Late March and early April are transition times for the weather and inshore fishing patterns in the Charleston area. What that means to anglers like Capt. Stephen Fields of Fields Fishing Charters is that the fishing can be just as hot from one day to the next, but it will take some trial and error because what works one day may not work the next. This is typical this time of year because a few days of warm weather are usually interrupted by a cold front, rain or windy weather, all of which have an impact on the fish. Fields said knowing a few strategies will keep anglers on the redfish until the weather becomes more stable.
When the wind is blowing to the point that it makes casting difficult, Fields (843-412-6811) likes to focus on docks that are protected from the wind. He finds a small creek or a stretch of shoreline that offers a windbreak, then casts to those docks, either with live bait or with a Z-Man PaddlerZ. Mud minnows have been the ticket on his most recent trips, and Fields said dragging the bait on the bottom has been the best way to entice a bite.
On a nice, blue sky, warm-weather day, Fields likes to concentrate on the mud flats. He said a lot of redfish are visible in the shallows and the edge of the shallows where the water depth begins dropping.
“They are usually at that edge of the dropoff, but sometimes they’ll be shallow, so I like to anchor far enough away that I don’t spook them,” he said. “I see a lot of anglers go in too shallow, and they run right over the fish. Whatever you do, anchor so that you can cast tight to the bank or grass line and then drag your lure all the way to the drop off.”
When a cold front comes through after a few days of nice weather, Fields said anglers should look for deeper pockets, especially those just off the flats. He targets the fish in these areas with Z-Man soft plastics and a freshwater bass lure, a LIVETARGET BaitBall Rattlebait. “This is a lure the redfish around here aren’t seeing a lot of, and they respond to it really well,” he said.
Fields stresses that anglers need to familiarize themselves with the areas they fish through maps as well as electronics. A lot of anglers unknowingly scatter fish out of their holes simply because they don’t know what the terrain looks like under the surface, he said.