During our Lowcountry winters the local waters around Charleston can provide a unique opportunity to sight cast on some very large schools of Redfish. In colder weather, the waters dip below 50 degrees as the air temperatures cool. And as temperatures cool, the primary food source for Bottlenose Dolphins leave; making them look for a new food source, the Redfish. The Redfish then school up in shallow water, anywhere from 4 inches to 16 inches deep, providing them safety in numbers. Many times, they can be found in areas where the Dolphins can’t reach due to depth. This is where a good scouting trip can find large amounts of fish. Mark the schools and come back once they have relaxed. Finding these schools can provide a good opportunity to throw the fly rod and artificials. For many occasions, small crabs, such as the San Pedro Crab (https://umpqua.com/products/flies/bonefish-permit/san-pedro-crab) , are the fly of choice. Cast away from the school and strip it around the outskirts to see if you can draw a fish away from the main congregation. If the crab doesn’t produce in a good spot, try bait fish or shrimp patterns.
Sometimes, however, the Redfish have lockjaw and just don’t want to eat. This is something the Redfin Crew and eventually every angler runs into. Moments like these are when a good variety of baits other than flies come into a play. During an inshore fishing charter, our Redfin crew will always have a few ZMan options (a local company that makes artificials, http://zmanfishing.com/) in our tackle bags also. Pick artificials that provide a wide variety of choices for when the fish are being picky. A variety of bait fish lures, such as differing sizes of jerk shads and paddle tails are good choices. Check out this article on how to properly use a jerk shad (http://www.fishing.net.nz/fishing-advice/how-to/softbait-techniques-depth-control/) Also having a few shrimp to choose from isn’t a bad option either. A well placed cast with these artificials and a slow retrieve are a sure way to catch these Lowcountry favorites.
Thanks for checking us out, give us a shout at Redfin to come join us as we search for more Wheelhouse Wisdom on our daily trips through our Charleston waterways.