Despite the bitter cold, anglers are taking advantage of a strong redfish bite in the marshes North Inlet are reaping the rewards with daily double-digit catches. And Capt. Tommy Scarborough of Georgetown Coastal Adventures has been right in the middle of the action.

“Frankly, it has been a little harder to find the fish lately, but the fish are more than happy to eat when I find them,” said Scarborough (843-546-3543). ”I have had mostly fly-rod trips over the past week, and we have been crushing them on flies.”

Toad flies, Merkin crabs and Mighty Minnow patterns have all produced good results for Scarborough, who has also used some Gulp soft-plastic baits on 3/0 circle hooks for his spinning rod anglers and has had very good success as well.

“We are finesse fishing, pulling everything real slow, soft and easy,” said Scarborough, who attributes his recent success to the winter weather that most anglers prefer to avoid. “There has not been a soul out there fishing lately. I have practically had the entire inlet all to myself.”

The frigid weather is doing more for the fishery than keeping the water chilled. It has relieved much of the pressure on these vulnerable residents. In a typical year, by the end of February, redfish have received so much pressure they begin to be very spooky, hard to approach and even harder to catch. That these fish have gotten a break from the winter fishing fleet has demonstrated the need for anglers to lighten the load on their redfish schools to improve fishing.

“There is nothing wrong with catching a half-dozen fish out of a school. You just cannot go to the same places every day, wear them out, and expect them to be there ready to bite again the next day,” Scarborough said.  

Another benefit of the weather is the stained to dingy nature of the water. Crystal-clear water allows reds to see approaching anglers. But they’ll still bite in the off-colored water.

“When it is blowing really badly, the water will milk up some,” Scarborough said. “But the milky water retains heat, and it camouflages you from the fish making it easier to get closer to the fish. You are looking for more pushes than fish; that is all you need to make it happen.”