Broad River redfish eating like it’s Thanksgiving every day

Guide Charlie Beadon can’t think of a better time to target redfish than November and December. (Photo by Brian Cope)

Lowcountry redfish are feeding up

With shorter days and cooler temperatures at hand, the redfish in South Carolina’s Lowcountry begin to gorge on baitfish and shrimp. They’re feeding up for the winter, and they’re also beginning to gang up in large schools.

Charlie Beadon of Beaufort Fishing Adventures said this is probably his favorite month to catch reds.

“Between now and December, this is my favorite time of the year to fish,” he said. “The crisp, cool temperatures make a day on the water more enjoyable. And the fishing is as good as it gets. These short days get the redfish feeding heavily, preparing for the winter when bait will be scarce in comparison.”

Some of Beadon’s favorite places to target redfish in November include the mud flats off of the Broad River between Paris Island and Hilton Head Island.

“These schools are great for fly-fishing. But they are just as good for live baits, as well as artificial lures like soft plastics on jigheads,” said Beadon (843-592-0897, who) prefers targeting these schooling fish as the tide is falling through dead-low tide, when redfish are forced out of the grass.

Keep your distance, cast to front of schools

The water is usually clearing up considerably in November, which makes the reds feel vulnerable to predators like dolphins. They seek safety in numbers, which is one reason they school so tightly.

“At low tide, they’re forced to stay in the shallowest parts of the creeks and rivers,” Beadon said. “Otherwise, they’ll become dolphin food. So it’s easy to find them at low tide. Even if you don’t see the fish, you’ll see signs of them, like rippling water on the surface or big V-shapes as they push along.”

Once anglers find the schools, it’s just a matter of keeping your distance and making casts to the front of the school.

“You want to stay as far away as you can, while still being able to make a cast to the lead fish in the school. Casting into the middle will break up the school, and then you’ll have to find them again,” Beadon said.

When it comes to lures, Beadon said it’s tough to beat a 3-inch Gulp! shrimp on a 1/4-ounce jighead.

“Once you make the cast, you want to fish it slowly, so slowly that you’ll think you can’t slow down anymore,” he said. “And then, slow down even more. It’s usually one of the lead fish that will pick it up. But if they swim past it, as long as you’re just barely moving it, one of the fish farther back will often grab it.”

When that happens, it can cause an eruption that will shock even the most experienced anglers.

“Hooking into one farther back in the school can disrupt them, but that’s not as bad as casting into the middle. When you cast into the middle, they’ll break up, and you won’t hook anything,” he said.

And if they do break up, just move on down the bank, looking for another school.

“Those that break up will slowly filter back together. And these fish are hungry, so they’re going to bite,” he said.

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About Brian Cope 2051 Articles
Brian Cope is the editor of CarolinaSportsman.com. 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 brianc@sportsmannetwork.com.

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