Typically, January and February bring the coldest water temperatures to our local waters. However, Winter has yet to make an appearance in the Lowcountry and the water is unusually warm. So, the fishing pattern is more like Fall than Winter. This is good news for anglers. Trout and Redfish are schooled up and feeding aggressively in shallow water.
On Saturday, it was super windy and rainy. With gale force winds blowing against the tide, there were some big waves in the Wando River. On the run to my first fishing location, I was thinking I should have brought by surfboard. Some of the waves look rideable. No worries for my Pathfinder 2500. The run to Hobcaw Creek was fast and dry. On breezy days, Hobcaw Creek is a good option because it has lots of trees that provide protection from the wind. After pulling up to a wind sheltered shoreline, I deployed the trolling motor and began systematically casting a Z-Man Finesse TRD (Hot Snakes) on a 1/5-ounce jig to oyster bars and irregularities in the marsh. Trout and Redfish were both in residence. They were not particularly large specimens but on such a windy and rainy day, they were most welcome. Nearly all of the strikes were aggressive and occurred in shallow water. The long-term weather forecast is for more warm weather. If the forecast holds true, fishing should be very good in the shallows.
The Cold-Water Fishing Class is full. The response has been overwhelming. Perhaps at some point this Winter, we will actually have cold water!
Fishing Report from 01/05/2020
On the afternoon of New Years Eve, Elliott and I invited our good friend Trey to fish with us. Conditions were not optimal. The wind was brutal, and the Wando River was like a giant washing machine. Undeterred, Elliott, Trey and I did our best to catch the last fish of the decade. With “try” being the operative work. After an hour or so of fishing, we had not caught a single fish. Things were not looking good.
Thankfully, as the tide fell, the creek banks began to provide a bit of shelter from the wind. Water clarity improved and the Trout began to feed. This improved the vibe in the Pathfinder considerably. We began catching fish, giving each other a hard time and laughing. Lots of laughing. I thought to myself, this is a great way to end the year. Then, Elliott and Trey decided we should end the decade catching Redfish. So, we left the Trout biting and made a quick run to some shallow water docks that were somewhat protected from the wind. With the sun getting low on the horizon, we began fishing in earnest. Elliott and Trey are outstanding anglers and they systematically picked each dock apart. I marveled at their casting skills. However, all the perfect lure presentations did not produce a single Redfish. Soon, we arrived at the last dock. Elliott made his last cast of the decade and hooked a Redfish. Trey fired a cast into the area and a Redfish ate his Z-Man Finesse TRD. I decided to make a cast and another Redfish pounced on my lure. The boat erupted with hooting, hollering and laughing. After landing the fish and a boisterous round of high fives, we took our last fishing selfie of the decade. A great way to end the year.
The Cold-Water Fishing Class is filling up. But there are a few seats still available at the Daniel Island Library on January 21 from 6:00PM till 8:00PM. Please confirm your seats with an email to email@example.com. If you want to learn more about locating and catching fish in cold-water conditions, this is the class for you.
It is beginning to look a lot like Christmas. However, the weather does not feel like it. Several days with temperatures in the 70-degree range has the Trout and Redfish actively feeding in the shallows. I expect that the hot bite to continue until a strong winter cold front drops the water temperature. Until that time, fishing will be great. Think of it as a Christmas present from Mother Nature.
For the next two weeks, Elliott (my son) will be home from Japan. Upon picking him up from the airport, we plan to eat an Orlando’s Brick Oven Pizza and then go fishing. Over the course of his visit, we will repeat as necessary. Food and Fishing. Food and Fishing. Food and Fishing. Well, you get the picture.
Depending on weather conditions, we will be fishing shallow inshore waters or vertical jigging bottom fish offshore. Right now, the long-term forecast looks like mostly inshore. Given the warm water and hungry fish, that is OK with me. Recently, a Z-Man Finesse TRD (Hot Snakes) has been the lure of choice for shallow water Trout and Redfish. Both species are holding in slight channels at the base of oyster bars. When the current is washing over the bar, it is a pretty good bet that predators will be feeding there. So, when your family gathers for food, don’t forget the fishing!
Thanks to all that expressed interest in the Cold-Water Fishing Class. Given the great response, the free fishing class will be held at the Daniel Island Library on January 21 from 6:00PM till 8:00PM. Seating is limited. Please confirm your seats with an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Daniel Island Inshore Fishing Club will be participating in the class. So, there will be a lot of help available during the knot tying session. If you want to learn more about locating and catching fish in cold-water conditions, this is the class for you.
My son, Elliott, is home for the holidays. So, Elliott, Brody (the amazing fish finding dog) and I are making up for lost fishing time together. Thankfully, the weather has been warm, and the fish have been hungry. With surface water temperatures in the upper 50-degree range, Redfish, Trout and Flounder are patrolling the shallows looking for easy holiday meals. This makes them predictable and much easier to catch. Elliott and I have been using the trolling motor to quietly search oyster laden creek banks and casting Z-Man Finesse TRD (Hot Snakes) lures to the base of oyster bars. When Brody barks, we slow down and fish the area thoroughly. Elliott and I are unsure if Brody knows were the fish are or if the fish are literally everywhere and we simply catch more fish when we slow down. Personally, I am betting on Brody.
On one of our trips, I was running the trolling motor on high, quickly moving the Pathfinder to the next set of oyster bars. Brody jumped up on the deck and barked a couple of times. I laughed and told Elliott there were no fish in this featureless section of the creek. He cast to the bank anyway and hooked an upper slot limit Redfish. As Elliott and Brody posed for the picture, I thought it was good to have Elliott home and perhaps Brody really was an amazing fish finding dog.
The Cold-Water Fishing Class will be at the Daniel Island Library on January 21 from 6:00PM till 8:00PM. Seating is limited. Please confirm your seats with an email to email@example.com. If you want to learn more about locating and catching fish in cold-water conditions, this is the class for you.
Fishing Report 12/15/2019
Winter in the Lowcountry is pretty random. One day, the weather is 70-degrees and beautiful. The next day is super windy and cold. Unfortunately, Saturday was more of the latter. A strong (and cold) northerly wind made for rough and tough fishing conditions. The wind was so strong that I found myself fishing in marginal areas that were sheltered from the gale. While these areas are good for comfort, they did not produce a single fish. After a couple of fishless hours, I decided to go where the fish were (as if I actually knew where the fish were).
Conditions in the Wando River were a bit sporty. But, my Pathfinder 2500 Hybrid eats up the rough stuff and I was able to comfortably run upriver at 40 miles per hour. Upon my arrival at a dock with reasonably clear water and lots of oysters, I cut the main engine and deployed the trolling motor. The wind was howling, and the constant wave action made water clarity extremely poor. Without much hope or confidence, I fired a cast to the base of the dock. To my surprise, a Redfish ate the Z-Man Finesse TRD. It was a tiny Redfish, but I was ecstatic. I had officially exceeded my expectations by one fish! Of course, that Redfish ended up being the only fish on Saturday. It was a really rough and tough day.
Thanks for the tremendous interest in the cold-water fishing class. Brody and I are looking forward to sharing a few cold-water techniques in January. Will provide more details next week.
Fishing Report 12/08/2019
To keep from becoming a total fishing bum, I do some consulting now and again. This week, I did more consulting than fishing. Thankfully, the engagement was in Nashville. So, it was a pretty fun week! Before departing for the land of country music, my brother (Dave) and Brody (the amazing fish finding dog) did a little fishing. Our plan was simply to get out and run the boat for a while. If we caught any fish that would be a bonus. Things went according to plan. The weather was nice, the Pathfinder ran well, and we caught a few Trout. When we were about to go home, Brody began barking at a dock up head. Brody does not bark much on the boat, so I took it as a sign. Using the trolling motor, I positioned the boat within easy casting range. Dave cast a Z-Man Finesse TRD (The Deal) on a 1/5-ounce NedLockZ jig to the dock pilings. Boom! A bent rod and our best fish of the day. Dave insisted that we include Brody in the fish picture. Looking at the shot, I am not sure who is happier. Dave or Brody? As winter approaches, I am thinking about doing a fishing class on cold water finesse techniques. If you want to learn more about how I catch fish in cold water situations, let me know you are interested in the class. If enough people want to attend (the class is free), Brody will teach the class in January.
Fishing Report 12/01/2019
Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I did a lot of fishing with my family and friends. For the most part, the weather and the fish cooperated. On the day before Thanksgiving, conditions were optimal. So, my brother (Dave), his son-in-law (Sean) and old family friend (Donna), decided to go fishing. We launched the Pathfinder into the start of the outgoing tide and made a short run into Beresford Creek.
Along the way, the depth finder consistently showed fish holding along depth transitions in 10 to 15 feet of water. So, our first fishing location was a creek channel in 10 feet of water with a broken shell bottom. I cast a Z-Man TRD (Hot Snakes color) on a 1/5-ounce NedlockZ jig into the channel and let the current sweep the lure along the bottom. A solid thump announced that the fish were there and hungry. For the next hour or so, we enjoyed a solid Trout bite. On a regular basis, two or three of us would be fighting a Trout simultaneously. Doubles and triples were commonplace. When we had multiple hook ups, the person that did not catch a fish caught a really hard time from everyone else. The joke making was relentless and we all shared some really good laughs. When the falling tide slowed down the Trout bite did as well. However, a quick move to another part of the channel put us on a hot Redfish bite. Most of the fish were smaller in size, but they were abundant. Multiple hook ups were the norm. Once all four us had a fish on. Quads! Dave, Donna and I landed Redfish. Unfortunately for Sean, his fish was a Mullet. For some odd reason this was uproariously funny. Well, at least to Dave, Donna and me. Sean took the verbal abuse well. To commemorate the moment, we took an impromptu selfie. We were all laughing so hard, it was difficult to get a good shot.
Fishing is great right now. The water temperature is 57-degrees and I expect the hot bite to continue until the water temperature falls below 52-degrees. The optimal fishing window is beginning to close. So, get out there. Catch a few fish and make fun of your friends.
About this time of year, weather becomes the determining factor when planning a fishing trip. For the past few days, this has been particularly true. A strong coastal low-pressure system brought cold temperatures, gale force winds and extremely high tides to the Lowcountry. All of which made for really tough fishing conditions. However, for anglers willing to brave the elements, fishing has been quite good.
On Friday and Saturday, I was unwilling to brave the elements. It was just to nasty to fish. Even for me! Conditions improved a little on Sunday. The rain stopped, leaving only cool temperatures and gale force winds. That was enough improvement for me. So, I launched the Pathfinder into the falling tide and ran to a wind sheltered shoreline. When it is blowing a gale, wind sheltered is a relative term. Even while tucked behind a treelined marsh bank, it was windy. To my surprise, the water was relatively clear. A quick glance at the depth finder showed a few fish holding along a ledge in eight to ten feet of water. When it comes to locating fish, side scan sonar is a total game changer. With a bit of confidence that fish were in the area, I slowed down and systematically worked the ledge with a Z-Man TRD on a 1/5-ounce jig. Turns out, the side scan sonar was right. Trout and Redfish were in the area and they were eating. The fish were not large, but they made up for their lack of size with sheer numbers. On cold and windy days, cooperative fish make tough conditions more tolerable.
With Winter fast approaching, cold temperatures and strong winds will soon become the norm. Until the water temperature dips into the low 50-degree range, fishing should continue to be very good. So, gather your friends, dress warmly and go fishing.
Fishing Report 11/4/2019
Last week, I did not fish. What?! That’s right, for the first time in a very long time, I missed seven days of fishing (in a row). For the past few months, I have been battling a repetitive stress injury in my right elbow. As it turns out, I fish too much. During a quick fishing trip, I will cast several hundred times. On longer trips, my cast count often exceeds one thousand. Plus, somewhere along the line, I got old! Excessive casting and old age are a bad combination. According to my doctor, a course of steroids, powerful anti-inflammatory medication and no fishing would help my elbow to heal. After disregarding this advise for months, I realized this was something that would not simply go away. Thus, my fishing hiatus.
Hopefully, my elbow will recover soon because the next few weeks will offer some of the best fishing of the year. As the water temperature drops below the middle sixty-degree range, most of the baitfish and shrimp will leave the creeks. This leaves Redfish, Trout and Flounder with a big appetite and not much to eat. So, they will be chasing and eating everything they can fit in their mouths. Ironically, I have this in common with the fish.
Call your friends. Grab your family. Go fishing. Someone must do it. Until my arm recovers, I am depending upon you!
This week, fishing felt like a Don Henley song. In the Lowcountry, Sharks and Tarpon are the boys of summer and this week they were gone. While I have not seen a Dead Head sticker on a Cadillac, I am pretty sure the boys of summer are leaving town. In the Summer, catching Sharks behind shrimp boats is super easy and very reliable. On Saturday, I did not catch a single one. After striking out on Sharks, I ran the Pathfinder just off the beach looking for rolling Tarpon. For the past few months, finding Tarpon on the beach has been a regular thing. Saturday, there were none to be found.
After spending Saturday targeting the boys of summer (and not catching anything), on Sunday I focused on a more available species, Speckled Trout. In the Fall, Trout form large schools and feed aggressively. So, this time of year, they are usually pretty easy to catch. Thankfully, this was the case on Sunday. The Trout were stacked up in the mouth of small creeks that were draining into the main river. Casting a Z-Man TRD or Trout Trick into the creek mouths produced steady catch and release action. After releasing several Trout, the porpoise with the wonky fin that Brody (the amazing fish finding dog) scared off last week, returned. Brody was not on board. With no dog deterent, the porpoise swam right up to the boat and stared at me.