Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Lowcountry Fishing Report - 2/21/12

Fishing Report for the Coastal Lowcountry of South Carolina:

Charleston Inshore Report:  Bart Manley from the Market Street location of the Charleston Angler tells me that high winds like yesterday can make finding fish a challenge since the redfish are still in schools. Pick calm and sunny days to ensure the best success, and know that water temperatures continue to hover in the upper 50's. For live bait go with blue crab quarters or shrimp fished on Carolina rigs. For artificials the 4-inch Z-man Paddlerz in Smoky Shad color is number one with other dark patterns working well too. For all the latest seminar information visit the Internet at Charleston Angler.

Danny Cisson with a 9-pounder from the Wando River,
while fishing with Capt. Brian Garris
Scott at Haddrell's Point West says that it may only be the latter part of February right now, but anglers are starting to see a springtime pattern in the redfishery. The large winter schools are beginning to split up into smaller pods of fish with 4 to 12 fish each. Many anglers will target these fish in shallow flats, but other anglers are turning in plentiful redfish encounters from the docks, rock piles and jetties. Live shrimp, blue crab and cut mullet are easy and natural baits of choice. If anglers prefer artificials, then Scott refers them to the Yo-Zuri HD shrimp, Gulp jerkshads or Z-man Paddlrez. Sheepshead are being found around bridges and rock piles using fiddler crabs. The trout bite is becoming more consistent around shell rakes in 4 to 7-feet of water. For the latest seminar information visit the Internet at Haddrell's Point.

Captain Brian Garris wants anglers to know that the sheepshead bite is on fire in the Charleston harbor, ICW and Wando River. He is looking for structure like docks and rocks that have lots of barnacles and oysters. Sure the sheepshead are going to eat fiddlers, but Garris says that he is having his best luck with clams on his Owner 1/0 circle hook. Garris says to remember that the bite on a clam is more of a steady pull than the usual bump of a sheepshead, so keep a sharp eye on your line because any movement up current is a good sign that the convict fish is about to steal your bait. The best bite occurs two hours before before and two hours after low tide, and Garris says to keep a shovel on board to rake some shells off the structure and into the water for chum. For gooey chum take several clams, wrap them in something, and then pummel them with a hammer, before dropping them overboard. To fish with Garris and ask him other sneaky ways to get a sheepshead to bite your line call 843-200-9795 or visit the Internet at Reel Deal Charters.

Charleston Offshore Report: Scott tells me that a handful of calm weather days allowed for several different boats to slip out on the big pond. Quality wahoo reports came back with anglers visiting the southwest banks area along the ledge. Some blackfin tuna reports are coming in from the Georgetown Hole, which is always the first sign of the offshore bonanza from that northern locale. If any sportfisher wants to go well South, a hot blackfin bite is going on right now off the Beaufort / Savannah area in the 'triple ledge' and 'deli' formations. Pull smaller baits for blackfin, like the Jr.-size cedar plugs or small ballyhoo rigged with a Sea Witch skirt.

Bart says that offshore results have been mostly limited due to weather and federal regulations. Closures on certain species have made choices limited until later this spring. Trolling with Ilander lures rigged with ballyhoo are the best option presently for wahoo fishing. With higher fuel costs in the forecast for 2012, many offshore anglers will be sitting tight until the bluewater action reaches peak levels.

To view past fishing reports click here.

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