If you have ever fished the “super-moon” tides, you know it can be very frustrating. For argument’s sake, let’s say a tidal range of around 7 feet. That’s a big tide for Charleston, but we see them maybe 10 times a year, more or less. When the tide turns to go out, it can seem like someone pulled the plug out of the bathtub! Almost whitewater… Chances are, the luck you had was probably near slack low or high when the water flow was manageable.
Well, yesterday’s “blood-moon” was one of those days, and yes, the struggle was real! But, you can still catch fish if you know a little about where fish will be and why. With the exception of Striper, who it seems the faster the water the happier they are, most inshore fish won’t, or more likely can’t, waste their energy fighting that kind of current. They will hide somewhere in a current break when the tide is really rushing. That doesn’t mean they won’t feed.
We found a place yesterday where the current was so fast that my trolling motor, while on full speed, still couldn’t hold steady. Yet, we landed two big reds in this rushing current. How? They were hiding behind a submerged fallen tree trunk that broke the current. They were waiting for baitfish to be swept by and they would come out to get them. In this case, it was our jerk shad on a TroutEye jig instead. My high school friend Scott was the happy angler for a couple very nice overslot reds.
So, as Ralph likes to say in his seminars, go out at negative low tides and make note of the bottom contour. If you know of any fallen trees or submerged structure, it might be a good place to try on one of those screaming tide days.
Now that the water temperature has dipped below 80F, it’s nice to finally have a good artificial bait bite back, and it’s only getting better. Our observation is that water temps in the 70’s seem to be the optimum temperature range for redfish. They seem to have lots of stamina and a smaller fish will seem like a bigger fish as a result – they pull like a freight train for several runs. It’s really fun to catch reds in this water temperature window in the Fall and Spring.
Trout have begun to feed well and catches of double-digit numbers of schooly trout will be the norm. You won’t often catch a lot of big girls but the small males will be abundant. That being said, we should have an exceptional bite of big fish this Fall given a couple fairly mild winters we have had. Can’t wait!
Flounder make a move out of the creeks to the ocean around mid-October, and building up to that time the numbers of catches should steadily improve. We have been catching a few each trip with sizes mixed.
One of my personal favorite things to target in the Fall is the Margarita Slam (redfish, trout, flounder, striper, largemouth). We call it this because it’s a brackish water slam and is both salty and sweet water. This slam can be achieved in any of our rivers that is fed by fresh water. Maybe the most difficult would be to catch a largemouth in the Wando as it is the most salty. But there are abundant stocked striper in the upper Wando above Paradise landing.
I was lucky to get my first Margarita Slam of the season last week, and while the average size of the fish taken was on the smallish side, it was remarkable in that 4 of the 5 fish were caught on a single rig: A gold TroutEye jig with a Z-Man PaddlerZ in Bad Shad color. This is leaving out the other 4 redfish and 2 striper caught on it. Only a Z-Man can stand up to that abuse. My one remaining fish was a trout, which is the easiest fish to catch in the slam. I was determined to complete the slam on the one rig but unfortunately broke the rig off on a submerged tree. I did not have any more PaddlerZ left so I had to count on an earlier topwater trout catch to complete the slam . I don’t think there is a better testimony to the effectiveness of a rig than that… 4 (fresh and saltwater) species – that’s a combo that works.
Get off the couch and go fishing – it’s the best time of year!
And don’t forget to enjoy some “laydowns” at snack time 🙂
As usual, if you catch a fish on one of our jigs, tag it on social media with #TroutEye and we will repost it. See you on the water.
Visit our store for the best value in jigs. It’s artificial time… Most orders ship same or the next day with 2 day delivery
We are so fortunate in the lowcountry of South Carolina to take for granted fresh seafood. We have friends and relatives from states not near the coast, and we are always a little taken aback when they say they don’t like fish. That’s because they probably have never had fresh fish.
Now that Fall is here, it’s a great opportunity to enjoy some of our local bounty. Local guide Tucker Blythe has been posting some fantastic meals on Instagram under the tag #CreekToTable This inspired me this Labor Day weekend to have a meal made up almost entirely from our creek at Edisto Island. We actually had two CreekToTable meals and they were superb.
Blue crab – They are abundant in the creeks and are most easily caught around low tide. Keeper crabs are 5″ from point to point on the carapace. We drop them in a bucket with ice to cool them down. Some like to cook them whole, but I prefer to clean them first. To clean them, simply open the flap on the underside of the carapace. If you can’t get under the flap, just use one of their legs as a tool to get under it and lift it up. Then just separate the top and bottom halves using a little effort to split it. Then remove the lungs and mouth parts, followed by a strong jet of water to clear out the remnants. You will then be left with just the legs and carapace where most of the meat lies. To cook, boil some water with Old Bay or Zatarain’s crab boil and drop them in for 10-ish minutes. From here we prefer to either pick them as-is, or make them into crab cakes or dip. For the latter, get a few friends and some beer or wine and carefully remove the lump meat in a pile. Then go through the pile a second time to separate the little shell bits that inevitably will be remaining.
Shrimp – There were an unbelievable number of shrimp in the creek, however they were still pretty small. We cast netted many and shook them into a shrimp bucket and then picked out the larger ones. We head them on the spot and drop into a cooler with ice. Where we are, we are at the very end of a creek and it is the nursery for inshore fish. We netted several of this year’s litter of trout and carefully returned them to the water. We also regularly catch very tiny flounder and redfish. It didn’t take long to get about 3/4 lb of creek shrimp. Simply throw them in the crab water for about 1 minute to cook. It’s very easy and common to overcook shrimp. These creek shrimp are best by simply peeling and eating. You will not find sweeter, better tasting shrimp than little creek shrimp!
Fish – We don’t catch many significant predator fish at our dock but every so often we get a nice one. I was pleasantly surprised to catch this very nice flounder which really rounded out the meal! We don’t eat a lot of deep fried food. Instead, we pan fry them by cleaning and cutting into pieces around 2″. We dust them with garlic powder, salt and pepper (both sides) then shake in a bag of panko. We heat a small amount of olive oil with a dollup of butter and fry in the pan this way. It’s very good and healthy this way.
Nothing better than a Creek To Table meal in the Low Country!