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Charleston Fishing Report

Charleston Fishing Report – November 2017

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Fishing in October was fantastic and we can expect November to be just as good, if not better!  Chilly nights remind redfish and trout that they had better eat now or it will be a long few months ahead. Per usual, artificial lures become very effective as natural bait leaves our waters. Take advantage of sunny days and go catch a bunch of fish!

As water temperatures decline, redfish have begun their annual phenomenon of forming large schools. Schools of fifty redfish will become commonplace and they can grow as large as 100-150 in the depths of winter. These fish do become more wary this time of year and artificial lures can spook them on the flats. Instead of casting lures at the schools, we have been setting out as many as three lines with chunks of frozen mullet on #3/0 circle hooks. Eventually the redfish will find your bait and whip your rods over with some ferocious hits.

For trout, artificial lures rigged on a jighead are working very well. Trout hang together in pockets and when you catch one there will likely be others in the immediate area. Lures in darker hues of blue and gray are performing the best when paired with a 1/4oz. jighead. Remember to move your lure slowly as the fish are beginning to move slowly as well with the colder waters. Try to bounce the jighead off the bottom and wait until you feel the resistance of a striking fish.

Popping corks are still very effective for both redfish and trout. Live shrimp can be used with confidence now that the little bait stealers are gone. I’ll attach a two foot leader to the cork and a size 1 circle hook on the other end. Cast over oyster beds, along grass banks and at creek mouths and watch for that cork to dive under! It can be so hard to do but when that cork drops, reel the fish tight and let the circle hook do the work. A big hook set can sometimes rip the bait right out of the fish’s mouth.

See you on the water!

 

Charleston Fishing Report – October 2017

By | Fishing, Fishing Report

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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 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 couple of weeks of very windy conditions, the weather has thankfully calmed down and water clarity is improving. Redfish will start to form bigger 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 blue and grey. 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.

Fly fishermen are also enjoying the combination of larger schools of redfish and cleaner water. 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 2017

By | Fishing Report

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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 2017

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Charleston is a great place to be fishing! No matter what type of fish you want to catch, they are all active and biting. Fishing for redfish and trout remains strong even with increasingly warmer water temperatures. Seasonal species like spanish mackerel, ladyfish, bluefish and shark are plentiful as well!

We’ve been targeting redfish with artificial lures especially around low tide. The longer jerk shad lures (4”-5” inches) are quite productive. We have been favoring lures in natural hues of silver and grey. Try using flutter hooks that not only put more action on the lure but land softer than a jighead. Remember to vary your rate of retrieve until you find what works best.

Popping corks remain the best choice when targeting trout. Bait stealers have been vicious and a live shrimp barely makes it a few seconds. We have been sticking with mud minnows paired with size 1 circle hooks. Popping corks can be hard to recover once hung up on structure or around shell rakes. A trick that will save you time and money is attaching a 20 pound test line to the top of the cork and attaching 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.

While you have those popping corks out, be ready to get hit hard by ladyfish! These fish have really come in with the warmer water and are very aggressive. Don’t be surprised if your corks get hit once or twice in rapid succession until the hook finds the softer part of their mouth. Their strong runs and frequent jumps make these perfect for kids!

Sharks fish well irrespective of the temperature and our waters are full of them. Even in the afternoon heat, they will be cruising looking for easy prey. With lots of smaller sharks and other creatures pecking away at live and cut bait, we have at times been fishing an entire live blue crab on a 7/0 circle hook. You’ll have lots of drops but the sharks that hang on are the big ones!

See you on the water!

Charleston Fishing Report – July 2017

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Great fishing conditions are finally consistently here! Days full of sunny weather and warm temperatures have made our fishery come alive. Bait is abundant and eager fish are chasing it down. A whole host of options is now available to anglers through the combination of seasonal species and the traditional targets of redfish and trout.

In July, there will be a number of very high tides in the evening. Redfish can access areas usually unavailable on normal tides and fishermen can see the tails and backs of redfish as they put their noses in the mud to hunt for fiddler crabs. These tides are called “tailing tides” and provide amazing sight fishing opportunities. Watching a redfish explode in skinny water when you set the hook is truly a sight to behold.

While popping corks are always a go to option for trout, don’t forget that artificial lures can be very productive as well. Trout have been crushing lures that mimic small baitfish. The Z-man 3 ¾” streakz in smoky shad is a great choice. Paired with a 1/4oz. jighead, these lures work best bumped slowly along the bottom. Trout will usually strike when the lures rise as you lift them up in a jigging motion.

Spanish mackerel are showing up! These fish are especially present in the harbor and can be best found at first light. If you find schools of fish knifing across the surface, throw reflective casting jigs (1/2oz. or smaller) and reel them quickly through the school. If you know fish are present but not up top, try trolling Clark Spoons at different speeds and depths. Remember to always check your leader as it only takes catching a few of these toothy fish to make it fray.

In the summertime, sharks are pervasive in our waters. Menhaden and cracked blue crab are great for bait but chunks of fresh cut ladyfish and bluefish work very well too. Look to fish ledges where there is a sharp change in water depth. As an added bonus, you also stand the chance to find a large bull redfish at the end of your line!

See you on the water!

Charleston Fishing Report – June 2017

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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 – May 2017

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What a great time to be fishing! With our waters now teeming with bait, the fish have strapped the feedbags on and are eating heartily. All the summer seasonal species have arrived and when combined with our traditional gamefish, provide a whole host of options for an angler. If your fishing season hasn’t yet begun, there’s no better time to start.

As the water temperatures climb, redfish are becoming more active and attacking artificial lures. Jerk shad lures rigged on flutter hooks are my go to option. These artificial lures, usually 4″-5″ in length, imitate small baitfish. Flutter hooks have a weight on their shank that let you cast a far distance and also put motion on the lure. I use flutter hooks in size 3/0 with a 1/8oz. weight.  Make sure to cast to the edges of the schools, if you cast right into the middle you stand a good chance of spooking them.

Per usual, it’s that time of year for topwater trout action at first light. Heddon’s Super Spook Jr. in their silver mullet color works great but my favorite is the chartreuse and black. Vary retrieve speeds as you work these lures back to the boat. This is a lure that you should reel tight to the fish before raising your rod tip. Good luck with that as a violent boil erupts around your lure! Once the topwater bite fades, suspended twitch bait lures can keep things going for a little while longer.

Sharks have returned to our waters and several species like bonnetheads, sharpnose and black tips are already prevalent. You’ll start to see the fins of sharks slicing through the water as they seek out prey in skinny water and also find them foraging along drop offs in the harbor and inlets. Chunks of blue crab, cut bait and live shrimp both work well on these predators. I favor 7/0 circle hooks and just put the rods in the holders. Fishing for sharks can be a great way to get younger anglers involved as sharks are usually hungry and put up great fights

See you on the water!

Charleston Fishing Report – April 2017

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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!

Charleston Fishing Report – March 2017

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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!

Charleston Fishing Report – November 2016

By | Fishing, Uncategorized

Charleston Fishing Report

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

Per usual, redfish have begun to congregate in big schools that will only grow larger. Reds gather 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 exhilarating and even make your knees tremble on the bow. Smaller jerk shad artificial lures rigged on 1/8oz. jigheads have proven to be quite effective.

You won’t even need to change your lure when you decide to target trout. The same rig of an artificial lure on a jighead produces just fine here as well. If you catch one 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 blue and gray are performing the best.

For the angler with a fly rod, the focus switches from tailing tides to the large schools of redfish on the flats at low tide. Darker flies are working well but don’t be afraid to throw some copper flies with lots of flash. Above everything else, make sure to take your time and approach these fish quietly as even a modest disturbance will send these spooky fish scrambling away.

See you on the water!