With crisp cool air coming in from the north and shorter daylight hours our water temperature is dropping fast and this transition into fall conditions will make for some of the most drastic changes of the year. Many of our summer fish will be migrating south or offshore while others will stay in the estuary and feed heavy before the cold months of winter.
Inshore Fishing and Shrimping:
This is a great time to get after the inshore speckled trout and redfish! These fish will be looking to feed heavily before the winter months and we will find them stacked up around creek mouths, grass edges and oyster bars as they wait for small baitfish and shrimp to be pushed in and out with the current. A popping cork and live minnow or shrimp will be a great option to get into some fast action. Under the popping cork I like to leave 18-20 inches of 30 pound leader tied to a live bait hook and let the rig drift with the current along the grass edges and oyster bars. Outside of fishing we will be spending a good amount of time catching shrimp; yep its shrimp season! The two primary ways that we catch shrimp recreationally in the Lowcountry are by either bait shrimping or deep hole shrimping. In either case, knowing how to throw a cast net is required and I would recommend a 6-10 foot net in 1/2 mesh. Bait shrimping is pretty straight forward: a patty of fish meal and clay binder are placed in front of a marker pole along the mud flat and once ten poles are set in a consecutive line you simple work back to the first pole and throw your cast net over the first bait ball and then work down the line from pole to pole (AKA running the poles) and hopefully catching some shrimp in the process. Deep hole shrimping is slightly different in that we don’t use bait to draw the shrimp in and we are generally catching shrimp out of deeper spots (20-50 foot of water). Because of the deeper water all deep hole nets need to be specially designed with a layer of tape around the perimeter of the net just inside of the lead line to keep the net from closing before it gets to the bottom. Please note that there are a number of special regulations for shrimping in South Carolina so it would be advised to take a look at the SCDNR website for shrimping rules, regulations, season and licensing.
On the nearshore waters we will still be catching good numbers of bull reds throughout November and should also be getting into a fair amount of whiting on the bottom as well. Moreover off the beach we should be seeing good sized schools of bluefish busting the surface as they chase small glass minnows, these fish are a ton of fun on light tackle spinning and fly rods!