According to redfish tournament champ Glenn Finley, the vast expanses of marsh, creeks, bays and sounds around Georgetown, S.C., are the closest match he has seen to the popular redfish meccas of south Louisiana.
The average redfish found in the estuary marshes will fall between 3 and 7 pounds. Fishing is excellent year-round, but locals will point to the fall as the best season for chasing tailing fish, especially during full-moon high tides when fish invade the grass flats in search of crabs.
Four river systems feed the estuaries of Winyah Bay: the Pee Dee, Waccamaw, Black and Sampit rivers. The perfect combination of oxygen and salinity makes for a healthy ecosystem that supports an abundance of wildlife above and below the water’s surface.
A lack of fishing pressure, due in large part to the remoteness of the area, allows redfish to act like redfish. The jetties at the mouth of Winyah Bay are a hot spot for all species of inshore fish and offer a great opportunity in the fall to target bull redfish that reach 40 pounds or better.
“It’s a beautiful area, and let me tell you, there are plenty of redfish around here that rarely see a lure,” Finley said. “It can be a little tricky to navigate because so many of the sandbars in the rivers and the bay itself move around due to the tidal flows. The best advice is to pick an area that is accessible from the ICW, learn it and then work around from there.”
Just south of Winyah Bay is the Santee River delta, which also offers many inshore and nearshore redfishing opportunities. During the fall, mullet begin their annual migration from these rivers, and hungry reds are never far behind, waiting to take advantage of the large amount of baitfish that move around in late summer.