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AHQ INSIDER Beaufort (SC) Spring 2019 Fishing Report – Updated January 2

  • by Jay

The newest Beaufort fishing report can be found at: http://www.anglersheadquarters.com/ahq-insider-beaufort-sc-spring-2019-fishing-report/

January 2

Inshore water temperatures have risen all the way into the low 60s around Beaufort, and the visibility remains pretty good.

Heavy fog has made for some challenging fishing conditions at times, but when anglers can get on the water Captain Tuck Scott of Bay Street Outfitters (843-524-5250) reports that there has usually been a pretty good redfishbite.  At times they have seen redfish chasing bait and they have even seen the occasional back or fin out of the water.

Fish are in pretty tight schools on low tide, and the one upside to the fog has been that along with it has come some very calm days when it is easy to see fish in the slick conditions. Because the fish are in such big schools there are a lot of areas without fish, and so you need to spend a lot of time moving.  Sometimes the fish will be stationary and you will just be looking for a dark patch, and at other times there will be some subtle swirls or slight ripple on the water that gives away a school.  At other time they will actually be visible because of a calmarea, as their subtle finning will break up an otherwise bumpy surface.  And at other times a muddy cloud will give the fish away.

On higher tides finding the redfish is more of a challenge, but while some fish will break up and forage in the grass others will still be fairly schooled up.  Instead of just blind casting around shell bars, look for surface disturbances as well as fish floating high in the water column on sunny days.  A lot of fish have been hanging around medium-length grass and grass points right now.

Live shrimp and mud minnows have been working better than cut mullet right now, and Gulp! on jigheads or under a cork has also been producing.

There has not been a lot of trout activity around Beaufort but the best bet is to look in deeper holes right now.

A beautiful redfish caught New Year's Eve on Captain Tuck Scott's boat
A beautiful redfish caught New Year’s Eve on Captain Tuck Scott’s boat

December 20

Inshore water temperatures are about 52 degrees around Beaufort, and the water is generally gin clear.

Redfish are in a true winter pattern right now in Beaufort, which is unsurprising considering that Captain Tuck Scott of Bay Street Outfitters (843-524-5250) reports that he has seen surface temperatures as cold as 48 degrees already this season.  Naturally then, the best bite has often come later in the day when the sun has time to warm up the water and get the fish more active.  Time of day has been more important than tide quite often recently.

For two hours either side of low tide fish can be sight cast to, while at higher stages of the tide blind casting alongside the grass and near oyster points is a good bet – particularly late in the day.  Fish are not going to expend energy to sit in moving water as cold as it has been.

In bait live shrimp and mud minnows are both working, and artificials such as Gulp! on a ¼ ounce jighead, Vudu Shrimp, and slowly worked swimbaits will also catch fish.  On the fly mud minnow patterns and dark purple flies are working on cloudy days, while browns are better on clear days.

A beautiful red caught yesterday with Captain Tuck Scott
A beautiful red caught yesterday with Captain Tuck Scott

There has not been a lot of trout activity around Beaufort but the best bet is to look in deeper holes right now.

November 30

While you can find inshore water temperatures in the Beaufort area as low as 50 degrees, 53 is a more representative temperature.  Clarity is good for sight-fishing.

Temperatures rapidly dropped along the South Carolina coast, and Captain Tuck Scott of Bay Street Outfitters (843-524-5250) reports that not surprisingly that caused the redfishto get a little skittish. However, it’s still early in the season and so they have not gotten lethargic, which means there will be a good bite for a lot longer.

Even though temperatures are set to rebound into the 70s tailing is probably done for the season, but low tide sight fishing is getting good.  On the low tide mud flats you can look for giant schools of fish, and on his most recent trip Tuck saw one school that had at least 300 fish.  When there is moving water then live or cut bait fished along the grass edge is working well, and fish will also take a variety of artificials including Gulp!, DOA shrimp and Vudu Shrimp.

When temperature spike the schools will get smaller and fish will disperse more, and when it gets colder they will clump up more.  You can catch fish under either set of conditions, but you may have to look longer when it’s cold. But you might catch more when you find them!

A beautiful red caught this week with Captain Tuck Scott
A beautiful red caught this week with Captain Tuck Scott

The trout bite remains pretty good, with anglers targeting fish in 3-5 feet of water casting artificials on a ¼ ounce jighead.  Bouncing the bottom in areas with moving water is the best pattern, whether by casting or trolling (perhaps the best way to locate fish).

November 15

Inshore water temperatures in the Beaufort area are around 61, and the water has gotten dirty with the recent rain.

The Indian summer has finally given way to essentially cold South Carolina winter weather, and Captain Tuck Scott of Bay Street Outfitters (843-524-5250) reports that fish don’t usually like really fast transitions.  Accordingly, fishing is good but not as good as one might expect at this time of year, but as it settles out the bite should improve.

Even after the cold rain redfish are feeding pretty well on bait, with both cut mullet and live shrimp working well.  The best tides have been when the water is going out, from about two hours after high until dead low.  Fish have been in about the four-foot range around oyster beds and behind points where they can get out of the current and feed on disoriented baitfish.

Surprisingly there have still been some tailing fish, and with the warming trend predicted that could continue a bit longer.

A beautiful redfish caught Tuesday during a break in the rain with Captain Tuck Scott
A beautiful redfish caught Tuesday during a break in the rain with Captain Tuck Scott on a black and purple Zonker pattern

The trout bite has been decent, although some anglers have been having trouble locating fish.  The best places to look have been at the mouths of creeks with a little turbulence in the 7-8 foot range.  Grub bodies on a ¼ ounce jighead have been hard to beat.

Tuck’s boat has picked up a few weakfish.

October 19

Inshore water temperatures in the Beaufort area are in the mid to upper-70s.

With water temperatures still warm at mid-week the fish had not really gotten into fall mode, and Captain Tuck Scott of Bay Street Outfitters (843-524-5250) reports that redfishare still in more or less a summer pattern.  When tides are high enough the tailing action has been very good, and on lower stages of the tide fish are chasing shrimp around oysters bars on the dropping tide.  The best bait is shrimp although they are not super easy to net, and Gulp! peeler crabs on a ¼ ounce jighead have also been working.

Troutfishing has been pretty good with Gulp shrimp or most any paddletail grub on a ¼ ounce jighead, and fishing the dropping tide at the mouths of creeks has been the best pattern.

With temperatures still warm there have still been some tripletail floating around.

September 21

Inshore water temperatures in the Beaufort area are around 81, and water color is very mixed.  It’s worth looking for clean water because some areas have it.  Both mullet and shrimp are abundant inshore.

The redfish bite has gotten a little more consistent, and Captain Tuck Scott of Bay Street Outfitters (843-524-5250) reports that fish have been tailing pretty well in the grass.  They are also chasing shrimp aggressively at lower stages of the tide.

Fish can be found around shell points, and on the dropping tide you should look for them at likely ambush spots in places where bait is getting pushed out of the grass.  Redfish like to find calmer water where they can wait for prey.  It’s all about shrimp right now, whether that means fishing with the real thing, Gulp! shrimp on a ¼ ounce jighead, or shrimp patterns on the fly.

A nice red caught on the fly with Captain Tuck Scott
A nice red caught on the fly with Captain Tuck Scott

There have also been some trout caught in the Beaufort area, and Tuck has had the best luck locating them in and around seams of slick water that are moving differently from the surrounding areas.  It does not matter whether the tide is moving in or out but 4-5 feet of water is a good range to check.  Live shrimp, Gulp! or dark-colored fly patterns are all working for trout.  Anglers are reminded that 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.

Tripletail are still around and so it’s worth keep an eye out for them floating near the surface.  Tarpon are also still in the area.

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