January Fishing Report for Hilton Head, SC

hilton head fishing

hilton head fishingI always find that January is one of my favorite times of the year to fish, especially when it comes to shallow water sight fishing. With cooler water temperatures we will see a dramatic increase in water clarity as most of the algae and plankton dies off. This crystal clear water will allow us to see what we are casting to or “sight fish” thus giving us a bit of an advantage in finding and catching fish…just remember that if you can see the fish they can see you.

Inshore Fishing

Overall, the best action on the inshore waters will come from redfish during this time of the year though there are still a fair number of speckled trout around to give us a little diversity. Many of the other species that we see on our inshore waters during the warmer months have either moved out to deeper water or migrated south for the winter. On the good side however, we have a world class red fishery and some of the most exciting action comes during the cold months! The best redfishing right now can be found on the clear shallow water flats and in most cases the reds will be huddled together in large  schools to keep lots of eyes out for bottle nosed dolphins prowling the flats looking for a redfish snack. It’s not just about finding these fish but also catching them and big schools of fish equals lots of eyes looking out for predators. If one fish sees you the entire school will be alerted so a stealthy approach is paramount. Moreover, you might need to adjust your tactics just a little to elicit a strike by using lighter leaders and smaller baits coupled with long and accurate presentations.

Nearshore, Wreck and Bottom Fishing

Don’t forget about the offshore fishing this month because there is plenty of action out there to keep everyone bowed up. Many of the nearshore wrecks should be getting stacked up with sheepshead as these tasty fish have just moved out of the inshore estuary and are always up for eating well placed crab. Just don’t get frustrated if your bait gets stolen a time or two by these sneaky fish as they have a well deserved reputation for sucking a bait off of the hook without making a bump. I always tell my charter clients to “just be patient” and “keep at it” and we always manage to fool plenty of these bandits by the end of the day! Outside of sheepshead the local wreck sites should also be holding a good number of black sea bass, flounder, bluefish and the occasional bull redfish. As we move out to the live bottom areas look to catch black sea bass, grouper, snapper, triggerfish, porgies and I have even taken a few cobia over the deeper spots during the winter months. With regular cold fronts coming through keep and eye out for clear skies and calm seas. Until next time, Catch em Up!

Captain Charlie Beadon