Colder Water….but fishing should be heating up!
Several cold days this week has driven the water temperature to around 47 degree. Prior to the cold snap there were reports of big trout taken in the Wilmington and the Savannah River. Warmer days going into the Christmas holiday will likely mean the trout bite will be on. There’s still plenty of local bait available but you might want to call ahead. Shrimp have “gone deep”. It’s common this of the year to someone throwing a cast net in 30 feet of water. A couple of warm days and the trout will back in shallow water. This is an excellent time to troll lures like Mitte Mike aka Christmas tree and chartreuse grubs. When float fishing the bite can be on one day and off the next. Warmer temperatures will likely mean active hungry fish with empty stomachs. When pitching, trolling and float fishing fail to produce don’t forget the lowly bottom rig. Sometimes a simply bottom rig will catch fish when everything else fails. A big hungry trout can resist a large mud minnow. When your mud minnow isn’t getting slammed just chalk that drop up for another day.
Redfish are schooling on the mudflats. The flats that most active the ones that heat up easily, are close to deep water and shell rakes. Don’t expect to motor in on these fish. Water clarity is exceptional and currents slow. This combination makes it easy to spook these fish. Just stepping carelessly in your boat can panic a large school. The only practical way (flats boat included) to fish these is plan to be on your mud before the fish arrive and fish light tackle. When pitching plastic opt for something soft and light. Live bait under a small float with a fluorocarbon leader should work fine.
Tides for the remainder of the month look good. Redfish on the mudflats, seatrout as water temperatures rises, stripers on structure and in the current. The best stripers tides have been the top of incoming and the first three hours of the out going. The most intense striper activity is at night. Be careful because the Savannah River can be loaded with debris. Most of fly fishermen are taking striper on deep sinking lines although you might what can happen with a floating line. Look for shadows. Those shadowy areas are likely hot spots. Multiple fish can hold one spot.
Hope this is some help! Good Fishing, Merry Christmas and Happy New Years!
Capt. Jack McGowan