Lowcountry anglers are finding the redfish bite plenty hot, even as the weather is cooling, but one question many anglers wonder is where they can find redfish at low tide.
"During low tide, redfish concentrate in spots usually close to areas that are high and dry at low tide but full of water once the tide is in. Some lie in wait to feed at high tide, but plenty of others will readily eat at dead low. You just have to find them," said Capt. Addison Rupert of Lowcountry Outdoor Adventures.
One of Rupert's favorite tactics for low tide redfish is tying up on wooden structure that is partially submerged, like a bridge or dock. Redfish, he said, like the breaks in current the structure provides, and it gives them a good ambush point to attack baitfish. And structure attracts a variety of favored redfish foods, including crabs and small fish. While these areas will hold some redfish even at high tide, low tide is an exceptionally good time to find them here, especially if there are no shallow flats nearby.
When targeting redfish around these structures, Rupert (843-557-3476) likes to use pretty stout gear. 4000-5000 series spinning reels with 50-pound test line, an 18-inch monofilament leader, and a No. 3 circle hook make up a good structure rig. Rupert's favorite bait here is a quarter of a blue crab.
Capt. Charlie Beadon of Beaufort Sport Fishing Charters agrees that finding redfish at low tide is predictable, but he focuses more on shallow flats along the edges of creeks near spartina grass.
"At low tide, redfish are trying to stay away from porpoises and staying close to high-tide haunts that provide them food and more safety from porpoises. They will stick in as shallow water as possible," said Beadon (843-592-0897).
He looks for an area that allows him to pole his boat or use his electric motor, staying just on the edge of water that is too shallow for his boat. This usually leaves a section of water between him and the grass that redfish gather during low tide. Beadon likes areas with oyster shells, spartina grass, and a small trickle of water coming in. Find these three, and you'll find redfish, Beadon said.
With no worries of fish getting wrapped around bridge pilings, Beadon opts for 2000-3000 series spinning reels with 15- to 20-pound test line and prefers to cast artificial lures like D.O.A. shrimp and Gulp! soft plastics. He retrieves them with occasional pauses and twitches, anticipating the thump of a redfish.
While Rupert's low-tide search is good for areas with no nearby shallow flats, Beadon's technique means he doesn't have to move at high tide – he is already where the fish are looking to move. He just adjusts his boat position as the tide allows, and casts closer to the spartina that was high and dry moments before.