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AHQ INSIDER Beaufort (SC) Summer 2018 Fishing Report – Updated June 19

  • by Jay

The newest Beaufort fishing report can be found at: http://www.anglersheadquarters.com/ahq-insider-beaufort-sc-summer-2018-fishing-report/

June 19

Inshore water temperatures in the Beaufort area are around 83 degrees and water clarity is pretty low.

It’s gotten hot in the South Carolina Lowcountry, and Captain Tuck Scott of Bay Street Outfitters (843-524-5250) reports that unsurprisingly the redfish are a little lethargic.  At times the shallows approach bath tub range temperatures, there is plenty of bait in the water, and so sometimes the fish do get full.  And unlike in the fall when that happens they don’t just keep eating.

The best window for catching fish is when the water is just starting to get in the grass edges on the rising tide before it gets too high and they really spread out.  At very low water it can just be too hot.  On the rising tide you can also find areas with sparser grass that fish are about to move to move into and put bait under a popping cork for them to find.  Fish have also been tailing pretty well on high tide.

The best bait has been mud minnows, and cut mullet has also been working pretty well.  Red DOA shrimp and Gulp! baits have also been effective. On the fly wider crab patterns like the palometa crab as well as the redfish toad and tarpon toad have both been good.

There have also been some other species mixed in on the flats at times, including this 8-pound sheepshead which was caught on a fly!

The biggest sheepshead caught on the fly on Tuck's boat!
The biggest sheepshead caught on the fly on Tuck’s boat!

 

IMG_2496

While the cobia season should be winding down any day now, for the month of June fishing has been much better than May was.  Anglers have been catching cobia inshore on all the usual techniques, including bottom fishing with cut bait, fishing live eels and menhaden, sight-casting big flashy flies on 10 and 11 weight rods, and walking the dog with big topwater lures.  Although there have not been a lot of big fish caught the action has been decent.

Anglers should also keep an eye out for tripletail on the surface, especially close to the ocean.

The trout bite has been fairly non-existent.  Remember that 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.

May 24

Inshore water temperatures in the Beaufort area are around 80 degrees.

Water temperatures are heating up in the Beaufort area, and Captain Tuck Scott of Bay Street Outfitters (843-524-5250) reports that they are catching redfish but at times the fish have been selective to eat a fly.  Particularly on low tide they have been a little finicky, but there has also been the added complication that at times they are throwing at black drum, which are much less likely to eat flies than bait.  Not since the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew has Tuck seen so many black drum on the flats. There are also tons of tiny white shrimp, which may explain the selective feeding.

On tailing tides it has been easier to get fish to eat on the fly, and a Dupre Spoon Fly that comes through the grass weedlessly has been working well.  Tailing fish can be targeted in short grass as well as in pockets in the tall grass.

On spinning tackle reds are eating mud minnows well, and cut mullet is also working.  Generally that bite has been better on moving tides in the middle of the incoming or outgoing, with the peak or bottom of the tide cycle worst. Grass edges, shell points, and cuts where water is going into or coming out of the grass have been good, particularly in areas where birds are around.  Working the edges of grass flats with Gulp or DOA shrimp has also been working. Overall fish have been a little spookier on lower tides.

A nice red caught this week on Tuck's boat
A nice red caught this week on Tuck’s boat

 

And safely released
And safely released

The inshore cobia season looked to be starting off positively, but then for a while the fish were almost nonexistent in the Broad River. It has come back a slight bit, but overall it is nowhere near where it should be and the season has been fairly disappointing at best.

There have been some tripletail spotted along inshore weedlines, and further into the season they should show up on the flats, too.

April 27

Inshore water temperatures in the Beaufort area are cooler than expected in late April, between 65 and 67 degrees, but expected to climb quickly. Clarity is moderate, and worse when it’s windy.

The fishing continues to progress nicely in the Beaufort area, and Captain Tuck Scott of Bay Street Outfitters (843-524-5250) reports that overall the big schools of redfish have split up into smaller groups. Today on the water they saw a good number of tailing fish in the grass.  When you can fish for tailing fish the best bet on spinning tackle is a Gulp! peeler crab, and on the fly a crab pattern in size 2 or 4 is a good option.

On mid-tides then fishing around shell bars and the outside of small creek mouths is a good pattern. On the dropping tide fish shell points until the water is out of the grass.  Bait will work, as will shallow suspended twitch baits.  On low tide the best option is to get into skinny water on the mud flats and fish the twitch bait.

A nice redfish caught on Tuck Scott's boat
A nice redfish caught on Tuck Scott’s boat

Tuck continues to hear of a few big trout being caught in deeper creeks, and slow trolling with grubs on a ¼ ounce jighead is probably the best way to target them.  Fishermen 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.

Any day now some early cobia are expected to show up.

April 12

Inshore water temperatures in the Beaufort area are up to 63 degrees, cool for this time of year. Visibility is good enough to sight fish as long as there is no wind to muddy the water.

So far April has been a better fishing month than March, and Captain Tuck Scott of Bay Street Outfitters (843-524-5250) reports that overall the redfish are pretty happy.  On low tide they are still fairly schooled up often in groups of 100 or so, and sight-fishing is pretty good when conditions allow it.  Gulp! on ¼ or 1/8 ounce jigheads, and on the fly toad or shrimp/ crab patterns, are both working.

On higher water the fish are doing a couple of things, with some fish heading to the edge of tailing flats and surveying them – and some already getting up on the flats and tailing! These fish are generally singles, and the tailing action will certainly get better as temperatures warm.

Other groups of fish are splitting off into groups of 20 or so fish on higher tides and starting to take up residence around shell bars and other traditional ambush points where they do not have to work as hard to feed.

There have been some isolated reports of big trout caught back in deeper creeks, possibly where they survived the cold this winter.  Fishermen 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.

Be sure to check out the Lowcountry Fly Fishing Expo presented by Bay Street Outfitters on Saturday, April 21.

A nice early spring redfish caught on Tuck Scott's boat
A nice early spring redfish caught on Captain Tuck Scott’s boat

March 30

Inshore water temperatures in the Beaufort area are up to 58 degrees, and clarity is starting to go down.

It’s been a fairly typical March in Beaufort, and unfortunately that’s not a good thing.  Captain Tuck Scott of Bay Street Outfitters (843-524-5250) reports that it’s been very windy almost all the time, and fish have been pretty fussy with the occasional good day.

Overall redfishare still pretty schooled up, but starting to spread out a little.  On higher stages of the tide you can see them starting to split off into singles and laying in the grass, and it won’t be too terribly long before they are tailing on some of the high tides.  It’s worth starting to look.

The best bite continues to be sight-fishing on low tide, and on the fly shrimp/ crab hybrid patterns have been working well.  There is some color to the water now and so root beer colored flies are working well, but it’s not dark enough for black yet.  On conventional tackle Mirrolure shallow suspended twitch baits, Gulp! baits and mud minnows are all working.

A March redfish caught with Captain Tuck Scott
A March redfish caught with Captain Tuck Scott

There have been no positive reports on troutrecently.  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.

March 15

Inshore water temperatures in the Beaufort area have dropped to about 55 degrees, and the water is very clear when it is not windy.

A couple of weeks ago it looked like things were headed in the other direction, but after a cold March Captain Tuck Scott of Bay Street Outfitters (843-524-5250) reports that redfishare still very much in their big winter schools.  The low tide sight-fishing bite has been good when the weather (wind) cooperates, and on the fly shrimp patterns have been very productive.  Because fish have been in such shallow water that soft plastics on 1/8 ounce jigheads have been better than heavier baits.

While low tide is still the best time to fish, on high water they have been able to find some fish over white shells.

A nice Beaufort redfish caught on Tuck Scott's boat
A nice Beaufort redfish caught on Tuck Scott’s boat

Tuck has not heard of any trout caught recently.  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.

March 2

Inshore water temperatures in the Beaufort remain around 60 degrees.  Water clarity is decreasing, indicating that algae is starting to bloom.

March Madness is fully in swing with the Beaufort-area redfish, by which Captain Tuck Scott of Bay Street Outfitters (843-524-5250) means that some days they will eat extremely well – and other days they seem to have lockjaw.  Overall the pattern is relatively unchanged from last week, but throughout this month expect more extreme highs and lows.

Making fishing even more challenging this week there has been a lot of wind, but they have still managed to get out and have some good days.  On all stages of the tide sight-fishing with hard plastic twitch baits, gold spoons, swimbaits and mud minnows is working when fish are feeding, and when you have to fish blind scented soft plastics like Gulp! or mud minnows are the best bet.

A nice Beaufort redfish caught off Captain Tuck Scott's boat
A nice Beaufort redfish caught off Captain Tuck Scott’s boat

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.

February 23

Inshore water temperatures in the Beaufort area are around 60-61 degrees.  Water clarity is still pretty good.

The Beaufort redfishbite is definitely improving, but Captain Tuck Scott of Bay Street Outfitters (843-524-5250) reports that there are still better and worse days.  Fish are still pretty schooled up and sight-fishing is the best way to catch them, with a variety of baits working.  Shallow suspended twitch baits, gold spoons, swimbaits, and mud minnows are all working on conventional tackle, and on the fly fairly simple patterns in natural colors are working best.

Outside of the low tide period, you may be able to find fish sunning along the grass lines on warm, afternoon higher tides although there will be less of that as the water warms.  When fish are deeper/ harder to spot then casting with Gulp! or paddletail-type grubs on a ¼ ounce jighead will work.

Caught this week with Captain Tuck Scott
Caught this week with Captain Tuck Scott

Tuck continues to hear of a few trout being caught.  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.

February 16

Inshore water temperatures in the Beaufort area are around 56-57 degrees.  The water is clear but no longer gin clear because of all the rain in the area.

After a week away fishing for bonefish in the Bahamas, Captain Tuck Scott of Bay Street Outfitters (843-524-5250) is back chasing the Beaufort redfish.  Some days they are cooperative, like yesterday, but other days – like earlier in the week – getting bites is more challenging.  Generally when you can get several days of stable, warm weather the bite is good, but both sides of a cold front it is tougher.  This bodes very well for the next couple of weeks.

Overall fish remain very schooled up, and it’s mainly still a sight-fishing bite.  Fishing the dropping tide around oyster bars has been the best way to convince them to eat, and on dead low tide they can get lockjaw.  On higher stages of the tide it’s worth running the grass lines and looking for their coppery backs – a lot of times they will be found just sunning on the top of the water.

On the fly realistic looking flies and smaller shrimp patterns in light colors are working well, and on conventional tackle lighter-colored grubs have also been good.

A beautiful flats red caught yesterday on Tuck Scott's boat
A beautiful flats red caught this week on Captain Tuck Scott’s boat

Tuck has heard of a very few trout caught but nothing to speak of.  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.

February 1

Inshore water temperatures in the Beaufort area are around 48 degrees, and the water remains very clear.

The pattern for redfishin the Beaufort area remains pretty similar, but Captain Tuck Scott of Bay Street Outfitters (843-524-5250) reports that tidal and temperature variances can make a big difference.  Generally fish remain very schooled up on the flats, but during a cold front and even the day before they can be hard to find when the pressure is changing.  Additionally, during periods of extreme tides they stay nearer to deep water.  Fish are also on the move because of voracious dolphins.

Generally, sight-casting with bright or natural colored lures and flies is the best pattern.

A nice flats red caught on Captain Tuck Scott's boat
A nice flats red caught on Captain Tuck Scott’s boat

Before the extreme cold Tuck was seeing some trout on the flats, but not since then.  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 Beaufort area are around 44 degrees, and the water is very clear.

Redfishin the Beaufort area are in a typical winter pattern, and Captain Tuck Scott of Bay Street Outfitters (843-524-5250) reports that the best time to catch the tightly schooled fish is at low tide.  Sight casting is the name of the game, and ¼ or 1/8 ounce jigheads with your favorite grub body will catch fish.  Light colors such as white, tan, or even bright colors such as pink or chartreuse will work, but in the gin clear water you don’t need the extra silhouette of dark colors.

On high tide it may be possible to find some fish around oyster beds, and they generally don’t go too far from their low tide locations.  The upside is that they probably won’t be as spooky, but they are much harder to locate.

The Beaufort trout population was walloped by the cold weather, and Tuck is pretty sure that most of the trout are dead as it just stayed too cold for too long.  Beaufort has such a strong population of dolphins that the fish generally don’t float up to the surface – when they slow down the dolphin gorge on them.  This is a natural cycle and after a couple of mild winters the population should rebound, but in the meantime anglers should do everything they can to keep the remaining trout alive so they can breed.  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.

December 19

Inshore water temperatures in the Beaufort area are around 50 degrees, and the water has gotten super clear.

The weather has turned around in the Beaufort area, and as a result Captain Tuck Scott of Bay Street Outfitters (843-524-5250) reports that fishing conditions have been excellent.  Redfishare mostly grouped up in big schools on the flats, and at low tide sight-fishing has been excellent in the super clear water around oyster bars.  Fish have been very willing to take both flies and conventional artificial lures.

A nice low tide red caught this week on Captain Tuck Scott's boat
A nice low tide red caught this week on Captain Tuck Scott’s boat

Surprisingly, trout have also been up on the flats in very shallow water.  They have been eating small shrimp fly patterns extremely well.

The last sight many a shrimp has seen
The last sight many a shrimp has seen

December 15

Inshore water temperatures in the Beaufort area are around 54 degrees, and conditions are fairly clear.

Weather has been a limiting factor for Captain Tuck Scott of Bay Street Outfitters (843-524-5250) recently, but now that we seem to be getting out of a rainy spell the troutbite is starting to pick up again.  Throwing DOA Shrimp and grubs on ¼ ounce jigheads in 3-4 feet of water on moving tides has been working pretty well, with the outgoing tide best.

Redfishare starting to get more schooled up, and on lower stages of the tide you can find them by hunting around shallow oyster bars in the clear water.  On any of the moving tides you want to look around shell points when there is some water in the grass, and they will take mud minnows or live shrimp under a popping cork.  Fishing can be tougher on higher tides, but you can look for fishing that are cruising or floating.  They may also be around bigger points where grass is sticking out a bit further.

Another good option in the winter months is to prospect along banks with white shell.  These areas offer the double benefit of offering a good background to see fish as well as reflecting a lot of heat into the water that attracts reds.

December 1

Inshore water temperatures in the Beaufort area are around 59 degrees, and conditions are very clear.

With fish happy and hungry and the water clear, it is pretty much the peak time of the year to fish for redfish in the Beaufort area.  Captain Tuck Scott of Bay Street Outfitters (843-524-5250) reports that on the next cycle of tailing tides there may be one last group of tailing fish for the year, but on low tide they are doing some great sight-fishing on the fly for reds.

On the dropping tide fishing around shell bar points with artificial lures including DOA shrimp and grubs or scented soft plastics on a ¼ ounce jighead are working, and fish are pretty shallow.  When the water is up fish are generally spreading out in the grass and dispersing, and it is generally easier to target them around mounds, shell bars and points on lower tides.

A beautiful fall redfish caught on Captain Tuck Scott's boat
A beautiful fall redfish caught on Captain Tuck Scott’s boat

The troutbite continues to be pretty phenomenal, although fish are a bit deeper with cooling water.  Points in 3 feet of water have been good, but just working the banks a bit off the grass at that depth has also been productive on most any moving tide.  The outgoing has been a bit better than the incoming.  DOA shrimp under a popping cork, and popping it a lot, has been productive, as has been searching with live shrimp.  Once you find fish then you can switch back to artificials so you don’t run through a lot of expensive bait.

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