The waterways around Charleston, South Carolina are full of life this time of year and there are abundant feeding opportunities for redfish right now. The new moon and full moon tide cycles cause larger tides that flood areas of the marsh that aren’t usually accessible to the fish which providing fresh feeding grounds. While fish are feeding in these areas you are provided a window in which they are feeding in a very specific area which makes them easy and fun to catch as you stalk across the Lowcountry flats. Before you get out on the flats there are a couple key things you will need to make sure your experiences are successful – I would recommend a good pair of Columbia Drainmaker shoes to protect your feet from shells as you walk through the marsh, and a good pair of polarized Costa sunglasses to help eliminate the glare and allow you to see the fish before you spook them.
Redfish will be pushing into these areas as the tide comes in while chasing shrimp and baitfish through the shallow grass. The food source that makes this especially fun is their craving for fiddler crabs – while feeding on these crabs, redfish will place their mouth over a hole and attempt to suck the crab from its hiding place. It is during this behavior that the angler will see the fish seemingly waving at them to come and catch it.
It’s at this time when you see the fish tails that I can give you some of my best advice. Take a deep breath and relax because this is when people tend to make mistakes. An elevated heart rate can case you to do things like cast too soon, misjudge the distance and over or undercast, or even forget about not splashing around in the water. When you first see the tail, wait before you cast and try to figure out which direction you think the fish will be headed next because you want to try and present the bait along that path as though it were fleeing from a hiding place as the fish approaches.
I would suggest using a Z-Man StreakZ or the scented ShrimpZ rigged on a weedless swim bait hook using a 7 foot 6 medium moderate action Tidemaster paired with a light reel like the 2500 series Penn Conflict and spooled using 15 pound PowerPro braid.
You can expect the fish to feed on these flats throughout the warm months as long as temperatures stay above 70 degrees and there is still ample food available. However, high tides that allow the mud to get hot during the middle of the day may not be very productive because the water may be several degrees warmer than the surrounding area which depletes the oxygen which makes it uncomfortable for the fish to feed in.
Please email me if you would like to experience this exciting way to catch redfish or need additional information.