Lowcountry redfish love moving water in summer

This redfish bit for one of Capt. Garrett Lacy’s clients just as the tide began dropping out of a small feeder creek into the main waterway. (Picture by Garrett Lacy)

Forget the temperature and fish the tides for summer redfish

Redfish are some of the most resilient fish in South Carolina waterways. They feel the heat just like the rest of us — and the rest of the fish — but it doesn’t stop them from biting. Garrett Lacy of Charleston Fishing Adventures pays more attention to the tides than the temperature, because he said the redfish do the same thing.

“The redfish bite is much more dependent on moving water than the temperature, no matter how hot or cold the weather is,” said Lacy (843-478-8216). “Of course, if you can catch a moving tide at daybreak or sunset, all the better. But when that doesn’t work out, it’s no reason to give up on these fish.”

Lacy especially enjoys fishing on the outgoing tide. He said the redfish bite in Lowcountry waters is predictable when the water is falling out of smaller creeks that empty into the main waterway.

“The redfish get back in these small creeks during high tide for a couple of reasons,” he said. “It’s a good hiding place from dolphins, and high tide is also the only time they have access to these creeks and the food that’s in them. They’re full of baitfish and crabs, and redfish flock to them when they get the chance.”

Meet them at the check-out line

And as the tide falls out of these creeks, redfish feel a sense of urgency to feed, knowing it will be several hours before the meals come easy again. Lacy sets up within casting distance of the mouth of one of these creeks, then casts either live bait or cut bait right into spots where the fish leave the small creeks and enter the main waterways. He uses spinning reels with 15- to 20-pound braided line and Carolina rigs with 3/4- to 1-ounce sinkers and 3/0 circle hooks on fluorocarbon leaders.

While leaving the smaller creeks, redfish react the same way grocery store shoppers do when they see a candy bar or pack of gum conveniently located in the check-out line.

Lacy said the same fish will also eagerly eat in these same areas on the incoming tide. They’ll wait at the mouth of the creek, ready to devour whatever they can find as soon as the water rises enough to give them access. Many of them haven’t eaten much since the last tide change, and a meal placed in front of them won’t last long.

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 brianc@sportsmannetwork.com.

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