South Carolina Shallow Saltwater Fishing Report From 08-01-04 through 08-31-04

Even with two hurricanes making a direct hit on us, we still managed to have some really good fishing. When these storms visit us, the wind and wave action causes quite a bit of silt to be stirred up into the water. The real problem however, is that with that much rain, all the fresh water coming down our five rivers brings us some really muddy fresh water. As the runoff water got here, one of the things that happened was that many of the shrimp that were growing in the estuaries left because of the big fluctuation in salinity. After the shrimp left, the reds and trout were hungry and searching for food and we were there to offer them something to eat! When we have such muddy water, not much will beat a live mullet minnow for bait.

There are several reasons we prefer the "finger mullet" over either mud minnows or shrimp. When you put a mud minnow on a bottom rig, he will do his best to hide himself by getting under a shell, or in a crevice of some sort. A shrimp will not continue to move a lot after it has been hooked for a short time and will not attract much attention. On the other hand, the finger mullet is typically a surface swimmer, and will constantly swim towards the surface. They are normally strong and durable baits.

One of our favorite rigs is to simply tie a hook on your line, and then hook-up a big mullet minnow (around 3"), gently toss the bait in the area of the fish, and hold on! We see it time and again, even when there are hundreds of minnows in an area, when your hooked minnow swims and is slowed by the lineÕs drag, he becomes the target of choice of all the predators. He is literally the Òinjured minnowÓ that most all lures attempt to mimic. Some times when the water is 5 or 6 feet deep, weÕll add a 00 split shot about 16" above the bait in order to get him down a little deeper. An added feature of the mullet is that his side scales are like a mirror where even the smallest amount of light and movement will cause a bright flash of light. Since he is constantly swimming upward, the effect is something like a flashing neon sign saying "EAT HERE"! Also, since they are normally so active, they produce sound waves that alert fish to their location. We normally hook our baits from the bottom rear of the jaw up through the cartilage plate just in front of their eyes. This way, their mouth can work properly and they don't have a problem getting a good flow of water over their gills. My favorite hook is a 4/0 or 5/0 circle hook.

Some people think that hook is much bigger than is needed but, I disagree. The point of a small hook can easily get lost in the bait as a fish turns it to eat it. As the fish turns the bait head first, the hook shank will turn under the bait, and the hook point will turn over the top of the baits head. Smaller hooks can wind up stuck in the bait, and not in the fishes mouth. With the larger hooks, when the bait is turned, the point is up and well clear of the bait and is in a position to hook the fish. This hook and method also does not require you to let the fish run with the bait before setting the hook. Mullet minnows can be caught by using a cast net and are easily kept in a floating bucket, or an aerated tank.

Our typical day produced around 5 to 10 reds and we also had another day where we caught over 50 reds on a trip. Unreal for August!! Conservation does pay!! Good fishing!

Gene Dickson
Delta Guide Service Georgetown, SC