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AHQ INSIDER Beaufort (SC) Fall Fishing Report – Updated November 30

  • by Jay

Nov. 30

Inshore water temperatures in the Beaufort area are around 58 degrees, and the water is clearing.

Temperatures haven’t gotten especially cold yet, but nonetheless Captain Tuck Scott of Bay Street Outfitters (843-524-5250) in Beaufort reports that redfish are clearly starting to show some winter tendencies.  Fish are starting to get into bigger groups, and at low tide Tuck says you can see schools start to come together like they do in the winter.  Sight casting the flats with grubs or live bait on moderate, falling tides when there is still some water in the grass has been the best pattern.

Even though winter is coming, Tuck advises that anglers should still not discount fishing in the grass.  Fish are less likely to be tailing and more likely to be cruising in the grass, and they are eating shrimp before those disappear for the season.  On warmer days some fiddler crabs are definitely still out.

Life is good on Captain Tuck Scott's boat
Life is good on Captain Tuck Scott’s boat

The troutbite has been good recently, and anglers are having success throwing Gulp! shrimp or paddletail grubs on a ¼ ounce jighead.  The better fishing is in and around the mouths of creeks on moving water, with the dropping tide the best.

Note that the Hunting Island Pier (843-838-7437) is closed for fishing due to damage from the October storm.  Repairs should be completed by the spring.

October 20

Water temperatures in the Beaufort area are around 76 degrees, and between the storm and recent king tides the water is really muddy.

Strange things are going on in the Beaufort area, and Captain Tuck Scott of Bay Street Outfitters (843-524-5250) reports that in the recent mega-high tides they have seen less redfish than one would expect – but tons of tailing black drum as well as some sheepshead.  In his guiding career Tuck estimates that he has seen around 20 tailing black drum, while yesterday they saw an incredible 75 or so!  He estimates that they had legitimate casting opportunities at 50 of these fish.  Today was not much different.

Meanwhile, to go along with the tailing black drum, over white shells today Tuck saw a bunch of sheepshead and even hooked an 8-pound fish on the fly.

While it’s hard to know exactly what’s going on, Tuck speculates that the black drum are feeding on periwinkles and have moved way up into the shallowest areas following the shellfish, while the reds are staying out a little deeper and cruising.  They have caught a couple of cruising reds each day.  Tuck suspects that once the tides are more normal flood tides more redfish may be visible again.

Regardless of what is going on, it’s making for some really exciting, unusual fishing.  Catching black drum or sheepshead requires a very precise cast as the fish don’t want to chase a bait like a redfish will, but they will take a crab pattern laid in the immediate strike zone.

A healthy black drum caught today on Captain Tuck Scott's boat
A healthy black drum caught today on Captain Tuck Scott’s boat

Beyond the high tide bite, Tuck reports that on lower tides redfish have been feeding somewhat sporadically and they seem to be pretty spread out.

In trout news the bite has been very strong on moving tides, both dropping and incoming.  Fish have been caught on DOA shrimp as well as live bait around creek mouths where there is moving water washing over oyster bars as well as around islands where trees stick out into moving water.

September 30

Water temperatures in the Beaufort area are around 80 degrees.

Fishing is not as good as it is going to get later this fall, but it is certainly getting better.  Captain Tuck Scott of Bay Street Outfitters (843-524-5250) reports that when conditions are right redfishare tailing really well, although west winds the last few days have held the high tides at bay and hurt that fishing.  When conditions allow redfish will eat pretty much anything while they are tailing – they key is it being weedless.  On pretty much all stages of the tide they are also eating cut mullet and shrimp.

An angler hooked up this week on Captain Tuck Scott's boat
An angler hooked up this week on Captain Tuck Scott’s boat


The sight anglers are looking for... photo courtesy of Tuck Scott
The sight anglers are looking for… photo courtesy of Tuck Scott

Troutare feeding pretty well on live shrimp fished beneath a popping cork, as well as a 1/8 or ¼ ounce jighead with a paddle tail grub, swimming mullet, or Gulp! shrimp.  They are feeding on any moving tide around creek mouths and oyster shells.

Around light changes both redfish and trout can be caught on topwater lures, and the topwater bite for jack crevalle and ladyfish is still on in the same pattern as last week.

In the creeks and on the mud flats lots of flounder are being caught on fluke rigs and mud minnows moved slowly across the bottom, or the same jighead set-up as for trout.  The better fishing is when the water is out of the grass in shallow areas.

Hunting Island Pier (843-838-7437) reports that fishing is a little slow, but croaker, whiting, pinfish, occasional flounder, and sharks have all been caught off the pier.

September 22

Water temperatures are right around 80 degrees in the Beaufort area, and finding good water conditions can be a little difficult right now.  Anglers need to search for clearer water.

Overall the bite is very similar to a week ago, and redfish, trout, and flounder can all be caught in the Beaufort area.  Notably, Captain Tuck Scott of Bay Street Outfitters (843-524-5250) reports that the redfish have been tailing extremely well.

Newlyweds display a pretty redfish caught inshore in the Beaufort area with Captain Tuck Scott
Happy newlyweds display a pretty redfish recently caught inshore in the Beaufort area with Captain Tuck Scott

One other exciting bite over the last week has been for jack crevalle, and lots of smaller, hard-fighting fish can be caught off the grass a bit in 4-5 feet of water.  The higher tides have been best, and when fish are busting on the surface topwater lures or flies are the best bet.  The fish are voracious feeders who will eat most anything – so you might as well catch them the most exciting possible way!

September 15

Water temperatures have dropped into the lower 80s in the Beaufort area, and with recent rains finding clear water has been hit-or-miss.  With extreme tides coming for the next week expect water to be muddier than usual.

Summer is winding down in the Beaufort area and fish are getting ready for a big fall feed. Bay Street Outfitters (843-524-5250) reports that redfish continue to tail very well, particularly on the moderate to very high tides.  The shrimp population is strong right now, and that means that fish are chasing bait and feeding – although with the abundance of bait they will also frequently turn down a presented bait.  On the mud flats fish are often schooled up at lower stages of the tide.  Look for birds that are working over an area to find bait and feeding fish.

On the fly shrimp patterns are the ticket right now, and in dirtier water dark patterns are the best option.  In clearer water lighter colored patterns are better.  On spinning tackle DOA shrimp are working well and of course live shrimp will catch fish – as well as bait stealers.

Captain Tuck Scott's son proudly displays a beautiful redfish
Captain Tuck Scott’s son proudly displays a beautiful redfish

Plenty of troutare being caught right now, and live shrimp under a popping cork are tough to beat.  Along deeper banks with 3-4 feet of water a ¼ ounce jighead with Berkley Gulp! brown or new penny shrimp is also working well.  Trout are being caught on most any moving tide, but the dropping tide has been best.

For both trout and redfish there is a good topwater bite at light-change periods (when it goes from dark to light, or light to dark).  The very best topwater action is very early if anglers get on the water while it is still dark and fish through daybreak.

While the seasonal ladyfish, jacks and tarpon are all moving away or on the verge of doing so, a healthy population of flounderis around and here to stay.  Some flounder will be caught blind casting, and sometimes they are caught when they are spooked with the boat and then an angler casts to where they see one settle back down.  Some trips Captain Tuck Scott says they will be planning to sight-cast for reds but get into an area with enough flounder that a change of tactics is appropriate.  A fluke rig with a mud minnows or a 1/8 ounce jighead with the same bait is tough to beat.