It’s a familiar refrain, but Captain Ron Davis, Jr. (803-513-0143) says that there is no doubt that the Edisto Island redfish population is down. Because of that he only rates the bite as fair, but Ron also says the fish that are in the area are feeding hard. If the population were better he would rate the bite as “very good.”
For flats fish the best pattern has been fishing mud minnows under corks, and the best stage of the tide has been the middle of the tide either rising or falling. In the creeks the best bet has been fishing cut mullet around deep bends and docks with structure. The best stage of the tide in the creeks has been two hours either side of low tide. Tailing activity just got started in the last two weeks, and on higher tides fish can be caught on both flies (in crab or shrimp patterns) or Gulp! crabs/ shrimp fished on a light flutter hook.
Trout: Very good to excellent. Captain Ron Davis, Jr. reports that the trout population is better than it has been the past three years, and fish are bigger than they have been because of two years of mild winters. (Because Edisto is relatively shallow fish lack warmer, deepwater refuges in which to hunker down during very cold periods in the area, and they are more susceptible to fish kills/ dolphin predation). The best bite has been two hours either side of high side, and fish are holding around the main river banks nears major creek mouths. White shell banks are a dead giveaway, and with water temperatures in the 75+ degree range fish are spawning. Clear water is important, and on very windy days fishing can be tough. The best days have winds 10-15 miles per hour or less. DOA shrimp fished 3-5 feet under a cork are working well, with live shrimp hard to come by.
Whiting: Very good. Captain Ron Davis, Jr. reports that whiting fishing is about as good as it gets right now. Sizes are not what they used to be because of fishing pressure, but catching 100 whiting off the sandbars at the inlet mouths close to the ocean and just offshore is very possible. Cut shrimp are hard to beat.
Sheepshead: Good. Captain Ron Davis, Jr. reports that the numbers of sheepshead being caught inshore are very good, but overall sizes are relatively small. However, there are still plenty of keeper sized fish to be caught, and on a good tide cycle catching 6-8 keepers is normal. Nonetheless, more and more people are targeting sheepshead and there is little doubt that fishing pressure is affecting the sizes. Inshore the best bite has been two hours either side of low tide around structure, and because there are so many bait stealers around fishing with shrimp is out of the question. Apparently there has been a shortage of fiddler crabs out of Florida (where winter crabs come from) and so local shops are just now starting to get local fiddlers in stock.
Flounder: Good. Captain Ron Davis, Jr. reports that flounder fishing has improved significantly, and flounder are now being caught anywhere close to the ocean with a sandy bottom. The best areas are creeks nearest the ocean that form inlets, including Jeremy, Townsend and Frampton Creeks. The best stage of the tide is around low tide and then the first part of the incoming. Mud minnows fished on the bottom on either a Carolina rig or rigged on a ¼ ounce jighead are the best bets, and if you want to avoid hang-ups try a weedless jighead.
Nearshore: Captain Ron Davis, Jr. reports that all the migratory species seem to be moving into the Edisto Island simultaneously, including bluefish and Spanish mackerel. Trolling Clarks spoons is the best way to locate Spanish, and once they are found schooling throwing most any small, heavy spoon into the schools will catch fish. Black drum and summer trout (weakfish) are also being caught on the nearshore reefs, but the weakfish bite is starting to drop off as the fish begin to move up the coast.
Offshore: Captain Ron Davis, Jr. reports that at the Ledge 60-80 miles offshore they are killing the dolphin, and boats are pretty much catching as many as they want pulling skirted ballyhoo. Some wahoo are also being caught but that bite has slowed, and tuna catches are sporadic.