A week ago, Lowcountry anglers reported that redfish were beginning to break out of their schools, but with the cold weather hanging on, some are still in small groups, trying to avoid porpoises and trying to keep warm.

Shane Flannigan and Brannon Mobley, two fishermen from Charleston, have been having success catching them in Hamlin Sound out of the Isle of Palms Marina on cut mullet fished on the bottom with a Carolina rig.

Flannigan said the fish are "still in small groups of about 10 or so." Once they find a pod of fish, they try to keep up with them using their electric trolling motor, a task they have found works well as long as they can keep a decent distance from the fish.

"Sometimes we spook them with the trolling motor, but when we do, we put out the stake pin and sit tight. They usually come back in 10 minutes or so to the same general area," Flannigan said.

 

Their best success lately has been fishing on the incoming tide around oyster beds. The windy conditions haven't really hurt their fishing, and anglers who know how to use the wind can take advantage of it. Finding areas where the wind blows into a creek and against some type of structure like oyster beds or grass lines is a good tip. The wind pushes baitfish into those areas, and redfish find these food sources and stick close by.

 

Most of the fish Flannigan and Mobley are catching have been over-the-slot reds in the 25- to 30-inch range. Because their metabolisms are still slow from the cold, these fish can afford to approach baits and lures with a great deal of caution. Flannigan and Mobley said it is important to cast well ahead of fish in the directions they're headed, then work the bait slowly to give the fish time to see it and pick it up. The most-productive oyster beds have been ones close to grasslines, small incoming creeks or both.

 

While cut mullet is doing the trick for Flannigan and Mobley, other anglers are also having success using Gulp! artificial shrimp and minnows fished with 1/8-ounce jigheads using similar tactics and locations.