There’s been more than enough rain along the Brunswick County coast this fall to put a damper on inshore fishing, but so far, it hasn’t. Guide Mark Dickson of Shallow-Minded Guide Service said last week’s cold snap appeared to make redfish, flounder and speckled trout even hungrier.
“We’ve already had a good fall, and the fishing is still getting better,” Dickson said. “We’ve been concentrating on the flounder, redfish, red drum and specks, and the fishing and catching have been really good.
Dickson (843-458-3055) said fishermen can choose to target bull redfish and slot-sized redfish, because locations and tactics will be wildly different. The smaller reds are in the backwaters, creeks and along the ICW, around inlets and just out on the surf. The big reds from 35 to 50 inches are following schools of menhaden just off the beach and occasionally entering inlets to feed.
“It’s a totally different deal,” Dickson said. “Redfish are in the backwaters and sometimes mix with flounder and trout. You can handle them well with light tackle. The big red drum used to come to Little River Inlet each fall and would move into the inlet to feed on the rising tide. Beginning last year, we also found them shadowing schools of menhaden as they moved along the ocean beach. Many days the fishing along the beach is better and it’s rare to have to deal with a crowd. The big red drum are big strong fish and you have to step up your game and tackle to catch them successfully.”
Dickson goes with heavier spinning tackle for the big reds, 30-pound line on the reels and 6- to 9-inch menhaden for baits on a Carolina rig that’s made with stronger monofilament for the leader and bigger circle hooks so fish can be landed as quickly as possible and released quickly.
Smaller reds, plus flounder and a growing number of specks have been inside the inlets and around the rock jetties outside Little River Inlet. Dickson said the cooling water has made smaller reds and flounder aggressive, pouncing on mullet minnows and mud minnows fished on Carolina rigs. Trout will occasionally hit the minnows too, but they prefer live shrimp suspended under a float.
Dickson said fish are staging at the mouths of smaller creeks where they meet larger creeks or pour into the ICW. The fishing has usually been better on a falling tied as minnows as flushed out of the backwaters and into the waiting mouths of flounder, redfish and trout.