The South Carolina Low Country is a special place with one of the most welcoming fishing communities out there. Going down in the early spring can be a gamble with cooler temperatures and variable weather making finding a window tricky. But like most people, we had to stick with the dates we had, so we shot down there. The first few days we made some mistakes, so we met up with Tribe Ambassador, Colin Buchannon from FreshSalt Fishing to get some local help coming tight on some cool weather Redfish. Here are a few of the tips he shared with us during our day on the water together:
Get There Early
During the winter the window to find fish is tighter than during the longer warmer summer days. Since the baitfish and shrimp don’t move into the grass, as they do in the summer. The fish tend to stay in the creeks and large flats in schools feeding. So we focused on the 2 hours on either side of the low tide, when the schools would be in more concentrated areas.
Bring Gear You Can Get Muddy
The marshes of the low country are built on mud. So wading the marshes can be a bit tricky to wade if you don’t know where to step. The best rule of thumb, stay out of the tall grass, that’s how you find out how deep the mud actually can get. Walk carefully and bring gear that you can get muddy, because trust us, its worth it to find the fish.
Watch Out for Oysters
South Carolina is known for its oyster roasts and raw bars. They are everywhere. Be careful where you step and make sure to wear wading boots or shoes with thick soles so you don’t catch one in the foot. Also be wary of oysters and where your line is, its easy to slice floating line to a sharp bed of them while casting to cruising fish. And be on the lookout for them on local menus, you won’t be disappointed.
Move Slow and Keep Your Eyes Peeled
Redfish in the winter can be very spooky during low tide as its the prime time for their main predators, dolphins, and birds, to hunt them. So moving softly and paying attention to the water is key to getting shots at fish. As we turned one corner, Colin stopped dead in his tracks and told us to freeze. He had spotted a big red sliding through skinny water towards a deep corner hole in the creek. We snuck up on the hole like we were stalking trout on a spring creek, and laid down our cast. Boom, fish on!
Have a Good Fly Selection
None of the fish from this trip came on the same fly twice. In the winter, variable weather can cause different levels of clarity in the water. We threw mostly small shrimp and crab patterns as that is the main forage for the resident winter fish. Blacks, purples, and tans were the winning tickets for us.
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Dan Zazworsky’s passion is sharing his love of fly fishing with anyone that will listen, read or watch. You can find him exploring new waters every day while chasing any fish that will eat a fly!