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AHQ INSIDER Charleston (SC) Fall 2019 Fishing Report – Updated December 24

  • by Jay

December 24

Inshore surface water temperatures in Charleston are in the low to mid-50s, and water clarity has been good but is declining after the recent rains.   

The trout fishing continues to be strong in Charleston, and Redfin Charters (843-277-5255) reports that they are having the most success fishing live shrimp and a variety of artificial baits along grass lines when there is moving water. Fish have been deeper and shallower, but 4-6 feet has been a good depth range. There have also been some trout caught in holes. 

While visibility is declining there have also been conditions for sight fishing for redfish, although there have been days when fish will eat and then days where they refuse any offering.  While a number of baits will work, live shrimp probably give you the best chance of convincing a red to bite.

Overall fish are in fairly tight schools of 30-100 fish, and as temperatures drop they will get even more grouped up. 

A nice redfish caught recently sight-fishing with Redfin Charters
A nice redfish caught recently sight-fishing with Redfin Charters

 

On days when his boat can get offshore Captain Rob Bennett (843-367-3777) has been concentrating on the reefs, and there are big black sea bass as shallow as 40 or 50 feet of water. Large redfish and black drum can also be found nearshore, and the sheepshead migration is in full swing. If you are unable to get fiddler crabs they will chomp frozen sand fleas just as well.

December 11

Inshore surface water temperatures in Charleston have dropped into the low to mid-50s, and water clarity is very good. 

The troutfishing continues to be outstanding in Charleston, and Redfin Charters (843-277-5255) reports that they are catching a lot of big fish. Trout are being caught off structure such as docks, and they are also coming around points where there is moving water. Artificial lures have been working really well, and Eye Strike jigheads paired with Zman baits have been all you need. 

While live bait will certainly catch trout, Captain Rob Bennett (843-367-3777) also reports that artificial lures are getting the job done. Most any paddletail or twister grub on a ¼ ounce jighead will catch fish, and you can also work imitation shrimp a couple of feet under a popping cork. Fishing corks along the grass in areas with 3-6 feet of water when there is current is working well, and spots where a creek drains out are also very good. Do not stay in one area long if there are not fish biting.

With the water clearing it is also an excellent time for sight fishing for redfish, and Redfin Charters has been fishing with live shrimp on low tide for schooled-up fish.  Rob points out that for the next few months fish will be on the mud flats, but there is another group of redfish that will stay a little deeper around docks.  Mud minnow are hard to beat for these fish.

A young angler shows off a beautiful redfish caught recently with Redfin Charters

November 20

Inshore surface water temperatures in Charleston have dropped to around 60 degrees, and the shrimp are in the process of evacuating. 

The troutfishing is pretty phenomenal in Charleston, and Redfin Charters (843-277-5255) reports that even as temperatures drop they are still catching fish on topwater lures. But the best way to catch fish has been floating live shrimp along grass edges, and as shrimp become scarce mud minnows and finger mullet fished the same way will produce. 

It’s also getting to be a great time to fish with artificial lures, and Captain Rob Bennett (843-367-3777) advises that about the next three weeks will be some of the best fishing of the year for trout on grubs, Mirrolures, Trout Tricks and more. Fish will be over oysters and off currents and eddies around points. 

Redfishare grouping up in their big winter schools, and by now the best action is sight-fishing on low tide. Finding fish on the flood has gotten pretty difficult. Both live baits and artificials are working, but there are times when the fish just will not eat. And then there are times when the schools are pretty aggressive. 

Like the trout they have also been taking topwaters at times. 

Some niceblack drum have been caught on live shrimp in the creeks. 

Folly Beach Pier (843-762-9516) reports that redfish and whiting are being caught off the pier, and there are always some sheepshead around.

Out in 40-60 feet of water there are some megaschools of huge redfish being caught over live bottom.  They will eat anything you drop down, from cut squid to menhaden and more.

A big black drum caught with Redfin Charters

 

October 25

Inshore surface water temperatures in Charleston have dropped to around 72, and shrimp and mullet are still abundant. While recent winds have muddied the water, in protected areas there is already some seasonal clearing. 

The redfishbite remains really good in Charleston, and Redfin Charters (843-277-5255) reports that fish are eating anything and everything. However, the best bite continues to be on shrimp, and if you see shrimp popping in the creeks there are probably redfish there.

Moving tides have been the most productive, in either direction, and as soon as it gets calm the bite really slows down. The only exception is that on good high tides tailing has still been good. Generally, fishing early has also been best. 

Troutfishing has also been strong, and around oysters, current rips and steep banks there have been a lot of good ones caught.  The topwater trout bite has also been good.

Captain Rob Bennett (843-367-3777) also continues to have excellent results with trout, and fishing the same rig of live shrimp under a popping cork with 2 feet of fluorocarbon, a split shot and a 1/0 kahle hook he has also been catching tons of redfish. With temperatures so warm he expects the strong inshore bite to last through the beginning of December. 

Flounder and tripletail have started to disappear inshore, but bull red drum are stacking up off all of the area beaches. Captain Rob reports that you don’t need to fish more than 2-3 feet of water around the inlets and sand bars to catch them. Cut mullet are hard to beat.

Folly Beach Pier (843-762-9516) reports that it is definitely bull red drum time in the surf, and there are also lots of pompano being caught as they migrate south. 

With persistent, strong winds out of the north and northeast it has been a challenge to get offshore, but there are undoubtedly stillsheepshead at the jetties. 

The nearshore reefs should be covered up inweakfish.

 

 

October 17

Inshore surface water temperatures in Charleston have dropped into the mid-70s, and shrimp and mullet are abundant. There are nice eating-sized shrimp being caught by the deep-holers in the Charleston Harbor.  

Inshore fishing in Charleston has been nothing short of phenomenal, and

Captain Rob Bennett (843-367-3777) reports that in a 3-4 hour trip catching less than 50 redfish and trout is a bad day right now! Almost all of both species have been legal size, and he is fishing almost exclusively around oyster beds with a popping cork, 2 feet of fluorocarbon, a split shot and a 1/0 kahle hook baited with live shrimp. While he is mainly fishing the low to rising tide most of the tide cycle is producing. 

Redfin Charters (843-277-5255) reports similar results, and in average 4-hour charter they are seeing about 40-50 slot-sized redfish! The fish are going crazy for shrimp, and trouthave also been taking topwater lures. With almost a month of good tailing tides the high tide redfish bite has been really good in the grass, and the past week in particular has been amazing for tailing reds.

The tides have been so good that there have even been sheepshead up in the grass tailing, and there has also been good sheepshead fishing at the jetties. 

Bull drum are also on their way inshore, and they are moving closer in on the jetties as well as into the Charleston Harbor at areas like Fort Sumter and the Grillage. 

Folly Beach Pier (843-762-9516) reports that when there are not strong winds whiting and bluefish are prolific, and plenty of red drum and trout should be caught now that temperatures are dropping. 

Nearshore there are plenty of summer trout on the reefs.

Offshore, in about 100 feet of water bottom fishing fortriggerfish,vermillion snapper,grunts, etc. has been good.

 

September 30

Inshore surface water temperatures in Charleston are around 80 degrees, and the water is dirty after plenty of wind. Shrimp and mullet are abundant. 

While the overall outlook for the next month or two is excellent, Redfin Charters (843-277-5255) reports there have been some challenging conditions this week. First, the extreme heat seems to have made fish a little finicky, and then a massive hatch of Chinese worms about five days ago has made things even tougher. From fish they have cleaned it is clear that popular inshore species are gorging on the tiny worms.

 

Still, overall there are good numbersredfish on the upper end of the slot and over the slot around, as well as plenty of small puppy drum.  On the dropping to low tide fish can be caught around oysters where water is coming out of the grass or around docks.  Fish are eating shrimp but especially following the large schools of mullet, and so mullet have been working really well as bait. 

There have also been some good tailing tides lately, and they have been catching lots of fish on crab pattern flies.  With a fairly steady east wind recently tides have been a little bigger than usual.

Troutare also biting around points when there is moving water.  The water has been pretty muddy all the time and tide has not really mattered as long as there is moving water.  You can locate fish by looking for trout busting on shrimp, and they will eat live shrimp, live mullet, and even cut mullet.  Scent is important right now. 

A fewweakfishare being caught further out, and around docks or structureblack drumare being caught on shrimp. 

Overall thesheepshead bite has been pretty sporadic, while bull reds are just starting to move closer inshore.  For right now they are being caught at the tips of jetties, but they have not moved into Charleston Harbor to the extent they will in the coming weeks.

Folly Beach Pier (843-762-9516) reports that they are still catching nice black drum in the 2-3 pound range, and some big bull reds have already made their way in. There have also seen bluefish, whiting and more.

Offshore, in about 100 feet of water bottom fishing fortriggerfish,vermillion snapper,grunts, etc. has been good.  

 

September 19

Inshore water temperatures in Charleston are in the low -80s. Shrimp are easy to net at low tide and mullet are thick off the beaches.

Northeast winds due to the storm offshore have limited fishing activity recently, but Captain Rob Bennett (843-367-3777) reports that redfish, trout and flounder are all still biting well on popping corks with shrimp, mullet or mud minnows. All three species can be found around docks, oyster beds and creek mouths with shell bars. The fishing activity should stay hot until mid-November, and the next several months are the peak of the inshore saltwater fishing calendar.  

The mullet run is well underway, and 100-200 yards off the beach tarpon and tons of blacktip sharks are feeding on the big baitfish. There are already lots of slot-sized redfish in the surf, and around the first of October the bull reds will show up too. 

Folly Beach Pier (843-762-9516) reports that when there are not strong winds whiting and bluefish are prolific, and plenty of red drum and trout should be caught now that temperatures are dropping. 

September 12

Inshore water temperatures in Charleston are in the low to mid-80s. Shrimp are easy to net at low tide and since the storm mullet are thick off the beaches.

With Dorian behind Charleston it’s time to think about fishing again, and Captain Rob Bennett (843-367-3777) advises that for the next 90 days the fishing will be the best that it is all year. By late August Rob reported that it was already easy to catch redfish, and the trout and flounder bite is now picking up, too.  All three species can be found around docks, oyster beds and creek mouths with shell bars. Live shrimp or mullet under a popping cork will work, although fishing a Carolina rig on the bottom with mullet or mud minnows will increase your chances of catching flounder. 

With mullet coming down the beaches there are lots of tarpon and blacktip sharks about 100 yards off the beach.

Folly Beach Pier (843-762-9516) reports that they have been catching nice black drum in the 3-pound range as well as in-slot redfish. 

King mackerel fishing is very good in 60-90 feet of water on live bait or ballyhoo.

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