The Lowcountry has had its share of cold weather this month, but that doesn't mean the fish aren't biting. Scott Hammond of Mount Pleasant’s Haddrell's Point Tackle said plenty of fish have been active both inshore and offshore despite the low temperatures.
Inshore anglers are having success sight-fishing for redfish in shallow water, either with flies that imitate small crabs or baitfish or with spinning gear with size 3/0 hooks baited with live mid minnows or 3-inch Gulp! shrimp. Hammond (843-881-3644) said these fish are schooling on the shallow mud flats because the dark mud absorbs the sunlight adding as much as five degrees to the water temperature.
Hammond said speckled trout are still biting, but the bite has slowed in recent weeks. They are a little more sluggish than the redfish but are still biting in deep holes at low tide. Finesse lures like Trout Tricks are good bets.
Sheepshead are also biting inshore; Hammond said fiddler crabs are working, but that anglers are also having success using live shrimp and shucked oysters. Sheepshead are biting around the jetties, bridge pilings and downed structure like old trees and other debris that has barnacles present.
Sheepshead are biting at the nearshore reefs too, again on fiddlers, live shrimp and oysters. Black sea bass are biting on these reefs, too, with a mixture of undersized and keeper-sized fish biting a variety of baits.
Offshore anglers are finding success high-speed trolling along the ledge, with wahoo making up the bulk of the catch. Hammond said that while the fish aren't coming in huge numbers, the ones that are biting are quality fish in the 40- to 60-pound range.
It isn't just the trolling anglers getting action offshore. Bottom-fishing along the ledge is productive as well, especially in 60 to 90 feet of water. Cut bait is the ticket for catching plenty of black sea bass, triggerfish, porgies, and grunts.