While fish can still be caught inshore around Edisto Island, Captain Ron Davis, Jr. (803-513-0143) reports that right now the trout and spottail bass (redfish) fishery just isn’t where it was a few years ago. It’s unclear why but the redfish numbers aren’t as good as they used to be, particularly out on the flats. There seem to be a healthy number of small redfish around each fall, but they haven’t been enough to repopulate the flats. Creek fishing has been more stable than flats fishing and so the better fishing is in the creeks – the reverse of what it was in years past. Similarly, for the last few years trout have not showed up in the numbers they used to be in.
While we wait for the cycle to reverse, however, just because the spottail bass fishing isn’t as good as it used to be doesn’t mean fish can’t be caught. The redfish that are around still need to eat, and there are also a host of other species that can tug on anglers’ lines right now. The creeks are also teeming with bait – particularly bait-sized brown shrimp.
Thanks to Ron, inventor of The Chatterbait, for his frank observations and this report:
Flounder: Good. Flounder have been making up a healthy by-catch for anglers pursuing other species (particularly redfish), and on trips like today’s Ron reports catching a flounder to accompany several spottails. For anglers who want to target flounder slow fishing mud minnows on 1/8th to ¼th ounce jigheads is a good options on the flats around oyster bars and inlets. The best areas are closer to the ocean and the first three hours of the incoming tide has been best. There has also been a pretty good flounder bite on nearshore reefs for anglers fishing mud minnow and live finger mullet on Carolina rigs.
Sheepshead: Good. Typical for this time of year lots of undersized sheepshead are being caught, which doesn’t mean that they are small fish as barely sub-14 inch sheepshead can easily weigh 2 pounds or better. Still, it is common to catch 20 or 30 fish and for only 3-5 of them to be keepers. The best pattern is fishing docks at low tide that are still holding 8-15 feet of water, and the best docks will be the older docks in the bends of creeks with concrete – as opposed to wood – pilings. This time of year you pretty much have to use fiddler crabs because there are too many nuisance species around to fish clams or oysters.
Redfish: Fair. As mentioned above flats redfish numbers are way off, but in the creeks pretty good numbers of spottails can still be caught around the holes located near deeper docks. Fish the last two hours of the outgoing tide and the first two hours of the incoming tide with mud minnows, live mullet or live shrimp.
Surf report: While fishing the bare front beach for whiting isn’t particularly good, anglers are catching tons of whiting in areas with sandbars. Spanish mackerel are also abundant right off the beaches, and anglers are catching fish by trolling Clarks spoons as well as casting spoons to schools that are underneath the birds. While cobia fishing has slowed way down tarpon are starting to show up around the sandbars lining the two rivers. The best baits for tarpon are cut mullet and whole live blue crabs.