Although anglers may find that there is not a lot of difference in the depth of water or structure that redfish hang out around between winter, spring, summer and fall in Copahee Sound, wintertime shallow-water fishing in “Redfishville” requires a different attitude. Those who have it will find some of the best redfish action of the year.
“Overall, it’s been a slow transition from the fall pattern to the winter pattern,” said guide Justin Carter of KayakSC in Mt Pleasant. “Not to say we haven’t had cold spells and unseasonably warm spells, but the reds are working pretty well if you can do the right things.”
The right things, according to Carter, are presenting baits at a much slower pace than warmer water fishing and understanding winter redfish movements. Cut and dead baits work well for anglers wanting to set up ahead of fish. Artificials can also work, but don’t expect reds to chase the baits like they would in other seasons.
“Most of the kayakers will get to Copahee by way of the Gadsdenville Landing, which is little more than an old road that ends in a tidal ditch,” said Carter (843-725-8784). “Flats boats can come in off the ICW, either way, in order to navigate the ditches that feed the sound, you’re better off to be in the sound about two hours before low tide.”
“It’s mainly sight-fishing,” Carter said. “The water is clearer, and shallow-water anglers are better off to pole the flats rather than use a paddle or trolling motor. Stand in the boat, slowly poling the edges of the oyster bars and look for signs of fish – either wakes, surface rolling or mud clouds.”
After the tide turns, anglers can follow fish through the deeper cuts heading up to the grass flats. The final hoorah is when the water rises into the thick grass flats. On full- moon high tides, anglers may try to follow but on anything but a full high, the grass offers refuge that’s hard to follow.
“Once the reds get into the grass, the sight-fishing is over,” said Carter.