Edisto Island (SC) Summer Fishing Report – Updated August 2
Captain Ron Davis, Jr. (843-513-0143) reports that Edisto Island-area inshore water temperatures are around 84 degrees, and the creeks are full of shrimp making it easy for fishermen to get bait. Days are already about 30 minutes shorter than at their peak length, and when water temperatures drop to about 80 the fall bite should begin.
The redfish action has been strong, and on the oyster flats the fish are feeding well when you can find the schools. Live shrimp fished about 18 inches under a cork have been the ticket. The creek bite has been excellent with lots of undersized fish in the 10-14 inch range, and there have also been a good number of slot and over-slot sized fish. Creek reds are in their usual areas in the deep bends with structure. Shrimp will catch redfish but also get tons of bites from smaller fish, and so small 2 ½ to 3 inch finger mullet are probably the best bet.
Trout numbers have been excellent but sizes are a little down, with only 1 out of every 6 or 7 trout keeper-sized for most fishermen during the day. At daylight there is a pretty good topwater bite with some keepers mixed in between 6 and 7 a.m., but as the day progresses the better fish become more and more scarce. They are just not comfortable in the shallows when the sun is up right now, and in the heat trout either go deep or into swift moving, heavily oxygenated water. They also feed at night.
Ron predicts that this will be the best fall for trout fishing in 10 years, and after a number of mild winters the numbers of fish are definitely around. Around the end of August or beginning of September when water temperatures dip into the 80s the fishing should really take off.
Fishing for sheepshead remains good around docks that have 6-10 feet of water at low tide. The best fishing is at the lower part of the tide cycle and with so many small bait stealers around using fiddler crabs is a must.
The size limit for flounder was recently changed to 15 inches, and even with this new limit on most trips Ron says they have been catching at least one good keeper as a by-catch. Small finger muller in the 2 ½ to 3 inch range fished around oysters flats and in the creeks are the best bet.
For some reason numbers of black drum are way down this year, and they are not catching nearly as many juvenile fish in the 14-25 inch range.
Tarpon have arrived around the Deveaux Banks, the South Edisto Bar, and the Bluefish Bar, and while you have to weed through sharks (with about 5 sharks caught for every 1 silver king) there are some big fish to be caught. The best bet is to put out three rods behind the boat with a crab on the bottom, live/ cut mullet or menhaden on the bottom, and then one fish under a float rig (on big 8/0 circle hooks). It’s not uncommon to see tarpon rolling in the morning but they can be hard to catch then.
Probably the best game in town is the Spanish mackerel, and on any day that is navigable in an 18-20 foot boat anglers can head out to about 30 feet of water off the beaches and find them schooling everywhere. Numbers and sizes are better than in previous years, and even though the later afternoon is choppiest that is when there is usually the best bite. Trolling Clarks spoons or casting Hopkins or Crippled Herring Spoons is a good bet; the ½ ounce size is best for casting.
Bluefish and ladyfish are mixed in with the Spanish mackerel, and there are also plenty of oversized red drum in the 30-40 inch range around on the nearshore reefs. 1-2 ounce bucktail jigs with white curly tail Gulp! trailers are hard to beat.
Right now there are a lot of billfish and particularly sailfish offshore, but it’s not a good time for meatfish. At the full moon in August there should be a good run of wahoo with 4-5 fish days average and 9-10 fish days not unheard of.
Captain Ron Davis, Jr. (843-513-0143) reports that Edisto Island-area inshore water temperatures are around 84 degrees – it got hot fast early this summer! Because of rain the last two weeks the South Edisto (the actual river) is not as clear as the North Edisto. Fish are eating well when you can find them.
Ron rates the inshore redfish bite as “fair,” basically a result of numbers being down. When you can find fish they are willing to bite baits and lures. On the flats fish will take fresh shrimp or mullet fished on a jighead or Carolina rig, and the first couple of hours of the day there is also a good topwater bite. In the creeks the bite is pretty good early with cut shrimp or cut menhaden fished around docks, rocks, and trees found around bends in the creek.
The trout fishing was excellent, but now rates a good as it has gotten hotter. Lots of small sub-keeper sized fish have been caught to go along with some better fish. The first two hours of the morning there has been a good topwater bite, and after that mud minnows/finger mullet, live shrimp and DOA shrimp fished under a rattling cork in 3-5 feet of water have been working well. Live shrimp are the best bait with finger mullet second but there aren’t a ton of either around in the creeks. Main river shell points and creek mouths are holding almost all of the fish, and while the particular tide has not been that important finding clear water is key.
Flounder fishing is fair in the inlets, but the hurricane last year has added a wrinkle. You can only get in and out of inlets like Townsend and Frampton with ¾ tide or better, and most of the better fishing is at the bottom of the tide cycle. You either have to fish the weaker high tide, or commit to staying for a while and fish through low tide back to high tide again. Mud minnows and finger mullet on the bottom are both working, and there are a lot of small flounder around. At the nearshore reefs there are also flounder to be caught.
Inshore sheepshead fishing is good, although the sizes are a bit hit-or-miss with lots of small fish around. Because there are so many croaker and pinfish present fiddler crabs are a must, and you want to target docks with 6-10 feet of water at low tide. The best period is three hours either side of low water.
In the surf whiting fishing is good around turbulent sand bars at the mouths of inlets – you won’t find too much on the plain beach. Tarpon are just starting to show up and will be here through September.
Just offshore Spanish mackerel fishing has been good in 30-40 feet of water. Look for birds diving and then cast small spoons at the fish. On the nearshore reefs the spadefish bite has been outstanding – so good that Ron says it is probably the hottest thing going. Any reef in less than 60 feet of water are holding the fish, and he says it is probably the best bite he has ever seen. Usually the fish are very finicky, but perhaps due to the lack of jelly balls fish are hungry and so they are very willing to eat a ¼ piece of shrimp on a 1/0 or 2/0 hook either free-lined or cast with a small piece of split shot.
The offshore bite for wahoo, tuna and dolphin has slowed a lot, but the best bet is start out very early and troll until about 9:00 a.m. between 120-160 feet of water out to the ledge, and then bottom fish after that for vermillion snapper, black sea bass, grouper, triggerfish, etc.