Charleston: Inshore water temperatures in the Charleston area have dropped back down into the mid-50s, while clarity is still good.
Before the cold snap Captain Rob Bennett of Lowcountry Inshore Charters (843-367-3777) advises that trout fishing was starting to turn on. But the cold weather this week will knock that bite for a loop. Inshore redfish have also been feeding pretty well around docks, particularly for an hour or two each side of low tide. Fishing with cut shrimp or mud minnows is a good bet for reds.
However, if anglers want to find a red hot bite they should head out to the nearshore reefs. Out at the reefs there is excellent fishing for red drum, black sea bass and summer trout. Both of these species will devour mud minnows, and Rob doesn't even bother with squid and likes to take 300 or 400 hundred mud minnows out. He fishes them with a 2-ounce weight and a 50 pound, 18-inch leaderand then tells people to hold on! The action is fast.
Bluefish are also showing up at the reefs, and lots of nice 2-5 pound fish as well as some bigger ones are around. Before long the Spanish mackerel will also arrive. Trolling 00 Clarks Spoons, deep-running 5-6 inch Yozuri baits and 4-5 inch Rapalas is a good way to hook up.
The nearshore reefs are also home to tons of sheepshead right now that will take fiddler crabs and barnacle/mussel-type baits, but there are also some monster sheeps inshore. Recently the Mt. Pleasant pier record 13-pound, 11-ounce fish was caught under the Cooper River Bridge.
Folly Beach Pier (843-762-9516) reports that the catch has been limited to skates recently.