AHQ INSIDER Hilton Head Island (SC) Spring Fishing Report – Updated May 9
The newest Hilton Head fishing report, updated June 21, can be found at: http://www.anglersheadquarters.com/ahq-insider-hilton-head-island-sc-summer-2017-fishing-report/
Hilton Head inshore water temperatures are around 78 degrees, and with windy conditions the water is pretty stirred up and dirty.
It had been a tough few weeks for inshore fishing around Hilton Head, but Captain Dan “Fishin’ Coach” Utley (843-368-2126) reports that all began to change last week. The redfish bite really began to pick up, and they started catching 5-10 good fish on most trips – to go with some trout and lots of small flounder.
For reds the best time to fish has been for an hour or two when the tide is about halfway in and out, and fish have been in 1 ½ to 2 ½ feet of water around large expanses of oyster beds. Coach has been using the tide to float cut mullet or mud minnows under a rattling cork to the fish. Fish have also been picked up at the bottom of the tide cycle at the mouths of small creeks which drain a large area of marsh. In these shallow areas Coach is downsizing his leader to 12 inches on the same bobber rig.
While there have not been a lot of trout caught, the ones his boat has been catching have come on the deeper edges of flats with faster moving water. The same baits/ rigs have been working.
The flounder have come while floating mud minnows on the very shallow rigs.
Hilton Head inshore water temperatures were in the upper 60s yesterday, and clarity has been variant.
It’s a tale of two weeks for inshore fishing in the Hilton Head Island area, and last week Captain Dan “Fishin’ Coach” Utley (843-368-2126) reports that tides were moderate and water conditions were clearer than they had been all winter (this year it never really got gin clear). The fish bit very well, particularly on the dropping tide.
This week there were some very high tides, the water muddied up, and the bite significantly fell off. Coach said they felt lucky to catch a couple of redfish each day, and with muddy water fish just seemed to feed less. There were some very small windows of feeding activity but the tide was ripping so hard that fish wouldn’t set up in one place long before they moved on. Since it’s not really warm enough for good tailing action yet, the best bite they found this week was at stages of the incoming or outgoing tide when they could fish in clear pockets in the grass that might also have some oyster shells. Cut mullet under a rattling cork worked best.
Next week there will be a return to more normal tides, and Coach hopes that once again they will find fast action on the dropping tide. The prime time was about two and a half hours after low tide to one hour before the bottom, and they were also catching some fish casting to schools around low tide. Because the fishes’ metabolism is speeding up you don’t get many tries, but throwing a ¼ ounce jighead/ Gulp! bait around little creek channels between oyster beds on the flats was working. They were also catching some fish in creek bends with deeper water and structure such as a tree fallen into the water. Slip corks that held a bait 9-12 feet deep were working well.
Unsurprisingly, the trout bite was almost non-existent this week, even with live shrimp fished around points with moving water. The water has simply gotten too muddy. Last week they were also catching some trout in smaller creeks that drained the marsh, and it is hoped that the same patterns will return next week.