It won’t last forever, but peak season for bull red drum in the Charleston area is here. Captain Tucker Blythe of Grey Ghost Charters (843-670-8629) reports that in the inlets, in the surf and around the jetties big drum are fattening up before they go offshore, and they are chomping on a variety of baitfish. If anglers put cut mullet, menhaden, or finger mullet in front of them they should get bit.
Fishing for smaller redfish has been a little trickier with the unseasonably warm weather, and some days fishermen are killing it while on others the fish can be a bit finicky. Sight-fishing hasn’t gotten as good as it will yet, partly because the water hasn’t really cleared up and also because fish haven’t moved into their huge winter schools. This is making for a bit tougher than usual fly-fishing conditions.
At the same time, there is a good amount of bait on the flats and fishing the edges of oyster bars on the falling tides has been productive with live shrimp or cut mullet. Popping corks and shrimp have also been working well along the edges as long as the tide isn’t super high and fish have not moved up into the grass, and fishing around docks has also been very productive at times.
Beyond red drum, it’s a good time to catch several other species.
Trout: Very good. Captain Tucker Blythe and Haddrell’s Point(843-881-3644) concur that trout fishing has been very strong, with the set-up of choice being popping corks paired with either DOA or live shrimp. Fish have been found along grass edges, around points, and near docks, and Tucker even found trout in the middle of Bulls Bay under the birds. While many people think of trout as feeding better on high tide, on lower stages of the tide they will pull out deeper into the channel and can still be caught. Haddrell’s reports that that the Zman Slim SwimZ rigged on a 1/6 ounce Zman jighead has been hot recently.
Sheepshead: Good. Captain Tucker Blythe reports that around rock piles, jetties and docks in 4-15 feet of water there has been a strong sheepshead bite. Live shrimp and fiddler crabs on the bottom have both been working, and Haddrell’s Point reminds anglers of their upcoming “Capture the Convict” 4-week sheepshead tournament.
Flounder: Good. Haddrell’s Point reports that there have been some very good flounder reports recently, particularly coming from inlets and creek mouths located near the ocean. Drag a live minnow or bucktail jig tipped with a grub along the bottom in these areas.
Folly Beach Pier (843-762-9516) reports that a few trout and redfish are being caught in the surf area, and very good numbers of whiting are still around. In the diamond-shaped area at the end of the pier bull red drum continue to be caught.
Offshore: Haddrell’s Point reports that huge triggerfish, vermillion snapper, and sea bass have all been found in 75-130 feet of water using cut squid and vertical jigs. Trolling along the ledge in 150-300 feet of water is still producing some wahoo and blackfin tuna, and sailfish are still around.