Winter has finally shown up in the lowcountry, and because redfish don’t mind the cold, neither should anglers. It’s a great time of year to catch plenty of these fish, including some big ones.

“The redfish are just now starting to school up around here, and you can still find small groups and singles here and there. The bite has been good, especially using soft plastics under popping corks when the tide is moving,” said Capt. Rick Percy of Reel Chance Charters (803-535-6166).

The water is typically clearer this time of year than any other, and while this helps anglers see fish from a good ways, it also makes the fish wary. Percy said keeping your distance goes a long way in getting these fish to cooperate.

Because the sight of a boat getting too close will spook redfish, whether they are traveling in a school or not, it’s important to be able to cast to them without getting on top of them. You could easily reach them by casting a Carolina rig with a 1-ounce sinker, but Percy said that’s not going to get you much love from these fish.

“That kind of disturbance is going to spook them, and fishing on the bottom is not the best way to catch them right now. Choosing a good popping cork that has some weight on it to help you cast is a big help when fishing like this. With a soft plastic shrimp about 18-inches under the cork, you’re giving them what they want,” he said.

Percy prefers the MidCoast Evolution cork because it is weighted properly for long-distance casts, but doesn’t make a huge disturbance when it lands. He likes using a Vudu Shrimp underneath the cork.

“The Tiger Vudu is really getting it done right now. I don’t know what it is about that color, but it has been really good lately. I’m popping the cork very aggressively in 2- to 3-feet of water and the redfish are tearing it up,” he said.

Percy said as long as the tide is moving, he’s finding fish willing to bite, but he said it is slightly better on either side of the outgoing tide.

“The best fishing has been from two hours before low tide through two hours after low tide. And on sunny days when low tide occurs around 1 p.m., the fishing is as good as it gets. The sun warming the water temperature up, even just one degree, is great for fishing,” he said.