Fall Saltwater Fishing

Fall Saltwater Fishing

When people think of saltwater fishing, most think of shorts and performance tshirts in 90 degree weather. While we do love getting out on the boat in those summer months, there is also some incredible opportunity to cash in on saltwater fishing in the fall.

Here at Fish Hippie, we find that our typical fall pattern has us heading to the hills in search of changing leaves and trout streams that wind through the valleys of the Appalachian Mountains. While we definitely have a love for these inland places, it sure is nice to get a few more months on the water out of our Hell’s Bay skiff in the fall.

Fall fishing in our neck of the woods can actually be the best time of year for seatrout, redfish, and other inshore species. The falling water temperature creates a feeding frenzy for these fish as they are gorging themselves on shrimp and baitfish that are stacked in the creeks in preparation for the coming winter. 

An added bonus to fishing the fall in our area is the incredible opportunity for sight-fishing redfish. This time of year, the fish begin to school up in groups that can sometimes be over 100 fish and our water becomes gin clear. The thrill of poling a low tide oyster flat and seeing a group of redfish pushing along is enough to get any angler’s blood pumping and an accurate presentation of an artificial bait or fly is usually all it takes to get a bite. At times, these schools of fish move along the shallow water are demolishing everything in their path and will actually race to get your bait before one of the other fish can beat them to it.

The seatrout bite is also going to be on fire this time of year and you can look to catch these fish during incoming or falling tides targeting creek mouths, edges of oyster rakes and areas of current. The key to locating sea trout is finding the water where they like to stage and ambush prey that is moving through the current. Like the redfish, these trout will begin to hang out in schools this time of year and once you catch one, a lot of times you can sit on that same spot and catch them by the dozens. If you are fairly new to an area, cover as much water as you can until you find the fish. You will typically know if there are trout present after a few minutes of fishing.

Fly fishing isn’t the most effective method for catching these fish, as you are typically blind casting into deeper water. One of our favorite tactics is to use a spinning rod with a jig head and artificial grub or shrimp either casted alone or underneath a popping cork. A steady retrieve of the jig through areas of current is typically all it takes to get a bite. If fishing with a popping cork, work the bait slower and pop the cork as it drifts through the moving water. Seatrout can be sensitive to larger leaders and braided line, especially when the water clears. If you are struggling to catch fish, try sizing down your leader to 8lb mono. If you’re fishing with friends, have everyone throw different bait (color, size, paddle tail vs. twist tail etc.) so you can key in on exactly what the fish want to eat. Sometimes a simple color change can be the difference in catching 5 fish and 25 fish so figure out what works best!

Most importantly, enjoy your time on the water. The fall and winter months can be some of the most beautiful times of year in the Lowcountry and the lack of boaters on the water typically enhance the experience overall. We’ll see you out there!

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