Bonneau guide shares surf fishing tips for catching the inshore slam

Location is the key

The inshore slam – catching a flounder, redfish and speckled trout on the same trip – is not as easy task any time. Joe Dennis, a fishing guide from Bonneau, feels like October and November present the best chances from to accomplish the feat, and he prefers doing it with his feet in the surf.

“Most saltwater anglers after the inshore slam immediately think of using a boat, and that’s certainly the most-popular way,” Dennis said. “A boat provides mobility, but if you find the right conditions all in one place, we do it consistently in the surf. We accomplish the inshore slam consistently in October and November, and recently, my clients scored a slam on four straight trips.”

Dennis (843-245-3762) said he relies on certain keys for success that must be present to accomplish this from the surf.

“For surf-fishing the slam, I am focused on one place, and I know of many places that are ideal from Edisto to Georgetown,” he said. “The first requirement is something that causes a current change; it can be an opening of a bay, river or inlet where the tidal currents will form eddies because of current changes where two different flows of water meet. This attracts baitfish, (and) that in turn attracts the species we’re trying to catch.

“The second is one that makes a huge different, and that’s to fish a dropping tide,” Dennis said. “On a high tide, bait seems to really congregate near the shore in these places, and when the tide starts to drop, the flounder, reds and trout will gorge on them. We just keep moving out as the tide falls and work the dropping water.

“Another key point is I pick a place that’s close to deeper water,” he said. “It doesn’t have to be dramatic, but as the tide drops, I like to be standing in the surf in maybe three feet of water casting to at least 10 feet or even slightly deeper.”

Catching an inshore slam in the surf is a distinct possibility in October and November, according to guide Joe Dennis, who said the flounder segment of the slam is the toughest to come up with.

Dennis said that along with nearby deeper water, some obstructions such as small rock jetties or an underwater sandbar point that causes water current to change will be ideal holding places for fish.

“The bait will gather there, and so will the fish we’re after,” Dennis said. “The trick here is to work along the cover without getting snagged, but being close to it will vastly improve your odds of success.

“One final thing is to vary your baits to better your odds of catching all three species. Sometime, I’ll catch all three using just mud minnows. Flounder are generally the hardest to catch, and mud minnows or small finger mullet are great for flounder. For trout, I often use live bait under a popping cork with about a 3-foot leader, or I‘ll use the artificial lure called a Live Target Shrimp. Also for trout, just as the tide starts to drop and fish get active, I’ll use topwater lures around the eddies, or if there are some rocks nearby, a Zara Spook will work great on trout. For reds, any of the above will work, but sometimes I’ll also have rod rigged with cut bait such as mullet or menhaden secured with a rod holder in the sand with the drag set light. Odds are good we’re going to hook up with some reds one way or the other.”

Dennis said his basic rig consists of spinning gear with 17-pound line and a 3/0 circle hook tied to the leader. Above that, he uses a ½-ounce bullet type weight.

“I cast it out as far as I can and work it back in slowly,” he said. “A flounder bite will be different, just a light tap. I’ll give it a few sends, then start reeling and let the circle hook do its job. The trout and reds are much more aggressive, and you’ll know that you need to immediately set the hook or they’ll just take it on the run.”

Dennis said these unique situations occur all along the coast and offer anglers a realistic chance at the inshore slam without ever launching a boat.

About Terry Madewell 812 Articles
Award-winning writer and photographer Terry Madewell of Ridgeway, S.C., has been an outdoors writer for more than 30 years. He has a degree in wildlife and fisheries management and has a long career as a professional wildlife biologist/natural resources manager.

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