With deer season cranking up in South Carolina’s Lowcountry in mid-August, many outdoorsmen are trading in their fishing rods for a shot at a velvet buck, but for those who stay on the water, they’re in for some hot redfish action that many anglers overlook.
Guide Rob Bennett of Lowcountry Inshore Charters said with a shortage of shrimp for most of this year, this August should be even better than most as the late shrimp finally flood into the creeks and inlets around Charleston, John’s Island and other areas along the state’s southern coast.
“Menhaden and mud minnows are the predominant baitfish throughout much of the summer, especially this year because of the unusually low shrimp numbers. But now that the shrimp are showing up, the redfish bite really gets hot. It’s probably my favorite month to fish for them, despite the heat,” said Bennett (843-367-3777).
Bennett suggests hooking a live shrimp on a 1/0 Kahle hook under a popping cork with a 2-foot leader of 30-pound fluorocarbon, then casting it around oyster beds. He said it’s especially effective on the incoming tide. He uses 7-foot,medium to medium-light spinning rods with 2000 to 3000 class reels.
With plenty of oyster shells in these areas, Bennett said anglers can narrow down some of the best spots by keeping one thing in mind. As the tide starts to come in, he said finding an inlet with a long, sandy bank, then focusing on the first set of oysters you see is a good bet. But don’t get too close to these oysters. As the tide comes in, the redfish will flock to these shelly areas, and they can be a little wary.
“I like to anchor down about 30 feet away from that first set of oysters after the sandy bank and cast to the shells. You can let your cork float along, then pop it back toward the boat as you reel,” he said. “And as the tide comes in, you can change your depth quickly if you’re using a clip-on popping cork instead of a fixed one. Once the bite turns on, you’re not going to want to waste time re-tying just to adjust your depth.”
While the bite is hot, Bennett said many of these fish are in the lower range of the slot, so he advises anglers looking to take a fish or two home for dinner shouldn’t put the first keeper in the box. With patience, anglers can take home some upper-slot sized fish as long as their limit isn’t already on ice.