Guy Harvey Magazine

SPR 2017

Guy Harvey Magazine is focused on fishing, boating, scuba diving, and marine conservation. Portfolios from the world's best fishing photographers, articles on gear, travel, tournaments, apparel, lifestyle, seafood recipes, sustainable fisheries.

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Page 27 of 83

28 | Basically, from Hilton Head north to Charleston, it's a low-country archipelago of winding marsh creeks, rivers, flats and oyster bars where both redfish and sea trout thrive, particularly in spring and fall. Redfish, known as "spottail bass" in South Carolina, are the favorite inshore target for many, mostly because they can be caught in such interesting ways, including sight-casting lures or flies for tailers when temperature and tides are right. The marshes clear in winter as algae dies out and sight fishing opportunities present themselves for those expert in local geography and timing. St. Helena and Port Royal sounds, among others, cover thousands of acres of prime, shallow water, easily accessible from dozens of public landings. When the bite is not on in the marsh grass, it's likely to be gangbusters at creek mouths, oyster bars and potholes just outside. The bottle-nosed dolphin in this area have learned to feed on reds by trapping them in shallow pockets, so the reds are frequently found in water that's not deep enough to float the big mammals. Locals say you can often see the fish, but if not, you look for "nervous" water. The red drum size limit is 15-23 in., which means there are a lot of 24-inchers in the inshore waters. At 30 in. or so, the fish move out to the inlets and offshore as adults. Sea trout are also abundant here, with some of the best winter spots around oyster bars on points and creek mouths in the winding maze of islands. Live shrimp or mud minnows (killifish) do the job, drifted under a popping cork. Shrimp-tail jigs and plastic shrimp are also effective—fish everything slow in cold weather. Trout remain very active down to about 50 degrees, locals report. Flounder are also a major recreational target here, with good reason—the southern flounder gets big, with four- to five-pounders not uncommon. One good way to get them is to drift live mud minnows along bottom in the inlets and around jetty rocks. SCDNR suggests, in particular, the Cape Romain area. In general, any of the deeper tidal creeks close to the beach can get loaded up with these fish at times, particularly in late October and November after a cold front, when masses of them move through the passes on their way offshore to spawn. Tarpon are among the summer visitors here inshore, along with lots of bluewater gamefish offshore. Photo: Capt. Jordan Pate, Inshore

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