Inshore fishing is hot in the Beaufort area, and it’s about to get even better! Bay Street Outfitters (843-524-5250) in Beaufort reports that right now is a special time, because even though it’s mid-November inshore water temperatures are still around 73 degrees – meaning that redfish can still be found tailing in the grass. At the same time, bait is abundant on the flats and fish can be found chasing shrimp on lower stages of the tide. At low tide redfish are working the mud flats, and sight-casting with conventional tackle and live shrimp is productive. There is still a fair amount of run-off and so the water is fairly tannic, but even though it is not clear it is fairly clean.
At high tide it’s worth looking for tailing fish, and on low tide sight-fishing on the mud flats can be effective. For the middle few hours of the tide cycle when water is moving the fastest a redfish’s body shape will dictate where it will be. They are broad, big-shouldered fish, and so instead of being out in the main current they will seek refuge behind points, in eddies, along grasslines, and in other areas where they will not have to work as hard. Popping corks with live bait are a good choice right now.
While the fishing is good, Bay Street Outfitters says that it will only get better because cooler temperatures (and probably less run-off) will clear the water up and fish will move into larger winter schools. And probably more importantly, once the bait starts to decline and move away for the cold months fish will be less selective and more willing to eat whatever you throw at them – live shrimp under a cork, mud minnows, cut mullet, DOA shrimp, grubs, and suspended twitch baits in the shallows.
At the same time that the redfish bite will get better in the Beaufort area as temperatures cool, expect trout fishing to do the same. Bay Street Outfitters says that the two primary trout patterns right now are fishing at the mouth of small to medium-sized creeks on the outgoing tide, as well as fishing around significant shell points that protrude into the main channel and have current rushing across them. The incoming but especially the outgoing tide is good in the latter areas. Soft plastics on a ¼ ounce jighead have been working well, and popping corks with live bait or soft plastics have also been effective.
Finally, while this bite will not last too much longer Bay Street Outfitters reports that they have seen a fair number of flounder on the flats.
Hunting Island Pier (843-838-7437) reports that the bite has slowed this week with all of the freshwater running into Fripp Inlet, but occasional redfish are still being caught off and on from the pier as well as a few whiting. Last week a big 43-inch red drum was caught off the end of the pier.