most effective when fished along grassy banks at mid and high tide.

With the lower temperatures, redfish are beginning to form bigger schools. These large schools make for excellent sight fishing and happy fly fishermen. On clear days, you can see these packs of redfish swimming in circles with their golden backs flashing in the sun. Take your time 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.

See you on the water!

Charleston Fishing Report – September 2019

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The perfect storm that makes for awesome fishing in the fall is about to begin. The combination of lower water temperatures, fewer fishermen on the water and tons of bait makes for ideal conditions. The arrival of cooler days that will make fishing much more pleasant doesn’t hurt either!

Popping corks are often mentioned in our reports. Why? Because they work so well! Redfish, trout and flounder will all eat bait that’s suspended in the water column. I’ll attach a 18”-24” leader from the cork to a size 1 circle hook. When fishing this rig, it’s very important to keep the slack out of your line so you can react quickly when the cork drops. I keep my rod tip pointed at the cork and just reel when it drops. You’ll find your hookup rate improves compared to keeping your rod tip high and trying to set the hook by jerking back on the rod.

It is time to bid farewell to the summer seasonal species who will likely be gone by the end of the month. Meanwhile, sharks are still providing plenty of entertainment for the next few weeks. When fishing in deep water, it is crucial to use enough weight to keep your bait pinned to the bottom. Baits that are swinging around in the current usually won’t get hit. Instead of using one large 4 or 6oz. weight, I’ll use 1 or 2oz. weights attached to a slinker slide on my line to get the desired effect.

One of the upsides of fishing for sharks these days is you’ll occasionally hook into the bull redfish that are starting to appear. With the mullet run in full swing, these beasts follow the bait inshore. Cracked blue crab and fresh cut mullet make perfect baits. You’ll find these fish on ledges and drop offs in the harbor and inlets. Bites can be less frequent than with corks but with redfish measuring into the upper 30” class it is well worth your time.

See you on the water!

Charleston Fishing Report – August 2019

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Per usual, August brings warm temperatures and some great fishing. Anglers will want to fish early and late in the day for the best action. There are lots of different styles of fishing and if you choose the right ones you can stay cool and beat the heat.

If you are starting early, topwater should be a go-to option. 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 both trout and redfish. Heddon’s Super Spook Jr. lures in chartreuse and black or red and white are the ticket.

Popping corks can be used throughout the day at all parts of the tide. Anglers enjoy them because 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.

Regardless of the temperature, sharks are always readily available. Even in the middle of the afternoon, they will be cruising and eagerly eating. With so many bait stealers around, we have been mostly using live menhaden on a 7/0 circle hook. Inshore you can expect to find bonnetheads, sharpnose and black tip sharks. As an added bonus, you will occasionally tie into a big bull redfish!

Fly fishermen can time their fishing to evening high tides known as “tailing” tides. Redfish will get up onto grassy flats and you can see their tails in the air as they forage for food with their nose to the ground. Spoon flies with a weed guard work great in this situation. The best set of these tides occur at the end of the month.

See you on the water!

Charleston Fishing Report – July 2019

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While the weather has been quite hot, it hasn’t slowed the fishing down. Fishermen can try starting early in the morning where they can find fish chasing bait on the surface as well as lighter winds that allow them to sight fish on the flats. Evenings also offer cooler temperatures and a chance to target tailing redfish on big flood tides.

The redfish bite has been great. The large schools of redfish have now split up but you can still find pods of twenty to thirty fish, especially on the flats. Putting a scent trail in the water and an easy meal in front of redfish is a tactic likely to succeed. We usually put live mullet or cracked blue crab on the bottom with enough weight to hold it in place. Use circle hooks in size 3/0 combined with a heavy test line and watch those rods rip over!

The trout bite is getting steadily stronger. We’ve started catching a healthy number of larger trout mixed in with smaller fish. Fishing mud minnows on jigheads is quite effective and lets you get your bait in front of trout in deeper pockets. I use 1/8 oz. or 1/4oz. jigheads. You can use heavier jigheads but make sure their size is not significantly bigger than the bait. Try alternating the speed of your retrieve as you work through an area.

Spanish mackerel are plentiful and are often best found at first light. If you find schools of fish busting bait on the surface, toss reflective casting jigs and reel them quickly through the school. Move your boat gradually around the school; running through a pod of fish will put them down. If you know fish are present but not up top, try trolling Clark Spoons at different depths and different speeds.

See you on the water!

Charleston Fishing Report – May 2019

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Warm weather has arrived and with it comes a host of seasonal species like shark, ladyfish and bluefish. Our traditional targets, redfish and trout, are hungry as ever as bait fills our waters. Our fishery is teeming with life and opportunities for anglers are endless. You have more reasons now than ever to get fishing!

It’s time to make the most of live bait when fishing for redfish. Menhaden is a favorite choice whether fished live or as cut bait. We’ve caught some huge redfish by pitching chunks of menhaden under docks. You’ll need to use enough weight to hold your bait in place so it doesn’t drift and get snagged. I use pinch-on split shot that can be easily adjusted, just add or remove these weights as needed.

Now’s the time of year to start thinking about topwater trout action at first light. My favorite lure is a Heddon’s Super Spook Jr. in chartreuse and black while an easy fallback is their silver mullet color. Make sure to try a variety of retrieval speeds as you work these lures. When that trout hits, resist the temptation to lift the rod tip and reel the fish tight instead. It’s hard to beat those fantastic strikes!

Spanish mackerel are beginning to show up, especially in the harbor, and can be best found at first light. If you find schools of fish slashing across the surface, throw reflective casting jigs and reel them quickly through the school. Alternatively, if you know fish are present but not up top, try trolling Clark Spoons at different depths and different speeds. Remember to check your leader often as it only takes catching a few of these teethy fish to cut through it.

Per usual, sharks have returned to our waters with the warmer water temperatures. Just watch the shoreline and you’ll see bonnethead sharks slicing through the water as they seek out prey. These predators will eat most anything, but chunks of blue crab and live shrimp can be especially productive. Shark fishing is an easy way to get younger anglers involved as sharks are usually hungry and put up great fights.

See you on the water!