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AHQ INSIDER Edisto Island (SC) Spring 2018 Fishing Report – Updated February 16

  • by Jay

The newest Edisto Island fishing report can be found at: http://www.anglersheadquarters.com/edisto-island-sc-spring-2018-fishing-report/

February 16

Inshore water temperatures in the main rivers around Edisto Island are about 57 degrees.  The area has had little rain relative to the rest of the state, and water conditions are still gin clear.

The best thing going inshore around Edisto Island is the redfishbite on the flats, and Captain Ron Davis, Jr. (843-513-0143) reports that fish are still grouped up in schools of 25-75 fish.  Yesterday on the water he saw about five or six such schools of reds.  At times the fish can be a little hard to convince to bite, but the best success is coming on the outgoing tide when they pull out of the grass (this time of year they don’t go very far in) and set up on the oyster bars just off the grass lines.

The redfish are eating very small young of the year mullet, very small glass minnows and tiny shrimp, and these baits are often in the ½-inch range. While it’s impossible match the hatch with conventional tackle, down-sizing to small 3-inch Gulp! baits or Zman Slim Swimz on a 1/16 ounce jig is a decent step in that direction.  Texas rigging the bait on a 1/0 hook and very light line, and adding split shot for casting distance, can be a good bet because an exposed jighead will sometimes snag a fish and spook the school.  Flies are working pretty well, and reds will also take hard plastics like Mirrolures.

In the very backs of creeks you can also catch some redfish as far back as you can go, and these fish are often cruising in wolf packs of 5-10 fish.  They will take the same baits.

Small black drum are also around inshore and will take small pieces of shrimp.

The cold pushed the surviving sheepsheadoffshore where they will stay through the spawn in March and April.  Fishing fiddler crabs around nearshore structure in 30-60 feet of water is still the best bet, and will also catch black drum.  Bull red drum are also in the same areas in 40-60 feet of water and will feed on bait on the surface at times.

Bottom fishing is on fire for triggerfish, porgies, vermillion snapper and black sea bass in 60-90 feet of water, and flounderare also at the same depth spawning.

In 160-250 feet of water wahooare around, and a high speed-trolling trip should yield 2-4 fish right now.

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 9

Inshore water temperatures in the main rivers around Edisto Island are about 50 degrees.

Fishing around Edisto remains largely unchanged, and Captain Ron Davis, Jr. (843-513-0143) reports that sight-fishing on the flats is still the best pattern.  The creek bite is still a little behind the flats bite.

The best option for catching fish is still to head out to the nearshore and mid-depth reefs in 35-60 feet of water after sheepshead, black drumand black sea bass.

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 around Edisto Island are 47-48 degrees, and the water is very clear.

There’s not a lot of change around Edisto, and Captain Ron Davis, Jr. (843-513-0143) reports that in the crystal clear water on the flats the redfishare still grouped up in very tight schools.  You can catch a handful of fish before they get skittish, and in the very clear water it’s a good time to fly fish if you are so inclined.  There are some bigger fish over the slot up the creeks, but overall the bite on the flats is better.

The best option for catching fish right now is to head out to the nearshore and mid-depth reefs in 35-60 feet of water where sheepshead, black drumand black sea bass are prolific.  Unfortunately you need days where the winds are less than 5-10 miles per hour, which means you are lucky to get one or two good days a week to fish for them.

A nice sheepshead caught on Captain Ron Davis, Jr.'s boat
A couple of nice sheepshead caught on Captain Ron Davis, Jr.’s boat

Ron has little doubt that the Edisto troutare gone, and he says that offshore fish will repopulate the area.  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 around Edisto Island are in the mid-40s, and the water is very clear.

It has been a brutal month for the Edisto-area fishery, and Captain Ron Davis, Jr. (843-513-0143) reports that this winter’s cold weather is likely responsible for the largest fish kill since Edisto started keeping records in 1950.  Troutare the species hardest hit, and without deep water refuges like Port Royal Sound or Charleston Harbor relatively shallow Edisto Island probably got about the worst of it.  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.

spottedseatroutStop

The redfishpopulation seems to have taken a hit in the creeks, but Ron says that on the flats it seems as if there was a negligible decline.  In the super clear water you can look for redfish on the flats, but with the Edisto redfish population down since about 2010 expect to see dozens – not hundreds – of fish.  It’s a good idea to release redfish until the extent of the kill is determined, and particularly young-of-the-year redfish were vulnerable.

If you want to fish this weekend probably the best bet, particularly with a favorable weather forecast, is to head offshore and fish for sheepshead around nearshore reefs like the Edisto 40 and Edisto 60.  In 70-90 feet you should also be able to find vermillion snapper, triggerfish and black sea bass.

December 20

Inshore water temperatures around Edisto Island remain about 54-55 degrees and the water is clear.

As predicted, Captain Ron Davis, Jr. (843-513-0143) reports that the inshore fishing around Edisto has stayed very good for redfish and trout.  There are no major changes to report, but if anything the sheepshead fishing has improved with some very large fish still inshore.  They are being caught on clams, barnacles, and oysters in 6-12 feet, and of course they will still take fiddler crabs.

An 8-pound sheepshead caught this week on Captain Ron Davis Jr.'s boat
An 8-pound sheepshead caught this week on Captain Ron Davis Jr.’s boat

In calm conditions Ron has also been able to get just off the beach to the rocks off Edisto, and in about 22 feet of water they have found some bull red drum in the 30-35 pound range.  Bait does not matter very much and they caught these fish on bucktails with cut squid trailers.  The weakfish are pretty much gone.

Bull reds caught yesterday on the rocks off Edisto
Bull reds caught yesterday on the rocks off Edisto

December 15

Inshore water temperatures around Edisto Island are down to about 54 degrees, and clarity is good.

With a mild long-term weather forecast, Captain Ron Davis, Jr. (843-513-0143) predicts that the fishing around Edisto should stay excellent through the ends of the year.

While you still see a few trout mixed in with the reds on the flats, the main river trout bite is pretty much done.  However, the fishing is good up the creeks, chiefly in 7-15 or even 20 feet around deep bends.  The incoming tide three-fourths the way through high tide has been the best.  The outgoing is tougher unless you are on a quarter moon phase with slower moving tides.

Trolling is one of the best ways to target the fish, but the key is that your bait needs to be bumping the bottom.  You can also put on the trolling motor and make long casts, again maintaining contact with the bottom.

The trout are not everywhere, and on a trip Monday Ron fished about 20 spots and found them in three.  Once you find them the bite is fast.  There seems to be little rhyme or reason to where these schools are located.

Caleb Davis with a nice 4-pound trout caught this week on Captain Ron Davis' boat
Caleb Davis with a nice 4-pound trout caught this week on Captain Ron Davis’ boat

In addition to finding redfish on the flats, they can also be found in the creeks.  Chiefly they are a little shallower than the trout in the 5-7 foot range.  Scented soft plastics are working well.

Sheepsheadare just starting to head offshore, but they can still be found around docks with 8-15 feet of water at low tide.

On the nearshore reefs in 30-60 feet of water there are a ton of weakfisharound. Sheepshead and black sea bass can also be caught.  Black drum will take cut shrimp, and redfish will eat live finger mullet or cut mullet.

December 1

Inshore water temperatures around Edisto Island are about 60 degrees, and clarity is excellent.

Most of the inshore shrimp are gone, and as a result Captain Ron Davis, Jr. (843-513-0143) reports that the transition over to artificial lures is taking place.  The pattern for catching redfish on the flats and in the creeks is unchanged except that scented soft plastics on light jigheads or flutter hooks are replacing bait.  The reds are biting about as well as they will all year.

Trout are not as widely dispersed as they were a couple of months ago, and they are more concentrated in certain areas as they make the move to deeper holes in rivers and major creek arms.  Instead of there being a few fish everywhere now there are long stretches where you will not catch anything, and then you will hit a spot where you can catch 15-20.  They are taking all sorts of soft plastics including DOA shrimp, Trout Tricks, Bass Assassin paddletail grubs, and more.

On the main rivers at the top of the tide and first of the outgoing is the prime time to catch trout in 4-8 feet of water, while in the creeks two hours either side of low tide is best in the deep holes.

Some big Edisto trout caught on Ron Davis, Jr.'s boat
Some pretty Edisto fish caught on Ron Davis, Jr.’s boat

Whitingare biting well in the sloughs that line the river next to sand bars.  The big ones are a bit deeper in 8-12 feet of water.

The sheepshead bite is still excellent around structure that has 6-10 feet of water at low tide.  Fiddler crabs will work but you can also use oysters and clams with the picker fish leaving.  Sheeps are also starting to show up on the nearshore reefs.

On nearshore structure including rocky bottoms and artificial reefs there are lots of weakfish around in 40 feet or less. You can only keep one but they are prolific.  Bull red drum can be found on the same structure where they will eat cut mullet, and black drum in the same areas will eat shrimp.

While it won’t pay off every trip, when you are offshore in 30-50 feet of water it is worth looking for a concentration of large white birds called gannets.  They feed on the same large baitfish that are a magnet for bull drum.  You can throw any large spoon or soft plastic on a ½ or 1 ounce jighead to catch them, and sometimes even topwaters.  At times the water will be brownish red with reds feeding on the surface.

In bottom fishing news, the red snapper mini-season is December 8, 9 and 10 as a make-up for the bad weather weekend earlier this year.  Only one person can be kept.  In 70-100 feet it is easy to get on black sea bass, vermillion snapper, and triggerfish in the right areas.

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