Scott Hammond of Haddrell's Point Tackle suspects there has been a was a jailbreak recently, because the sheepshead bite around Charleston is on fire. The “convict fish” – nicknamed for its striped exterior and uncanny ability to steal bait – are biting best around rock piles and submerged pilings in eight to 15 feet of water around Charleston Harbor and any of the smaller creeks and inlets in the area. One of the hottest spots lately has been the Grillage, and the Mount Pleasant and Folly Beach piers have been giving up sheepshead in numbers, as well as some large ones.
While most fishermen prefer fiddler crabs as bait, Hammond said not to overlook live shrimp as an option, and Rich Aulner of Mount Pleasant has another recommendation – mussels.
"Leave them in the shell, pinch a small hole in one with a pair of needlenose pliers, then insert a No. 3 Owner hook until everything but the eye is exposed," said Aulner, who recently caught an sheepshead that cracked the 8-pound mark on a mussel fished under the Mount Pleasant Pier.
And if sheepshead fishing isn't your game, Hammond said not to worry.
"The trout continue to provide anglers the aggressive strikes they normally do in the fall, and are readily taking soft plastics such as the Trout Trick, Zman PaddlerZ series baits, and Gulp! shrimp," he said. Trout anglers are having success fishing the incoming tide around oyster rakes, which are easy to spot at low tide.
The redfish bite is also still hot, and Hammond said the approaching cold weather has these fish feeding heavily and schooling in huge numbers. Anglers are finding these fish easiest to catch at low tide along the flats. Live minnows and cut mullet are great baits for these fish, but they are also biting artificials. Soft jerkbaits like Gulp! Jerkshads and soft plastic crabs like the Zman Crabz are producing good results. Anglers should not overlook tiny creeks when searching for these large schools of fish.