Written by: Capt. Cleve Hancock and Evan Jones

Capt. Cleve Hancock with a beautiful bull redfish.

The South Carolina lowcountry is likely one of the most distinctive saltwater fisheries within the area, significantly with regards to chasing redfish. Well-known for flood tides, throughout which hungry fish push into the Sawgrass marshes to chase previously-unavailable crabs, the low nation might be extremely productive for fly anglers who discover themselves in the appropriate locations on the proper occasions.  

So as to learn to obtain that feat extra persistently, we sat down with Capt. Cleve Hancock of Brown Dog Sportfishing out of Charleston. Beneath, he takes us by means of a step-by-step course of describing the “what, the place, how and when” of fly-fishing for reds within the low nation. 

1. Discover Exhausting Backside

The crabs that the redfish are chasing want a tough backside to assemble their burrows, which actually narrows down what to search for within the marsh. Exhausting backside will sometimes be a lighter shade than the encircling mud, because of greater sand content material, making it straightforward to identify. Even should you can’t see the underside, it ought to really feel agency every time the push pole touches down, versus the mushy “pluff” mud that makes up a lot of the marsh. A tough backside will even help you pole your boat or wade a lot simpler. Whereas mud is unavoidable, should you discover your toes sinking a lot previous ankle-deep, that’s too mushy. 

Step one to discovering arduous bottoms is to tug up a satellite tv for pc picture and search for the lighter-colored areas. You’ll usually discover arduous bottoms in areas close to islands or mainland shorelines. As you scan the marsh in individual, you may additionally discover some distinct variations in grass top. As a basic rule, shorter grass will point out a tougher backside. 

Shorter grass grows over har bottoms, the place yow will discover extra fish.

2. Strategy by way of Feeder Creeks

Regardless of how good the flat appears to be like, the fish nonetheless must get to it. Feeder creeks are the “residential roads” that lead fish up onto the flat because the tide rises, creating choke factors that they have to move by means of. These creeks are sometimes lined with taller grass, serving to them stand out. The marginally-deeper water of their channels will even enable you get your boat up onto the flat and again. Bear in mind, nevertheless, that if there are just one or two feeder creeks onto the flat, it’s possible you’ll wish to wait till the tide is barely greater to keep away from spooking the fish as they make their approach in. Because the tide begins to recede, the fish will retreat towards these identical creeks once more on their approach out, creating the identical alternatives for ambush. 

3. Arrive Early             

I often discover the fish extra lively within the earlier levels of the flood tide. Don’t be afraid to get there early for pictures on the first wave of fish coming onto the flat. It’s also a good way to see the contours of the underside so that you could select areas that will likely be deeper when all of it will get flooded afterward. Nearly all of our “tailing tides” happen round a full or new moon part when water ranges are highest. Total I’ve discovered extra exercise simply earlier than these lunar extremes, versus simply afterward.

Whereas excessive water is definitely key, an excessive amount of water on a flat could make the fish troublesome to identify. This may be averted by arriving early and catching the fish throughout decrease water, or by various the flats you fish based mostly on tide top. One benefit of fishing within the Charleston space is that our river programs have totally different peak tide heights, relying on location: flats nearer to the mouths will flood sooner than flats farther upriver. Shifting upriver to areas with a decrease tide top can hold you fishing longer.

Capt. Cleve Hancock owns an operates Brown Dog Sportfishing, based mostly in Charleston, South Carolina. Evan Jones is the assistant editor of the Orvis Fly Fishing weblog. He lives in Colorado.


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