Fishing Report for Hilton Head, SC
With a most of the winter season behind us, we should be looking at warmer days and raising water temperatures throughout March. This is one of those times of the year that we generally look at as a transition period. Many of our inshore species such as redfish, speckled sea trout and flounder will start to become more active and the nearshore fishing should only continue to be excellent with sheepshead, bluefish and drum holding over the wrecks and live bottom.
Throughout most of the winter we have primarily been sight fishing for schooling redfish in shallow water. Early in the month this pattern should hold true but as temperatures rise these schools should start to break up. Though we will still be looking for large groups of reds we will also start to turn our attention to fishing around the oyster bars and grass edges with moving water. Live bait under popping corks will again be a great choice to hook up with these fish but fan casting with lures and flies will work as well. Along with redfish the specs and flounder should start to get active again…in many cases all three species can be caught in the same spots using the same baits and tactics. The key to inshore fishing this time of the year is to change tactics regularly to keep up with the changing patterns of the fish. For example; you might find that during the colder mornings the fish will be a bit sluggish, thus you will want to work your baits at a snails pace but as you get later into the day the fish will become more aggressive allowing us to cover more water while looking for harder reaction bites.
Right now the nearshore wreck and live bottom fishing should be firing off with good numbers of fish and a lot of action! One of my prime targets on the wrecks throughout March will be sheepshead. Sheepshead are also known as “convicts” due to their vertical black and white stripes and stealthy bait stealing ability. These fish are a blast to catch and also make for great table fare. The only issue that we have been having in sheepshead fishing this year has been the huge number of black sea bass that have taken over the bottom. In some cases the sea bass have been so thick that catching anything else has become near impossible. Though fun to catch, sea bass are closed to harvest so in most cases when these guys take over it might be best to change locations. Moreover, it never hurts to keep a big minnow or cut bait on the bottom around the wrecks and ledges as there are a good number flounder, grey trout, blue fish and drum out there right now.
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