The best inshore fishing of the year often takes place in the fall, and so far this October has lived up to expectations. Captain Ron Davis, Jr. (803-513-0143) reports that fishing around Edisto Island has been wide open over the last week, and even though huge tides and weather may slow things down a bit this week there are still plenty of reasons to go inshore fishing.
The redfish bite on the flats has been good recently, with the best fishing at the mid-tide stages (incoming or outgoing) along main river oyster flats using live shrimp fished 1-2 feet below a cork. When the water is at the base of the grass the bite has been the strongest. At low tide the fishing has been tougher and the fish are very spooky; in past years there were so many fish on the flats that it mattered less if you spooked some fish, but with less fish available there aren’t the numbers to compensate. Right now there are a lot of oversized and undersized fish on the flats, and catching slot-sized fish has been more difficult. However, soon the sub-15 inch fish will grow enough to enter the slot. Ron notes that with the water a tannic brown – exactly the same color as redfish – it is hard to spot fish right now, but sight-fishing is not far off. It’s getting to be a bit late for tailing action.
Redfishing in the creeks has been good, mainly fishing around structure in deep bends at low tide. This structure could be docks, trees, or rip rap banks, and cut mullet on the bottom have worked the best. There are simply too many bait stealers including pinfish, croaker, silver perch and more in the creeks to fish live shrimp.
Other species are also biting very well:
Trout: Excellent. Ron reports that it was a little later than usual this year, but as happens every year about this time the trout have moved in and the bite has turned on. Fish are biting very well in the upper part of the tide cycle two hours each side of high tide, and live shrimp and DOA shrimp fished under a cork are all anglers need. Main river creek mouths and points in both the North and South Edisto are both producing.
Sheepshead: Excellent. Ron reports that day-in, day-out, the most consistent bite regardless of conditions is for sheepshead. Even when the water is muddy and the wind is blowing anglers can head up the creeks and fish for several hours around low tides and catch sheepshead. In creeks up both the North and South Edisto anglers should fish 5-10 feet deep around older docks and particularly those with concrete pilings with fiddler crabs. Again, there are still too many bait stealers around to fish shrimp yet.
Flounder: Good. Ron rarely reports a strong inshore flounder bite in the Edisto area, but right now action is pretty good. On the dropping tide anglers can find flounder at the mouth of small feeder creeks that are emptying into the main rivers. The best bet is to hop from creek to creek spending about 10-15 minutes at each one, and to fish a Carolina rig or a light jig head with a big mud minnow. About half the fish will be keeper-sized, and Ron has hooked some nice 21-23 inch fish already this fall. Fish will remain in the area until water temperatures drop below 65 degrees.
Surf fishing: This is probably the peak time for Edisto Island surf fishing, and anglers are catching both big redfish and trout in the surf – particularly around inlets. Live finger mullet are the best baits and with a lot of the bluefish schooled up and moving a bit offshore it is less difficult to keep a bait in the water. Another baitstealer, ladyfish, have also left, and most of the Spanish mackerel are on their way out to 60-90 feet of water. Whiting fishing is very good around the sandbars as well as on live bottom patches just offshore.
Nearshore: Around pretty much any area with a hard bottom this is a peak time for catching bull redfish, and weakfish are also in the same areas. Some big 10-12 inch bull whiting are also hanging around the same structure.
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