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Edisto Island (SC) Winter Fishing Report – Updated December 20

  • by Jay

The newest Edisto Island fishing report can be found at:

December 20

Inshore water temperatures around Edisto Island remain about 54-55 degrees and the water is clear.

As predicted, Captain Ron Davis, Jr. (843-513-0143) reports that the inshore fishing around Edisto has stayed very good for redfish and trout.  There are no major changes to report, but if anything the sheepshead fishing has improved with some very large fish still inshore.  They are being caught on clams, barnacles, and oysters in 6-12 feet, and of course they will still take fiddler crabs.

An 8-pound sheepshead caught this week on Captain Ron Davis Jr.'s boat
An 8-pound sheepshead caught this week on Captain Ron Davis Jr.’s boat

In calm conditions Ron has also been able to get just off the beach to the rocks off Edisto, and in about 22 feet of water they have found some bull red drum in the 30-35 pound range.  Bait does not matter very much and they caught these fish on bucktails with cut squid trailers.  The weakfish are pretty much gone.

Bull reds caught yesterday on the rocks off Edisto
Bull reds caught yesterday on the rocks off Edisto

December 15

Inshore water temperatures around Edisto Island are down to about 54 degrees, and clarity is good.

With a mild long-term weather forecast, Captain Ron Davis, Jr. (843-513-0143) predicts that the fishing around Edisto should stay excellent through the ends of the year.

While you still see a few trout mixed in with the reds on the flats, the main river trout bite is pretty much done.  However, the fishing is good up the creeks, chiefly in 7-15 or even 20 feet around deep bends.  The incoming tide three-fourths the way through high tide has been the best.  The outgoing is tougher unless you are on a quarter moon phase with slower moving tides.

Trolling is one of the best ways to target the fish, but the key is that your bait needs to be bumping the bottom.  You can also put on the trolling motor and make long casts, again maintaining contact with the bottom.

The trout are not everywhere, and on a trip Monday Ron fished about 20 spots and found them in three.  Once you find them the bite is fast.  There seems to be little rhyme or reason to where these schools are located.

Caleb Davis with a nice 4-pound trout caught this week on Captain Ron Davis' boat
Caleb Davis with a nice 4-pound trout caught this week on Captain Ron Davis’ boat

In addition to finding redfish on the flats, they can also be found in the creeks.  Chiefly they are a little shallower than the trout in the 5-7 foot range.  Scented soft plastics are working well.

Sheepsheadare just starting to head offshore, but they can still be found around docks with 8-15 feet of water at low tide.

On the nearshore reefs in 30-60 feet of water there are a ton of weakfisharound. Sheepshead and black sea bass can also be caught.  Black drum will take cut shrimp, and redfish will eat live finger mullet or cut mullet.

December 1

Inshore water temperatures around Edisto Island are about 60 degrees, and clarity is excellent.

Most of the inshore shrimp are gone, and as a result Captain Ron Davis, Jr. (843-513-0143) reports that the transition over to artificial lures is taking place.  The pattern for catching redfish on the flats and in the creeks is unchanged except that scented soft plastics on light jigheads or flutter hooks are replacing bait.  The reds are biting about as well as they will all year.

Trout are not as widely dispersed as they were a couple of months ago, and they are more concentrated in certain areas as they make the move to deeper holes in rivers and major creek arms.  Instead of there being a few fish everywhere now there are long stretches where you will not catch anything, and then you will hit a spot where you can catch 15-20.  They are taking all sorts of soft plastics including DOA shrimp, Trout Tricks, Bass Assassin paddletail grubs, and more.

On the main rivers at the top of the tide and first of the outgoing is the prime time to catch trout in 4-8 feet of water, while in the creeks two hours either side of low tide is best in the deep holes.

Some big Edisto trout caught on Ron Davis, Jr.'s boat
Some pretty Edisto fish caught on Ron Davis, Jr.’s boat

Whitingare biting well in the sloughs that line the river next to sand bars.  The big ones are a bit deeper in 8-12 feet of water.

The sheepshead bite is still excellent around structure that has 6-10 feet of water at low tide.  Fiddler crabs will work but you can also use oysters and clams with the picker fish leaving.  Sheeps are also starting to show up on the nearshore reefs.

On nearshore structure including rocky bottoms and artificial reefs there are lots of weakfish around in 40 feet or less. You can only keep one but they are prolific.  Bull red drum can be found on the same structure where they will eat cut mullet, and black drum in the same areas will eat shrimp.

While it won’t pay off every trip, when you are offshore in 30-50 feet of water it is worth looking for a concentration of large white birds called gannets.  They feed on the same large baitfish that are a magnet for bull drum.  You can throw any large spoon or soft plastic on a ½ or 1 ounce jighead to catch them, and sometimes even topwaters.  At times the water will be brownish red with reds feeding on the surface.

In bottom fishing news, the red snapper mini-season is December 8, 9 and 10 as a make-up for the bad weather weekend earlier this year.  Only one person can be kept.  In 70-100 feet it is easy to get on black sea bass, vermillion snapper, and triggerfish in the right areas.