After a cold and windy March, it seems Spring has finally arrived in the Lowcountry. The water temperature is now in the middle 60-degree range. Baitfish have returned to the creeks. Redfish, Trout and Flounder are actively feeding. Fishing is very good now and getting better with each passing day.
Last week, it was still a bit cool and breezy. However, the fish did not seem to mind. After a long and lean Winter, predators were making up for lost time and missed meals. Throughout the cold months, one of the most productive lures has been a Z-Man TRD Ned Rig. As an experiment, I plan to continue using the Ned Rig in the Spring. So far, results are promising. Redfish, Trout and Flounder have been crushing it. Bouncing the lure slowly along shallow depth transitions has been highly effective. In clear water, The Deal has been a good color. For areas with poor water clarity, the Bubble Gum color works best.
For the next few weeks, I will alternate back and forth between the TRD Ned Rig and my favorite lure the StreakZ 3.75. It will be interesting to see which lure produces best in a variety of conditions. If you would like to learn more about rigging and using both of these lures, please plan to attend my fishing class on April 21st. The event is being held at the Pierce Park Pavilion from 10:00 till noon. After the class, lunch will be provided. Additionally, there will be breakout sessions on casting, rigging soft plastic lures and tying fishing knots. The class is free. However, I am asking attendees to consider a donation to the Lucy Boyle Memorial Fund or the Respeck Initiative (that is working to restore our Trout stocks after the die-off caused by the snowstorm). If you would like to attend, please confirm your seat with an email to email@example.com.
March is always a challenging month. The transition from winter to spring makes it difficult to consistently locate and catch fish. For me, this March has been particularly difficult. Between high winds and a calf injury, I have not been fishing very much. When I did fish, it was a hit or miss proposition.
On Sunday, it was cold, rainy and windy. The boat landing was empty. As I surveyed the vacant parking lot, I thought all these people are much smarter than me. Idling away from the ramp, I envisioned people drinking coffee and reading the Sunday paper in the warmth of their homes. It confirmed my initial thought, everyone is smarter than me.
After a short run, I deployed the trolling motor and began casting a Z-Man StreakZ 3.75 on a 3/16-ounce Finesse Jig to a wind sheltered bank. On the second cast, I caught a keeper size Flounder and began to feel a little bit smarter. A few minutes later, I released a 27-inch Redfish and determined it was a smart idea to go fishing. Shortly thereafter, a Trout completed an inshore slam and I was a total genius. About then, it started raining heavily and my delusion of grandeur was shattered on the rocks of reality. Turns out, I am not very smart after all.
Given this realization, I am surprised that over 35 people have already confirmed attendance for my April 21st class on Four Things You Can Do to Catch More Fish. The event is being held at the Pierce Park Pavilion from 10:00 till noon. After the class, lunch will be provided. Additionally, there will be breakout sessions on casting, rigging soft plastic lures and tying fishing knots. The class is free. However, I am asking attendees to consider a donation to the Lucy Boyle Memorial Fund or the Respeck Initiative (that is working to restore our Trout stocks after the die-off caused by the snowstorm). If you would like to attend, please confirm your seat with an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now that we have set our clocks forward, there is an extra hour in the afternoon to go fishing. Recently, Elliott and I took advantage of the additional daylight and released a few Redfish On The Fly. It was a little breezy but my Shimano Asquith 8 weight made presenting the fly effortless. The Reds were hungry. The sunset was beautiful. Another great fishing trip with my son.
The Ralston Creek boat landing is closed for renovations until the end of March. Thankfully, the Beresford Creek boat landing is still open. While it only takes a few minutes to launch in Beresford Creek and then run around Daniel Island to the Wando River (where I fish most of the time), I have decided to take the month of March and learn more about fishing in the Cooper River area. My first trips have been very promising.
On Monday afternoon, I decided to fish in Clouter Creek. The tide was falling and about an hour away from dead low. This provided me the opportunity to see oyster bars that are normally covered during higher stages of the tide. Most of the oyster bars were dry or in very shallow water. A few were in water between 1 and 5 feet deep. These were the bars that I spent a little time fishing around. Redfish were feeding near the shallow bars. I could easily seem them sloshing around. A quick cast of a StreakZ 3.75 on a 3/16-ounce Finesse Jig produced a solid strike. The Reds were not particularly large but they were hungry and plentiful. After releasing a few, I went in search of Trout.
The Trout were a bit more spread out. Most were congregating at the base of oyster bars in deeper water. Each deeper bar seemed to hold a fish or two. By hitting a few bars, I managed to release a decent number of Trout. The size of the fish was larger than what I have been seeing in the Wando. Most were 16 to 18 inches long and I released a few approaching the 20-inch mark.
I love fishing in the Wando River. However, the Cooper River area is growing on me!
Casting accuracy and efficiency are instrumental to consistently catching fish. On March 24, I will be sharing casting techniques that will help you catch more fish. Please join me at The Charleston Angler Saltwater Experience in the Shimano Experience Center located at
9550 Palmetto Commerce Pkwy.
Hope to see you there!
On April 21, I will be teaching a fishing class at the Pierce Park Pavilion from 10:00 till Noon. My topic will be Four Things You Can Do to Catch More Fish. After the class, there will be hands-on breakout sessions for tying knots, casting instruction and rigging soft plastic lures. A BBQ lunch will also be served.
Ankona Boats and Salt March Skiffs will have a few of their skiffs on display and available for demo rides after lunch.
The Charleston Angler team and members of the Daniel Island Inshore Fishing Club will be on hand to help with the breakout sessions. Our goal is to provide the personal instruction needed to master casting, knot tying and rigging of soft plastic lures.
The class is free. However, I am asking attendees to consider a donation to the Lucy Boyle Memorial Fund or the ReSpeck Initiative (that is working to rebuild our Trout stocks after the massive winter die-off). Seating for the event is limited. Please confirm attendance via email to email@example.com.
The address of the Pierce Park Pavilion is 1801 Pierce St, Daniel Island, SC 29492. The Pavilion is located behind the pool.
Another Trout on the Rapala XR10
The water temperature is now in the middle 60-degree range and still pretty clear. Great conditions for fishing with a suspending jerk bait. This week, I have casting a Rapala XR10 with my Shimano Zodias and Curado 70XG outfit. It as been a bit breezy, so the extra weight of the XR10 and wide range of adjustment on the 70XG (without opening up the reel) has been a great combination. Turns out, Trout like it to.
First Top Water Redfish of 2018
It has been an interesting winter. In January, we had a snow storm and record low temperatures. Then, the month of February was unusually warm. For the past few weeks, I have been fishing in shorts and flip flops. The water temperature is a surprisingly warm 64 degrees. Baitfish have returned to the shallows and Redfish are feeding on them.
Given the unusually warm conditions, my son Elliott and I decided to target Redfish with top water lures. Early Sunday morning, we launched the skiff into the last of the falling tide. The sun had yet to clear the horizon when we pulled up to our fishing spot (a shallow flat with lots of oyster bars). A strong breeze kept the gnats at bay and made the water on the flat a little choppy. Conditions called for a larger top water lure with a loud rattle. About the time I decided to use a Mirrolure Top Pup, Elliott picked up the rod with the only Top Pup we had on the skiff. We laughed about only having one of the “right” lures. As the sun rose, we spotted a small school of Redfish milling around next to a submerged oyster bar. Elliott cast the Top Pup well beyond the school (so the splash of the lure landing would not spook the fish) and slowly reeled the lure into position. When the lure was directly above the fish, he began a twitch and pause retrieve. Two fish broke away from the school and began tracking the lure. They followed the Top Pup for 10 feet and then returned to the school. Elliott made another presentation and used a more aggressive retrieve cadence. The water exploded as a Redfish crushed the lure. As Elliott fought the fish, I said a silent prayer (it was Sunday after all) thanking God for such a beautiful morning and another great experience shared with my son.
We took a few pictures before releasing the fish. Then, sat down and savored the moment. Historically, we do not catch the first Redfish of the year on a top water lure until late March. Getting the first one in February was a moment to remember.
Paul & Dave from The Charleston Angler
Wind and rain dominated the fishing scene this week. However, when I did manage to get out, the Trout and Redfish were biting. Earlier in the week, while at The Charleston Angler, my brother Dave, Paul Speranza and I were wondering how the bite was in the upper Wando. None of us had ventured up that way since the snow storm. Rather than continue to wonder, we decided to go find out. On Saturday, we launched into the last of the falling tide. A thick fog made navigating up river an interesting endeavor. Thankfully, my new skiff is equipped with a Garmin 54CV GPS/depth finder. The Garmin allowed us to make the trip in near zero visibility.
Upon arrival up river, we began casting Z-Man TRD Ned Rigs and TubeZ lures around docks and drop offs. The water temperature was 54 degrees (which is close to normal for this time of year) but the fishing was slow. We tried shallow and deep-water locations but we could not locate a large concentration of feeding fish. A few Trout is all we could manage in the first hour or two of fishing. Rather than continue scouting, we decided to head back down river and catch some fish. The fog had lifted by then so the run back down river was a quick one.
We stopped at a submerged oyster bar outside of Horlebeck Creek. On the first cast to the bar, I hooked an over-slot Redfish. Paul and Dave followed suit. At last, we had located a school of hungry fish. After releasing several Reds, we switched our attention to Trout in deeper water. It took a bit of looking, but we found a few schools holding along depth transitions in 10 to 15 feet of water. They were hungry too!
On the ride back to the boat landing, we laughed about wearing T-shirts and flip flops to fish in February. A far cry from fishing in the snow a few weeks ago. Hopefully, the warming trend holds and fishing continues to improve. Especially in the upper Wando.
With the water temperature nearing 60 degrees, Trout and Redfish are feeding more aggressively. So yesterday, I switched from my favorite cold water lure (Z-Man TRD Ned Rig) and began fishing a Z-Man Slim SwimZ on a 1/6 ounce NedlockZ jig. Trout and Redfish have been crushing it. While I am still learning to use the Slim SwimZ, a couple of things have become apparent.
A Slim SwimZ on a 1/6 ounce NedLockZ jig is a light weight lure that requires a light tackle system to fish effectively. I am using a 6’8″ Shimano Zodias light rod matched with a 1000 frame Ci4 reel that is spooled with 10 pound PowerPro. A 12 pound fluorocarbon leader about 2 feet long completes the tackle system. This outfit casts the 1/6 ounce NedlockZ jig really well and the light Zodias rod telegraphs even the most subtle strike.
Retrieving the Slim SwimZ is something I am still working on. However, a slow retrieve with a pause (letting the lure hit the bottom) and short snap of the rod has been producing a lot of strikes. Still experimenting but this is the retrieve cadence that I always begin with.
Slim SwimZ colors that I have been using are Opening Night and Bad Shad.
Time will tell but I think the Slim SwimZ is going to be a great year-round lure. I will keep you posted on how it does. So far, Trout and Redfish like it. I do too!