Anglers in the Edisto area have seen the fishing pick up lately, with the speckled trout bite turning on, and anglers around nearshore reefs are catching plenty of spadefish and weakfish, but Capt. Rob Bennett of Lowcountry Inshore Charters said the hottest bite in the area is for bonnethead sharks right in the North Edisto River.
"The action is non-stop," said Bennett (843-367-3777), who said targeting bonnetheads with a boat full of kids is especially rewarding, because the action is fast and the sharks fight hard. "It's the biggest fish most of them have ever caught."
Bennett has been targeting these fish with live crabs, and has been catching them on all tides.
"If you use half a crab, these sharks will never find it. The spots and whiting, as well as other crabs, will peck at it until it falls off the hook," said Bennett, who uses whole, live crabs instead. That keeps the nuisance fish away and looks completely natural to bonnetheads foraging on the flats.
Bennett uses stout rods and spinning reels in the 4000 to 5000 size range. He uses 15- to 20-pound test for his main line and beefs up to 100-pound test for his leaders, which he likes to keep around 6 feet long. He uses 8/0 circle hooks and suggests keeping the rod in the rod holder until it doubles over.
"The circle hook does its job once the shark starts moving away, so there's no need to try and hook it. Let the rod holder do its job until the shark is hooked," he said.
Some anglers make the mistake of fishing for these sharks in the middle of creeks, Bennett said, but he catches far more bonnetheads in the shallow water flats next to grass lines.
"Really, if it looks like a place you'd fish for redfish, that's exactly where bonnetheads are hanging out," he said.