AHQ INSIDER Charleston (SC) Summer 2018 Fishing Report – Updated September 21 Reviewed by Momizat on . -- September 21 Inshore temperatures in the Charleston area are in the lower 80s, and in the surf it’s about 80 degrees even. Water temperatures have still not -- September 21 Inshore temperatures in the Charleston area are in the lower 80s, and in the surf it’s about 80 degrees even. Water temperatures have still not Rating: 0
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AHQ INSIDER Charleston (SC) Summer 2018 Fishing Report – Updated September 21

September 21

Inshore temperatures in the Charleston area are in the lower 80s, and in the surf it’s about 80 degrees even.

Water temperatures have still not cooled off very much, but Captain Rob Bennett of Lowcountry Inshore Charters (843-367-3777) reports that there is a wide open, outstanding inshore bite.  They are crushing the redfish with live shrimp fished under popping corks around oyster beds on both the incoming and the outgoing tide.  Rob expects the fishing to be wide open until about November 15.

Well up the rivers David Fladd with Eye Strike Fishing reports a similar bite, although he notes that it does not seem to have cooled off enough for fish to have gone into the smaller creeks yet. It’s clear that there is a bumper crop of juvenile redfish all around the Charleston area, and if you head up into brackish water in the Cooper conditions are right to catch striped bass and largemouth, too.

There is tons of bait popping in the rivers and creeks and yesterday they caught a nice 20 inch trout on a topwater.  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.

A big trout caught on Eye Strike jigheads

A big trout caught by Ralph Phillips with Eye Strike Fishing

It also continues to be a good year for flounder, and on a recent trip they caught several flatfish including an 18-incher on a Texas Eye jighead with Zman soft plastics.

Folly Beach Pier (843-762-9516) reports that with the storm and then the workweek they have not had a lot of lines in the water, but whiting and smaller black drum have been landed.

In the surf the mullet run is underway and so there are plenty of predators including tarpon and sharks around.

August 24

Inshore temperature in the Charleston area are around 85 degrees, and in the surf it’s about 82 degrees. Steady winds out of the south brought in some nice aqua-colored water to Folly Beach, but it looks to be back and forth over the next week or so.

Even though it’s only August Captain Rob Bennett of Lowcountry Inshore Charters (843-367-3777) reports that a fall redfish bite has started. The best inshore fishing of the year will take place from now through about mid-November, and on recent trips they have a caught a ton of redfish mixed between undersized fish and bigger ones. There are plenty of shrimp in the creeks and fishing them under a popping cork around oyster shells has been the best pattern.

They have picked up less trout the last couple of weeks, but as temperatures cool off that is almost certain to pick up.  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 fishing seems to have slowed a bit, but finger mullet and mud minnows have been the bait of choice on either a deep popping cork rig or a Carolina rig, and Rob’s boat is concentrating on small drains and gutters that he likes to target.  The best fishing is for a couple of hours either side of low tide.

The tarpon are definitely around, and they should be here to stay through about the end of September.  They can be found around sand bars and rip lines in 6-8 feet of water where you can see color changes out on the inlet bars.  Live menhaden and mullet are the best baits.  Captain Rob has also caught a bunch of big blacktop sharks a little further out.

Folly Beach Pier (843-762-9516) reports that with clean water this past week has been excellent, and a lot of pompano, Spanish mackerel and black drum have been caught off the pier.  The biggest pompano of the season was weighed in last week at 3 pounds 9 ounces, and they also had a 6 pound 11-ounce Spanish caught!

Out at the jetties, David Fladd with Eye Strike Fishing reports that they have caught a bunch of bull redfish on StriperEye jigs and Zman 6” SwimmerZ.  The fish seem to congregate where the ends of the jetties submerge, and you can also catch drum drifting the jetties where the rocks meet the bottom and vertical jigging.  If anglers are going to target spawning red drum at the Grillage it’s imperative that they are prepared to vent them and revive them fully before releasing them.

David Fladd with a beautiful bull redfish, bait in mouth

David Fladd with a beautiful bull redfish, bait in mouth

It’s been a little bumpy in the open ocean, but on days when you can make it out to the nearshore reefs there has been a strong bite for big flounder at the Nearshore Reef and Edisto 40. Fish will “knock the fire” out of live minnows rigged behind a 2-3 ounce weight.

August 9

Inshore water temperatures in the Charleston area are around 83.5 degrees, and after the rain stopped over the weekend the rivers have cleared up nicely.

It’s not July anymore, and inshore fishing in the Charleston area has really turned a corner.  Captain Rob Bennett of Lowcountry Inshore Charters (843-367-3777) reports that for approaching a week the fishing has been pretty outstanding – particularly after the rain tapered off.  Early in the morning they are catching a lot of trout, including a bunch of young males and some roe-filled females (which they are of course releasing).

The best bait has been mud minnows fished 1 ½ feet below a popping cork on a 1/0 kahle hook, and they are throwing it up near the grass and popping it back to the boat about every ten seconds.   Shrimp seem to be pretty scarce from the cold winter.  Regardless of tide the first two to three hours of the day has been the best.

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.

An early trout with Captain Rob Bennett

An overcast morning trout with Captain Rob Bennett

The creeks are also filled with a ton of small redfish, and fishing the same rig around oyster beds they are having plenty of 20-40 fish days.

It is also an excellent period for flounder, and some days they are catching five or six keepers over 15 inches to go with a bunch of smaller fish.  Finger mullet and mud minnows have been the bait of choice on either a deep popping cork rig or a Carolina rig, and Rob’s boat is concentrating on small drains and gutters that he likes to target.  The best fishing is for a couple of hours either side of low tide.

Folly Beach Pier (843-762-9516) reports that fishing has slowed down off the pier, particularly for mackerel at the end, even with mild 83 degree water temperatures.  They are still picking up whiting, black drum and sheepshead.  The surf is full of jellyfish.

Captain Rob reports that he is wearing out big sharks half a mile to a mile off the beach, and there are also plenty of tarpon around.  There are tons of big mullet and menhaden schools just off the beaches, and just the other day he saw a two-acre school of menhaden off Seabrook Island.  It’s hard to go wrong with a large live menhaden or mullet on a 6-foot wire leader underneath a balloon or big float.

David Fladd with Eye Strike Fishing reminds anglers that, if they are going to target spawning bull redfish at the jetties or grillage, where there has been a strong bite, it’s imperative that anglers are prepared to vent them and revive them fully before releasing them.  There have been several reports of floaters due to anglers who didn’t know what to do.

July 13

Inshore water temperatures in the Charleston area are in the mid-80s.

David Fladd with Eye Strike Fishing and Captain Rob Bennett of Lowcountry Inshore Charters (843-367-3777) concur that the inshore fishing is pretty tough right now, and David says that with temperatures several degrees warmer than typical for July it’s just tough to get bit.  You can still try to catch trout or redfish in low light conditions, but overall it’s pretty slow.

The one exception is the tarpon, and Captain Rob says that right off the beaches anglers can hook up with a silver king.  Put two float rigs out with 6 feet of 100-pound fluorocarbon leader and an 8/0 circle hook, and then two lines on the bottom. Live menhaden are the preferred bait but live mullet will also work.  Captain Rob’s pro tip is that if you put a float on your anchor rope you can release it quickly when you hook up and then come back to get it.

A nice tarpon caught with Captain Rob Bennett

A nice tarpon landed with Captain Rob Bennett

While inshore fishing has been too hot for any consistency with most species, Folly Beach Pier (843-762-9516) reports that the surf has been just cool enough for a consistently great bite.  They are seeing plenty of whiting, blues, black drum, pompano, and 5+ lb. Spanish mackerel.  Additionally, they had a new pier record in the jack crevalle category caught last week at 31 pounds 9 ounces!  While there have been plenty of king mackerel strikes and even some fights none have been landed yet, but they are definitely out there.

With a slow inshore bite, most boaters are concentrating on the jetties for bluefish or going 3-5 miles offshore for Spanish mackerel.  The Spanish can be a little hit or miss, and one day they will be thick and the next day they will be gone.  There are also lots of spadefish on the reefs which can be caught on jelly balls.

June 20

Inshore water temperatures in the Charleston area are in the 85-86 degree range, with ocean temperatures about 83 degrees.  The shrimp season has just opened but reports are that it has been tough after the cold winter.

Charleston fishing is solidly in a summer pattern, and David Fladd with Eye Strike Fishing reports that from pre-dawn to just before the sun rises above the trees, and then again in the late evening, there is a window when you can fish for trout with topwater lures.  Overall the bite has been mediocre in spots that usually produce, but you can pick up a few here and there.  There have been some big fish up to about 25 inches reported, which is a good sign.

On the other hand, Captain Rob Bennett of Lowcountry Inshore Charters (843-367-3777) reports that a game warden he spoke with today said that he had seen extremely low numbers of trout this year between the Folly River and Edisto.  That mirrors his own experience.  The Charleston Harbor and surrounding areas fared better, but on the south side it’s pretty barren.

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.

As discussed in May, David points out that for the duration of the summer redfish will be in very predictable patterns.  Mostly this means they will be 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.

It’s also a good rule of thumb that when the sun is high they will go deeper or seek out shade. In areas without as many docks, including way up some of the coastal rivers, they will also hang around fallen trees.

This morning David found Spanish mackerel busting in the Harbor, and they were able to catch them on a Trout Eye Finesse Jighead with a 3.75 inch Zman jerkbait that imitates a glass minnow.  When the fish are really actively feeding they will eat most selections, but when you run through the schools they will sound. Common courtesy – and effective fishing technique – dictate that instead of motoring towards the schools boats should run up-current of them and then drift down towards the Spanish.  Without a motor engaged they will continue to feed very close to the boat.

In the surf, Folly Beach Pier (843-762-9516) reports that ocean conditions have been great and should continue to stay that way with good water predicted for the next week or so.  They have seen lots of whiting, bluefish, pompano, 4-plus pound black drum, and occasional Spanish mackerel.  Some king mackerel have been spotted but none have been landed yet.  They even had the attached 25-pound jack caught off the pier on a king mackerel rig and bluefish last week.

Angler Philip Waltz with a 25 plus pound jack crevalle caught last week off Folly Pier

Angler Philip Waltz with a 25 plus pound jack crevalle caught last week off Folly Pier

Out at the jetties, David reports that you can find a mixed bag of species.  This morning they caught bluefish, trout and several large ribbonfish on artificial baits.  A good summer pattern in Charleston is to start out inshore looking for a topwater bite, then hit the Harbor for Spanish, and then head to the jetties.

With the trout population down and a hot nearshore bite, Captain Rob has spent most of his fishing time out at the nearshore reefs.  4-5 miles offshore they are finding tons of Spanish, and drifting in 15-30 feet of water with cut mullet or menhaden there are lots of black tip sharks around.  At reefs like 4KI and the Edisto 60 jelly balls and spadefish are plentiful, and there are also bunches of amberjack around.  The cobia are about gone but there are some small king mackerel.

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.

spottedseatroutStop

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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