Inshore surface water temperatures are down to about 50 degrees in Beaufort, and water clarity is very high.
2021 is off to a bang in the Beaufort redfish department, and Bay Street Outfitters (843-524-5250) reports that the fishing has been really good. Fish are extremely schooled up, and so if you catch one fish there are almost certainly more in the area – more than at any other time of year.
On low tide fish will be moving around on the flats in big schools, and on moving tides fish will be in and around shell points and creek mouths – but avoiding the fastest moving water. You can also work the grass edges either on the incoming or outgoing. At high tide they will be in and around covered shell bars. A lot of the fishing is sight fishing, but you can also blind cast in likely areas.
Gulp! baits have been working really well, and in the clear conditions lighter natural colors are good. If the water is dirty you will want to fish darker baits. At high tide it can be effective to fish the baits under a popping cork.
There has also been a good trout bite, and part-time Beaufort resident John Long of East Columbia Sport Shop (803-776-8320) reports that they have found trout stacked up in deep holes surrounded by oyster mounds. They have been way back in the creeks, and he thinks the trout are also trying to avoid the dolphins. These areas may also warm faster than the main water on warm days.
Even though they have offered live bait to the fish they would not touch it, and instead of mud minnows the trout have showed a preference for paddle tail grubs.
While the Fripp rocks continue not to produce as well as usual, they have found some sheepshead around wood in the creeks. They will take shrimp or fiddler crabs and Mainline Market also sells frozen sand fleas which can work at times.
Inshore surface water temperatures are down to 52 or 53 degrees in Beaufort, and water clarity is very high.
The trout fishing is not as hot as it was a couple of weeks ago, but it deserves the lead-off spot in this week’s fishing report because there is still a topwater bite in the morning almost at Christmas. Bay Street Outfitters (843-524-5250) reports that at the first inkling of real sunshine it dies off, but if you are willing to get out there very early and throw Top Dogs or big poppers on a fly rod with a Clouser on a dropper you can still get bites. But don’t bother if it is dead low first thing.
The early morning topwater bite can’t last much longer, but you can also catch fish in 3-4 feet of water around points with moving water on both the incoming and dropping tide. You can also go down the banks and cast or troll jigs, but concentrating on edges with 3-4 feet is still key. If you can get live shrimp they are dynamite under a popping cork.
In a more typical bite, the redfish are grouped up in very large schools on the mud flats and around shell points at lower stages of the tide. They are looking for calmer water than the trout.
If you can get live shrimp they will of course work very well, but Vudu Shrimp have also been really good. On the fly casting a Hall’s Perfect Crab (a realistic, brown shrimp pattern) is good. On darker days black and purple flies that create a good silhouette are best.
If you have to fish at higher stages of the tide then blind casting Vudu shrimp around grass edges and points is the best option.
Inshore surface water temperatures are down to the upper 60s in the main rivers around Beaufort. Clarity is low and there is still tons of bait around.
The trout fishing has been nothing short of outstanding around Beaufort, and Bay Street Outfitters (843-524-5250) reports that they are catching all sizes and excellent numbers. While this bite will not last too much longer at first light the action has been good around the edges with big Spooks, Top Dogs and other walking baits.
Live shrimp are working very well under a popping cork all day in moving water over points and at creek mouths when the tide is going either way. Fish are in 3-4 feet of water and paddletail grubs are also working well.
Right now there are still tons of mullet, shrimp, crabs, needlefish and fiddler crabs around, but as redfish realize that bait is starting to get harder to find the fishing will continue to improve. With mild temperatures there continues to be decent tailing action for redfish, but with lots of wind they have been harder to find.
The best time to catch redfish has been on the rising tide when they spread out on the mud flats and feed aggressively over shallow oyster beds. They can also be caught on the dropping tide moving down the banks or over structure. Cut mullet has been working better than live shrimp which are running a distant second, and the fish will also take artificial lures such as dark Vudu shrimp.
Black drum can be heard in the grass sucking shrimp off the reeds.
Inshore surface water temperatures are still about 74 degrees in the main rivers around Beaufort and shrimp, mullet, mud minnows and more are all abundant.
It’s an atypical fall bite around Beaufort, and Bay Street Outfitters (843-524-5250) reports that even though the fishing is good it does not totally feel like autumn yet. That is probably a function of temperatures, and with the water still very warm there is nothing to make the fish think that they need to gorge themselves before the various bait sources (including fiddler crabs) become scarce.
As it has been most of the year tailing action for redfish remains very good, and there is no better time to fish for reds than high tide when they get in the short grass. At other times redfish are in their typical positions, and they are holding in protected areas near oyster beds, points, and creek mouths where they can get some relief from the current. They are also seeking out flats that have oyster beds where there is less water movement. Keep your eyes open for birds preying on shrimp that redfish are scaring up on the shallow flats.
Finger mullet and shrimp will both work, and Gulp! baits have also been catching fish.
In contrast, the trout don’t mind heavier current and they are holding in some of the swiftest moving areas along grass lines or creek mouths where baitfish and shrimp are disoriented. It’s hard to beat live shrimp under a popping cork, but the trout will also take finger mullet. The trout fishing has been strong.
All of a sudden there are large numbers of tripletails around, and when the tide gets higher and the water gets up in the grass look for black shapes sitting still high in the grass. In addition to live bait Gulp! crabs are ideal baits on spinning tackle, and they will also take swimbaits. On the fly crab or baitfish patterns will both work.
There are plenty of black drum and sheepshead on the flats, and while the black drum will take shrimp it’s hard to get the sheepshead to eat anything.
Inshore surface water temperatures have dropped to about 76 in the main rivers around Beaufort and the water is very dirty. Shrimp, mullet and menhaden are all abundant.
Really big high tides have made for an outstanding flood tide bite in Beaufort, and Bay Street Outfitters (843-524-5250) reports that tailing action for redfish has been nothing short of phenomenal recently. The fish are taking little crab patterns on the fly, while on conventional tackle a Gulp! peeler crab has been hard to beat.
While there are some signs of fall fish do not seem to be grouping up yet, and because they are feeding so much on high tide they can be a little lethargic at lower tides. Still, they are opportunistic and can be seen chasing shrimp around oyster bars, grass lines and points. As always the reds will try to avoid the swiftest current and find an ambush point.
There are some big reds being caught inshore, like this 31-inch fish (to go with a 29-inch brute) that gave Captain Tuck Scott and his tournament partner Captain John Hawthorne the win in last weekend’s Savannah Fly Invitational. They had the two biggest fish caught on a fly.
The redfish have been fishing so well that they have spent last time chasing trout, but as the temperatures cool the action is getting much better. Fish are in 3-4 feet of water running grass lines and eating shrimp, and live shrimp or mud minnows under a popping cork are the best way to target them.
While trout and redfish are the headline species, part-time Beaufort resident John Long of East Columbia Sport Shop (803-776-8320) reports that there are excellent numbers of sheepshead and black drum to be caught in the rivers and creeks right now. Both species are around structure including rocks and fallen trees, and you can usually figure out where the fish are feeding by the presence of chewed-up barnacles. Black drum lack the strong teeth of sheepshead so they usually feed on the bottom underneath where the sheeps are gnawing. Fiddler crabs will work for both species and shrimp will catch more drum.
Right now the Fripp rocks seem to be producing mainly smaller fish.
The flounder seem to be hanging in very shallow water, and John reports that with a finger mullet on a Carolina rig you can catch a limit of keepers most days. Look around structure or other areas where there is a good current flow and ambush points. All things equal they prefer a sand instead of mud bottom.
At the old steam ship with the iron mast out of the water in 18-20 feet of water off the beach from the Hunting Island Lighthouse big red drum are starting to group up. They will eat cut and live mullet and menhaden.
Inshore surface water temperatures are in the mid-80s in the main rivers around Beaufort and can reach 90 in the creeks. Shrimp, mullet and menhaden are abundant.
Even though the water is very warm in Beaufort, Bay Street Outfitters (843-524-5250) reports that tailing action for redfish is as good as they can remember. It does not seem to matter what time of day the high tides fall – just whether there is enough water for the fish to get up in the short grass. Perhaps because of the storm in the Gulf tides have been lower than predicted the last day or two. When fish are tailing it’s hard to beat casting a Gulp peeler crab in front of them, and on the fly crab imitations have been working very well.
Redfish have also been feeding pretty well on the shallow low tide flats, and at times they have been grouped up in some very large schools. However, there is so much bait around that some times they are not eating.
On moving tides they can also be found around oyster bars and grass. Cut mullet, live mullet and shrimp under a popping cork will all work.
There are plenty of jacks, ladyfish and some trout chasing shrimp, but the most exciting fishery right now is probably the tarpon. Captain Tuck Scott reports that they are in all the local rivers.
For more on tarpon see the Hilton Head report.
Inshore surface water temperatures are up to 87 degrees around Beaufort and the water is pretty dirty most places. There are tons of shrimp and mullet around.
Unsurprisingly in the mid-summer heat, Bay Street Outfitters (843-524-5250) reports that redfish have been a little fussy during the heat of the day. However, in cooler periods they can be caught with cut mullet fished on the bottom in slightly deeper water. Reds generally are looking to feed down right now.
When the next set of good, high tailing tides comes in the evenings later this month Captain Tuck Scott expects more excellent fishing. The last set of high tides featured some of the best tailing he has ever seen. Casting a Gulp! peeler crab on a weedless jighead ahead of the fish and then pulling it into their path is a pretty reliable way to get them to turn and eat.
While live shrimp fished under a popping cork have not been very effective for reds, plenty of trout have been caught this way. The best trout action is closer to high water after the tide starts to get in the grass when fish can be found in front of shells in 3 plus feet of water. They are also catching tons of ladyfish this way, which over the past week have been around in excellent numbers and are providing exciting aerial displays. Bluefish and flounder have also been picked up on shrimp.
Part-time Beaufort resident John Long of East Columbia Sport Shop (803-776-8320) reports that flounder fishing has generally been strong recently, with good numbers of keepers and some very large fish being landed. Mud minnows fished anywhere there is moving water have been producing.
Even though it’s hot black drum and sheepshead fishing continues to be very good, with both species found in the same areas around any sort of structure more than just commonplace oyster shells. Downed trees and rocks are two of the best. Both species will eat fiddler crabs, and black drum are easy to catch on shrimp.
While black drum do not have the strong teeth of sheepshead, they will be underneath the sheepshead eating the scraps of barnacles and other food sources.
Even though it’s late July there are still some random cobia being caught sight-fishing in the Broad River, and it’s also worth keeping an eye out for tripletail floating beside weedlines and other floating structure.
Inshore surface water temperatures are around 84 degrees and overall the water is dingy.
Water temperatures are getting hotter, and as expected Bay Street Outfitters (843-524-5250) reports that the tailing activity for redfish is excellent when the tides are right. However, fish have not been eating as well on lower tides. Cut mullet and shrimp will work at times, but at times fish have been pretty lackadaisical.
Captain Tuck Scott has sometimes found a little better bite for trout on days when reds won’t feed, and they have been coming on small shrimp fished under popping corks. They seem to be in slightly deeper areas that are a little cooler with 4+ feet of water. Clear water has not made a huge difference but they do want moving water.
Part-time Beaufort resident John Long with East Columbia Sport Shop (803-776-8320) reports that the black drum fishing has been outstanding for a little while now. They can be caught anywhere that there are trees with shrimp and fiddler crabs.
Sheepshead are also around most any structure right now, but they are also relating better to trees than rocks. The Fripp rocks have not been very productive for sheepshead recently. Fiddler crabs are needed and they will work around trees as shallow as 3 feet.
Flounder fishing has been pretty good around the trees at the tip of Hunting Island, and when the water is clear they can be caught around the Fripp rocks. However, they are moving around a lot and can be in an area one day and gone the next. Mud minnows and finger mullet are the best baits and fish have been pretty shallow.
Inshore surface water temperatures have dropped all the way to 73 after several cool days in Beaufort, and water clarity varies. In areas where the water is dirty it is muddy because of wind and the water is not tannic. There are lots of tiny shrimp in the creeks.
Water temperatures are moving the wrong direction, but Bay Street Outfitters (843-524-5250) reports that the tailing activity for redfish was phenomenal on the last set of good high tides. One evening they had more than 25 shots at tailing fish, and there is every expectation that the opportunities will be just as good on the next set of good evening high tides this week.
On low tide the fish are now pretty broken up into small schools which can be sight-cast for, and there have been some good catches on the mud flats. When there is some water over the oysters both redfish and black drum have been caught. Redfish are likely to be in the calmer water behind oysters instead of in the current.
While live or cut bait will obviously work Gulp! and Zman paddletail grubs have been working very well, and on the fly brown or other dark shrimp and crab patterns have also been good.
There continue to be good trout reports fishing creek mouths with Gulp! or paddletail grubs on jigheads in 3-4 feet on the outgoing tide. Trout will get in the swifter areas, while reds will look for calmer water.
Early and into the day on calmer, cloudy mornings both trout and redfish can also be caught on topwater lures.
Perhaps because of the cool temperatures tripletail have been absent.