Bluefish and Spanish mackerel are biting around the nearshore reefs out of Charleston and Edisto, and the best way to catch them has been trolling Clark Spoons and deep-running plugs. The Edisto 40 reef has been especially hot lately, but other reefs in the area are also producing.

“The fishing has really been incredible these past couple of weeks, and trolling in 40 to 60 feet of water around these reefs is the best way to catch both the Spanish and the bluefish, which are averaging anywhere from 3 to 7 pounds,” said Capt. Rob Bennett of Lowcountry Inshore Charters.

Bennett said going to these nearshore reefs with a number of lipped crankbaits like MirrOLures and Rebels, as well as No. 0 and 00 Clark Spoons is all it takes to fill a limit, but he said anglers will do themselves a big favor by not putting too many of these lures out at one time.

“Even with five or six anglers in the boat, it’s best to troll no more than two rods at a time. Once you get a couple of lures out and start trolling them, the fish are biting right away. Having more than two rods out is just going to result in lines getting tangled up,” said Bennett (843-367-3777).

Anglers have long heard the saying that the early bird gets the worm, and that is especially true for these fish, according to Bennett.

“The bite is especially hot during the first two to three hours of the morning. Once the sun gets up, the bite is slowing down considerably,” he said.

Bennett has a solution for anglers who struggle to hook and land Spanish mackerel due to the fish’s sharp teeth and their leader-shy behavior.

“Using an 18-inch wire leader is going to significantly cut down on the number of bites you get, but not using wire will result in getting broken off more. I solve this by using a really short, 30- to 40-pound wire leader. I only make it about three or four inches long, then use a 6-foot leader of 30- to 40-pound fluorocarbon,” he said. This gives anglers the best of both worlds in terms of strength and invisibility.