The tide turns for Romain reds

Redfish in the Cape Romain region will feed heavily after dead-low tide, when cooler, clearer water pours in from the ocean.

Clearing, cooling water is perfect spot to break out a spinnerbait

While many inshore fisheries slow down when August’s heat peaks, Cape Romain’s redfish are far from taking a break in the action. With tons of baitfish inside the estuaries, redfish never have to look very far to satisfy their hunger, especially near the inlets on rising water.

Matt Bellamy of Captain Matt’s Saltwater Charters loves to steer his boat into Cape Romain’s waters during the hottest days of the summer, because the redfish fire off around a tide turn.

“The water gets real hot during the summer, but the incoming tide brings in fresh water, and it triggers a bite,” said Bellamy (843-568-8203). “I have watched the water temperature go from 90 to 87 degrees on incoming water.”

The Cape Romain region — including the Romain River, Muddy Bay, Five Fathom Creek and the Harbor River — get ocean water immediately after the tide switches over, and they can be fabulous places to find feeding reds in August. Bellamy looks for reds along these main bays and creeks near the ocean.

“Any the bays and creeks that have an immediate effect from incoming water will (have) a strong bite. I target rip lines, little feeder creek mouths and any grass flats near oyster beds,” he said.

Since reds are so aggressive after the tide change, lures that catch their eye will draw them in to investigate. Bellamy pulls a bladed lure just under the surface.

“I reel a spinnerbait up top and make a wake behind it. They cannot stand it and will crush it as soon as they see it,” he said.

Bellamy normally ties on a Strike King Redfish Magic spinnerbait, removing the soft-plastic trailer that comes with it and replacing it with a Gulp swimming mullet.

“I get flash and the stinky bait to entice them more,” said Bellamy, who will fish grass edges and, as the tide gets higher, the  interior of the grass jungle. The weedless spinnerbait moves efficiently through these areas and perfectly mimics a mullet desperately trying to escape.

As the tide continues to rush in, the once-dingy waters begin to run clear, allowing anglers the chance to see reds do their thing.

“Always be on the lookout on rising water in these grass flats near the inlets; reds will be chasing bait, and when you can see them, it makes it easy to put the lure in the perfect place,” he said.

An aggressive feed can open up the doors to a variety of artificial lures. Bellamy will take the opportunity to catch a red on a topwater lure early in the morning before the sun rises.

“It’s hard to beat a Top Dog or Zara Spook at daybreak on incoming water at these places near the inlet. It can be real good this time of year,” he says.

About Jeff Burleson 1311 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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