Just got back from a great trip to Charleston, S.C. to visit a good friend on mine and to fly-fish for Redfish. I had never been to Charleston before and was looking forward to exploring the city as well as the Red fishing.
The weather was great for us, with above average temperatures and plenty of sunshine, which you tend to appreciate more when you live in a place that’s much colder during the winter months. We did have a good amount of wind that we had to deal with while fishing. Not only is it harder to cast in the wind, but the wind also tends to churn up the water & muddy bottom making for poor visibility and spotting fish more difficult. You can still find fish, but you have to look for muds (dirty spots where feeding fish have stirred up the bottom), or nervous water (a disturbance on the surface caused by moving fish below).
We fished most days and found fish on every occasion. We were casting & stripping baitfish patterns to small schools of Redfish in open water or along grass flats depending on the height of the tide. During the summer months, you would target fish that were tailing on the grass flats feeding on crabs.
Redfish are a big-shouldered saltwater fish that can run in size from a juvenile fish of a couple pounds (called a rat), to upwards of 40 lbs. or more. They readily take flies when presented properly and put up a bulldog of a fight when hooked. Our most productive fly was an Enrico Puglisi baitfish pattern tied on a 1/0 hook, although we did catch a number of fish on other deceiver style patterns. Casting accuracy and presentation seemed to be more important than the actual fly pattern used.
We caught lot of Redfish that ran between 5 and 15lbs, and enjoyed being able to see most of the takes. On the worst of our water visibility days, we would spend a lot of time blind casting to where we thought the fish were based on muds and nervous water, but the best was when the water was clear enough to sight cast to small schools of feeding fish.
We were fishing Winston 7wt. BII-MX fast action rods with floating Redfish lines & 16lb. Redfish leaders, which was the perfect set-up for the size of fish we were catching and fighting the wind.
The amazing thing about this great fishery is that it’s available right in town or just minutes from anywhere. You can hook up the boat at home, drive to the water, launch and be fishing for Redfish in less than 30 minutes. Now that’s urban angling at its finest.