Look early, look deep for Georgetown, S.C., redfish

When summer heat spikes, look to the first few hours after dawn and to deeper water for Georgetown spot-tails.

Hot weather moves redfish into deeper water

Sunshine dominates the longest days of the year in the waters around Georgetown, S.C. And with high temperatures and humidity being the norm, anglers need to change their habits for the best fishing action.

Typically redfish are homebodies, living in the marshes in the same creeks and flats for most of the summer. But the hot water will stress them, pushing them into the deeper channels and main creeks.

Jordan Pate of Carolina Guide Service, a native of Pawleys Island, fishes plenty of different waters. But those around Georgetown are his favorites for redfish.

“While you can still find some spot-tails in the shallows around Georgetown, I tend to stay away from them when it gets real hot. I fish the deeper water around oyster points, ledges, and eddy water,”  said Pate (843-814-7900). “You also catch larger reds in these deeper spots.”

Deeper areas will have cooler water and plenty of places for spot-tails to ambush bait. And while the lower end of the tide is often the best, these areas will hold fish in all phases of the tide.

Areas like these hold quality redfish this month

Winyah Bay offers deeper water on the shell banks lining the shipping channel. And the primary creeks that dump into North Inlet are great areas. Shell banks are a favorite redfish spot during the summer, and for good reason. The string of spoil islands are loaded with oyster bars and hard structure between the shipping channel and the shallow waters of Muddy Bay. Reds will set up along the cuts and next to the sparse grass lines, waiting for baitfish and shrimp to get swept out of Muddy Bay.

Pate leaves the dock long before many anglers wake up. The first few hours of daylight remain the best time to be on the water when it comes to spot-tails.

“I get early starts every day,” Pate said. “I always start my day casting topwater plugs to grass edges and oyster points. I’m usually hunting a gator speckled trout at dawn on top. But I have caught some fat redfish early in the morning, too.”

Some inshore species will feed at night during the summer, especially around the full moon. But fishing for many species is better with some light on the water. Cooler water makes a huge difference, even if only be a few degrees cooler at dawn.

Redfish feed on small fish and shrimp during the summer. A wide variety of lures and baits can entice a spot-tail, especially when the estuaries are packed with a buffet of options.

When not throwing topwater lures at dawn, Pate will be throwing some type of soft plastic on a jighead. He prefers a Fluke-style lure in Gulp! or other brands.

Try these tips when the redfish just won’t cooperate.

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Jeff Burleson
About Jeff Burleson 1399 Articles
Jeff Burleson is a native of Lumberton, N.C., who lives in Myrtle Beach, S.C. He graduated from N.C. State University with a degree in fisheries and wildlife sciences and is a certified biologist and professional forester for Southern Palmetto Environmental Consulting.