October is known for good saltwater and especially redfish fishing, and despite all the heavy rain that has fallen on the state this fall has lived up to expectations in the Beaufort area. Bay Street Outfitters (843-524-5250) in Beaufort reports that annual transitions between warm and cooler weather fishing patterns are starting to get under way, and this is something of a magical period where you can spottails on both patterns.
Although its days are numbered tailing activity is still strong on the higher stages of the tide. Tailing fish can be found both in the short grass flats as well as on the edges between the mud flats and the true grass flats. On dead low fish have tended to be a little spooky, but on moving tides they are also feeding well. In a sign of the changing season these fish are starting to group up a bit more instead of hunting as lone wolves, and they are also holding over dark shell bottoms as opposed to white shell bottoms more often.
With fish hungry it stands to reason that they will eat a variety of different baits, and in the natural bait category both shrimp and mud minnows below a popping cork are working well. Gulp! in new penny shrimp color, as well as other soft plastics, are also catching both tailing and moving tide fish, and the redfish are also eating shrimp and crab patterns on the fly.
As noted strong redfish action has survived the rains. Beaufort was spared the worst of the flooding but they did experience some significant runoff, and as a result fish seem to have pushed shallower overall. Bay Street Outfitters speculates that along the edges the water stayed saltier and so shrimp as well as other bait were probably more inclined to move that way seeking natural salinity levels.
Trout fishing has also been pretty strong, and on some days Bay Street Outfitters reports leaving the trout biting when anglers want to pursue redfish. The best trout fishing has been on the outgoing tide around shell points. Because trout have been seeking moving water they have been holding off the tip of the point as opposed to on the backs or side of the point. Soft plastics on a ¼ ounce jighead have been working well, and popping corks with live bait or soft plastics have also been effective.
Flounder are also around in the creeks and inlets, and while there are still some very late migratory species around (ladyfish, tripletail, etc.) these are mostly headed south.
Hunting Island Pier (843-838-7437) reports that in addition to the usual whiting, pinfish, small sharks and stingrays decent numbers of spottail bass have also been caught off the pier.