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

  • by Jay

December 24

Inshore surface water temperatures around Edisto Island average about 54-55 degrees, and while the water has been very clear with a ton of recent rain it is about to get brown – especially in the South Edisto. 

It has been pretty easy to get flats redfish to eat if you can find them, but Captain Ron Davis, Jr. (843-513-0143) reports that locating them is about to get more difficult with the influx of dirty water. While sight-fishing will be harder fish should still found on the dropping tide around the base of the grass in areas where creeks drain a flat and there are shell beds.

When you can find fish they are still very willing to eat, and so while natural baits will work artificial lures are sufficient.

In the creeks fish are still around the same low tide holes with structure that they like to frequent, with two hours either side of low tide the best. Since all the bait stealers are gone frozen or fresh shrimp, cut mullet and mud minnows will all work.

The trout bite is still strong in the creeks, but the rain is likely to affect it as well.  When there are heavy rains trout usually move from the backs out towards the middle parts of the creeks, and it is not until the water clears up that they will scatter out again. 

Fish are concentrated in the deep holes, and while fish can be caught throughout the tide cycle the easiest time to find them is on low tide. The best way to locate fish is to troll ¼ ounce grubs. While live bait will work there is really no need to use it.

A nice trout caught with Captain Ron Davis, Jr.
A nice trout caught with Captain Ron Davis, Jr.

There are still plenty of black drum in the creeks that can be caught in holes on low tide. They will eat frozen shrimp.

Most of the sheepshead are gone from inshore waters, although if you can find structure with at least 15 feet of water they can be found.  

At the nearshore reefs in 30-60 feet of water the sheepshead are stacked up, and there are also whiting and black drum at the same reefs. Bull reds can be found in 40-60 feet of water. 

The best numbers of black sea bass are in 60-70 feet of water, and more generally all of the bottom fish can be found in about 60-90 feet.

In 90-100 feet there are lots of king mackerel, and off the ledge off of Edisto there are plenty of wahoo.  The only tuna reports have come further north.

December 11

Inshore surface water temperatures around Edisto Island are about 57 degrees and the water is clear. 

Catching fish continues to be pretty easy in the Edisto area, and Captain Ron Davis, Jr. (843-513-0143) reports that while there can still be some troutcaught in the rivers the majority of the fish have transitioned into the creeks. They are concentrated in the deep holes. While fish can be caught throughout the tide cycle the easiest time to find them is on low tide, and the best way to locate fish is to troll ¼ ounce grubs. While live bait will work there is really no need to use it.

Redfishremain on about the same pattern, and if you locate fish it’s not hard to get them to bite.  Scented plastics, grubs and of course cut bait are all working very well. Ron is mainly fishing with Gulp! Shrimp or Jerk Shad. 

Fish are mixed between the flats and creeks, and the flats have lots of little 15-17 inch fish. There are lots of bigger fish in the creeks but most of them are oversized 25-28 inch fish. In the creeks fish are around the same low tide holes with structure that they like to frequent, with two hours either side of low tide the best. On the flats the dropping tide is the best time to fish. You want to fish on the falling tide starting when water is just around the base of the grass in areas where creeks drain a flat and there are shell beds. 

On the incoming tide fish scatter a bit more, while on dead low they can be a little spooky. Sight fishing can be great but if fish are in very shallow water you can only catch one out of a school before they all scatter.

There are plenty of black drumin the creeks that can be caught in holes on low tide. They will eat frozen shrimp.

Floundernumbers continue to drop, but there are still some good fish around on the flats. In another week or so they will pretty much all be gone. 

Another species about to move on are sheepshead, although right now there are still very good numbers of sheepshead inshore. Any dock with 6 plus feet of water at low tide can hold fish. Use fiddler crabs and if you don’t get a bite within ten minutes move to the next dock. At the next very cold snap they will head offshore to 40-60 feet of water. 

Whitingfishing continues to be strong in the surf, with lots of big fish being caught. Anglers need to concentrate on areas with breaks or sandbars such as at the mouth of major inlets. 

At the nearshore reefs bull reds are in their peak season, and around any kind of hard bottom in 30-60 feet of water you should be able to catch several big ones on each tide cycle. You can also cruise 6-12 miles offshore and look for gannets feeding around schooling bull reds. You can catch these fish with artificials fished on the surface.

Offshore bottom fishingis very strong.  While you can find them out to 90 feet, in 45-60 feet of water there are really good numbers of large black sea bass. In 70-90 feet here is a smorgasbord of species, including snapper, grouper, triggerfish and porgies. 

There are still good numbers of wahoo being caught in 2-3 hours of trolling, but the Edisto Banks have been hit or miss. The better fishing has been further north.  

There are no tunareports right now.

November 21

Inshore surface water temperatures around Edisto Island range from around 57 in the morning to about 62 in the afternoon, and visibility is very good. There is about 2 ½ feet of visibility in the North Edisto and 12-18 inches in the South Edisto. Shrimp are very hard to find inshore. 

Water temperatures have finally dropped significantly, and Captain Ron Davis, Jr. (843-513-0143) reports that the troutbite has gotten even better. 60-70% of the fish are keepers, and they can be caught in both the creeks and on the main river shell points. There is really no reason to use live bait anymore, and DOA Shrimp fished under a popping cork or grubs will outfish live bait. Fish will stay in the main rivers until water temperatures dip below 54.

Redfishare also eating artificials very well, and while the numbers are not great if you can locate fish they are easy to catch. Scented plastics, grubs and of course cut bait are all working very well. Ron is mainly fishing with Gulp! Shrimp or Jerk Shad. 

Fish are mixed between the flats and creeks, and the flats have lots of little 15-17 inch fish. There are lots of bigger fish in the creeks but most of them are oversized 25-28 inch fish. In the creeks fish are around the same low tide holes with structure that they like to frequent, with two hours either side of low tide the best. On the flats the dropping tide is the best time to fish. You want to fish on the falling tide starting when water is just around the base of the grass in areas where creeks drain a flat and there are shell beds. 

On the incoming tide fish scatter a bit more, while on dead low they can be a little spooky. Sight fishing can be great but if fish are in very shallow water you can only catch one out of a school before they all scatter.

There are plenty of black drumin the creeks that can be caught in holes on low tide. They will eat frozen shrimp.

Even though flounderare leaving there are still some very good ones around. Fish have mostly left the creeks, but there are some nice 15-20 inch fish on the flats that should be around for a couple more weeks.

This is the peak season for inshore sheepsheadfishing, and any dock with 6 plus feet of water at low tide can hold fish. Use fiddler crabs and if you don’t get a bite within ten minutes move to the next dock. In another few weeks the fishing will really slow down. 

Whitingfishing has been excellent in the surf, with lots of big fish being caught. Anglers need to concentrate on areas with breaks or sandbars such as at the mouth of major inlets. 

At the nearshore reefs bull reds are in their peak season, and around any kind of hard bottom in 30-60 feet of water you should be able to catch several big ones on each tide cycle. You can also cruise 6-12 miles offshore and look for gannets feeding around schooling bull reds. You can catch these fish with artificials fished on the surface.

Weakfishare also loaded up on the nearshore reefs in 30-40 feet of water, and it is very easy to catch as many as you want on bucktails and jigs. But you can only keep one fish.

Offshore bottom fishingis at its peak in 60-100 feet of water. Excellent numbers of triggerfish and vermillion snapper are around, and even though red snapper are prolific they must be released. For some reason numbers of black sea bass have been down.

A few wahoo and tuna are still being picked up. 

Captain Ron Davis with a big triggerfish caught this week

 

 

November 1

Inshore surface water temperatures around Edisto Island were 75 degrees yesterday, and both rivers are relatively clear. Bait is still abundant.

It’s been a long, hot season on the South Carolina coast, but as water temperatures actually begin to really drop things will finally change. Captain Ron Davis, Jr. (843-513-0143) reports that in particular the trout will start to get in tighter groups, and eventually they will move up the creeks. However, for now patterns remain pretty stable.

The trout bite continues to be strong with the best pattern still fishing live shrimp or DOA shrimp under a popping cork in clean water at the top of the tide cycle (a couple of hours before and after high tide). In addition to main river points, fish can now be found around almost any points where there is water draining out of or going into a small gutter creek. Areas with white shell banks are prime. 

The sheepshead bite remains really good, and it will only get better as temperatures drop. There are lots of very nice fish to be caught inshore. Because pinfish are still prolific shrimp should be avoided, and fishing with fiddler crabs around docks with 8-15 feet of water at low tide is the best pattern. 

The redfishremain extremely hungry, and basically if you find fish they will eat. Still, on the flats there are relatively few fish in the slot with better numbers over and under. The creeks have a little better mix of sizes.  

To catch fish on the river flats all you need is live shrimp fished shallow under a popping cork, and most of the groups of fish are around oyster beds on lower stages of the tide. Mud minnows and mullet will also work.

Fish can also be caught back in the creeks around low tide in the usual deep bends with fallen trees and structure, docks, etc. Mullet on a Carolina rig are still the bait of choice as shrimp will get too many bites from bait stealers in the creeks.

The flounder bite remains very strong, and the next couple of weeks should be the peak season around Edisto. Fish will be around main river shell bars and on the flats, with mud minnows and mullet the best baits. Once water temperature dip below about 60 the fish will pretty much be gone.  

Black drum are also mixed in with the reds, mainly in the creeks in deep holes with structure. Some nice fish are being caught on shrimp. They have not really gotten onto the flats yet, but once temperature drop more they will mix in with the reds there too. 

Whitingfishing remains excellent in the surf and around sandbars.   

Spanish mackerel are still here, very unusual for this late in the season, and weakfishare starting to show up very strong. 

The best bottom fishing is in about 90 feet of water, while wahoo and tuna fishing is at its absolute peak right now. With offshore water temperatures about 75-78 degrees the best fishing of the fall run is here now. 

 

 

October 18

Inshore surface water temperatures around Edisto Island have dropped into the low to mid-70s, and both rivers are relatively clear. Tons of bait shrimp and mullet are around, and big eating-sized shrimp are prolific in the St. Helena Sound.

Water temperatures are finally dropping, but even though it is mid-October the Edisto area is fishing more like the end of September or very beginning of this month typically does. Things are running about three weeks behind.

Almost overnight the trout fishing has really come on, and Captain Ron Davis, Jr. (843-513-0143) reports that the bite significantly improved today with the cold snap. They had been averaging about 10 keepers and 40 fish per trip, but today two boats had 47 keepers!

The best pattern is still fishing with live shrimp or DOA shrimp under a popping cork in clean water at the top of the tide cycle (a couple of hours before and after high tide), and with some strong recent tides finding clear water has been even more crucial. At least 18 inches of visibility are generally needed for these sight feeders. 

Instead of just holding around main river points, fish can now be found around almost any points where there is water draining out of or going into a small gutter creek.  Areas with white shell banks are prime. 

The sheepshead bite has really turned on, and right now the fishing is at the peak of the entire year. There are lots of really good ones to be caught inshore. Because pinfish are still prolific shrimp should be avoided, and fishing with fiddler crabs around docks with 8-15 feet of water at low tide is the best pattern. 

The redfishare extremely hungry, and basically if you find fish they will eat. Still, on the flats there are relatively few fish in the slot with better numbers over and under. The creeks have a little better mix of sizes. 

To catch fish on the river flats all you need is live shrimp fished shallow under a popping cork, and most of the groups of fish are around oyster beds on lower stages of the tide. Mud minnows and mullet will also work.

Fish can also be caught back in the creeks around low tide in the usual deep bends with fallen trees and structure, docks, etc. Mullet on a Carolina rig are still the bait of choice as shrimp will get too many bites from bait stealers in the creeks.

The flounder bite remains much better than usual in the same places where the reds and trout are being caught. You are more likely to tangle with a flounder on the flats than up a creek. Mud minnows or mullet are the bait of choice. 

Black drum are also mixed in with the reds in the same areas in both the creeks and on the flats. They will take shrimp.

Whitingfishing is excellent in the surf and around sandbars.   

Tarpon have departed, while Spanish mackerel should be here for about another week.

At the nearshore reefs black sea bassand summer trout are prolific, and until Thanksgiving you should be able to kill the weakfish with bucktails and jigging spoons. Remember that the limit is one per person.

There have not been a lot of reports for bull reds, but with the recent cold front they should be starting at the Edisto Rocks. It is also worth looking for large flocks of gannets diving offshore as that will signal big schools of reds feeding on bait. Throw bucktails or swimbaits to catch these fish.  

The best bottom fishing is in 60-90 feet of water, while wahoo and tuna fishing is at its absolute peak right now. With offshore water temperatures about 75-78 degrees the best fishing of the fall run should last for a couple more weeks.

 

October 3

Inshore surface water temperatures around Edisto Island are back up to the mid-80s, and both rivers are relatively clear. There are plenty of bait-sized shrimp and tons of 5-8 inch mullet around, with smaller ones a little trickier to find. Larger shrimp can be found in the St. Helena Sound than the North Edisto. 

Thetrout fishing has gotten even better around Edisto, and Captain Ron Davis, Jr. (843-513-0143) reports that all the signs are there that this will be an excellent fall for trout. Excellent numbers of 13-17 inch fish are around and soon they will all be keepers. The best pattern is still fishing with live shrimp 3-5 feet under a popping cork in clean water at the top of the tide cycle (a couple of hours before and after high tide) around main river points. 

The redfishremain in a familiar pattern, and basically if you can find fish on the flats they will eat. On the river flats all you need is live shrimp fished shallow under a popping cork, and most of the groups of fish are around oyster beds. 13-17 inch redfish are common, there are some 24-30 inch fish around, while 18-23 inch fish are the most rare. 

Fish can also be caught back in the creeks around low tide in the usual deep bends with fallen trees and structure, docks, etc. Mullet on a Carolina rig are still the bait of choice as shrimp will get too many bites from bait stealers which are still very much around.

The flounder bite remains much better than usual in the same places where the reds and trout are being caught. Because it is often difficult to get small live finger mullet, a lot of the best flounder fishing is coming with Gulp! baits. It is expected that the migration out of the creeks this fall will be awesome. 

Sheepshead fishing is still fair, but once water temperatures drop into the mid-70s it should get really good. Fishing with fiddler crabs around docks with 10-15 feet of water at low tide is the best pattern. 

Small black drum are also showing up, but as temperatures drop they should take up residence around rocks, docks, jetties and seawalls.

In the surf good numbers of whiting, bluefish and croaker are around. 

Tarpon fishing is still strong. The best place to fish for them is at the bars leaving the rivers. Live or cut mullet or menhaden are the best baits. 

At deep banks in the river lots of small summer trout are being caught, while the bigger fish are showing up at the nearshore reefs. Remember that the limit is 1 fish.

When temperatures drop a few more degrees then bull reds should be found at the Edisto Rocks in 15-22 feet of water. In October and November it is also worth looking for large flocks of gannets diving offshore as that will signal big schools of reds feeding on bait. Throw bucktails or swimbaits to catch these fish.  

From main river points on out Spanish mackerel are everywhere, but the king mackerel fishing is the best that it has been in years. Kings can be found everywhere from close to the beach out to the ledge.

For the bottom fishing to really turn on closer in water temperatures need to get into the 70s, and when the water is the same temperature from top to bottom in 90 feet offshore fish will get more aggressive. 

 

September 20

Inshore surface water temperatures around Edisto Island are about 81-82 degrees, and both rivers are relatively clear.  Any stain is due to wind and not dirty inflow. There are plenty of bait-sized shrimp and tons of 5-8 inch mullet around, with smaller ones a little trickier to find. Large shrimp are being caught in the South Edisto. 

Thetrout fishing has gotten even better around Edisto, and Captain Ron Davis, Jr. (843-513-0143) reports that all the signs are there that this will be an excellent fall for trout. Numbers remain very good and the keeper ratio has really improved. The best pattern is still fishing with live shrimp 3-5 feet under a popping in clean water at the top of the tide cycle (a couple of hours before and after high tide) around main river points. 

The redfishremain in a familiar pattern, and basically if you can find fish on the flats they will eat. On the river flats all you need is live shrimp fished shallow under a popping cork, and most of the groups of fish are around oyster beds. There are still lots of small redfish around.

Fish can also be caught back in the creeks around low tide in the usual deep bends with fallen trees and structure, docks, etc. Mullet on a Carolina rig are still the bait of choice as shrimp will get too many bites from bait stealers which are still very much around.

The flounder bite remains much better than usual in the same places where the reds and trout are being caught. Because it is often difficult to get small live finger mullet, a lot of the best flounder fishing is coming with Gulp! baits. 

Sheepshead fishing is still fair, but in 2-3 weeks it should get really good. Fishing with fiddler crabs around docks with 10-15 feet of water at low tide is the best pattern. 

Small black drum are also showing up.

In the surf the whiting bite is on fire.

Tarpon fishing is still wide open and should last a couple more weeks. The best place to fish for them is at the bars leaving the rivers. Live or cut mullet or menhaden are the best baits. 

At deep banks in the river lots of small summer trout are being caught, while the bigger fish are showing up at the nearshore reefs. Remember that the limit is 1 fish.

From main river points on out Spanish mackerel are everywhere, but the king mackerel fishing is the best that it has been in years. Kings can be found everywhere from close to the beach out to the ledge.

Offshore tuna and wahoo are being caught. 

 

 

 

 

September 13

Inshore surface water temperatures around Edisto Island are about 82 degrees, with the South Edisto River brown and the North Edisto greener. There are plenty of shrimp and finger mullet around.

The numbers oftrout being caught inshore around Edisto are still excellent, although Captain Ron Davis, Jr. (843-513-0143) reports that size is still hit-or-miss with a lot of 12 – 13½ inch fish being caught. Those number should improve once temperatures drop and the migratory trout that come each fall arrive. The pattern is still similar, with a good topwater bite first thing around main river points.  After that shrimp fished 3-5 feet under a popping cork will work throughout the day in the same areas. Trout will feed anytime there is clean, green water, but that usually means a couple of hours before and after high tide. 

The redfishare in a familiar pattern, and right now there are still tons of 11-13 inch fish on the flats and in the creeks. At the new and full moon bigger ones are tailing well, but finding schools of slot-sized fish can be challenging. On the river flats all you need is live shrimp fished shallow under a popping cork around oyster beds. 

Fish can also be caught back in the creeks around low tide in the usual deep bends with fallen trees and structure, docks, etc. Small finger mullet on a Carolina rig are the bait of choice as shrimp will get too many bites from bait stealers. 

The flounder bite remains much better than usual, with about half the fish over 15 inches. The best way to target them is with finger mullet on a Carolina rig around main river points.

Sheepshead fishing is still fair, but sizes are just starting to improve. As temperatures drop more and more big fish will feed. Fishing with fiddler crabs around docks with 10-15 feet of water at low tide is the best pattern.

Tarpon fishing is still wide open, and should stay that way until temperatures get too cold and the fish leave. The best place to fish for them is at the bars leaving the rivers and they are rolling everywhere right now. Live or cut mullet or menhaden are the best baits. 

Nearshore there are lots of Spanish mackerel from just beyond the breakers out to 60 feet, but the best range is 30-40 feet. 

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