AHQ INSIDER Edisto Island (SC) Winter Fishing Report – Updated January 20
Captain Ron Davis, Jr. (843-513-0143) reports that Edisto Island-area water temperatures are in the low to mid-50s, and clarity is excellent.
The redfish bite is still very good around Edisto Island, although right now the fishing is better in the creeks than on the flats. The best fishing is for fish you can not see as January reds can be spooky. The most successful pattern is fishing mud minnows and cut mullet around deep bends in the creek that have structure including docks and trees. The six hours at the bottom of the tide cycle (out to three hours each side of low tide) have been the best time to fish, and the target depth range is 6-10 feet of water. To the north the Stono River and Bohicket Creek have been good, and to the south Store Creek and Fishing Creek have produced.
There are also fish to be caught sight-casting on the flats, although not a ton of them. Depending on the day fish may be hungry, or tight-lipped and unwilling to eat. On the latter type of day they just won’t take a bait, and each cast causes the school to move 50 or 100 yards away. Generally, mud minnows and Gulp! are the best baits right now, and fish can also be caught on the fly.
While you can catch a fish now and then on high tide, generally you might as well forget it.
Meanwhile, Ron reports that the trout bite on the main water has almost died to nothing. There are some trout there mixed in with the reds, but generally they are not biting. The catchable trout are in the creeks, but you have to fish long and hard to get them. In a typical day of throwing a grub or trolling all day a skilled angler would do well to catch 10-12 fish.
Trolling is typically the best way to locate trout, because ironically the fish that are located are very aggressive. If you get in a hole with 1-3 fish you will generally catch all of those on successive casts, so the best bet is to cover water. Trolling 1-2 miles per hour so you are just barely bumping the bottom is the best bet.
Sheepshead fishing is very good, particularly for numbers of fish. If you can find hard structure with 10-20 feet of water at low tide you can put a hurting on the fish with fiddler crabs, although inshore the Charleston area has a lot more deep water and bigger fish. If you pick through the sea bass at the Edisto 40 and Edisto 60 there are plenty of big sheeps to be caught out there.
Bottom fishing for black seabass is outstanding right now at both of the above-named reefs as well as the 4KI. Offshore the wahoo bite is excellent, with pretty much everybody catching 2-8 fish per trip at the Edisto Banks on calm days when boats can get out. The fish are right on the Ledge and both high-speed and traditional trolling with skirted ballyhoo on sea witches is catching fish.
Captain Ron Davis, Jr. (843-513-0143) reports that water temperatures are still in the upper 50s in the Edisto area and clarity is good.
Redfish are feeding very well around Edisto Island, and even though numbers aren’t great when fish are located they are very cooperative. There is plenty of sight fishing on clear, windless days. On the low tide flats if you can find a good school of fish then on the first 3 or 4 casts it is common to get a bite, although they can get skittish after that. Dead low tide is tough because fish can be very spooky, and so fishing 1-3 hours each side of low tide is best. Cut shrimp and mullet both work very well as will live mud minnows and scented plastics. In the creeks fishing cut mullet and shrimp in holes for two hours each side of low tide is the best bet. Shrimp are pretty much gone inshore except in some of the deep holes, and mullet can be a little tricky to get at times.
Trout have moved off the main river into creeks and deep bends with an average depth of 7-15 feet. They will usually be around some sort of structure such as trees or older docks. Locating fish with most any ¼ ounce jighead with a curly or boottail grub will work, and once you find a school you can experimenting with changing colors and styles to catch as many fish as possible. The best action is within several hours of low tide.
Inshore there are still some sheepshead around docks in 10-15 feet of water at low tide. However, a lot of the better fish have already migrated out to nearshore reefs in 30-40 feet of water. Black sea bass are thick at the reefs and 10-12 inch, sub-legal black sea bass will drive you crazy as you have to fish through them first to get to the sheepshead. Black sea bass will eat most anything including the fiddler crabs that sheeps love.
Usually by this time of year the bottom fishing closer in has started to shut down and anglers have to go out to 120 feet of water and then the ledge to catch grouper, snapper, porgy and big black sea bass. However, temperatures in 70-90 feet are still so warm in the 65-68 foot range that the bite is really good there.