AHQ INSIDER Edisto Island (SC) Summer Fishing Report – Updated July 11
Captain Ron Davis, Jr. (803-513-0143) reports that inshore water clarity is average to good, and water temperatures are about as hot as they get in the area. Inshore surface temperatures are about 86 degrees in the morning.
Because of population issues Ron rates the redfish bite as only fair, although when anglers can locate schools they are feeding pretty well. Tons of 8-10 inch fish are around, as has been the case for the last few years, but the numbers of slot-sized and bigger fish is not great. (While Ron would be optimistic about what the small fish mean for the future over the last few years strong populations of small fish have not translated into lots of slot-sized fish down the road). The creeks are filled with shrimp and so live shrimp has been the bait of choice. On the flats fishing mid-tides with a live shrimp under a popping cork has been best, and in the creeks the best fishing has been at low tide with a Carolina-rigged live shrimp.
Trout fishing remains good, with main river shell points near the ocean producing the best. Live shrimp fished 3-5 feet under a popping cork are working well, with the best fishing two hours either side of low tide.
Flounder fishing has gotten good, which Ron says is above average for the Edisto area. Main river shell points have been producing, and the best pattern has been fishing mud minnows or finger mullet on a 1/16th to 1/8th ounce jighead – anything bigger will get hung up too often. The first two hours of the incoming tide has been best.
Sheepshead fishing remains strong around docks that have at least 8-15 feet of water on low tide. Fishing at low tide with fiddler crabs is the best option – at higher stages of the tide fish are too spread out, and the creeks are full of bait stealers to use other baits.
Nearshore Spanish mackerel are feeding well, and Ron says the best pattern for catching them remains looking for the birds and casting small, heavy spoons into the schools with a fast retrieve. You can also troll the sandbars with the same baits.
With water temperatures very warm tarpon are showing up in good numbers around Keg Bank, Pelican Bank and Deveaux Bank. Live mullet or live blue crabs fished under a float, or cut mullet or cut crabs fished on Carolina rig, are both working. The best action comes on early morning high tides.
The cobia season is closed.
Captain Ron Davis, Jr. (803-513-0143) reports that inshore water clarity is good and water temperatures remain below 80 degrees, with morning temperatures about 76 degrees.
Although the population remains down some redfish can be caught on the flats, with mid-tides generally the best time to fish for them. Live mud minnows and cut mullet are both working. In the creeks fishing is decent at low tide in deep bends with trees, sea walls and other structure/ cover. Shrimp and cut mullet fished on a Carolina rig are the best bets, as mud minnows on a Carolina rig have a tendency to find cover and hide and don’t give off significant scent. Mud minnow are more effectively fished on a ¼ ounce weedless jighead.
Trout fishing is excellent and fish are in the midst of the spawn which will last through September. They spawn at night and eat during the day. Some of the big moon tides hurt water clarity and fishing briefly, but the bite is very strong when the water is clear on mid to upper tides. Most of the fish are in the main rivers near the ocean, but some fish can be found in the smaller creeks. Fishing DOA shrimp 3-5 feet under a popping cork has been outfishing mud minnows 5/6: 1, although you will get more bluefish and ladyfish as a by-catch on mud minnows. Live shrimp are the best bait if you can get them, but right now the brown shrimp in the creeks are only about two inches long. If you can find 3-4 inch menhaden they are hard to beat because of the their fat content; during the spawn trout need to eat a lot of fat so that their eggs will be covered with oil and can float on the surface.
Flounder fishing is good over sandy bottoms, hard shell bottoms, or mud/ sand bottoms that have some good shells. While some fish (particularly juveniles) will scatter up the creeks, most fish will be in the ocean, inlets or creeks that are within sight of the ocean. Mud minnows on a jig or Carolina rig will both catch fish, and fish that are up the creeks will generally be found around structure of some sort.
Sheepshead fishing is good with most fishing have finished the spawn and returned inshore for the summer. The best fishing is at low tide around docks in 10-15 feet of water; on higher stages of the tide fish are harder to target as they spread out and feed on the underside of docks. Fiddler crabs are the best bait with the creeks full of bait-stealers.
In the surf whiting fishing is very good over hard bottoms or cuts in the sandbars near the beaches. Squid and shrimp will both catch fish, but a 1 inch strip of fresh cut mullet is hard to beat.
A few tarpon are probably around but generally they won’t show up until water temperatures are consistently in the 80s and above 78 at dawn.
In about 30 feet of water Spanish mackerel are starting to show up as well as a few kings. The best bet is to look for bird activity early and late and throw small, heavy spoons and bucktails into the fish. Anglers can also troll with trolling weights/ spoons along the bars that line the North and South Edisto in the areas with more turbulence.
In 40-90 feet of water cobia are around in decent numbers over hard bottoms and at the nearshore reefs, although the season will close on June 20. Spadefish are present in very good numbers in the same areas but they are very finicky right now, sometimes refusing their favorite offerings of cut jellyballs and fresh shrimp.
Offshore dolphin fishing has slowed, with conditions more akin to July that what is usually expected in June. The first run came early and the second run has not so far come. A few tuna and wahoo are being picked up.