Anglers fishing out of Charleston are having a field day offshore over livebottom, and the main species biting changes from day to day and even several times a day, even when anglers are targeting the same spots.
Capt. Robert Olsen with Knot@Work Fishing Charters has been having a lot of success offshore and has two pieces of advice for anglers – use live menhaden for bait and slow-troll.
"Live menhaden is the only bait anglers need right now, and it doesn't matter what you are fishing for; you will catch it and everything else but blue marlin," Olsen said.
On one of his most recent trips, Olsen saw a 60-lb wahoo and seven sailfish caught in one small area. Cobia, king mackerel, amberjack, grouper, dolphin, vermilion snapper, tuna, barracuda, and sharks have also been in the mix.
Olsen's idea of slow-trolling means finding livebottom, dropping baits down in a spread that varies from 75 to 125 feet deep, then cruising at between 1 and 2 miles per hour.
"Depending on current and wind conditions, you may have to bump it up slightly to keep the boat moving, but you ideally want to move at 1 mile per hour," he said.
While Olsen (843-442-7724) said it's tough to target a specific species because so many are biting, he has noticed that if he can keep his baits at 95 feet deep, he catches more cobia than anything else.
"That is where cobia anglers will catch more of their intended target, but they are still going to catch their share of other fish," he said.
Olsen also said when there’s a lull in the bite, dolphin are still actively feeding.
"The dolphin bite is crazy right now. These aren't trophy sized dolphin, but the sheer numbers of dolphin being caught is the best I've seen in years. They are ranging from 3-pound peanuts up to about 20 pounds for the most part, with a bigger one every so often – not huge fish, but good fun and good eating," Olsen said.
For gear, Olsen is sticking to live-bait rigs with 6000 series spinning reels; he keeps a close eye on his depth finder to find livebottom, which he describes as areas where the ocean floor is alive with vegetation as opposed to artificial reefs or wrecks. He trolls his baits to keep them above the weeds, and he staggers his depths to cover as much area as possible.