The bull redfish are abundant in the Edisto area, and anglers looking to tussle with them are finding plenty in the creeks, just off the beaches, and all around the near-shore reefs. The biggest concentration, however, is just off the beach in what is known locally as “The Rocks” – the many rock piles littered along the ocean floor about a mile off the beach.
Anglers can easily find this area by cruising about a mile off the beach while looking back to shore and keeping their boats in between the water tower and the cell-phone tower, then checking their depth-finder to see the rocks on the ocean floor.
Capt. Buddy Bizzell of Edisto Palmetto Charters said The Rocks is a great place for catching bull reds, and he said anglers can increase their chances of hooking a good one by watching the tide charts, and pairing up a falling tide with a current of under 2 ½ knots. The first hour of the incoming tide is also good as long as the speed of the current stays below 2 ½.
“I like the speed closer to two knots, especially in the last hour of the falling tide,” Bizzell said.
This isn’t finesse fishing. Bizzell uses stout rods and 5000-series spinning rods, 50-pound line, 80-pound leaders, and a 5- to 6-ounce pyramid sinker on each rig. Hooks around 8/0 are the norm, and Bizzell uses a sliding rig, which allows the sinker to slide freely up and down the leader.
“This lets the big redfish pick up the bait without feeling the weight of that sinker,” Bizzell said.
Using his depth finder, Bizzell (803-603-2781) finds a nice pile of rocks and anchors down. He said it’s important to be on top of structure, but with all the rock piles in the area, it’s not important to look for the perfect spot.
“These fish move through here in waves, looking for food, so you might go 10 minutes without a bite, then all of a sudden, you have a bite on all your rods at the same time,” he said.
For bait, Bizzell has been using mostly cut bait, and the redfish aren’t all that particular about what they’re biting, as long as it’s fresh.
“You shouldn’t toss out a hunk of bait, and just leave it for 30 minutes. About 10 minutes is as long as I want one piece of bait to sit. After that, it loses its smell, and it’s just not as attractive to the fish,” he said.
With four rods in rod holders waiting on a bite, Bizzell and his clients spend their time with smaller spinning rods and 2500-series reels, catching baitfish by jigging pieces of shrimp or cut squid. This adds to the fishing enjoyment and ensures they have the freshest bait available.
“And the real fun starts,” said Bizzell, “when a bull red hits the bait on one of those smaller rods.”
Bizzell said these bull reds should continue to bite well for at least the next six weeks.