About a month ago Captain Patrick Smiley (843-361-7445) reported that it was the best fishing time of the year in the Little River area. It was expected that cooling air and in turn water temperatures would soon change the bite and push fish into more of a winter pattern, but because of extremely mild weather that hasn’t happened. Water temperatures remain in the low 60s and fishing remains wide open in essentially a fall/ late fall pattern.
The best bite right now is for spotted seatrout, and in addition to lots of keeper-sized fish in the 13-18 inch range some very nice 3-6 pound trout are being caught. The best trout fishing has been inshore in the creeks around oyster beds, grass lines, docks and drops, with the low to rising tide being best. There has also been some excellent topwater activity on higher tides right before the sun goes down.
With trout very hungry they will eat a variety of different baits and lures, but the old stand-by of live shrimp is certainly working well. Additionally, DOA shrimp and Vudu shrimp jigged off the bottom or fished under a popping cork are catching fish, and Gulp! rigged on a ¼ ounce jighead is very effective. For topwater action Top Pup Mirrolures with rattles have been excellent.
Besides the trout bite the second best action has been for black drum, and again Patrick’s boat has been finding good numbers as well as sizes of fish. Black drum are eating both live and fresh dead shrimp, and they are being caught pretty shallow on sand bars as well as around docks and drop-offs.
With such a good trout and black drum bite Patrick has spent more time chasing them instead of redfish, but reds can certainly be caught on the shallow flats where they are starting to get into a typical winter pattern and school up. Anglers can stalk them on lower stages of the tide – as the water clears they will get easier to see but fishermen will also need a stealthy approach.