Redfish are biting in the Wando River, and guide Jim Dodge said the key to catching them is to go big on baits and lures. With plenty of mullet in the creeks, Dodge said they are tough to beat as baits, especially when anchoring down and fishing deep water.
Dodge (843-906-1622) wants to find a deep hole that has a small area slightly shallower than the rest; a depth change of less than a foot is enough to attract redfish.
“They love to find something to relate to like a slight change in depth. The baitfish look for these areas, and the redfish follow them. These small changes give redfish the ability to be in deep water while also being able to hunt for baitfish without having to venture too far,” he said.
Once anchored down, Dodge puts a big mullet on a No. 3/0 circle hook at the end of a Carolina rig with enough weight to keep the rig on the bottom, makes a cast and puts the rod in a rod holder. Using large baits discourages bites from small bait thieves and gives anglers their best shot at catching a bull redfish. He said with this type of fishing, anglers should avoid the temptation of grabbing the rod as soon as they see a bite.
“With these hooks and how aggressive the redfish are, it’s best to let the rod double over before handling the rod. The fish will hook themselves this way,” he said.
Redfish are also being caught in the smaller creeks around the Wando; the trick to catching them here has been using weighted soft-plastic shrimp. Dodge suggests anglers cast close to weed lines, allow the lure to sink completely, and then give the rod one or two quick pops or twitches. Pause to let the lure settle, then pop the rod again. Repeat this until the lure gets bitten or has been worked back to the boat, and then cast again.
With so many good plastic shrimp on the market, Dodge said he likes to use ones that have something distinctive about them. The 6-inch version from Almost Alive Lures has been working well on redfish, especially on the rising tide. Another feature anglers love is that the lure weighs 32 grams, making it quick to sink and allowing anglers to feel it moving along the bottom.
Dodge said time of day has not been much of a factor in catching these fish, as long as the tide is moving.
“Some days it’s better with the incoming tide, and other days it’s better with the outgoing, but as long as you’re fishing when the tide is moving, these fish are biting,” he said.