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Fishing Report for the Coastal Lowcountry of South Carolina:
Charleston Inshore Report: Scott Hammond at Haddrell's Point West last wrote that cold mornings have kept some anglers in the house and in bed, but this latest forecast should have everyone on the water and fishing again this weekend! Sheepshead continue to be a Go-To target in January, with great success coming from locations like bridges, shallow reefs and the jetties. Fiddlers remain the most consistent bait of choice, but live shrimp will also prove deadly during the cooler months for sheepshead. Using a slip-float style rig with live shrimp along rock piles inshore this time of year is one of Scott's favorite ways to probe for sheepshead. When heading to the reefs he prefers fiddlers rigged carolina style, since you will blow through a lot of bait while out there. The trout have become more lethargic with the colder water temps that arrived around the New Year. Try working finesse baits for trout right now in 5 to 10-feet of water, like the Trout Trick or the "Ralph Phillips Special" made by Z-man. Don't know what that one is - then you better check with some Jim Isle locals!! Redfish are schooling up in big numbers, which honestly can make them a little harder to locate, but once you find a school you can work them for a while. Live mud minnows, live shrimp, Gulp baits and Zman Streakz are great options to throw to schooling redfish on the shallow flats. And when all else fails, DON'T FORGET to bring some cut mullet!! For all the latest seminar information visit the Internet at Haddrell's Point.
Hilton Head Inshore Report: Josh Boyles from Southern Drawl Outfitters reports that some of the redfish schools have developed lockjaw. Customers report massive schools of big fish that just won't eat. Josh finds that when fish are like that, the best method is to clean up your rig presentation. Josh's favorite rig this time of year is a 5 to 6-foot flouro leader of 20-pound test with a 2-ought light-gauge circle hook. No swivels, no lead weight , no nuthin' to spook the fish! Sounds like a great Pro Tip right there!! If he absolutely has to use a weight then he goes with a pinch-on weight that is only heavy enough to cast the needed distance to reach the outer edge of the school. He recommends putting the rod and reel into the rod holder, and simply waiting until a redfish comes and picks up the bait. The trout bite has been consistent using Bass Assassins on a jig head, and while everyone has a favorite color it's hard to beat the good ole' trusty Electric Chicken coloration. The sheepshead bite is going good but anglers state the the black sea bass closures have their population at a smothering level, meaning it takes about a dozen fiddlers to land one sheepshead for all the sea bass bycatch. It's simple, if you can't keep a sheepshead bait on the bottom, then you can't catch a sheepshead. For all the latest store info visit the Internet at Southern Drawl Outfitters.
Offshore Report: Scott tells us that with a good portion of our bottom fishing species under closure there has not been much activity in the deep water. However good reports of triggerfish are coming from 65 to 100-feet of water, with plenty of black sea bass and porgies to fight off along the way. In the nearshore area, the shallower reefs in 25 to 35 feet of water are starting to aggregate a lot of sheepshead right now.
Josh shares that blackfin tuna continue to be the main targeted species. The new style of vertical jigging has remained effective. The boats that are trolling are having a hard time keeping the bonitas off the hook long enough to catch a blackfin. Another option involves casting topwater plugs, after marking fish in the upper 50-feet of the water column. Start throwing plugs because it is nothing for these little speed demons to come to surface and begin thrashing your offerings.
To view past Lowcountry Saltwater Fishing Reports click here.