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.
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.
With Labor Day now behind us, Summer is truly over. Temperatures are becoming more tolerable. The sun is setting earlier. The water is cooling off. These events mark the end of Summer and the beginning of great inshore fishing. When I told my brother-in-law, Mike Balduzzi, that fishing was getting good, we decided to do a 100 fish challenge. Mike jumped on a flight to Charleston on Friday and we fished the challenge on Saturday.
Conditions were not optimal. A strong northeasterly breeze limited our fishing options. Undeterred, we launched my Pathfinder into the start of the falling tide. Our plan was to make a quick run to the jetties and cast lures to the rocks for Bull Redfish and Trout. It was rough out there, but we did catch some Trout. However, not at the pace we needed to hit 100 fish in a day. So, ran back into the Wando and began working submerged oyster bars that were being swept by the falling tide. Mike is an accomplished angler that knows how to read the water. When we pulled up to our first oyster bar, we both cast Z-Man TRDs on 1/5-ounce NedlockZ jigs to the same spot. Boom. Doubles on Trout. The bite was on. Most of the fish were small, in the 13 to 14-inch range. They made up for their lack of size with sheer quantity.
When the bite slowed down, Mike and I moved to another oyster bar and began catching Trout again at a torrid pace. It took a few more moves and about 3-hours to hit the 100 fish mark. We even caught a few more for good measure. Fishing was pretty good on Saturday and it is going to get better. So, set the DVR to record your favorite football team and go fishing. The way the fish are biting, you may even get home before kick-off!
Thanksgiving week was filled with lots of family, friends, food and fishing. Unfortunately, on several days, gale-like conditions made fishing a bit of a challenge. Of course, I went fishing anyway because the best catch in fishing is time with family and friends. Thankfully, the fish were cooperative, even in the tough conditions.
On one of the really windy days, Elliott, David and I set out to catch a Redfish on the fly. The main river was blown out. So, we began our search for Redfish in a small wind sheltered creek. The tide was falling and nearing dead low. There was not much water left in the creek. This made locating Redfish much easier, as their backs and tails were often above the water line. Finding them was easy. Accurately casting a fly in gale-like conditions was another matter entirely. Our first few casts did not even land in the water. The wind would catch the fly line and blow it onto the bank. After a few adjustments, my brother David (finally) made a good presentation. The fly landed a foot or so in front of a decent size Red. We held our breath as the fish slowly swam forward and inhaled the fly. The Redfish was feisty, and the fight took longer than usual. All the while, Elliott and I were giving David a hard time. When he landed the fish, we were all happy. David unhooked the Red and was releasing it, when Elliott took a picture. It would have been a great picture, but it captured me looking stupid in the background. This gave David and Elliott cause to give me a hard time. Things change fast on family fishing trips. Standing on the poling platform, watching Elliott and David laugh (at me) reminded me of why I fish (so much). Fishing is about time, moments and memories. Catching fish, well that is just a bonus!
We are very fortunate that Hurricane Florence did not hit us. Sady, our friends to the north were not so lucky. Let’s all keep them in our thoughts and prayers. Given the slow-moving nature of Hurricane Florence, I missed a few days of fishing last week. On Sunday, conditions improved to the point that I could safely go fishing. So, I launched the skiff into the last of the falling tide. It was my theory that with the tide being low, the creek banks would protect me from the wind. As with most of my theories, this one was also incorrect. It was windy all over. After enduring a bumpy and wet ride to my first fishing location, a shallow marsh point, I deployed the trolling motor and began moving into casting distance. About then, a commercial crabber pulled up. He waved and yelled, I have to be out here to make a living, but you are just crazy. We both had a good laugh and went our separate ways. Once in position, I cast a Z-Man 4-inch Jerk ShadZ on a Finesse BulletZ 1/6-ounce jig to the marsh point and felt a solid thump. I set the hook but somehow missed the fish. On the next cast, my luck was much better, and a solid Redfish welcomed back to the river. While I was unable to fish due to the storm, I figured out how to take a timed photo with my phone. So, I propped my phone on the console of my skiff and posed with my first fish after the storm. Turns out my theory on taking good pictures via a timer on my phone was incorrect (again). The Redfish bite continued until the tide began to rise and the fished moved off the marsh point. With the windy and choppy conditions, I was unable to re-locate them. So, I headed back the boat ramp. On the way home, I passed the commercial crabber. He waved, and I could hear him laughing for a considerable distance.
In my mind, Fathers deserve more than a day. So, the bulk of last week was dedicated to me! Thankfully, my children Elliott and Maddie were willing participants. Probably, because they declare “Birthday Week”.
Of course, “Fathers Week” includes lots of fishing. On Saturday, there was a negative (extremely low) tide. Elliott and I decided to fish in small creeks, targeting Redfish that were concentrated into small areas due to the very low tide. This can be a dicey plan. Fishing in small creeks on negative tides usually equals getting stuck. However, my new Salt Marsh skiff was able to navigate through water less than six inches deep. We slowly and quietly moved into a tiny creek and spotted a couple of big Redfish milling around an oyster bar. Elliott said since it was Fathers Week, I could take the first cast. Once cast was all it took. I presented the Z-Man TRD (Geko rigged) and hooked up immediately. Fighting a big Redfish in a shallow creek can be a messy affair. With no place to run, the fish frantically sloshes about the shallows and splashes mud into the skiff. This one was particularly adept at splashing mud. For some reason, Elliott and I found this to be very funny. Eventually, the Redfish got tired of splashing us with mud and came to the skiff.
After a quick picture, we took several minutes to revive the fish. As it swam away, Elliott wished me a Happy Fathers Week. Upon returning to the boat landing, Maddie greeted us and took me to lunch (while Elliott cleaned up the skiff). Fathers Week was pretty good. I highly recommend it!
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!
Shimano 6’10” Medium Light Zodias with Curado 70XG
Spent the afternoon introducing Trout to my new Shimano bait casting outfit. I like to fish a lot of finesse techniques. Today, I was casting a Ned Rig (Z-Man NedLockZ Jig and TRD). It was breezy. The ability to adjust the 70XG brakes and cast control (without opening up the reel) made casting the light Ned Rig effortless. Trout were actively feeding but the strike was still pretty light. However, it was no trouble feeling the bite via the Zodias rod. Happy to find Trout back in their normal winter haunts. The snow storm put a hurting on them. Thankfully, it seems a decent number of Trout (in mixed sizes) survived.
A sharp snap and long pause retrieve triggered the most strikes. With the bulk of the fish being in 2 to 4 feet of water. On Friday, I plan to re-introduce my Asquith fly rod to a few Redfish. Hope the wind lays down. If not, my new bait casting outfit will get the nod.
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.