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AHQ INSIDER Beaufort (SC) Winter 2022 Fishing Report – Updated January 6

  • by Jay

January 6

Morning surface water temperatures are about 61 degrees around Beaufort and water conditions are mostly clear.

Inconsistent weather patterns continue to confuse the redfish in Beaufort, and as a result Captain Tuck Scott with Bay Street Outfitters (843-524-5250) reports that fish aren’t biting as well as they could be. Basically they are going in and out of feeding cycles, but the overall pattern remains consistent.

On the flats there are still large groups of fish, and when you locate them they will take artificial baits in light colors like white, tan, translucent or pink and chartreuse DOA Shrimp. Stay away from root beer, purple or blacks. On the fly white bonefish patterns have been good. 

On the high outgoing tide lots of fish are setting up around docks, particularly those with riprap under them. While there are still some shrimp being chased inshore, live mud minnows under a popping cork are working well. 

They are also seeing some black drum on the flats mixed in with the schools of redfish.  

The trout fishing is pretty good, and trolling with paddle or curly tail grubs on ¼ ounce jigheads is good way to locate the fish. Concentrate on inside creek bends with 5-6 feet of water. Middle tides in either direction are the best time to fish. 

When you catch fish go back and cast in the area because especially at this time of year trout are not alone!

December 22

Morning surface water temperatures are about 56-57 degrees around Beaufort and water conditions are mostly clear.

Rising or falling temperatures usually don’t affect the redfish for very long in Beaufort, but Captain Tuck Scott with Bay Street Outfitters (843-524-5250) reports that in the short term the fish don’t like quick changes. When you get a cold front it can slow the bite until the fish adapt, and a warm from isn’t always positive either. 

Overall the fish are still grouped up in tight schools, and when you find them there are lots. But there are also more areas with no fish and you have to hunt for them.

On low tide there are still some shrimp around which the fish are chasing, and the best time to fish has generally been the dropping tide and the later stages of the incoming. On the low incoming tide the fishing is slower and the fish are holding a little deeper. 

Dead high tide is also tough but you can find some redfish feeding in the grass and they will also hold over white shells which reflect heat and warm them up. 

Live shrimp, cut mullet and mud minnows fished under a popping cork are all working well on conventional tackle. 

A beautiful redfish caught recently with Captain Tuck Scott
A beautiful redfish caught recently with Captain Tuck Scott

The trout fishing is still decent in 4-8 feet of water on moving tides around shells and channel edges. The best time to target trout is on the first of the incoming tide, which fits nicely with the slow period for redfish. They will eat smaller live shrimp, mud minnows and grubs on a ¼ ounce jighead. 

December 16

Morning surface water temperatures are about 59 degrees around Beaufort and water conditions are mostly clear.

It’s still a good bite for redfish in Beaufort, and Captain Tuck Scott with Bay Street Outfitters (843-524-5250) reports that even though water temperatures are warm fish are doing about what they are supposed to be doing. The fish are grouping up in tight schools, and the upside is when you find them there are lots.  But there are also more areas with no fish and you have to hunt for them.

On low tide there are still some shrimp around which the fish are chasing, and the best time to fish has generally been the dropping tide and the later stages of the incoming. On the low incoming tide the fishing is slower and the fish are holding a little deeper. 

Dead high tide is also tough but you can find some redfish feeding in the grass and they will also hold over white shells which reflect heat and warm them up. 

Live shrimp, cut mullet and mud minnows fished under a popping cork are all working well on conventional tackle. 

An oversized redfish caught this week with Captain Tuck Scott
An oversized redfish caught this week with Captain Tuck Scott

The trout fishing is still good in 3-5 feet of water on moving tides around shells and channel edges. The best time to target trout is on the first of the incoming tide, which fits nicely with the slow period for redfish. They will eat smaller live shrimp, mud minnows and grubs on a ¼ ounce jighead. 

December 3

Morning surface water temperatures are about 56 degrees around Beaufort and water conditions are gin clear.

While other action is good the best thing going has been the redfish bite in Beaufort, and Captain Tuck Scott with Bay Street Outfitters (843-524-5250) reports that the only time the fishing has been tougher recently is right after a cold snap. Stable weather or warming trends have produced excellent fishing, and so this weekend should be lights-out after a couple of really good days. 

The best fishing has come on the dropping tide with large shrimp under a popping cork, as fish are still chasing shrimp when they can find them. Mud minnows or cut mullet are also working. It’s already apparent that the fish are more condensed than just a few weeks ago, which means there are more areas with no fish but also better concentrations when you do find them. The bottom of the tide cycle has also been good, especially for sight fishing, including the beginning of the rising tide. However, the toughest time to catch fish has been on the later rising tide. If you are forced to fish the rising tide it’s a good idea to fish deeper because fish are staying deep in the warmer areas when water is just starting to hit cooler mud flats.

A nice redfish caught this week with Captain Tuck Scott
A nice redfish caught this week with Captain Tuck Scott

The trout fishing has also been good a little deeper in 4-6 feet of water off points when there is moving water. Trolling the edges at the same depth is a good pattern, and the outgoing tide is fishing the best. Trout will also eat live shrimp but they seem to want smaller ones, and mud minnows and grubs on a ¼ ounce jighead are also working. 

While Tuck is not targeting them specifically, there are lots of nice sheepshead around fallen trees in the creeks.  And at times he has seen big groups of black drum feeding on the low tide mud flats.

November 19

Morning surface water temperatures are still about 60 degrees around Beaufort and water conditions are clear.

Without the benefit of very high tides it’s hard to say if the tailing action for redfish is done for the year, but Captain Tuck Scott with Bay Street Outfitters (843-524-5250) can report one major change this week. The fish are starting to get podded up in bigger groups, with the upside that if you catch one in an area you are likely to get a lot more.  At the same time, there are more dead areas with no fish and so if you aren’t getting bit you need to keep looking. 

The best fishing is still on the low tide flats where you can look for birds chasing shrimp where fish are kicking them up. Live shrimp is good, DOA shrimp are working well, and on the fly small, natural-colored shrimp patterns are working well.

You can also catch fish with cut mullet on the bottom. 

The dropping tide is probably fishing a little better, but the incoming is also good where water is flooding into pockets.

The trout fishing is still on fire around Beaufort, with lots of big trout still around. While artificial lures will work live shrimp (available at Atkins on Lady’s Island) are hard to beat, and the key is to fish them 3-4 feet down over shell bars where there is water moving over the shell. They are also around major points.  

The dropping tide is a little better because bait is more disoriented and easier to ambush, but moving tides in either direction will work. 

Another great way to catch trout right now is to troll in 4-5 feet of water with a Gulp! bait on a jighead. If you catch a fish there are almost certainly more around and so you should circle back through the area, or anchor and cast at it hard. 

A healthy trout caught this week with Captain Tuck Scott
A healthy trout caught this week with Captain Tuck Scott

November 12

Morning surface water temperatures are about 60 degrees around Beaufort and water conditions are pretty clear.

It may be mid-November, but Captain Tuck Scott with Bay Street Outfitters (843-524-5250) reports that the for the last few days they have found outstanding redfish tailing activity on high tides around Beaufort.  In the same vein, right around daybreak anglers are having really good success throwing Top Dogs and other topwater plugs in areas with bait. 

Still, these patterns can’t last forever with cooler weather on the way and on lower tides Tuck is seeing signs of the future. Fish are schooled up tight, and with shrimp still around you can look for birds chasing shrimp on the flats where fish are kicking them up. Live shrimp is good, DOA shrimp are working well, and on the fly small, natural—colored shrimp patterns are working well.

You can also catch fish with cut mullet on the bottom. 

The dropping tide is probably fishing a little better, but the incoming is also good where water is flooding into pockets. 

Captain Tuck Scott with a beauty
Captain Tuck Scott with a beauty

Most of the year trout can be caught in Beaufort, but right now the fishing is really good. And the big trout are really showing up.  While artificial lures will work live shrimp (available at Atkins on Lady’s Island) are hard to beat, and the key is to fish them 3-4 feet down over shell bars where there is water moving over the shell. The dropping tide is a little better because bait is more disoriented and easier to ambush, but moving tides in either direction will work. 

Another great way to catch trout right now is to troll in 4-5 feet of water with a Gulp! bait on a jighead. If you catch a fish there are almost certainly more around and so you should circle back through the area, or anchor and cast at it hard. 

November 4

Morning surface water temperatures are about 67 degrees around Beaufort and water conditions are pretty clear. 

For the last couple of weeks the redfish have been pretty happy to eat in Beaufort, but Captain Tuck Scott with Bay Street Outfitters (843-524-5250) wonders if patterns are about to change with this cold front. They were already seeing fish starting to get into more wintertime patterns.  Tailing activity is still going on but it has been limited to high tides that fall later in the day when the water has time to warm and fiddler crabs are more likely to come out of their holes.

One of the best ways to locate reds right now is to look for terns and gulls that are hovering and trying to pick up shrimp that redfish are chasing on the flats.

But perhaps the easiest way to catch redfish is to fish cut mullet on the bottom outside of feeder creeks in about 4-5 feet of water on the bottom. You can also catch them with live bait under a popping cork, but this has been a little less productive. 

A couple of fish released this week with Captain Tuck Scott
A couple of fish released this week with Captain Tuck Scott

The trout fishing has been pretty good recently, and for right now there has been a really good bite at first light or even pre-dark throwing Pop-Rs or Spooks where fish are chasing finger mullet. This bite is over as soon as the sun comes up.

During the day you can also catch fish on moving water in either direction when the tide is only somewhat up in the grass by throwing grubs or even floating live shrimp or mud minnows around shell bars that have some water over them. 

Finally, our apologies for the long hiatus in this fishing report, which was the fault of our site, not the guides. We will do our best not to let it happen again.  

October 7

Morning surface water temperatures are about 79 degrees around Beaufort and there has been a ton of rain recently after a dry couple of weeks. 

It’s been a clear if not easy pattern for redfish in Beaufort, and Captain Tuck Scott with Bay Street Outfitters (843-524-5250) reports that on high tide the tailing activity has been pretty good and fish are definitely eating crabs inside the grass. On spinning tackle Gulp! peeler crabs are a good option, and on the fly they seem to want darker crab patterns. 

On low tide the fishing has been more difficult, and perhaps because they are feeding so well on high tide the fish are just kind of laying around and not eating very much. However, when they do feed they are showing a strong preference for shrimp. 

A beautiful redfish caught between rain showers this week with Captain Tuck Scott
A beautiful redfish caught between rain showers this week with Captain Tuck Scott

The trout bite has been decent, and again the trout are very much on a shrimp pattern. They are biting the best any time that there is water moving across oyster beds or coming in or out of feeder creeks. The trout are also holding a bit deeper and you want to be sure there are a couple of feet of water. 

There are still some tripletail around and so anglers should keep their eyes open along grass edges.  

September 29

Morning surface water temperatures are about 81-82 degrees around Beaufort, and from mullet to menhaden to shrimp there is tons of bait in the area.

Back on the water in Beaufort, Captain Tuck Scott with Bay Street Outfitters (843-524-5250) reports that it’s a little bit of a mystery what is coming up on these big redfish tailing tides. Traditionally October is about the best tailing month of the year, but the tailing activity has been so good all year they aren’t sure how it could get any better. It will either stay the same or fall off.

Outside of high tide fishing, on dropping tides the action for redfish has also been very good with live shrimp or cut mullet fished under a popping cork around oyster bars and points where creeks are draining. Gulp! baits have also been working well.

The numbers of young-of-they-year fish seem to be dropping off a little but there are still some fish under the slot around.

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

The trout bite is also picking up, with live shrimp under a cork as well as paddletail grubs on a ¼ ounce jighead both working. The best fishing has been found on the incoming tide as the water gets into the grass around creek mouths.  Right now they are catching mostly smaller trout but some bigger migratory fish should show up soon, and based upon current numbers they expect a very good fall bite.

There are still some tripletail around and so anglers should keep their eyes open along grass edges.  

September 2

Morning surface water temperatures are still in the mid-80s degrees around Beaufort, and from mullet to menhaden to shrimp there is tons of bait in the area.

Our regular correspondent Captain Tuck Scott with Bay Street Outfitters (843-524-5250) is out of the country on a fishing trip, but Captain Kai Williams (843-816-7475) of Hilton Head made it up to Fripp Inlet today and reports that there are a bunch of tarpon in the inlet right now.  There are also some big redfish around the Fripp rocks which they managed to jig up on artificial lures.

A Beaufort County tarpon caught earlier this summer on Captain Kai's boat
A Beaufort County tarpon caught earlier this summer on Captain Kai's boat

 

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