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Charleston Fishing Report | Charleston Charter Fishing - Part 6

Charleston Fishing Report – March 2015

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Charleston Fishing Report - March 2015

Temperatures have been all over the place this Winter with a string of nice days followed by days in the 30s. Throughout it all though, it was possible to catch redfish especially on the sunny days. Expect the fishing to markedly improve as the arrival of Spring brings warmer water temperatures as well as the emergence of bait fish.

Having laid low the last few months to avoid dolphins, redfish will transform from simply surviving to becoming predators. With schools containing up to hundreds of redfish, the best fishing will be at low tide when they are exposed. These fish will still be spooky so stealth is of upmost importance when approaching them. It pays to anchor up when you find a school and wait for them to return to you instead of chasing them down.

During this time of year sometimes these big schools of redfish don’t want anything to do with artificial lures. When this happens, it’s time to soak some cut bait. I’ll put chunks of frozen mullet on size 3/0 circle hooks and wait until the schools of redfish swim over it. Put your rod in the rod holder and leave the rod alone 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.

With the end of February being quite cold, we’ll have to see if the trout bite will start in March. Working artificial lures slowly across the bottom will be your best bet. Plastic lures that imitate small minnows are a good choice. For color, stick with grey and silver hues that most resemble bait. Paired with a 1/8oz. or 1/4oz. jighead, the combination should work well when the trout return.

It’s hard to be stealthier than with a flyrod. This is one of the times of year when fly fishing can be a very effective way to target redfish. When a fly is cast well, it will make only the slightest splash. Right now, we are using smaller flies especially the tried and true white/chartreuse clouser minnow pattern. Cast to the edges of the schools and bring the fly slowly across their noses. The redfish may be somewhat sluggish but you’ll still elicit some dramtic strikes!

See you on the water!

Capt. Geoff Bennett operates Charleston Charter Fishing providing fly fishing and light tackle charters. Clients choose from a full menu of fly rods, artificial and live bait fishing options with charters tailored to their desires. USCG licensed and insured, Capt. Bennett is committed to providing a safe and enjoyable charter to anglers of all skill levels and ages. For more information, call Capt. Bennett at 843-324-3332, visit his website at www.charlestoncharterfishing.com or email him at captain@charlestoncharterfishing.com.

 

Charleston Fishing Report – October 2014

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Fall fishing is supposed to be great and so far this year has lived up to expectations! An abundance of bait has made for happy and hungry fish. The bite should keep getting better as cooler temperatures will remind the redfish and trout that they better eat now before all the shrimp and mullet disappear. Get out on the water and take advantage of this prime time!

Redfish will begin to school and form large groups of fish making sight fishing on the flats very exciting. Artificial lures that mimic the baitfish these reds are chasing become quite effective. Lures colored silver and blue work well. My favorite combination is a 4-5” jerk shad artificial lure rigged on a size #3/0 flutter hook. These hooks not only provide great action but also land quietly too.

Artificials can also be used with confidence for trout. Try paddle tail plastic lures paired with a 1/4oz. jighead. I attach the jighead with a loop knot to give the lure even more action. Again, we’ve been using artificials with colors that resemble the baitfish in the water. 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 eagerly await the phenomenon of schooling redfish. On clear days, you can see these fish swimming in circles with their golden backs flashing in the sun. Flies in shades of red and copper with a bit of flash are an easy selection. 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 them.

See you on the water!

Capt. Geoff Bennett operates Charleston Charter Fishing providing light tackle and fly fishing charters. Clients choose from a full menu of fly rods, artificial and live bait fishing options with charters tailored to their desires. USCG licensed and insured, Capt. Bennett is committed to providing a safe and enjoyable charter to anglers of all skill levels and ages. For more information, call Capt. Bennett at 843-324-3332, visit his website at www.charlestoncharterfishing.com or email him at captain@charlestoncharterfishing.com.

 

Charleston Fishing Report – September 2014

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Charleston Fishing Report - September 2014

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

We often mention popping corks in our reports. Why? Because they work so well! Redfish, trout and flounder will all attack bait that’s suspended in the water column ready to be swallowed. I’ll attach a 18”-24” leader from the cork to a size 1 circle hook. When fishing a popping cork, it’s very important to keep the slack out of your line so you can set the hook 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 when compared to keeping your rod tip high and trying to set the hook by jerking back on the rod.

It will soon be 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. When fishing in deeper waters, it is important to use enough weight to keep your bait pinned to the bottom. Baits that are surfing in the current usually won’t get hit. Instead of using one large 4 or 6oz. weight, I’ll stack 1 or 2oz. weights on my line to get the desired effect. It makes casting easier and provides more flexibility.

One of the benefits of fishing for sharks these days is you’ll occasionally hook into the bull redfish that are beginning to appear. With the mullet run in full swing, these beasts will make their way inshore. Cracked blue crab and fresh cut mullet make great baits. You’ll find these fish on drop offs and ledges in the harbor and inlets. Fishing can be slower than with corks but with redfish measuring into the upper 30” class its well worth your time.

Tailing redfish are associated mostly with summer months but the action certainly continues for the month of September. Little can make a fly fisherman happier than seeing redfish tails flapping away as they root around for food. Spoon flies have been particularly effective and we’ve been using Dupre’s spoon fly quite often. When casting to redfish, remember to lead the fish by several feet, hitting them square on the head will cause them to spook and race away.

See you on the water!

Capt. Geoff Bennett operates Charleston Charter Fishing providing light tackle and fly fishing charters. Clients choose from a full menu of fly rods, artificial and live bait fishing options with charters tailored to their desires. USCG licensed and insured, Capt. Bennett is committed to providing a safe and enjoyable charter to anglers of all skill levels and ages. For more information, call Capt. Bennett at 843-324-3332, visit his website at www.charlestoncharterfishing.com or email him at captain@charlestoncharterfishing.com.

 

Charleston Fishing Report – August 2014

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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 also still available.

We’ve been targeting redfish with artificial lures especially around low tide. The longer jerk shad lures that worked so well in the Spring are still productive. However, we have had better luck throwing smaller artificials like Zman’s 3 ¾” Streakz in smokey shad. With both, we have been using flutter hooks to put more action on the lure. Remember to vary your rate of retrieve until you find what works best.

Popping corks and trout remain perfect together. Local shrimp are still relatively small so we have been sticking with mud minnows paired with size 1 circle hooks. Popping corks can be hard to recover once wrapped around a dock piling or hung up on a shell rake. I’ll attach 20 pound test line to the top of my corks and attach the bottom of my corks to the circle hook with 15 pound test line. If all goes well when you pull hard, the line will snap at the hook and you will get your cork back.

For a species that fishes well irrespective of the temperature, sharks fit the bill. Even in the middle of the afternoon, they will be cruising and eagerly eating. With so many bait stealers around, we have at times been fishing an entire live blue crab on a 7/0 circle hook. You’ll find that sharks will drop such a large bait more frequently than smaller baits, but the sharks that hang on are the big ones!

Fly fishing has been quite good. The best patterns now seem to be shrimp imitations with or without epoxy. Especially at low tide, you’ll be able to see redfish streaking down the banks with their backs out of water as they try to corral live shrimp. Cast your fly in front of a charging redfish and hold on! The shrimp patterns work very well even when you can’t see redfish working the banks.

See you on the water!

 

Capt. Geoff Bennett operates Charleston Charter Fishing providing light tackle and fly fishing charters. Clients choose from a full menu of fly rods, artificial and live bait fishing options with charters tailored to their desires. USCG licensed and insured, Capt. Bennett is committed to providing a safe and enjoyable charter to anglers of all skill levels and ages. For more information, call Capt. Bennett at 843-324-3332, visit his website at www.charlestoncharterfishing.com or email him at captain@charlestoncharterfishing.com.

 

Charleston Fishing Report – July 2014

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Charleston Fishing Report - July 2014

Could there be a better time of year to be fishing? Anglers have many different species to target and many different ways to fish for them!  There’s just no way you won’t find something exciting to do on the water. As it becomes progressively hotter, anglers will increasingly want to fish early before the heat of the day arrives.

For redfish, we’ve been focused on docks where reds become concentrated as the water drains out around them. Using a carolina rig, we’ve been fishing with cracked blue crab, mullet and menhaden. Try using size 3/0 circle hooks and putting the rod down in the holder. When a redfish strikes, wait until the drag starts to scream and you will have a solid hookup for sure.

Not much has changed when focusing on trout. The popping cork remains the way to go. Fish these corks over shell rakes, in front of creek mouths and along grassy banks. Look for places trout can sit and ambush prey. Live shrimp and mud minnows are choice baits. With so many small bluefish and bait stealers in the water, we have been using almost exclusively minnows.

Sharks are pervasive in our waters and best of all eager eaters. The Bonnethead bite continues to become stronger. You can use the same carolina rigs mentioned above for these creatures. Cracked blue crab and shrimp are great for bait but if you can put out chunks of fresh cut ladyfish, you’ll really be in business. Look to fish drop-offs where there is a sharp change in water depth. Don’t forget this is a great way to introduce younger fishermen to the sport.

While fly fishing, we’ve been seeing excellent tailing action from redfish in the grass. This hasn’t been just an evening tailing tide phenomenon either.  There have been plenty of sightings during morning high tides as well. Spoon flies with a good weed guard have been the way to go. There have been some real heart pounding moments watching redfish follow our fly and the ensuing explosive strikes!

See you on the water!

Capt. Geoff Bennett operates Charleston Charter Fishing providing light tackle and fly fishing charters. Clients choose from a full menu of fly rods, artificial and live bait fishing options with charters tailored to their desires. USCG licensed and insured, Capt. Bennett is committed to providing a safe and enjoyable charter to anglers of all skill levels and ages. For more information, call Capt. Bennett at 843-324-3332, visit his website at www.charlestoncharterfishing.com or email him at captain@charlestoncharterfishing.com.

 

Charleston Fishing Report – June 2014

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Charleston Fishing Report - June 2014

After a few cold and slow months, our fishery has turned the corner and the bite is back. The water is full of bait and the fish are on the attack. Whether you are casting lures and popping corks or just fishing bait on the bottom, you are sure to run into something!

When you see the flickers of baitfish on the surface, stop and grab your cast net. Menhaden can be found everywhere and redfish love them. Using a carolina rig, we’ve been fishing with both live and cut menhaden. Make sure to use a heavy enough weight to hold the bait stationary, otherwise your rig will tumble along the bottom until it snags. Try fishing docks and other structure immediately around where you netted your menhaden, you’ll be sure to find plenty of reds!

Trout seemed to have been affected the most by our cold Spring. They are now finally active again. Popping corks remain the most effective way to target them. Mud minnows and shrimp on a size 1 circle hook are the ticket. When little toothy fish make short work of your live bait, switch over to an artificial shrimp and keep on working. If you find one trout, there are sure to be more nearby.

Ladyfish are present and so much fun to catch. They are without a doubt my favorite summertime fish. These lively fish will make your drag zing. Their acrobatic jumps and hard runs make these fish very entertaining. You’ll often catch them in the same spots you target trout. Mud minnows and shrimp under popping corks are the way to go here.

Sharks have returned in droves and the bite has been very strong. Atlantic Sharpnose have been especially prolific and cut bluefish or whiting work well. Bonnetheads have started to come around and chunks of blue crab are the go to bait. Use carolina rigs combined with size 3/0 circle hooks. Put the rod in a holder and wait for it to snap over!

See you on the water!

Capt. Geoff Bennett operates Charleston Charter Fishing providing light tackle and fly fishing charters. Clients choose from a full menu of fly rods, artificial and live bait fishing options with charters tailored to their desires. USCG licensed and insured, Capt. Bennett is committed to providing a safe and enjoyable charter to anglers of all skill levels and ages. For more information, call Capt. Bennett at 843-324-3332, visit his website at www.charlestoncharterfishing.com or email him at captain@charlestoncharterfishing.com.

Charleston Fishing Report – May 2014

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Charleston Fishing Report - April 2014

“Wind again?” was a familiar refrain over the past few weeks. Even blustery weather couldn’t hold back warmer water temperatures and the arrival of bait. Seasonal species like spanish mackerel, shark and bluefish were right behind. In spite of the breezy days, anglers have a lot to look forward to over the coming months.

As water clarity slowly improves, redfish are eating artificial plastic lures, especially those that mimic the glass minnows so abundant in our waters. Zman’s 3 ¾” streakz in smokey shad is an excellent choice. I pair this lure with a 1/8oz. jighead. When possible I try to bump this lure along the bottom then pick it up sharply once or twice with a flick of my wrist. Often, the fish will crush it as it pops up.

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. Here’s 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!

Spanish mackerel and bluefish are beginning to show up especially in the harbor. 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.

With the warmer water temperatures, sharks have returned to our waters. You’ll start to see the fins of bonnethead sharks slicing through the water as they seek out prey. Chunks of blue crab or live shrimp both work well on these predators. 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!

 

Capt. Geoff Bennett operates Charleston Charter Fishing providing fly fishing and light tackle charters. Clients choose from a full menu of fly rods, artificial and live bait fishing options with charters tailored to their desires. USCG licensed and insured, Capt. Bennett is committed to providing a safe and enjoyable charter to anglers of all skill levels and ages. For more information, call Capt. Bennett at 843-324-3332, visit his website at www.charlestoncharterfishing.com or email him at captain@charlestoncharterfishing.com.

 

Charleston Fishing Report – April 2014

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Charleston Fishing Report - April 2014

Lots of cold days and nights during March kept thoughts of traditional Spring fishing on the back burner. With highs in the 70s forecast over the next ten days, let’s hope we have turned the corner. Warmer water temperatures should bring out the trout bite while anglers can still target redfish in big schools.

Unlike most years, redfish remain in their wintertime schools that can number as many as a hundred fish. They are still spooky but becoming more aggressive as the arrival of bait turns them into predators again. The easiest way to target these reds is using cut bait or better yet freshly cracked blue crab fished on the bottom. Be patient and let the schools come to you. If they think eating is their idea, they’ll most likely take the bait.

As trout become more active, popping corks cast along grass banks and over oyster beds will be a good bet paired with mud minnows and live shrimp. 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 tight to set the hook. You’ll find that the circle hook will do most of the work for you.

For both redfish and trout, mud minnows paired with a jighead have been working well especially around docks and structure. I’ll use a 1/8-1/4oz. jighead and hook the mud minnow under the bottom lip and out through the top lip. Work these baits slowly and try to bump them along the bottom where oftentimes you’ll get hit as you lift the rod tip.

Redfish remaining in big schools has been a boon to flyfishermen eager to stalk these fish on the flats. To avoid spooking them, we’ve sometimes been casting well in front of a moving school and only begin moving the fly with quick small strips once the school is almost on top of it. On recent charters, black wiggler flies have been the most productive.

See you on the water!

Capt. Geoff Bennett operates Charleston Charter Fishing providing fly fishing and light tackle charters. Clients choose from a full menu of fly rods, artificial and live bait fishing options with charters tailored to their desires. USCG licensed and insured, Capt. Bennett is committed to providing a safe and enjoyable charter to anglers of all skill levels and ages. For more information, call Capt. Bennett at 843-324-3332, visit his website at www.charlestoncharterfishing.com or email him at captain@charlestoncharterfishing.com.

Charleston Fishing Report – March 2014

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Charleston Fishing Report - March 2014

It has been a long cold Winter but warmer times have started to come around. During many charters, it never got much out of the 30s and those were hard earned fish. After a run of days with highs in the 70s, it’s easy to get excited about fishing again! Rising water temperatures and the return of bait should provide plenty of action.

Redfish remain in massive schools numbering in the hundreds as they try to avoid dolphins and stay warm. You’ll find these schools on mud flats as well as shallow banks that provide cover. On sunny days, redfish are especially drawn to the flats as the mud retains an extra few degrees of warmth. You’ll find the best fishing tends to be around low tide when these reds are balled up tight together.

During this time of year, these big schools of redfish can be wary and spook when a lure hits the water. When this happens, it’s best to soak some cut bait. I’ll put chunks of frozen mullet 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.

It will be interesting to see if the trout bite starts in March based on how cold the past two months have been. Working artificial lures slowly across the bottom will be your best bet. Plastic lures that are 3″-4″ long and imitate small minnows are a good choice. For color, stick with grey and silver hues that most resemble bait. Paired with a 1/4oz. jighead, the combination should be very effective when the trout return.

This a great time of year for fly fishing as a softly presented fly won’t send a school of redfish fleeing for cover. Sight fishing abounds and stalking a school of a hundred plus redfish is so exciting you almost fall off the bow with anticipation. Smaller flies in lighter colors are working best and a clouser minnow is a fine example. Remember when the fish hits, resist the temptation to lift your rod tip and strip strike instead.

See you on the water!

 

Capt. Geoff Bennett operates Charleston Charter Fishing providing fly fishing and light tackle charters. Clients choose from a full menu of fly rods, artificial and live bait fishing options with charters tailored to their desires. USCG licensed and insured, Capt. Bennett is committed to providing a safe and enjoyable charter to anglers of all skill levels and ages. For more information, call Capt. Bennett at 843-324-3332, visit his website at www.charlestoncharterfishing.com or email him at captain@charlestoncharterfishing.com.