Target lowcountry redfish around docks

Throughout March, lowcountry anglers catch plenty of redfish by probing docks, especially during low tide. (Picture by Brian Cope)

Live bait, docks are keys to catching lowcountry redfish

March is a huge transition period for inshore fishing in South Carolina’s lowcountry, with characteristics of both winter and spring showing throughout the month. Capt. Ben Powers of Reel Time Charters in Charleston, S.C. said one of the most consistent bites comes while fishing under docks.

The big schools of redfish will begin to break up soon, but they’re still on a mission to stay safe from dolphins, who continue to feed heavily on them until the spring influx of other fish offers more to their diet.

“This time of year, fishing tight to dock pilings, especially at low tide, is a great option. The redfish will hide under those docks and stay close to the pilings. They’re trying to stay warm and to hide from the dolphins,” said Powers (843-475-9660).

Powers uses his shallow water anchor to hold him in position so his anglers can make casts deep under docks. He suggests using live mud minnows or live shrimp, and he hooks them on Ralph Phillips jigheads.

Give ‘em time

“Carolina rigs are more difficult to fish under the docks and around those pilings. Casting is more difficult because of the way the weight is positioned so far above the hook. But with the bait hooked onto a jighead, it’s much easier to cast,” he said.

He prefers a slow retrieve, and often allows the bait to just sit on the bottom for several seconds without reeling at all.

“This gives those redfish time to sense the bait and to pick it up. But you have to stay ready because as soon as a redfish feels any resistance, he’s going to immediately try to wrap you around the pilings and break your line,” he said.

Powers said anglers need to be fairly aggressive then, doing everything they can to guide and power the fish from those pilings. And he said anglers will sometimes pick up a bonus species or two when fishing under docks this time of year.

“You’ll definitely catch your share of redfish, but it’s not uncommon to hook into a black drum or sheepshead also. These docks are great spots. Just be there at low tide, use live bait on jigheads, and cast as tight as you can to the pilings. Then be ready to muscle them out when they bite,” he said.

About Brian Cope 2800 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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