An influx of baitfish and warming temps cranks up the inshore bite
Baitfish begin flooding back into South Carolina’s inshore waters this month. And as the water continues to warm, the speckled trout and redfish get a little more aggressive. Capt. Stephen Flook of Unashamed Adventures said it’s a great time to catch both species.
“The trout will be back in good numbers and they’ll get more aggressive. The redfish will break up out of the big schools they’ve been in since winter, and the bite will continue to get better and better each day through the spring,” said Flook (864-430-8830).
Winter fishing along the coast was quite good, but the bite will pick up this month.
“Bait is always scarce in the winter, and the fish have a very small selection. So as the bait returns in the spring and the water temps warm up, it will really get the trout and redfish fired up,” he said.
With the redfish breaking out of their big schools, Flook said anglers will still find plenty willing to bite. They just won’t be so bunched up in a few masses.
“The redfish will be more spread out. But you’ll still find them if you focus on oyster bars, any place with current or structure. Any kind of points and docks, especially around the middle outgoing to low tide to an afternoon incoming are good times. As we move through spring, the water temperatures get warmer as the day goes on. So look for that afternoon bite to be a good one on those tides,” he said.
For bait, Flook said any kind of live bait is good. But he doesn’t abandon artificials.
“This time of year, I’ll always have some live bait with me. And I’ll also throw Z-Man MinnowZ on 1/8-ounce Eye Strike Trout Eye jigheads. The slam shady is a good color. Tater salad and pearl blue glimmer are also colors I like to throw,” he said.
Flook likes to pair those selections up with a 15- to 17-pound fluorocarbon leader tied to 10-pound braided mainline on a 7-foot, medium spinning rod. This time of year, he varies his retrieve until he finds what the fish want.
“I like to bump the bottom. Do a nice, slow, steady retrieve. Give it a couple of pops, a couple of twitches. If that doesn’t work then we’ll speed it up a little bit and try to keep it in the middle of the water column. This time of year, it can change from day to day, so you have to switch it up until you find where the fish are,” he said.