As summer begins to fade and water temperatures begin their annual descent, inshore anglers can get plenty of mileage from a wide variety of species. Success is just a cast away with redfish, flounder and speckled trout all hungry, but often, the catching window is short especially during the tail end of summer. Anglers need to be rigged and ready with a full selection of options to get the best out of the brief opportunities.
A prime example is redfish on the tailing flats. Greg Holmes of Fish Skinny Guide Service in North Myrtle Beach checks for tailing reds on the short-grassed flats every time the moon’s gravity pushes an extra couple of feet of water into the backwaters.
“These tailing reds will show up right in front of you, unexpectedly, and you have to be ready to make an accurate cast fast. The opportunities are short in a tailing situation,” says Holmes (843-241-0594). “But the fish may not want to eat what you are offering. I keep several rods rigged on standby with different baits, lures and colors to make sure I get something in front of them they will eat.”
Holmes keeps several baits tied on different rods: a jerk shad on worm hook, a Z-Man Blue Crab, and sometimes a chunk of fresh mullet or blue crab.
“The fish don’t always react the same way, and I make sure I have all of my options covered,” he said.
Speckled trout are plentiful from the late summer well into the winter. While they will eat about anything on a hot bite, they will often seem quite selective, and anglers need to have tons of options available to make a bend in the graphite.
The main diet of speckled trout consists of shrimp, mullet and menhaden. They are primarily sight-feeders, and the color, shapes, sizes and movements of a chosen lure must entice them enough to bring them in for a bite. Holmes uses a variety of baitfish and shrimp imitations from Vudu and Billy Bay to MirrOlures, Rapala crankbaits, screw-tail grubs, and paddletail grubs. And if they are “barking on the roof” as he calls it, a topwater plug is never a bad option to have rigged and ready on standby.
“Different presentations work better at different times. I will have a popping cork rigged up with a Vudu shrimp and then just a Vudu shrimp free tied on the end of my line,” he said.
Sometimes one method works much better than another.
“I am always prepared to change lures or tactics when fishing for trout, redfish, flounder or anything, for that matter,” Holmes said. “You never know when a small change in lure type, color or action will turn the fish on. I always have multiple rods rigged up with different options to maximize my chances of getting hooked.”