AHQ INSIDER Hilton Head Island (SC) Winter 2017/18 Fishing Report – Updated February 1 Reviewed by Momizat on . -- The newest Hilton Head fishing report can be found at: http://www.anglersheadquarters.com/ahq-insider-hilton-head-island-sc-winter-2017-18-fishing-report/ Fe -- The newest Hilton Head fishing report can be found at: http://www.anglersheadquarters.com/ahq-insider-hilton-head-island-sc-winter-2017-18-fishing-report/ Fe Rating: 0
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AHQ INSIDER Hilton Head Island (SC) Winter 2017/18 Fishing Report – Updated February 1

The newest Hilton Head fishing report can be found at: http://www.anglersheadquarters.com/ahq-insider-hilton-head-island-sc-winter-2017-18-fishing-report/

February 1

Inshore water temperatures in the Hilton Head area are around 49 degrees and the water is very clear.

The weather hasn’t been too cooperative in the Hilton Head area recently, but Captain Dan “Fishin’ Coach” Utley (843-368-2126) reports that when he has gotten out he has been pleasantly surprised by how aggressive the redfish have been.  He has had to look to locate the fish, but once found they have been very willing to eat ¼ ounce jigheads with Gulp! shrimp.

Some of his better trips recently have actually been at the top of the tide cycle, and since the water is so clear you can still sight-fish even on the flood.  It’s easier on weak tides that don’t get too high in the grass when fish stay out around the oyster shells.

In open water slowly hopping the bait has been working well, but in the grass just dead sticking it has been successful – and doesn’t get you hung up.

Coach shows off a nice redfish caught last week

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 Hilton Head area are in the mid-40s and the water is very clear.

During and immediately after the long cold period Captain Dan “Fishin’ Coach” Utley (843-368-2126) saw water temperatures as low as 42 degrees, but before the recent cold snap they had gotten back to about 46.  They then dropped again, but with warm weather predicted things should warm up in the next few days.  Still, with unusually cold conditions, and very clear water, you need to modify your approach to catch redfish.  The good news is that the fish will bite, and on his last trip Coach’s boat caught about twenty.  Most were barely over 23 inches, but a few were in the 18-19 inch range.

In the clear water it’s easy to see the big schools, and Coach has found the best bite around the half-tide coming up and then again when the water is dropping. High tide is slow.  On the incoming he has been casting a ¼ ounce jig with a white Gulp! shrimp and dead sticking it on the flats around oyster beds when the water is about to go into the grass.  If you cast ahead of the schools and let the fish find the bait they will usually take it.  On the dropping tide he found fish coming out of drains where dead oyster shells were sticking up with fish laying on the down-current side.

Overall, with clear water and not especially aggressive fish you have to do one of two things – either cast ahead of the fish and let them come to the bait, or cast into the marsh where they are not as spooky.

Coach's dog surveys a redfish in the clear water

Coach’s dog surveys a redfish in the clear water

 

And loses interest once it is boated

And loses interest once it is boated

Like everyone else Coach is concerned about the potential trout kill this winter, and after some very good trout fishing the last few years he is certainly going to follow DNR’s recommendations to release trout and hopefully maintain the resource.  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

December 20

Inshore water temperatures in the Hilton Head area are in the low to mid-50s.  Clarity is good.

With a week of favorable fishing conditions Captain Dan “Fishin’ Coach” Utley (843-368-2126) has been able to get out on the water more often, and he reports that right now they seem to be very hungry.  In the last few days the redfish have been very aggressive, and while they are not everywhere when you do locate them they are in large groups and very easy to catch.  They will take a ¼ ounce jighead with Gulp!, either dead sticked (around grass) or pulled towards the school when there is less risk of getting hung up.

Interestingly, the most productive stage of the tide has been the flood when the water is up in the grass.  Fish have been along the edge of major rivers like the Chechessee around shell rakes and oyster bar points.  With the water fairly clear it’s not hard to spot the fish.

At this time of year the fish don’t seem to travel too far, and while they seem to be on a high tide feeding pattern right now they will generally be in the same areas on low tide.  Coach expects this pattern to hold up for a while.

The trout also seem to have gotten into a fairly consistent pattern, and they seem to have headed towards deeper water.  On low tide the trout can be found back in deeper holes at the bends of major creeks with 12-15 feet of water, particularly if there is some structure like fallen trees.  Moving tides are best.

Coach has had success with both live bait and artificials.  On one recent trip he caught about a dozen good fish on live shrimp in a hole, then had to switch over to jigheads with white Gulp! grubs when he ran out of bait.  For the next fifteen minutes he caught a fish on every cast, and they were bigger than the ones that had been eating the shrimp.  It seems that at least some of the time the trout are in big schools when you find them.

Coach shows off a nice deep hole trout caught this week

Coach shows off a nice deep hole trout caught this week

December 15

Inshore water temperatures in the Hilton Head area are in the mid-50s.  Clarity is improving but the water is not super-clear yet.

Fishing conditions have been pretty tough recently in the Hilton Head area, and Captain Dan “Fishin’ Coach” Utley (843-368-2126) reports that it’s been hard to spot fish as would be typical at this time of year.  Big tides, wind and rain have made for relatively poor visibility.

Right now the redfish don’t seem to be ganged up on the main flats, and instead the better schools seem to be in the smaller creeks.  On high tide you can sometimes find them along the edges of the marsh grass, but most of the time they seem to be in the backs perhaps chasing warmer temperatures.  Once it gets super cold most of the fish should pull back out to the main river.

A nice redfish caught last week on Coach's boat

A nice redfish caught last week on Coach’s boat

December 1

Inshore water temperatures in the Hilton Head area are around 60 degrees and clarity is good.

Fishing is still excellent in Hilton Head, and Captain Dan “Fishin’ Coach” Utley (843-368-2126) reports that big redfish have showed up along the grass on high water on main rivers like the May and Chechessee.  They will take a variety of baits, including rattling corks and minnows or shrimp dead or alive.  Dead sticking Gulp! shrimp on a ¼ ounce jighead has also been very effective.  Some of the fish are in the 24-27 inch range but there also lots of 16-18 inch fish.

A nice Hilton Head redfish caught this week on Coach's boat

A nice Hilton Head redfish caught this week on Coach’s boat

The trout bite is still great on soft plastics and live shrimp.  Finding clean, moving water is the key.

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