By Capt. Geoff Bennett for Island Eye News
Weather remained cooler than average in March. The recent cold snap over the last few days is hopefully the last one of the year. Looking ahead we have forecasts of sunny days in 70s and 80s which should really bring the water temperatures up. Bait, however, has been showing up in increasing numbers and this will improve the bite and get the fishery moving.
The large schools of redfish found throughout the winter are breaking up as these fish become more active. Anglers should think about using artificial plastic lures that mimic these baitfish. One good choice would be “jerk shad” lures that have become very popular and come in a variety of colors. I’ve been finding that white has been working best although I’ll occasionally throw a darker color when water clarity is poor. These lures work best rigged on a size 3/0 fluter hook.
Trout have just started to appear in deeper water. For now, live bait will be the ticket when targeting them. Working docks and shell beds with a mud minnow on a 1/4oz. jighead can be very productive. Focus on getting this bait deep enough to get in front of the trout and move the jighead slowly along the bottom. As trout become more active, popping corks cast along grass banks and over oyster beds will be a good bet paired with live or artificial shrimp.
Flounder, perhaps our tastiest fish, are becoming active. We’ve been catching them mostly when fishing with mud minnows on the bottom or mud minnows under popping corks. You’ll need to focus on structure when targeting flounder. Docks and pilings are good places to prospect. Flounder will hug the bottom in hopes of ambushing their prey, so you’ll need to keep that bait down on or close to the bottom as well. One of the bonuses of the jerk shad mentioned above is that flounder on the flats will strike these surprisingly often. See you on the water!
Capt. Geoff Bennett operates Charleston Charter Fishing providing fly fishing and light tackle charters. For more information, call Capt. Bennett at 843.324.3332, visit his website at www.charlestoncharterfishing.com or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.