AHQ INSIDER Charleston (SC) Spring Fishing Report – Updated May 10
The newest Charleston fishing report, updated June 9, can be found at: http://www.anglersheadquarters.com/ahq-insider-charleston-sc-summer-2017-fishing-report/
Inshore water temperatures in the Charleston area are in the mid-70s.
The wind has been blowing for about two weeks in the Charleston area, but when you can get out on the water Captain Rob Bennett of Lowcountry Inshore Charters (843-367-3777) reports that the bite has been pretty good.
While some anglers will be fishing for bull red drum in Dynamite Hole, at the Grillage, and at the artificial reefs, Rob says this is his favorite time to start looking for tailing redfish on the extremely high tides. You need a shallow draft boat to get into the right areas but once there you can catch fish on spoons, flies, or by putting out a half-blue crab and letting the fish find it. On lower stages of the tide look around docks and oyster beds.
The flounder bite is also improving, and the key to catching flounder right now is to find areas with a mixture of hard shell, sand, and mud. They don’t want to lie on straight oyster beds or plain black mud. The mouths of creeks are good spots, and live finger mullet or mud minnows fished on a Carolina rig are hard to beat. Know the minimum size because lots of fish are under 14 inches.
With the trout spawn underway there are plenty of big trout around right now, and for the next few months the best time to catch them will be in low light periods early and late. Vudu shrimp, live mud minnows or live shrimp fished under a popping cork will all work, as will topwater lures. Release big roe trout because harvesting one big female could be killing ten thousand more.
The big bluefish here a couple of weeks ago have mostly moved on, but with jelly balls starting to show up on the beaches it’s a sure sign that spadefish are arriving at the artificial reefs. Spanish mackerel are also at the reefs, and further offshore this is a peak time for dolphin.
Inshore fishing in the Charleston area has been pretty good for trout and flounder in the rivers, and there have been plenty of red drum caught at the jetties and in Dynamite Hole. But Captain Rob Bennett of Lowcountry Inshore Charters (843-367-3777) reports that the most exciting bite right now can be found out at the nearshore reefs, where he has been catching gigantic bluefish up to 10-15 pounds. He has not seen bluefish this big in South Carolina in about 30 years!
For smaller bluefish (and Spanish mackerel) in the 1-5 pound range trolling with Yozuri plugs and spoons will catch fish, but for the biggest bluefish the key is to put out a live menhaden on the bottom. A wire leader is necessary as well as about a two ounce weight to keep the bait on the bottom where the big blues are swimming. These big fish jump like largemouth bass and make runs that you wouldn’t believe.
At the reefs they are starting to see some jellyballs, so the spadefish shouldn’t be too far behind. There are also a lot of summer trout out there, but remember that you can only keep one per person over 14 inches.
Offshore the dolphin run should be hot for about the next month.
Inshore water temperatures in the Charleston area have dropped back down into the mid-50s, while clarity is still good.
Before the cold snap Captain Rob Bennett of Lowcountry Inshore Charters (843-367-3777) advises that trout fishing was starting to turn on. However, the cold weather this week will knock that bite for a loop.
Inshore redfish have also been feeding pretty well around docks, particularly for an hour or two each side of low tide. Fishing with cut shrimp or mud minnows is a good bet for reds.
However, if anglers want to find a red hot bite they should head out to the nearshore reefs. Out at the reefs there is excellent fishing for red drum, black sea bass and summer trout. Both of these species will devour mud minnows, and Rob doesn’t even bother with squid and likes to take 300 or 400 hundred mud minnows out. He fishes them with a 2 ounce weight and a 50 pound, 18-inch leader – and then tells people to hold on! The action is fast.
Bluefish are also showing up at the reefs, and lots of nice 2-5 pound fish as well as some bigger ones are around. Before long the Spanish mackerel will also arrive. Trolling 00 Clarks Spoons, deep-running 5-6 inch Yozuri baits and 4-5 inch Rapalas is a good way to hook up.
The nearshore reefs are also home to tons of sheepshead right now that will take fiddler crabs and barnacle/ mussel-type baits, but there are also some monster sheeps inshore. Recently the Mt. Pleasant pier record 13 pound, 11 ounce fish was caught under the Cooper River Bridge.
Folly Beach Pier (843-762-9516) reports that the catch has been limited to skates recently.