The beauty of late May and June is that no matter what flavor of water into which you dump your Tupperware boat, there’s plenty of action to be found.
June also brings about the beginning of the season when the kids are out of school and beach and lake houses fill with vacationers. What better way to preserve some quality fishing time between visits to the miniature golf course, the fried-food warehouse and the sunny shore than to throw the kayak on top of the family station wagon and slide into the water a few mornings before the circus starts?
June is also the time when the nod for best shallow-water fishing in the Carolinas tips from freshwater over to saltwater. Baitfish will be back in the creeks and bayous of coastal areas and plenty of flounder, redfish and trout can be found, along with some black drum, sheepshead, whiting and small sharks.
It’s hard to beat a topwater bite from the times the sun’s rays first start to peak over the horizon until the sun is fully visible in the east — give or take, about two hours. Many vacation hot spots in coastal areas may have lights that shine on the backwater at night, but not on the beach, in deference to nesting sea turtles. Those lights attract shrimp, crabs and minnows all night, setting the table for a good topwater bite for the paddler who can flank the area you desire to fish in and sling a Spook, MirrOlure or any number of 3- to 4-inch topwater baits around docks or wharfs where the nightlife fades with the rising sun.
Fortunately, after the sun gets up, many of those same fish retreat under docks, wharves or other man-made structure rather than completely vacating the area. When the topwater bite is over, you can spend the remainder of your time on the water casting weighted plastics or hard jerkbaits up under the overhead cover — before the kids start hollering to go to the Waffle Shack or the Burger Barn.
Another option for the paddler who comes equipped with a stake-out pole or folding anchor is to line up with the incoming tide and soak some fresh shrimp or small chunks of crab on a Carolina rig in a deep hole, channel or ditch, especially if that ditch is the gateway between a creek and a large patch of marshland.
On the freshwater side, the same basic pattern, minus the tidal influence, will produce fish. Rather than targeting redfish or trout, that Spook, Pop-R or floating X-Rap will call in largemouth bass to start the day. Once the sun pushes fish under the docks, floating worms, shaky heads, or jerkbaits will again produce.
If you prefer to soak some bait, you can pull the stern of your kayak up on a shallow point and fan-cast lines outfitted with cut shad, whole night crawlers or stinkbait for channel catfish. Give each location about 30 to 45 minutes before paddling on to the next one.