The recent cool weather hasn’t put a dent in the inshore fishing around Charleston, according to Capt. Kevin Blair of Charleston Fish Rod Bending Company. In fact, it continues to be excellent.
“We’ve had some good catches of redfish and trout,” said Blair (843-696-4231). “The fish are cruising the edges of oyster beds and grass in search of easy prey.”
Blair is targeting schooling reds on flats and in creeks that feed the in the Wando and Cooper rivers. He’s been concentrating on the low end of the tide cycle and has been using a variety of artificial and cut baits.
As far as artificials go, Blair has been fishing Z-Man swim baits in redbone in stained water and smoky shad in clear water, along with D.O.A. swimbaits in clear color with pink flecks in clean water or root beer in stained water. He’s been fishing the soft-plastic baits on light jigheads and flutter hooks.
If the artificials aren’t working, Blair will switch to cut mullet and blue crabs on a 3/0 circle hook with just enough split-shots to hold the bait on the bottom.
“The reds get wary this time of year,” Blair said, “so if the fish pick up the bait and drop it, then it's time to downsize the rigs.”
Blair said finding schools of reds and sight-casting to them has been very productive.
Blair also said that speckled trout are biting in moving water near drop-offs and channel ledges in 8 to 15 feet of water.
"We have been ‘dead sticking’ D.O.A. shrimp and Z-Man Streak Z's for those fish,” Blair said, fishing baits on a 1/8- to 1/16-ounce jighead or flutter hooks, casting upcurrent and letting it drift downcurrent without adding any action.
“I usually experiment with hopping the bait or just lifting it off the bottom every 15 seconds or so until it draws a strike,” said Blair, who will do the same thing with a live bait fished on a long leader under a popping cork.