Winter fishing here in the Lowcountry of Beaufort, SC can be some of the best sight fishing of the year during low tide! What makes the winter time so special during low tide is the clear water and large schools of Redfish. Usually around mid November the air temperature starts to drop which then causes the water temperature to drop and puts our local redfish into winter mode. Once the water temp gets below 65 degrees the water tends to clear up dramatically and the fish school up during the low tides to stay safe on shallow mud flats from predators like dolphins. Whats so special about this is that for us as anglers, it creates an amazing fishery all winter long.
During the winter months we are usually fishing 2 or 3 hours before low tide and 2-3 hours after low tide. This is the prime time in the tide when all the fish are forced out of the spartina grass and schooled up on the mud flats to stay safe from dolphins. All of our guides run flats boats that draft anywhere from 5-10 inches of water allowing us to get very close to fish on these shallow mud flats. As we are poling the flats we are always looking for any signs of the fish whether it is a push, flash, or actually seeing the fish swimming in the shallow clear water. Sight fishing on the mud flats during the winter is almost like hunting and really brings out that primal instinct we all have as anglers. We are not fishing flood tides in the winter time solely do to the fiddlers crabs not being around and with no fiddlers, means no tailers. Makes the most sense to fish a 4-6 hour day during the winter rather than a full 8 hour day.
One of the best parts about winter time flats fishing is that once you find one Redfish there are most likely a lot more to come. On average we see anywhere from 10 fish in a school all the way up to 200 at times! The key to having a productive day during the winter is doing your best to not spook the school and really sneaking up on them when poling/casting. Longer casts are key this time of year because the fish are so much more sensitive in the larger schools and you can only get the boat so close but the redfish are also more aggressive do to not having a lot of other bait in the water to feed on. There is nothing better than watching a school of 100 redfish swim after your fly in just a few inches of gin clear water! Weather is also more of a factor in the winter time because the fish are not as active and can be hard to find in tough conditions. Clouds and wind can make it tough in the winter so we are always looking for days with some sunlight and a good low tide for the best fishing.
Are you thinking of booking a winter redfish trip and wonder if the fishing is good? The answer is yes, the fishing is great during the winter here in the Lowcountry of Beaufort, SC. Make sure to pack warm for the boat ride because you can never have too many clothes on this time of year. Give us a call or shoot us an email to get your winter redfish day on the books with one of our Orvis Endorsed Guides. We are always here to answer any questions and look forward to seeing you soon. Enjoy a few photos of our winter season so far!