AHQ INSIDER Charleston (SC) Spring 2018 Fishing Report – Updated May 24 Reviewed by Momizat on . -- The newest Charleston fishing report can be found at: http://www.anglersheadquarters.com/ahq-insider-charleston-sc-summer-2018-fishing-report/ May 24 Inshore -- The newest Charleston fishing report can be found at: http://www.anglersheadquarters.com/ahq-insider-charleston-sc-summer-2018-fishing-report/ May 24 Inshore Rating: 0
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AHQ INSIDER Charleston (SC) Spring 2018 Fishing Report – Updated May 24

The newest Charleston fishing report can be found at: http://www.anglersheadquarters.com/ahq-insider-charleston-sc-summer-2018-fishing-report/

May 24

Inshore water temperatures in the Charleston area are in the 75-77 degree range, with surf temperatures at Folly Beach right at 76.  The weather has been rainy and windy making for tough visibility.

The weather has made for some difficult fishing conditions, and David Fladd with Eye Strike Fishing reports that the consensus is that the fishing has been challenging.  In the redfish tournament this weekend, where the winner took $30,000.00, catching fish on the upper end of the slot was a challenge.  It seems that the bait has not really moved in yet, and the mullet and menhaden seem to be a couple of weeks behind in showing up this year. However, there have also been some reports that in the last day or two things may have started to turn on.

David Fladd with a 31.5 inch red caught this weekend between downpours and squalls

David Fladd with a 31.5 inch red caught this weekend between downpours and squalls

Captain Rob Bennett of Lowcountry Inshore Charters (843-367-3777) concurs that conditions have not been great, and the reds he has been catching have been on a low tide pattern fishing around docks with mud minnows, cut mullet, live shrimp and Gulp!

David has heard of some fat trout being caught, and with May the peak of the spawn that makes sense.  Of course numbers are down.  When the bait moves in well then the topwater bite should take off.

Rob is concerned that to the south of Charleston the fish really got hammered this winter.

Fishermen are reminded that the SCDNR is strongly encouraging anglers to practice catch and release of all spotted seatrout through the end of September.  To read the full news release click here.

Flounder have not really showed up yet, but with a delayed start to the shrimp season it may turn out to be a good year for the flounder. The two often seem to correlate.

The best bite right now may be for whiting, and Rob reports that at the mouths of inlets some really big ones are being caught over sand in 12-18 feet of water.  All you need is a bottom rig with a couple of little pieces of shrimp.

Bonehead sharks have also arrived inshore, but the tarpon have not yet arrived.

Folly Beach Pier(843-762-9516) reports that a lot of sheepshead, whiting and the occasional 1-3 pound black drum are being caught off the pier.  They also had a 1 ½ pound pompano caught Saturday.  No Spanish or king mackerel have been caught yet, but the regulars haven’t really showed up to target them.

At the reefs there are Spanishbluefish, flounder and big summer trout– but it has been hard to get out.  Cobra are offshore in 40-50 feet of water.

May 10

Inshore water temperatures in the Charleston area in the lower 70s.

Even though it’s been a cool spring, David Fladd with Eye Strike Fishing reports that we are pretty much starting to get into a summer pattern with redfish.  For the next few months fish will be caught around docks with deeper water and some shade, and if you spend some time prospecting with a jighead and a mud minnow, pitching it under docks and waiting two or three minutes, you can develop a line-up of spots for each stage of the tide.  It’s a good bet that if redfish are at one place at a certain stage of the tide in the summer they will be there at the same stage the next day.

Right now water temperatures are in the ideal 70-75 degree range for reds where a fish at the lower end of the slot will fight like a 26-incher.

The topwater bite for trout is improving, but trout fishing remains really spotty.  Captain Rob Bennett of Lowcountry Inshore Charters (843-367-3777) reports that he has caught very few trout in 2018.

David says that in places like the Wando, Cooper and Ashley that have shipping channels and good deep water refuge trout continue to be caught; in shallower areas like Isle of Palms or Edisto catches are minimal.  This may lead to a lot of fishing pressure in the areas that do have them.

May is the primary spawning month for trout, and so it’s really important not only to release fish but to handle them as little as possible with a rubberized net.

Fishermen are reminded that, as a precautionary measure, the SCDNR is strongly encouraging anglers to practice catch and release of all spotted seatrout through the end of September. To read the full news release click here.

While they have not arrived yet, everyone is highly anticipating the arrival of jack crevalle that run up to 40-pounds in the Charleston Harbor again this summer.  It is the fight of your life if you hook one.

Folly Beach Pier (843-762-9516) reports that temperatures have finally hit 70 and they are seeing a bunch of whiting, bluefish and sheepshead caught.

Nearshore, Captain Rob reports that the bite has been outstanding at the nearshore artificial reefs. Menhaden have showed up and they are catching the fire of out of bluefish, Spanish mackerel and weakfish.  Trolling Clarks Spoons on a #1 planer as well as pulling deep running plugs has been working well.  The bite at the reefs is as good as Rob has ever seen it.

Caught this week with Captain Rob Bennett

Caught this week with Captain Rob Bennett

From 180 feet out to 40 miles plus the dolphin bite has been very strong. The first Governor’s Cup Blue Marlin Tournament of the season out of Bohicket Marina runs this weekend.

April 27

Inshore water temperatures in the Charleston area around 65 degrees in the creeks.

Captain Rob Bennett of Lowcountry Inshore Charters (843-367-3777) reports that the redfish bite is good at times, albeit spotty.  Some days they are bringing 15 to 25 fish to the boat, but at other times bites are harder to come by.  An area can produce one day and then offer nothing the next.

Overall, the best action is fishing around docks on the late dropping tide, usually starting a couple of hours before low tide.  The best bait has been mud minnows under a float or on the bottom.

Rob reports that he has not caught a trout in 2018, despite spending a lot of time fishing areas where he traditionally catches them.  Fishermen are reminded that, as a precautionary measure, the SCDNR is asking anglers to practice catch and release of all spotted seatrout through the end of September.  To read the full news release click here.

Folly Beach Pier(843-762-9516) reports that they are still only getting whitingand a few slot-sized redfish.  Ocean temperatures are only around 61 but once they hit the mid-50s blues, black drum and mackerel should return.

Without a doubt the hottest bite – when you can get out – has been at the nearshore reefs, including the Edisto 40 and 60, the Charleston Nearshore and the Charleston 60.  Out there Rob reports that he has found a red hot bite for 5-15 pound bluefish as well as skipjack tuna and bonito.  They are also catching summer trout on mud minnows.

Trolling with deep-running Yozuri and Rapala plugs 8-15 feet down has been a preferred pattern, and when they have been able to get out they have only been able get out the bite has been so good that they have only been able to troll two rods at once.  Jigging with big spoons has also been working for bluefish. The reefs are also covered up with sublegal black sea bass and some giant bull drum.

A young angler with a delicious skipjack tuna recently caught on Captain Rob Bennett's boat

A young angler with a delicious skipjack tuna recently caught on Captain Rob Bennett’s boat

April 12

Inshore water temperatures in the Charleston area have risen to around 67 degrees in the rivers.

The biggest change in the last couple of weeks is the result of rising inshore water temperatures, and David Fladd with Eye Strike Fishing reports that a topwater bite for both redfish and trout has come on.  Mullet are starting to show up which is probably driving the fish to feed upwards, and no longer does “matching the hatch” mean trying to imitate small glass minnows and the like.  You can get away with baits with a bigger profile.  This will get even better as temperatures continue to warm.

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Folly Beach Pier (843-762-9516) reports that they are still mainly getting whiting and a few slot-sized redfish.  With ocean temperatures still in the upper-50s they are waiting for temperatures to get into the mid-60s in hopefully a couple of weeks to see blues, black drum and mackerel return.

Nearshore there are no reports of Spanish mackerel yet but a bunch of bluefish up to 5 or 6 pounds are showing up at the reefs.

Fishermen are reminded that, as a precautionary measure, the SCDNR is asking anglers to practice catch and release of all spotted seatrout through the end of September.  To read the full news release click here.

March 30

Inshore water temperatures in the Charleston area are around 55 degrees.  Overall clarity is starting to decrease as we get towards spring, but the Wando remains very clear.  The Cooper River is dingier.

It’s been a typical March in the Charleston area, which is to say that the weather has been poor and it’s been too windy most of the time.  Still, David Fladd with Eye Strike Fishing reports that when you are lucky enough to get a fishable day the signs from the trout fishery have been very encouraging.  Probably owing to the deep water refuges available in both rivers, the Wando and Cooper have had a good number of fish ranging from small ones up to 21.5 inches. Flat areas in and around the IntraCoastal may have been hit harder.

Not much bait is around right now except for glass minnows and a few mullet, and accordingly lures with a smaller profile 3 inches and less are better.  The best colors depend on water clarity, and in the clearer Wando natural grayish colors are working best.  In the dirtier Cooper pearl, white, and chartreuse are better.

Most of the trout seem really skinny and so David anticipates that a heavy pre-spawn feed could be coming as they try to fatten up for the spawn.  Anglers are reminded that, as a precautionary measure, the SCDNR is asking anglers to practice catch and release of all spotted seatrout through the end of September.  To read the full news release click here.

David Fladd shows off a post-freeze Charleston trout

David Fladd shows off a post-freeze Charleston trout

 

A nice one caught on a Trout Eye jighead, moments before release

A nice one caught on a Trout Eye jighead, moments before release

The redfish population is strong, and despite it being a transition time the bite has been pretty good – all things considered.  A couple of things are about to be working against the fishing, including a peeler crab season and a worm hatch, both of which make the bite tough for a period.  Once April gets a little further along the fishing should get into a more predictable pattern.

Sheepsheadfishing is still pretty consistent, and David reports that the average fish are large right now.  Good numbers of smaller fish that provide excellent action should be moving in soon.  Fish fiddler crabs around hard structure in 6-10 feet close to the bottom.

Bluefishare just starting to show up, and there have been some good fish already caught up the rivers.

March 4

Inshore water temperatures in the Charleston area are in the upper 50s.  Conditions are still pretty clear.

More than a month after one of the five worst freezes in recorded Charleston history, David Fladd with Eye Strike Fishing reports that on the trout front there is room for some cautious optimism.  Even in some of the creeks where dead fish were seen floating fish representing a range of sizes have been caught.  It seems that all the year classes are still represented, although in what is certainly a depleted fishery.

Anglers are reminded that, as a precautionary measure, the SCDNR is asking anglers to practice catch and release of all spotted seatrout through the end of September.  To read the full news release click here.

Overall, the redfish do not seem to have been as impacted by the cold as the trout.  There may have been some kills in the very shallow estuaries and on the flats, but major rivers like the Cooper, Ashley and the Wando all have deep water refuges.

On the sheepshead front, while many of the fish head offshore in the winter months they do not all, and around heavy structure with oysters and barnacles in 6-15 feet of water there has been good sheepshead fishing.  Some of the fish are smaller, but there are also some larger fish around.  Both fiddler crabs and live shrimp are working.

David Fladd with a nice late winter Charleston sheepshead

David Fladd with a nice late winter Charleston sheepshead

February 23

Inshore water temperatures in the Charleston area are around 60 degrees.  Conditions are still pretty clear.

There’s still not much change inshore, and Captain Rob Bennett of Lowcountry Inshore Charters (843-367-3777) reports that redfish are still generally in their winter, low-tide schools on the flats around oyster beds.  However, they should be starting to break out of those schools soon.

While the best action remains out at the nearshore reefs for sheepshead, black drum, black sea bass and larger red drum, recently conditions have still been too rough to get out there very often.  There’s also good bottom fishing in 60-90 feet, but it’s also heavily weather dependent.

The annual American shad run is getting underway from the ocean up into the Tailrace Canal (in Monck’s Corner) or the Rediversion Canal (at St. Stephen).  Anglers can catch fish using light line and small, 1/8 ounce green and chartreuse jigs.  Rob’s boat caught some nice shad this week but the fishing should get better and better.

Rob with a healthy American Shad

Rob with a healthy American Shad

Anglers are reminded that, as a precautionary measure, the SCDNR is asking anglers to practice catch and release of all spotted seatrout through the end of September.  To read the full news release click here.

February 16

Inshore water temperatures in the Charleston area are around 55 degrees.  Conditions are still very clear, but don’t expect that to last too much longer.

There’s still not much change inshore, and Captain Rob Bennett of Lowcountry Inshore Charters (843-367-3777) reports that redfish are still huddled up in their winter, low-tide schools on the flats around oyster beds.

While the best action remains out at the nearshore reefs for sheepshead, black drum, black sea bass and larger red drum, recently conditions have been too rough to get out there very often.  There’s also good bottom fishing in 60-90 feet, but it’s also heavily weather dependent.

Perhaps the most exciting bite near Charleston right now is the annual shad run, where American shad make their way from the ocean up into the Tailrace Canal (in Monck’s Corner) or the Rediversion Canal (at St. Stephen).  Anglers can catch fish using light line and small, 1/8 ounce green and chartreuse jigs.  The boat traffic can get heavy so anglers are reminded to be courteous.

Captain Rob Bennett shows off a big spring shad

Captain Rob Bennett shows off a big spring shad

Anglers are reminded that, as a precautionary measure, the SCDNR is asking anglers to practice catch and release of all spotted seatrout through the end of September.  To read the full news release click here.

February 9

Inshore water temperatures in the Charleston area are around 50 degrees and conditions are still very clear.

There’s not much change inshore, and Captain Rob Bennett of Lowcountry Inshore Charters (843-367-3777) reports that that the best bet is still to fish the flats for redfish.  Look around oyster beds.

The best action remains out at the nearshore reefs.  The bite remain red hot for sheepshead, black drum, and black sea bass.  Additionally, plenty of nice redfish can be caught just offshore.  They will take a variety of baits including squid.

Anglers know to look inshore for redfish, but they can also be caught at the nearshore reefs right now

A nice redfish caught offshore with Captain Rob Bennett

Anglers are reminded that, as a precautionary measure, the SCDNR is asking anglers to practice catch and release of all spotted seatrout through the end of September.  To read the full news release click here.

February 1

Inshore water temperatures in the Charleston area are around 51 degrees and conditions are very clear.

It’s a familiar story inshore, and Captain Rob Bennett of Lowcountry Inshore Charters (843-367-3777) reports that that the best bet is still to fish the flats for redfish.  With very little bait around fish remain willing to eat, and the schools are most likely to be found around oyster mounds.

The best action, though, can be found out at the nearshore reefs.  At the Kiawah Reef, the Edisto 40, the Charleston Nearshore reef, the Capers Reef, etc. the bite is red hot for sheepshead, black drum, and black sea bass.  If you can’t get fiddler crabs sand fleas will often work even better.

Anglers are reminded that, as a precautionary measure, the SCDNR is asking anglers to practice catch and release of all spotted seatrout through the end of September.  To read the full news release click here.

January 18

Inshore water temperatures in the Charleston area are around 46 degrees, and clarity is very good.

It’s been a tough month in the Charleston area and on much of the South Carolina coast, and Captain Rob Bennett of Lowcountry Inshore Charters (843-367-3777) notes the bad trout kills in the area.  As a precautionary measure, the SCDNR is asking anglers to practice catch and release of all spotted seatrout through the end of September.  To read the full news release click here.

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Inshore there has been light fishing pressure due to conditions, but if anglers want to chase something this is prime time to sight fish for redfish on the flats.  Look for low tide conditions on calm days, when big schools of 10-200 fish should be visible.  When you see the wakes cast ahead of the schools in the direction they are moving with flies, bait or artificials.  Fish are skittish in the clear, cold water.

Nearshore this is the time of year when bigger black sea bass can be caught closer in, and at 4KI, the Edisto 40, etc. they can be caught on bottom rigs.  Sheepshead are out there too and should be there until about mid-March.  Pick your weather days and take plenty of fiddler crabs with you.

December 19

Inshore water temperatures in the Charleston area are around 54-55 degrees, and clarity is very good.

Captain Rob Bennett of Lowcountry Inshore Charters (843-367-3777) reports no major changes in the inshore bite this week, but they continue to have good trout catches in a little bit deeper areas.

Rob Bennett Jr. with an early winter trout

Rob Bennett Jr. with an early winter trout

The redfish schools continue to get larger with the pattern about the same.  Low tide sight casting remains the most productive pattern.

December 15

Inshore water temperatures in the Charleston area are in the mid- to lower-50s and the creeks are clearing.

Captain Rob Bennett of Lowcountry Inshore Charters (843-367-3777) reports that even with the cold weather fishing remains strong, and there is a very good bite for trout on artificial lures.  The fish are in the same areas around points and oyster beds with medium to low current flow, but instead of being in 2-3 feet they are in 6-10.  On the warmest days they may move up shallower.  Plastic grubs and Zman baits are working, with the ever-reliable electric chicken color hard to beat.

Redfish are starting to congregate on the flats, with a low tide in the morning the best time to pursue them.  When there is little to no wind then with a stealthy approach you can sight-cast for the fish with a fly or grubs, and they will also take cut bait.  Look around oyster shells on the mud flats.

A late fall red on Captain Rob Bennett's boat

A late fall red on Captain Rob Bennett’s boat

Folly Beach Pier (843-762-9516) reports that the bite has really slowed down and now the catch is just sharks, rays and the occasional whiting.

On the nearshore reefs in 40-50 feet of water the fishing remains strong.  Bull red drum, large black drum, and bigger black sea bass can all be caught out there right now.

December 1

Inshore water temperatures in the Charleston area are in the mid- to upper-50s, and clarity is improving.

Captain Rob Bennett of Lowcountry Inshore Charters (843-367-3777) reports that the trout and redfish bite in the Charleston area continues to be incredible, and this week he still averaged 40-80 fish per day.  Shrimp stayed in the rivers longer than usual this year because of the warm weather, and this has obviously helped the fishing.  Before long the redfish will start to group up in larger, winter schools on the flats but for right now the pattern remains the same.

A nice red caught this week on Rob Bennett's boat

A nice red caught this week on Rob Bennett’s boat

The most notable change on the inshore side is that the spot run is underway.  Anglers can use blood worms or small pieces of shrimp on a #2 hook to catch these delicious fare.  They are being caught around the Folly River bridges, the old Pitt Street Bridge in Mount Pleasant, off the Kiawah Bridge and more.

Overall surf fishing is slowing down, but Folly Beach Pier (843-762-9516) reports that they are still getting a few big bull reds, occasional whiting and black drum, and rays and small sharks.  For now sheepshead are still around in good numbers.

At live bottom areas in 40-60 feet bull red drum in the 20-50 pound range are thick, and as a result great white sharks are showing up just offshore probably to eat the redfish.  The reefs are also hot with weakfish, black drum, and soon sheepshead.

Wahoo are being caught on the ledges.

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