Springtime is upon us in the Low Country bringing us warmer days, azalea bushes blooming, and the presence of Heritage plaid. This incredible climate boasts an average temperature of 70 degrees during the spring, making outdoor activities extremely popular! Such activities might consist of walks on the beach, 18 holes of golf, tennis, or my favorite…fishing! Springtime fishing is one of the most versatile fishing seasons the Low Country has to offer. The species targeted range from redfish, sea trout, sheepshead, black drum, weakfish, sea bass, flounder, cobia, kingfish, and Spanish mackerel.
Where is the best place to fish for these species?
It would be great if all these fish would just group up in one spot, but unfortunately that is not the case. Having knowledge of local fishing spots specific to each species is crucial for landing a good catch. Some species such a sheepshead, black drum, sea bass, and weakfish prefer deeper waters this time of year, so they are commonly sought after on offshore reefs surrounding Hilton Head Island. Along with the offshore reefs, Hilton Head boasts an intricate inshore water system consisting of backwater creeks full of redfish, sea trout, and flounder. Because all of these fish mentioned are caught from February to late April, they are considered “early spring species”. Moving into May is where we see our migrating species such as the cobia, king mackerel, and Spanish mackerel start to show up. These migrating species are caught anywhere from 25 miles offshore all the way 5 miles up the Broad River.
What are the best conditions for targeting these springtime fish?
Obviously the best days for fishing have an abundance of sun and no rain or wind, but as many of us fishermen know, those are the days we find it hard to get out on the water. Whether it’s a day that needs to be spent in the office or the one time of the year that your in-laws come to visit, something will keep you from enjoying that perfect weather day.In contrast, it always seems like your free days have a 100% chance of rain and 50 knot winds.This being said you can pick and choose what species to target if the weather does not cooperate with your busy schedule. Backwater fishing is the perfect place to get out of the weather while staying close to the dock therefore, not getting beat up if the conditions are unfavorable. If you do get the picture-perfect day, offshore might be more in your interest. The calm seas allow you to quickly and safely get offshore as well as make anchoring on the reefs an easy task.
What bait do I use ?
Using the right bait is a must if you want to be a successful fisherman. Not having the right bait is like trying to feed a big mac to a vegetarian; it’s just not going to happen. When targeting the fish on the offshore wrecks your best bet is fiddler crabs or dead shrimp. Moving inshore to the backwater fish your best bet will be using cut mullet and shrimp for redfish and live shrimp for trout and flounder. The migratory fish are a bit larger and require beefing up the bait that you are using. Whole live menhaden (aka pogey) and mullet are a favorite in this situation.
Who else gets to do this?
Simply put, the low country is an outdoors enthusiast’s paradise.There are not many places that you can target a variety of different fish in the morning, get in 9 holes of golf in the afternoon, then end the day with a sunset walk on the beach. If you have not experienced what the low country has to offer, I encourage you to come check it out. I know you wont be disappointed!