AHQ INSIDER Charleston (SC) Fall Fishing Report – Updated October 20
The newest Charleston fishing report, updated November 10, can be found at: http://www.anglersheadquarters.com/ahq-insider-charleston-sc-fall-2017-fishing-report/
Inshore temperatures in the Charleston area are around 75 degrees, and water conditions are clearing.
The peak of the inshore fishing season in the Charleston area comes when temperatures are between about 65 and 75 degrees, and so Captain Rob Bennett of Lowcountry Inshore Charters (843-367-3777) reminds anglers that for the next week 3-4 weeks conditions should be as good as they get.
First, October is a trout month. The best way to catch trout is concentrate on the mouth of a creek when the tide is going out, be it a 20-foot wide creek or a 100-foot wide one. At the point where the current from the creek meets the main river there will be a “V,” and this is the perfect place to fish. Generally this will mean fishing in 3-10 feet of water, and you can cast a live shrimp or a DOA shrimp under a rattling float with a couple of feet of fluorocarbon line to hook up. You can also throw paddle tail or twist tail grubs, or even troll them in likely areas. ¼ ounce chartreuse or red jigheads with a Zman electric chicken bodies are tough to beat. Red drum will be found in the same areas, and like trout they will also take mud minnows.
There are also a lot of black drum, including some really good ones, around right now. They will eat shrimp fished under a cork or on the bottom, and they can be found around oyster beds and docks. There is no particular tide when you need to target them, and on Rob’s boat they are generally a bonus catch.
There are also plenty of flounder around that will eat the same baits as the reds and trout.
Out at the reefs weakfish are thick, but be cognizant of the very restrictive limits on this species. Mud minnows are the best bait, and you will also pick up a lot of flounder and black sea bass at the same time. When you are out at the reefs always put out a live bait on a king mackerel rig, as this is the best time of the year for kings.
Inshore temperatures in the Charleston are are around 80 degrees, and Captain Rob Bennett of Lowcountry Inshore Charters (843-367-3777) tells anglers that it’s time to get excited – the fishing from about September 15 until October 15 is what fishermen wait all year for.
Before talking about the fish, Rob points out that it’s important to talk about another season that is upon us. The shrimp baiting season is now underway, and with a license you are allowed 10 poles. Bull’s Bay and Charleston Harbor are traditionally excellent areas for shrimp baiting, and this is a great time to fill up the freezer with tasty fare.
Inshore, the trout bite continues to be nothing short of excellent, and all you need is a popping cork and a live shrimp (or DOA shrimp). With tons of mullet running the beaches trout are also getting in the surf zone. Redfish can be caught around a variety of structure, including docks or oyster beds. Any point that has good oyster beds and current will also hold redfish on moving tides. They can be caught fishing on the bottom or under a float on the top, although your chances of a bonus flounder are better on the bottom. If you want to target flounder fish the gutter creeks around the inlets. The black drum are also biting well on shrimp fished around docks.
Tarpon are still here chasing schools of mullet, and while they won’t be around too much longer watching the tarpon and black tip sharks bust big schools of mullet is a rare treat. They can be found especially on the outgoing tide around inlets.
In addition to inshore reds, from about the middle of September through the end of October is prime time for tangling with a bull red drum in the Charleston area. The most exciting part of this bite is that you don’t need to be in a boat to hook up with a monster fish, and the real risk is overcasting the fish. They will be in the surf zone in only 2-3 feet of water, and in a boat anglers cast back towards the beach.
All the beaches will hold fish, particularly around inlet mouths at the points, but Folly Pier and off the end of Folly near Morris Island are two hot spots. Finger mullet or cut mullet will both work well.
Offshore this is the best period for king mackerel fishing pulling live mullet or menhaden in 40-90 feet of water.
With recent clouds and rain inshore temperatures in the Charleston area have dropped from 87 to 81 in the last week.
Partly because of mild recent winters, this fall Captain Rob Bennett of Lowcountry Inshore Charters (843-367-3777) expects to see some of the best fall fishing in years. The creeks are so full of shrimp right now that you can practically walk on them, and in only a few casts during the period an hour or two each side of low tide you can usually catch all the shrimp you need for a day of fishing.
Rob has never seen this many puppy drum around before, and both the redfish and trout will take a shrimp fished under a popping cork with an 18-24 inch leader on a 1/0 kahle hook. There are also tons of ladyfish around, which in addition to acrobatic fights make a great bait for sharks off the beaches.
Flounder are also in the same area as the trout and redfish, particularly around white shell beds next to grass. For trout, reds and flounder Rob emphasizes the importance of keeping your bait near the grass where the shrimp live and other species follow them.
The tripletail bite has also been really good, and in the inlets, around the tidelines, and near crab pot floats they can be found lazing on the surface. Sight-fishing a live shrimp or DOA shrimp to these fish will usually draw a strike. These tripletail usually run 5-10 pounds and make for some excellent eating.
Tarpon are still around in good numbers, and with millions of mullet about to run down the beaches that bite should only get better. The tarpon and sharks should be going crazy under the mullet very soon.
Rob is also seeing a lot of small mangrove snapper and catching 2-5 per trip.
Spanish mackerel can still be found offshore and king mackerel can be caught trolling.