Redfish are biting in Little River area

redfish
Redfish like this are a dime a dozen in the Little River area throughout February. (Picture by Brandon Huskins)

From Dunn Sound and upper Calabash River to the large flats behind Bird Island, Little River is small. But it has plenty of winter habitat to satisfy a large fishery of redfish.

Redfish congregate in large winter schools. Guide Brandon Huskins of Any Tide Charters prefers conditions that allow for a 2–3-degree temperature increase that occurs during the middle of the day.

“With the right shallow draft boat, you can get to where the fish are in winter,” Huskins said. (843-877-7068) “In February, I find redfish schooled up in potholes in the back of creeks.”

“Anytime you have a low tide in the middle of the day with full sun is the best time to target reds in winter,” he said.

The sun will quickly heat up the dark mud and the shallow waters on low tide.

“Two to 3 degrees warmer is a huge difference to a fish,” he said.

Huskins sets up in an area an hour or two before low tide and allows the fish to fall out of the shallower spots and come right to him.

“The fish will either be in the potholes, or they will be feeding along oyster bars or sand flats that lead up to the potholes,” he said.

Use a slow presentation

The creeks aren’t flush with food as they were several months ago. But some mullet and mud minnows overwinter in these creeks. So the reds are not too picky, but expect a slow presentation under these conditions.

“Mud minnows on a jig head are great. But fresh shrimp off one of the local shrimp boats can work well,” he said.

While a live swimming minnow is ideal, artificial lures will produce excellent returns if fished correctly.

Huskins likes lightly-weighted Ned Heads with small Z-Man soft plastics.

“I cast over there and wiggle it or bounce it a little bit and if they are going to eat, they will take it,” he said.

Winter redfish can be an exciting time to fish because 20-30 fish days are common without moving the boat. And redfish are homebodies as long as they don’t get run out of the house. Expect the fish to routinely come to the same potholes every day for a week or two until the tides or something else pushes them out.

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About Jeff Burleson 1272 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.

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