By Owen Plair| When the leaves are falling and spartina grass is turning brown. When water temperature is cooling down and cold weather gear is out of the closet; one thing comes into mind for any fisherman here in the Lowcountry…fall fishing!
The months of October and November bring some of the best fishing here in Beaufort, SC. It’s a great time for redfish, trout, and flounder. It offers amazing sight casting on the fly to tailing redfish going crazy on fiddler crabs, and schooled up redfish on the low tide chasing shrimp to fill up before the winter, giving you the opportunity to land your fly in front of some of the most aggressive redfish of the year. It also brings the opportunity for the light tackle angler to fill his hands with slime from amazingly high numbers of redfish and trout on live shrimp, or artificial’s.
The fall is always one of my favorite times of year here not only as a local, but also as a guide. Its a 2-3 month period when all my return customers come down to experience days on the flats of the Broad River like no other. Days that can put any angler to the test.
Being able to fish throughout the whole day working different tides is possible due to the cooler temperatures and happy fish, which can give you a lot of different situations, and in return produces very high numbers of fish. The cooler water pushes all the bait fish out, which takes away a lot of the food that the redfish and trout are eating. In return, the shrimp move in and the fish go crazy trying to fill up for the long winter to come.
Tailing redfish here on the flood tides is an incredible way to fly fish for redfish and offers one of the best sight casting situations when it comes to saltwater fly fishing. During the fall months it can bring some of the highest numbers for tailers do to the colder water temperature and highly active fish. Whether you’re wade fishing or poling in the skiff through the short spartina grass, it can be some of the most exciting fishing during the fall. The tailing fish usually last until the beginning to middle of November depending on water temperature. When the water temperature drops below 68 the crabs go down which takes away from the fish feeding in the grass, so its important to watch the water temperature to know when to and when not to base your day on tailing redfish.
Light tackle fishing can be its best during the fall, producing incredibly high numbers of redfish and trout. Fishing either the dropping tide or the rising tide is key when using live bait. We are working a lot of grass lines and oyster beds with live shrimp or mud minnows under a cajun thunder, so moving water brings moving fish. Then during the slack high or slack low tide we move over to artificial grubs like the gulp shrimp, or minnow.
In both situations whether bait fishing, or using artificial’s, you are presented with high numbers of fish and its always nice when you lose count 2 hours into the trip!
All in all, fall fishing is simply some of the best fishing times of the whole year. Its a time of the year that I recommend anyone who enjoys catching fish to come down to the waters of Beaufort, SC and experience it first hand.
Whether your an experienced fly angler or newcomer to the sport, you’ll be able to experience some the best sight fishing for redfish on the East Coast. Or for any light tackle fisherman who enjoys high-number days or perhaps you just want to take your kids out to introduce them to the wonderful world of saltwater fishing… the fall is a great way to not only enjoy the salt water fishery of the Lowcountry, but to experience some the best redfishing in the entire Country.