Fishing has been wide open until big tides started on Thanksgiving. Tides remained over 8 feet until Thursday November 29th. As tides abate and winds subside the bite pick up. It is possible to catch fish in the wind and on big tides. It is just much more difficult. Large tides literally pulls shrimp and bait fish into sounds. Cast netters who were having little problem catching bait found catching bait much more difficult. Mild weather and good tides can trigger a bite. There have good reports of sheepshead caught at the jetties. Seatrout, redfish and black drum can be caught be on good numbers particularly when using live shrimp. A few flounder being caught on average one or two in a day of fishing.
There are lots of tournaments most if not all benefit excellence causes. I wont try to recap all the local tournaments. In brief Capt. Matt Starling’s boat took top honors in the Savannah leg of the Redbone Tournament (a pro/celebrity tournament benefitting cystic fibrosis). Capt. Allen Collins’ boat took the runner up position. Capt. Brian Woelber’s boat won the honors for most seatrout and your truly captained the boat for most redfish. Brad Goodman caught 18 reds the first day on plastics. Great effort by all involved! Most, if not all, tournament are for a “good cause”. The purpose of this tournament is to benefit those suffering with cystic fibrosis. All fish caught in this tournament are measured and released. With increased fishing pressure not only from tournaments, charters and recreational fishing practicing catch and release can and will have a positive impact on our fishery. That said keeping some fish no problem. In general going light redfish is only smart. It take this fish four to five years to reach sexual maturity.
December has already yielded some good fishing! The weather for the most part has been mild. When not fighting wind fishing has been good to excellence! Seatrout are mercurial here today and gone tomorrow. There has been good action towards the sounds of large trout that appear to be in the early stages of spawning. Not all water is holding fish. Just like the earlier fall pattern if you not catching its time to move. Redfish and seatrout are on or near the flats and in the back waters. Shrimp are available but its that time of year when bait can become scare. Typically Don Admas will close his doors around New Year’s. Bo at Bandys will likely continue selling shrimp and mud minnows as long as customers and bait are available. So far conditions have been mild and bait shrimpers are finding bait. This is an excellence time of the year to pitch or troll plastics. Shrimp is a great bait nonetheless you can catch plenty of fish on plastic!
Capt. Kent Bird of Hilton Head reports this has been a banner for stag bass and seatrout with big catches on both . Cooler water means an absence of sharks and a greater likelihood of stags running the inlets. As shark activity wanes stags show up! Capt. Kent reports having a great year!
Cooler water means bait is likely deep. Water temperature is in the upper fifties. With very clear water mud bottoms will soak up radiant energy from the sun and release heat during the day. Watching several hundred mud minnow practically on the bottom I did not think much of this until receiving a call from Stanley Devegter. Stanley said he was unable to catch a fish until he put his bait on the bottom. Makes sense if the bait is on the bottom that’s where the fish want to go. Basically Stanley adjusted to pattern in nature. If the bait is close to the bottom, fish close to the bottom. As the day heat up and a drift picks up a conventional float rig will work fine but don’t overlook the lowly carolina or bottom rig.
Hope this of help!
Capt. Jack McGowan