The Charleston Boat Show was this weekend. Thanks to Erin and Mel from Ankona / Salt Marsh Skiffs for letting me hang around the booth and talk about fishing! Also, thanks to everyone that dropped by to see me.
While at the show, I had the opportunity to speak with several guides and anglers. The frigid water temperatures brought on by the recent snow storm, definitely moved our fish around. Thankfully, temperatures have returned to a more typical range for this time of year. Redfish are back in their normal late winter haunts. However, Trout have yet to do so. Hopefully, they will show up (in good numbers) soon.
Given the situation, I plan to target Redfish on the fly for the next week or so. This will give the Trout more time to get back into their normal winter pattern and me more time to cast my 8-weight Shimano Asquith.
Captain Elliott Peralta with a Post Snow Storm Trout
The snow storm of 2018 brought record low water temperatures and big trouble for our Trout population. Reports are coming in from across the Lowcountry that large numbers of Trout have succumbed to the cold water. While it is to early to determine the extent of Trout mortality, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources is encouraging anglers to release all the Trout they catch. Until we can better quantify the health of our Trout population, catch and release is a good idea.
Thankfully, a good number of Trout did survive. Recently, I have been catching them in shallow areas directly adjacent to deeper water. Slowly bouncing a Z-Man TRD or TubeZ on a 1/5 ounce NedLockZ jig down the depth transition has proven to be highly effective. Using this technique, I have been releasing 30 to 50 Trout in an afternoon of fishing.
So, there are still a few Trout around to catch. If you catch some, please let them go.
Redfish on a Neko Rig
For several weeks, I have been experimenting with the Neko Rig. Most of the lures that I experiment with often end up in a discard pile in my garage. However, the Neko Rig has found a permanent place in my tackle box. When large schools of Redfish become spooky, the Neko Rig is now my go to lure. It casts well (on light tackle) and Redfish tolerate the lure landing in close proximity to the school. It is also a very easy lure to work. Just cast it and let is slowly sink to the bottom. Once on the bottom, I just let it sit. The current does all the work for you. Typically, it will not sit for very long. Redfish can not resist the Neko Rig.
The Neko Rig really shines when fishing over oyster bars or along the edges of the salt marsh. It rarely gets hung up. Even in the most gnarly situations.
My favorite lures for the Neko Rig are the Z-Man Hula StickZ or Big TRD. For weight, a 1/16th or 1/8th ounce nail-type weight provide a slow and undulating rate of descent that triggers Redfish to strike. This version of the Neko Rig is pretty light. So it is important to match your tackle to the lure. I prefer a Shimano Zodias 6’8″ Light rod with a 1000 frame Ci4 reel.
If you want to learn more about the Neko Rig, stop by the Z-Man booth at the Shallow Water Expo (on Saturday, January 20). I will be hanging out at the lure tank. Happy to share information and answers any questions.
On January 20, I will be at the Shallow Water Expo in the Z-Man and Shimano booths. Please stop by and say hello. I will be sharing techniques and tackle systems that will help you catch more fish.
The Charleston Boat Show is the following weekend. On the 27th, I will be in the Ankona / Salt Marsh Skiffs booth. While in the booth, I plan to share finesse techniques for cold water success. Also, I am happy to answer your fishing or skiff questions too!
Hope to see you at the shows.
Triple Redfish Hook Up
The snow and ice have finally melted. However, the water temperature in our rivers and creeks is hovering near record lows. Unfortunately, we are beginning to see evidence of Trout and Redfish that succumbed to the frigid water.
Thankfully, is seems the bulk of the Redfish population has survived. Even with the water temperature below 40 degrees, the Reds are actively eating. On a day when it took over an hour to remove the ice my skiff (in order to go fishing), the Redfish bite was hot. Z-Man TRD lures on 1/5 ounce NedlockZ jigs and Shimano Colt Sniper (sinking) lures produced several triple hook up.
Until the water temperature rises above 45 degrees, Redfish will be my target species. They seem to be able to tolerate the cold much better than Trout. Hoping to get back to Trout fishing this weekend.
Today, the Lowcountry experienced a record breaking snow storm. Watching the snow accumulate, I wondered if the Trout were still biting. So, I called Elliott and we set out to see. It was bitterly cold and we quickly lost the feeling in our hands. However, we were able to catch a few of these guys.
Elliott and I figured the bite would be super light. So, I tied a Z-Man TRD on a Shimano 6’8″ Zodias Light rod that is paired with a 1000 frame Stradic Ci4 reel. Even with this light and sensitive tackle system, we could barely feel the bites.
The fish were very cold and for the most part inactive. Hopefully, the weather warms up soon and not to many fish succumb to the frigid water temperatures.
As a Christmas present to myself, I picked up a Shimano Asquith 8 weight fly rod. The Asquith has significantly enhanced my casting distance and accuracy. It is by far, the best fly rod I have ever owned.
After a few days of catching Trout during higher stages of the tide, I put the Asquith to work on Redfish in shallow water. Being by myself, I poled the skiff looking for schools of Reds. Once located, I used the Power Pole Micro to hold the skiff within casting distance (50 to 70 feet) of the fish. The Asquith made covering that distance a breeze. It was easy to cast then pick up and shoot the line again. Quick follow up presentations to passing fish paid big dividends. All of the Reds I caught were on follow up casts.
The Asquith is the best gift I ever gave to myself!
First Fish of 2018
Fishing on New Years Day is a family tradition. Some years it is warm and other years it is freezing cold. This year, it was definitely the latter. With the temperature well below freezing and the wind chill in single digits, Elliott and I considered not fishing. After a short debate, we felt is was important to uphold tradition and off we went.
The water temperature was 47 degrees and the Trout bite was slow. However, we kept casting our Z-Man TRD lures on 1/5 ounce NedlockZ jigs. It is hard to detect a subtle winter Trout bite when you can not feel your fingers. Elliott and I missed several fish but eventually I got lucky and nailed this one. Our first fish of 2018.
Fishing was tough on New Years Day but Elliott and I were glad we kept the tradition going.
Happy New Year.