By Geoff Bennett for The Island Connection
Fall is the best time to fish in Charleston as cooling water temperatures let fish know that they better eat heartily because food will begin to disappear shortly. There is still time to catch summer seasonal species like shark, Spanish mackerel and ladyfish. However, by mid-September they will begin to head out in search of warmer climates. To top it off, lots of anglers will turn their attention to hunting and football, which will leave you plenty of open water!
Redfish will begin to increasingly take artificial baits as usual during this time of year. Artificial plastic lures that resemble the minnows in our waters are quite effective. Zman’s 3 ¾” streakz in smokey shad is a great choice. I pair this lure with a 1/8oz jighead but conditions sometimes call for a heavier weight. Vary your rate of retrieve as you work a spot. Just slowing down or speeding up the pace of the lure can make the bite come to life.
When targeting trout, popping corks remain the best option.
While live shrimp is an excellent choice small fish will often eat that shrimp in seconds. As a result, we have been sticking with mud minnows paired with size one Owner circle hooks. Once hung up on structure or on a shell rake, popping corks can be hard to recover. While it’s rare you will get the whole rig back there is a simple trick that will save you time and money. Attach 20-pound test line to the top of the cork and attach a 15-pound test line to the hook from the bottom of the cork. When you pull hard, the line will snap at the hook and you will get your cork back.
Anglers are regularly catching bull redfish (36” inches plus) currently at the jetties or at nearshore reefs. During this time of year, these same fish come increasingly more into the harbor and inlets as they follow schools of large baitfish. A great set up for these fish will have a stiff rod paired with a heavy test braided line connected to a 50-60lb leader and 7/0 circle hooks. Fresh chunks of mullet, menhaden or smaller fish are effective baits. Target spots where there are marked changes in depth and wait for the massive strikes!
See you on the water!
For a decade, Capt. Geoff Bennett has operated Charleston Charter Fishing providing light tackle charters. Clients choose from a full menu of fishing options with charters tailored to their desires. USCG licensed and insured, Capt. Bennett is committed to providing a safe and enjoyable charter to anglers of all skill levels and ages. For more information, call Capt. Bennett at 843.324.3332, visit his website at CharlestonCharterFishing.com or email him at captain@ charlestoncharterfishing.com.