early spring vs late spring

Round 2 Charleston redfishing

On their return trip the redfish treated them right. When we first met in the early spring the tide was rising and the wind was was out of the SW at 20, the conditions were tough to say the least. We worked hard and got a few.  Second go around, just the opposite.  Perfect, the tide was falling and wind light and variable, the bite was on.

spring redfish

Predawn Charter

After sunrise, the redfish awoke and were surprisingly hungry. Against the odds, the redfish bite turned on and both anglers stayed busy for nearly 2 hours. The action was so good I didn’t have a chance to take pictures and everybody lost count of how many redfish we landed and lost – call it a baker’s dozen.

Redfish Delight Despite Unfavorable Conditions

Generally, most anglers and fishing guides in Charleston avoid being on the water on big holiday weekends. Memorial Weekend is well-known for insane boat traffic and less than optimal fishing conditions. Last week’s flood tides made this Memorial Weekend perfect for spending time with the family on land. Against my advice, I took some diehard clients on a fishing charter early Sunday morning. Fortunately, the clients were willing to leave the Isle of Palms Marina at 5:30 AM allowing us time to travel up the Intracostal Waterway by moonlight to our first destination 20 minutes north of IOP. Although the moonlight helped me navigate in the dark it also allowed the redfish to eat through the night further decreasing our chances of encountering nonstop action.

We found an unnamed flat protected by marsh grasses and a labyrinth of oyster beds near Copahee Sound where the redfish likely took refugee from the heavy boat traffic. Before first light we started casting live shrimp and mud minnows under weighted floats to schools of reds. I think we all had a that sinking gut feeling of getting skunked after no bites the first hour.

After sunrise, the redfish awoke and were surprisingly hungry. Against the odds, the redfish bite turned on and both anglers stayed busy for nearly 2 hours. The action was so good I didn’t have a chance to take pictures and everybody lost count of how many redfish we landed and lost – call it a baker’s dozen.

About 3 hours prior to high tide the bite turned off as suddenly as it turned on in the flats. We had enough time to catch a few bonus fish around Bulls Bay before calling it a day. Two more reds and a 14″ seatrout were landed before the fish moved into the grass at slack tide. The moderately paced action was actually a good thing because it gave me a chance to take the one picture below.

The unofficial count for the day: 14 redfish in the slot+ size range, 1 keeper size seatrout, 10 hookups that either broke the line or spit out the hook. A great day with ideal fishing conditions.

Bulls Bay Redfish
One of the last redfish landed. Too much action to photograph the first 13 reds caught that morning.

First Redfish Experience

Half-day charter – topwater trout at daybreak followed by 10 big reds. Can’t ask for a better introduction to Charleston fishing.

Charleston Double Play – Redfish and Topwater Trout

This morning’s fishing trip was a blast. The client was an experienced angler from the Netherlands who has fished all over the world and this morning was his first experience catching redfish in Charleston. We left Shem Creek around daybreak and spent a few hours catching seatrout with artificial lures – awesome topwater action. When the tide was right we moved to the ICW behind Isle of Palms and prepared for serious redfish action – an experience fishing guide doesn’t take a someone’s first experience catching redfish lightly! After poling around the flats and casting a variety of bait for an hour or so we found the spot. The pictures tell the story best.

Redfish Report

Early April is typically a difficult time to catch redfish. I ran half a dozen trips out Isle of Palms Marina the first week of April. I fished different spots each charter and produced about the same results. The rising water temperatures are breaking up schools of reds found in shallow flats during the winter. Figuring out what they’re eating during seasonal transitions is challenging. Until the menhaden return to the Charleston Harbor (hopefully later this month) daily catches will vary. This time of year catching 6 or more big spottail bass on a half-day chater is a good day.

Early Morning Fishing Charter

Isle of Palms Fishing Charter

Left the Isle of Palms marina before daybreak searching for redfish. Pressure from increased fishing activity this time of year leads to frequent early morning fishing charters depending on tides. We reached the skinny waters of Hamlin Sound in about 10 minutes. I pushed through the flats for a good 15 minutes before spotting some tailing fish. The first few fish were caught sight casting to schooling redfish with artificial lures but, live mullet was easily their preference. The bite turned on around 7:30 AM and the reels screamed until we ran out of bait and headed home for an early lunch.