It’s not unusual for inshore fishing in the Edisto Island area to slow down in January and February, and in fact Captain Ron Davis, Jr. (803-513-0143) says that these are traditionally the two slowest months of the year. This winter is no exception, but as is often the case an exceptional bite at the nearshore reefs for sheepshead and black drum is providing a bright spot. Ron says that when temperatures drop below 55 degrees sheepshead move into 12-20 feet of water, and when they move much below that fish move onto the nearshore reefs. Now that temperatures have dropped even further when anglers have a good weather day where they can get offshore they will find sheepshead as well as black drum stacked up and biting in excellent numbers, and with water temperatures below 55 most of the black drum have moved out to 60 plus feet. As a result it’s actually possible to get a fiddler crab down, although it’s still not advisable to fish oysters because 4-5 inch black sea bass that are still hanging around will drive you crazy. Black drum will eat fiddler crabs as well as shrimp.
Inshore the redfish bite is still fair, and with water expected to be as cold as it will get in the week or so look for the fishing to get even tougher. Temperatures are already in the lower 50s, and they are expected to drop into the upper 40s. Fish are schooled up tight on the flats and very lethargic, but at times they will bite mud minnows and scented soft plastics fished on flutter hooks. Creek fishing has been pretty slow, but there are some fish stacked up in deep holes with structure. The problem is that only a small percentage of the deep holes are holding fish, although when you find them it’s possible to catch 6-10 fish. Cut mullet or mud minnows fished on the bottom with Carolina rigs are the best bet.
Trout fishing is slow to very slow, and most days fish are hunkered down in 15-25 feet of water and not eating. When it is very cold their metabolism slows down and they become almost dormant, but on warmer days when temperatures rise they can move up shallow into 3-8 feet of water to eat. The warmest water is in the backs of major creek arms and in these areas trout will be found around structure such as trees and rocks on the warmest days. 1/8 – ¼ ounce jigheads with DOA shrimp will catch fish, and Ron notes that smaller soft plastics in the 2 ½ – 3 inch range (which more closely imitate the available bait) are better than 4 or 5 inch baits.
Flounder have moved offshore for the season.
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