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AHQ INSIDER Edisto Island (SC) Winter Fishing Report – Updated February 1

  • by Jay

February 1

Captain Ron Davis, Jr. (843-513-0143) reports that Edisto Island-area water temperatures remain above normal in the mid-50s, and clarity is still excellent.

The redfish bite remains strong in the creeks around downed trees, rock walls, and older docks.  The bottom six hours of the tide are still much better than higher stages, and mud minnows, cut mullet, and cut shrimp fished on a Carolina rig will all catch fish.  On the flats when you can locate reds without spooking them they will take Gulp!, scented Zman soft plastics as well as mud minnows fished on a very light 1/16th ounce jighead.

The troutbite has died almost to nothing, and whereas a couple of weeks ago there was a decent bite in the creeks it is now pretty much only small trout biting with very few keepers finding their way into boats.  In a good day of fishing in the creek anglers would do very well to catch 5 or more trout, and the bite on the main river is almost nonexistent.

Sheepshead fishing remains good around deeper pilings that have more than 10 feet of water at low tide.  While the fish will eat fiddler crabs, they will inhale dime-sized pieces of clam and oysters which are much easier to catch them on.  Since bait-stealers aren’t really around there’s nothing to stop anglers from fishing this way.

At the nearshore reefs sheepshead fishing is also good, and there are also big schools of 1-3 pound bluefish along with false albacore.  Oversized red drum in the 25-35 inch range are also around on calm days when you can get offshore, and black drum are mixed in with the reds.  For sheepshead and black drum fiddler crabs and shrimp will work, reds will take cut mullet, and bluefish and false albacore will chase ¼ – ½ ounce jigging spoons.

January 20

Captain Ron Davis, Jr. (843-513-0143) reports that Edisto Island-area water temperatures are in the low to mid-50s, and clarity is excellent.

The redfish bite is still very good around Edisto Island, although right now the fishing is better in the creeks than on the flats.  The best fishing is for fish you can not see as January reds can be spooky.  The most successful pattern is fishing mud minnows and cut mullet around deep bends in the creek that have structure including docks and trees.  The six hours at the bottom of the tide cycle (out to three hours each side of low tide) have been the best time to fish, and the target depth range is 6-10 feet of water.  To the north the Stono River and Bohicket Creek have been good, and to the south Store Creek and Fishing Creek have produced.

There are also fish to be caught sight-casting on the flats, although not a ton of them.  Depending on the day fish may be hungry, or tight-lipped and unwilling to eat.  On the latter type of day they just won’t take a bait, and each cast causes the school to move 50 or 100 yards away.  Generally, mud minnows and Gulp! are the best baits right now, and fish can also be caught on the fly.

While you can catch a fish now and then on high tide, generally you might as well forget it.

A happy angler shows off a nice red caught around Edisto on a warm day with Captain Ron Davis, Jr.
A happy angler shows off a nice red caught around Edisto on a warm day with Captain Ron Davis, Jr.

Meanwhile, Ron reports that the troutbite on the main water has almost died to nothing.  There are some trout there mixed in with the reds, but generally they are not biting.  The catchable trout are in the creeks, but you have to fish long and hard to get them.  In a typical day of throwing a grub or trolling all day a skilled angler would do well to catch 10-12 fish.

Trolling is typically the best way to locate trout, because ironically the fish that are located are very aggressive.  If you get in a hole with 1-3 fish you will generally catch all of those on successive casts, so the best bet is to cover water.  Trolling 1-2 miles per hour so you are just barely bumping the bottom is the best bet.

Sheepsheadfishing is very good, particularly for numbers of fish.  If you can find hard structure with 10-20 feet of water at low tide you can put a hurting on the fish with fiddler crabs, although inshore the Charleston area has a lot more deep water and bigger fish.  If you pick through the sea bass at the Edisto 40 and Edisto 60 there are plenty of big sheeps to be caught out there.

Bottom fishing for black seabassis outstanding right now at both of the above-named reefs as well as the 4KI.  Offshore the wahoobite is excellent, with pretty much everybody catching 2-8 fish per trip at the Edisto Banks on calm days when boats can get out.  The fish are right on the Ledge and both high-speed and traditional trolling with skirted ballyhoo on sea witches is catching fish.

December 28

Captain Ron Davis, Jr. (843-513-0143) reports that water temperatures are still in the upper 50s in the Edisto area and clarity is good.

Redfish are feeding very well around Edisto Island, and even though numbers aren’t great when fish are located they are very cooperative.  There is plenty of sight fishing on clear, windless days.  On the low tide flats if you can find a good school of fish then on the first 3 or 4 casts it is common to get a bite, although they can get skittish after that. Dead low tide is tough because fish can be very spooky, and so fishing 1-3 hours each side of low tide is best.  Cut shrimp and mullet both work very well as will live mud minnows and scented plastics.  In the creeks fishing cut mullet and shrimp in holes for two hours each side of low tide is the best bet.  Shrimp are pretty much gone inshore except in some of the deep holes, and mullet can be a little tricky to get at times.

Trouthave moved off the main river into creeks and deep bends with an average depth of 7-15 feet.  They will usually be around some sort of structure such as trees or older docks.  Locating fish with most any ¼ ounce jighead with a curly or boottail grub will work, and once you find a school you can experimenting with changing colors and styles to catch as many fish as possible.  The best action is within several hours of low tide.

Inshore there are still some sheepsheadaround docks in 10-15 feet of water at low tide.  However, a lot of the better fish have already migrated out to nearshore reefs in 30-40 feet of water.  Black sea bass are thick at the reefs and 10-12 inch, sub-legal black sea bass will drive you crazy as you have to fish through them first to get to the sheepshead.  Black sea bass will eat most anything including the fiddler crabs that sheeps love.

IMG_0481
A nice cold weather sheepshead caught on Captain Ron Davis, Jr.’s boat

Usually by this time of year the bottom fishing closer in has started to shut down and anglers have to go out to 120 feet of water and then the ledge to catch grouper, snapper, porgy and big black sea bass.  However, temperatures in 70-90 feet are still so warm in the 65-68 foot range that the bite is really good there.

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