"Cast into that structure. If you get stuck, that's okay, but there should be some fish in there," Capt. Rick Percy of Reel Chance Charters in Beaufort told one of his fishermen late last week while fishing in a creek near Parris Island Point. His client did as instructed, and soon after, set the hook on a fish.
"When you find a high bluff bank, downed trees and deep holes all in the same spot, the fish are there," said Percy. His clients proved him correct, sticking around that spot and catching a variety of species, including redfish, speckled trout, and black drum.
Percy said anglers can find an unlimited number of places just like that one throughout the Lowcountry.
"Even a small section as big as a house... if it has high banks, timber and deep holes nearby, that's a good spot to fish," he said.
Percy has been catching all three species on several different baits, including live shrimp and soft-plastic lures like Vudu Shrimp, Norton Sand Eel Jr's, and MirrOlure Li’l Johns. Percy said once anglers find a spot like this, they can count on catching trout and both drum species if they have the right plan.
"This time of year, the redfish like to hold tight to woody structure like downed trees. Some days, they are right next to them and it's easy to get your lure hung up, but it's worth the risk. Black drum like to hang out in the same spots, so you're likely to hook one of them from time to time," Percy said. "A little further out from those trees, look for the water to deepen, sometimes drastically. This is where the trout will be."
For the drum and trout, it doesn't take a whole lot of work from the angler once the cast has been made.
"Just let it lie still for a few minutes. Then reel in a little and let it lie still a few more minutes. Repeat this process, spending more time with the bait or lure sitting still than moving," he said.
Percy and his clients have had good luck fishing on the bottom with Carolina rigs and while fishing under popping corks on light spinning tackle. The popping corks have been especially effective near grass lines, and Percy encourages anglers to cast close to the grass, then allow the cork to move with the current, opening the bail to let line out as needed.
Aside from the timber, high banks, and deep holes, Percy (803-535-6166) said sticking to areas with clean water is another good tip for anglers. He will even leave an area without casting a single time if he pulls up and sees the water is dirtier than normal.