Capt. Steve Roff of Barrier Island Guide Service (843-446-7337) has been dialed in on the big reds for a couple of weeks, and he said they're quickly falling for live mullet, menhaden and blue crabs around the jetties – despite the recent rains and holiday crowds.
"We've been pounding them hard at the jetties," says Roff. "These 40-inch-plus fish are real crowd pleasers, and we are doing pretty well with those right now."
Coming in from offshore, adult redfish make their journey toward the shore to feed on the abundant baitfish schools. At two miles long, the jetties couldn't be a better set-up for large predator fish, with deep water close by and millions of gallons of freshwater rolling in every day from the four rivers that flush into the ocean through Winyah Bay: the Waccamaw, Black, Sampit and Pee Dee.
Roff has had the most success on the outer side of the jetties where the big schools of menhaden usually pile up.
"Wherever you have a good push of bait on the outside of the jetties seems to be the real secret. Find the bait and they will be there," he said.
Roff will patrol along the jetty rocks, dropping anchor when he finds reds and baitfish in the same area. Generally, the big reds are caught on the bottom with a Carolina rig and 5/0 circle hook attached with leader of three feet or less of 50- to 80-pound monofilament or fluorocarbon. But floating live baits under a cork near the surface will bring out a few other trophy fish as well.
"Tarpon and big spinner sharks use these jetties every day this time of year, and a live mullet or menhaden can be a perfect bait to hook up on one of these fish," Roff said.