A mixed bag awaits anglers fishing the reefs out of Edisto, and spadefish are the stars of the show, but plenty of other species are biting too. Capt. Buddy Bizzell of Edisto Palmetto Charters said baitfish are plentiful, and most of his success is coming at the Edisto Nearshore reef and the 4KI reef.
Bizzell said trolling, bottom-fishing, and free-lining are all working for anglers at these reefs.
"The spadefish are tearing it up right now on pieces of free-lined (pieces of) jelly balls," he said. "I collect some whole jelly balls, string them together on a thin rope and hang them off a boat cleat. This will attract spadefish and keep them hanging around. I will cut up another jelly ball or two and toss the pieces out for chum."
Then, once anglers start free-lining other pieces of jelly balls, the spadefish bite eagerly.
When targeting spadefish, Bizzell uses spinning rods and reels with 30-pound test line and size 2/0 hooks.
Anglers are also catching plenty of fish while putting cut bait on the bottom.
"I use a 2-ounce or 4-ounce bucktail jig, then add cut bait to it," Bizzell said.
Redfish, gag grouper and grunts are all on the menu, as well as big black sea bass. Anglers targeting sheepshead are having luck with fiddler crabs and cut strips of bait. The fish are currently biting at about the 50-foot depth around the reefs, and Bizzell is putting his baits on the bottom using 80-pound braided line with 40-pound fluorocarbon leaders.
Spanish mackerel are biting well too, and Bizzell (803-603-2781) said the key to catching them is in following the birds.
"Just watching for the birds hitting the surface of the water, then trolling Clark spoons past those birds is working for putting the Spanish in the boat," he said.
Bizzell expects the bite to get even better in the coming weeks.
"This a great time for fishing these reefs. There is just such a variety of fish biting, and you can either target certain species with specific techniques, or put cut bait on the bottom and catch whatever bites," he said.