December Fishing Report for Hilton Head, SC

Hilton Head Redfish

Hilton Head Redfish

As winter approaches we will see far fewer pleasure and fishing boats out on the water but for us die hard fisherman the quest continues. As far as I’m concerned I look forward to the late fall and winter fishing all year long but the key is to pick your days and look for the right conditions. I will generally be looking for light winds and mid day tides to allow the fish to warm up a little bit. Moreover, with overall cooler water temperatures the water clarity will significantly increase giving us some prime sight fishing conditions.

Inshore Fishing

The inshore waters will continue to fire off this month with speckled sea trout and redfish. These fish will still be feeding heavily as they feel the water temperatures dropping which in turn will give us some of the finest fishing action of the year. With clearing water the specs will have no trouble finding your baits, and though I will still be using a fair amount of live bait under corks, soft screw tails and twitch baits will also be a good choice to fool these hungry fish. Over most of the month I will be concentrating my efforts around the grass edges and shell rakes on both sides of the mid tide for trout and redfish. While we will still be taking quite a number of reds around the mid tides these fish will also be congregating into tighter schools over the mud flats which will give us some excellent opportunities for light tackle spin and fly fishing. Given the clear water and schooling fish this means one thing…it’s prime time for sight fishing. I am often asked “when is the best time to go fly fishing?” well guys this is it!

Nearshore, Wreck and Bottom Fishing

Around the near and offshore wrecks we should be able to get into some really good bull redfish action through about the middle of the month and as the bulls start to push out to deeper water look for the sheepshead to take their place. For the sheepshead I like to set up a carolina rig on medium action spinning gear using a 2 ounce egg sinker, 18 inches of thirty pound leader a 2/0 hook and for bait a live fiddler crab is hard to beat! These fish can be a little tricky to hook but once you get the hang of it get ready for a down and dirty fight because these fish pull hard as they try to dig back into the bottom structure. If you decide to venture out a little further to the deep wrecks and live bottom areas get ready for some excellent black sea bass, flounder and grouper action this month. Good sized black sea bass should be plentiful around most all structure and hard bottom along with a number of flounder and broom tail grouper. You should also find a few nice gags, snapper and jacks around the deeper wrecks and live bottom areas.