Castle Pinckney flounder

Live bait in shallow water is the key

Castle Pinckney is a familiar sight to anglers and boaters in South Carolina’s lowcountry. Many anglers pass it right by, never thinking of dropping a lure or bait along its banks. But that’s a mistake, according to Capt. Addison Rupert of Lowcountry Outdoor Adventures.

Even in the heat of summer, said Rupert, this is a great place to hook some flounder. Working your bait slowly is key though, even more so than during the spring or fall. Even better than working it slow, Rupert suggests anglers put their live mud minnow or menhaden under a popping cork.

“You don’t have to pop it or work it like normal. Just let it sit, and the baitfish will do most of the work for you,” he said.

The current will also move the cork some, adding a bit of action to the baitfsh. And when you’re ready to reel it back in, use a slow retrieve, and don’t be surprised if a fish hits right at the boat.

“This area has everything flounder want. They like the rocky structure, they like the flooded grass. If you make a circle around the whole ilsland, you can catch them just about anywhere,” he said.

Rupert said many anglers give up fishing for flounder as the morning ends and the sun gets up high. But he finds these fish will eat even during the hottest part of the day, especially if the tide is moving and not completely slack.

Bank on it

Spinning reels in 2500 to 3500 size are adequate, and 15-pound test line is more than enough. Rupert (843-557-3476) likes to use a fluorocarbon leader between the cork and the hook. Medium to medium-heavy rods work great, and he said many anglers increase their hookup ratio by leaving the rod in the rodholder until the fish engulfs the baitfish fully, putting a bend in the rod that makes it unmistakable that a fish is on the line.

Many of the flounder will bite when your bait is very close to the bank during the high tide cycle. Rupert said it’s best to find the deeper holes around the island during low tide.

“They’ll stay as close as they can to those weedlines and rock piles at low tide. They want to get back to those as soon as the incoming tide allows. But when it’s dead low tide, they’ll find the deepest holes as close to Castle Pinckney as they can find,” he said.

Even if you don’t plan on spending a long time here, Rupert said it’s a great place to start the day, especially if the incoming tide coincides with the sunrise.

“Any low light conditions will make this spot even better. Cloudy days, early in the morning, late in the evening, unusually overcast days, these are all prime times to fish Castle Pinckney,” he said. “But even on the brightest day, if you have a little patience and some lively bait, you’ll catch your share of flounder here.”

Rupert said anglers also shouldn’t be surprised if they hook into a redfish, black drum or speckled trout here.

“They all eat pretty much the same things and like to be around the same type of cover. It’s a nice bonus to catch one of those other species,” he said.

About Brian Cope 2762 Articles
Brian Cope is the editor of Carolina Sportsman. He has won numerous awards for his writing, photography, and videography. He is a retired Air Force combat communications technician, and has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of South Carolina. You can reach him at

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