For South Carolina fishermen, summer is in full swing, and it is unbearably hot, but the solid redfish and flounder bite around Georgetown’s Winyah Bay will take your mind off the sizzling conditions.
According to Jordan Pate of Carolina Guide Service in Georgetown, the shallow-water bite has picked up because of an influx of small shrimp in the remote tidewaters.
“Over the last week, the reds and flounder have shifted into the shallows,” said Pate (843-608-8307). “The grass shrimp are piling in there, and the reds and flounder are gorging on them. There’s a lot more shrimp in there than normally this time of year.”
From Debordieu to the Santee Delta, Pate is seeing similar activity, with fish moving into the shallows, chasing these wads of shrimp across the mud and shell-covered creeks. While Pate is taking advantage of as much daylight as he can, the low, rising tide is his preferred tide to catch these fish under these conditions.
While the traditional Carolina rig is productive, Pate is using jigheads tipped with live minnows for a quicker take and more hookups.
“Mud minnows on a ¼- or 3/8-ounce jighead are not only easy to cast accurately; they are working very well in the shallow water for both redfish and flounder,” said Pate, who will use brightly -colored Flukes in white or chartreuse behind the jighead.
“Anything bright seems to work very well when live minnows aren’t available,” Pate said.
Another situation that may be helping drive the reds and flounder back into the shallows is the presence of bull sharks. On several occasions, Pate has pulled into some of his favorite creeks and has seen bull sharks roaming from edge to edge, corralling the reds and flounder in the back of the creek.
“The bull sharks are thick right now all over the Winyah Bay area, and they are pinning groups of fish in the backs of small ditches and attacking our fish at the boat. We are seeing more bull sharks lately than many, many years,” he said.
According to Pate, bull sharks associate boats with an opportunity to feed. They will hang out near the boats and attack a hooked fish being fought.
“Many of our local captains are reporting sharks chasing fish back to the boat or hanging right at the boat to take your fish right as you bring them next to the gunwales,” Pate said.