Nothing excites me more than inshore water temperatures reaching the low 60’s. That is the time that big redfish stage inshore and in easy paddling distance off the beaches here in Charleston, SC befre they move out to join the breeding colonies. For natural baits the best choice is large chunks of cut mullet on 3/0 to 7/0 circle hooks. For the fisherman who likes artificial baits, 5 inch swimming mullet patterns or paddle tail grubs on a 4/0 ½ ounce jig head hopped along the bottom should be your first choice.
Look for above water structure such as rock walls, steep embankments, or docks adjacent to creek mouths or inlets. Then, use your depth sounder to locate deep holes or steep ledges. Keep scouting until you find the subsurface structure that makes a good area extremely special. When you find the right spot, chances are good that large fish in groups of 3 to 10 fish will show on your depth sounder just off the bottom. My favorite spring hole lights up the fish finder like a Christmas tree with big reds forming the base, cob mullet in the mid water column and menhaden 3 to 5 feet below the surface.
My favorite place inshore is one that I only share with a few friends and clients who know how to keep a secret. It is an area on the Stono River that is just loaded with structure described above, so it is a fish magnet. A rock wall, a dock, a 35 foot deep hole adjacent to an inlet with major flow all combine to make this spot the most prominent feature for several miles on the Stono River. The interesting thing about this spot, like so many others, it only shines when the tides are just right. The results speak for themselves. This hot spot consistently gives up redfish over 30 inches with the best day being 6 huge reds boated in an hour.
Tactics beyond the breakers are remarkably similar this time of year. The larger redfish are staging beyond the second bar and in the deeper holes along the North jetty, so they are too far from the beach for surf casters. They set up at breaks in the outer bar where wave action creates a non stop buffet line of disoriented bait fish. Slow trolling large swim baits or soaking large mullet chunks on 7/0 circle hooks produce redfish in the 30 to 50 pound class.