Summer is in full bloom this month along South Carolina’s coast, with inshore options wide open. Among the best locations are the sprawling marshes around Georgetown, where it’s ground zero for some of the best action of the season on spot-tail bass, aka redfish.
As June arrives, the waters are warm and full of groceries, from menhaden and mullet to scuds of creek shrimp. That means spot-tails are living high on the hog, and Jeff Lattig of Living Water Guide Service in Pawley’s Island is on their trail.
“In June, reds are scattered all over the place and broken into small fishable schools,” said Lattig (843-997-4655). “Mullet, menhaden and shrimp are very abundant, and they will be feeding aggressively.”
Spot-tails can be just about anywhere, from the rock jetties at the Winyah Bay inlet downstream from Georgetown to the backs of the creeks near Hobcaw behind North Inlet or well upstream on the Santee River system. They are spread out and will set up in places where they can easily ambush bait.
Lattig doesn’t stray far from the inlets, because spot-tails can feed there without much effort and on all phases of the tide.
“The phase of the tide will dictate which ambush areas I choose: the back of a creek or along the main creek systems near oyster bars and secondary creek mouths,” he said.
The bait looks for places covered in grass and oysters, or extremely shallow water, as it tries to avoid becoming lunch for a predator. Lattig targets places in which baitfish are vulnerable to predation.
“I look for ambush spots such as oyster points, grass lines with bight, or the mouth of a creek at a negative-low tide. The low water will move the fish to the main creek right in front of these feeders,” he said.
Early in summer, spot-tails are quite aggressive and willing to take a wide variety of artificial lures and natural baits. Lattig likes Gulp’s 4-inch swimming mullet in chartreuse, or anything else that resembles a finger mullet. And he’s not bashful about using live bait.
“Once June and July arrive, you can’t beat a finger mullet under a cork. While reds will sometimes get choosy on artificials, they can’t resist a live mullet. It’s game over,” he said.
Even though Lattig prefers to use artificial lures whenever possible, live bait is a guaranteed winner for reds during the summer feeding frenzy. Lattig will suspend the live mullet under the cork on anywhere between 18 and 24 inches of leader.