Fall Fishing

One of my favorite books—”My Health is Better in November” by Havilah Babcock, poet laureate of South Carolina—always comes to mind this time of year. Havilah’s love for the wonderful abundance of fall fishing and hunting opportunities here in the Lowcountry is reflected in many of his books.

On Hilton Head Island and in the surrounding waters, the great news for November and December is that record numbers of smaller redfish and trout are being caught and released. In addition, shrimp are plentiful, so they should be growing with no problem. Many fishing captains are reporting they have not seen numbers of shrimp like this in decades.

Black drum, another tough battler and delicious table fish, are also being caught in higher-than-usual numbers. All signs indicate a promising and successful winter season for anyone who enjoys fishing. Visitors who have figured out that winter is the best time of year to come to Hilton Head Island can look forward to some great fishing in the coming months.

The general rule of thumb is to fish for trout at high tide and for redfish around low tide. Live shrimp on a cork fished along the grass lines tend to be irresistible, while artificial shrimp lures, when worked properly, often prove successful. Many artificials, including soft plastics and topwater lures, will draw vicious strikes from these speckled battlers.

For redfish, live shrimp on a cork or on the bottom work extremely well. Redfish also love mullet. Either cut or live finger mullet are excellent choices. Squid or dead shrimp on the bottom also are good producers. Black drum, the cousin of the redfish, can also be caught with the same techniques.

Personally, the cooler weather and the “smell” of the fall marsh reinvigorate my passion for fishing after the dog days of summer. Looks like Havilah had it correct: November really is the perfect month for fishing and hunting.

Capt. Miles Altman of Bayrunner Fishing Charters has more than 42 years of experience fishing the waters surrounding Hilton Head Island. Don’t miss the new “Finatic” boat, which can accommodate up to 12 passengers and features a special 3-hour shark/dolphin eco-tour trip. Contact Miles at (843) 290-6955 to book an unforgettable inshore or offshore charter fishing trip, departing from Shelter Cove Marina.

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