Pointing up a small channel to the light ripples in a patch of busy water, Mike Eady of Yak Fishing and Outdoor Guides cautioned the fishermen in his party to move slowly and carefully until they were in casting range of the disturbance. Eady said redfish were most likely the target, and while a bit sluggish in the cold, January water, they were on high alert in the shallow water and would spook easily.

“Our winter fishing is a bit of a challenge, especially for reds in the shallow creeks” Eady said. “You have to get within casting range without spooking them and then cast something they want to eat. We use a lot of natural baits to get some scent in the water, but we use lures at times, too. With natural baits, you can let them sit and rely on the scent to draw strikes, but you have to move lures, and the colder the water, the slower you have to fish them.”

Eady and his partners, Johnny Wigfall and Mike Kachman, (www.yakoutdoorguides.com) offer kayak, boat and kayak mothership fishing. They concentrate on the waters of Murrells Inlet, S.C., all year, but especially once the water cools. It’s a unique body of water; it has no inland streams feeding it. A few small, rainwater drains feed it, but the ocean is Murrells Inlet’s main water sources. 

This gives fishermen some diverse water to fish in a small area. It begins with the jetties at the inlet, some sandy bottom near them, and then oyster beds and mud bottoms deeper in the estuary. The water begins at ocean temperature and may warm a handful of degrees in the headwaters of the creeks, especially with a mid-day low tide on a sunny day.

“During the winter, we target red drum, speckled trout and black drum,” Eady said. “We also occasionally catch some flounder, weakfish (gray trout) and tautog. Our main natural baits are whole shrimp, pieces