Some of our best fishing of the year occurs in the spring. The waters are starting to get warmer, and the fish are becoming more active and feeding heavily. Redfish and Sheepshead are found inshore and at the reefs year-round, but springtime is when the sheepshead migrate in and out to sea to spawn repeatedly until late April or May.
Larger sized sheepshead are often stocked very well on the reef in the spring. Inshore, sheepshead can be caught by fishing around structures such as docks and pilings with a good growth of barnacles or oysters on them. The best bait is usually fiddler crabs, but they can also be caught using oysters, clams, or live shrimp. Sheepshead are one of the few fish in our area that are not caught on artificial baits.
Another fun species to catch for guests of all ages are inshore sharks. These will start showing up on our trips the first couple weeks of April, and will remain inshore until mid October. They can be caught on light tackle using a variety of baits, including live shrimp, blue crab, mullet or menhaden.
Redfish will break up into smaller schools and can be caught on flies, live bait, cut bait, crabs, as well as many different types of artificial baits. The sea trout should be in good condition this year after the mild winter we had compared to the last two years. They will hit a variety of baits with live shrimp being one of the best baits to use to locate the fish. Sea trout can be fished for using artificial baits as well. A grub worked along a grass line is one of the most productive ways to catch these fish. Topwater lures also work very well for trout, but only if fishing just before or after sun rise.
The reefs off the coast of Kiawah are really good places to find a variety of fish, with the species varying depending on the season. As the waters warm, the spiny dogfish sharks will be leaving soon, but many other fish move in to take their place. Spadefish, Spanish mackerel and king mackerel will start arriving, and we should start catching the season’s first cobia in late spring. Black sea bass, redfish, black drum, flounder, sheepshead and many other bottom fish are the mainstays of the reef. When fishing the reefs, it is best to have a variety of baits to increase your chance of success.