It’s finally getting to be winter in the lowcountry, but according to Bay Street Outfitters (843-524-5250) in Beaufort for the last few weeks fishing has been atypical for this time of year. Unusually warm water temperatures meant that through the beginning of 2016 fish could still be seen tailing in the grass, and bait has been behaving like it does in the fall instead of winter. At times the fishing has been very strong for both redfish and trout, and at other times redfish action has been pretty slow – with little in between. Trout have been more consistent.
On the redfish side the best pattern for blind casting has been fishing the last part of the incoming tide and then the outgoing tide until the water is out of the grass. Bay Street Outfitters reports that they haven’t seen too much activity way back in the creeks, with the best numbers of redfish coming around larger flats. Mud minnows and shrimp have both been working, with redfish taking mud minnows a little better than shrimp. On the artificial side Gulp! shrimp, paddle tail baits, and swimming shad have all been working as well as DOA shrimp and Mirrolure shallow suspending swimbaits – which have also produced some nice redfish sight-casting.
Sight-fishing is pretty much a low tide game right now, and on the fly Bay Street Outfitters reports that darker patterns as well as shrimp patterns have both been productive. Crab patterns have been a little slower.
While action for redfish has been a little feast-or-famine, Bay Street Outfitters reports that trout fishing has pretty consistently been very good – both for numbers of fish and some very nice-sized specks. The best trout action has been found on the dropping tide until the water is out of the grass, with fish in typical “trout areas” such as shell bars, creek mouths and other areas where there is some turbulence. Trout seek out these areas with some current, while lazier redfish prefer slacker water. There are also some anglers targeting trout by trolling in small creeks.
The same artificials that are producing redfish are also catching trout, although shrimp have been tough to beat. Fish are also being caught on mud minnows.