As you are cruising the bays and sounds of Charlotte Harbor, have you ever wondered why it always seems there are boats anchored just off the corners or points of many mangrove island shorelines?  In most cases, this is due to the fact that these island points can be one of the most productive spots on the entire shoreline.  This is due to a couple of reasons, first is the increased water flow or current that inevitably gets pushed around the point. Anytime we can find a spot where water is moving, our odds of finding fish increases. Secondly, this stronger current flow tends to dig a bit of a deeper cut over time that also helps hold fish. And since most of our favorite gamefish prefer to feed by ambush, a good current flow around a point where they can position facing into the current is a natural.

When it comes to a strategy for working these spots, my favorite is at a tide change and in particular when the tide begins to run out. In reality, this is difficult to plan because you have to be on the water an awful lot to time this right. However, if you are working some shorelines and notice the tide is beginning to drop, it is something to keep in mind. Best of all, we are fortunate enough to have lots of islands that contain numerous points to pick from in and around Charlotte harbor.  In addition, many of these islands are so close together that you can actually jump from one corner or point to the other. In fact, one of my favorite patterns includes moving from one adjacent corner to another on the outer set of islands going into a backcountry bay and also working the flat that lies between the two spots. I have found that this type of open flat just off the deeper water and between two islands tends to hold fish. Just the same as current increases when water is forced around a point, it also moves a bit quicker as it is funneled between two islands. If we take a look at a good chart, Charlotte harbor is loaded with this type of island structure. Lately, the wind has played a key role in how I will navigate the different distances between island structures. In many cases, I will use the outboard to set myself up for a drift with the wind and just use my trolling motor on a very low speed to help steer the boat. By doing this my trolling will last longer and will also create as little noise as possible. However, if I happen to see a lot of activity like fish pushing from a distance but everything seems to disappear as I get closer, I will get out the push pole.

Hopefully, after the cooler weather from last weekend moves out, the fish will be hungry. I am getting good reports of both scaled sardines or whitebait and threadfins moving into the harbor. Many of the jerkbait style artificial plastics have been working well. Examples include: Gulp’s five-inch jerkshad, Exude’s RT Slug, and Gambler’s Flappin shad. Most anglers are rigging them weedless with either with a Texas rig or a hitchhiker set up. It’s also not a bad idea to keep a top water plug rigged at all times.

With all that being said, I only see one problem. There just isn’t enough time to cover all the ground that is there to explore. But then, that’s also the great thing about Charlotte Harbor and all the islands, its vast size help it absorb all the pressure that we put on its resources.  I realize this every time that I run north outside the bar and look into the vast set of islands between Pirate harbor and Alligator Creek.   

Spring is coming to the Golden Isles

With the advent of Spring, our waters begin warming.  68 to 70 degrees is the magic temperature.  The big winter schools of reds begin to break up and we are able to find them in more places.  Trout come up from the depths and gather around oyster beds and grass.  In May we expect the first "tailing" tides of the year where the reds get into the grass and tail aggressively grubbing for fiddler crabs.  Tailing redfish in the grass is classic, southern fly fishing for redfish.

In St. Simons we have an interesting fishery chasing free floating triple tail just 1-3 miles off of the beaches.  This is an unusual behavior because they are not floating close to structure.  They are simply free floating.  We look for these fish by idling around just off the beaches.  When I see one, I motor close to it and try put you in a good position for a cast.  The flies are generally lightly weighted or unweighted flies that mimic small shrimp or bait fish.  If you make a good presentation a little beyond and in front of the fish, you may come tight with a triple tail up to 20 pounds.  Triple tail are a hard fighting fish that jumps and runs.  I have said many times, if you can imagine how hard a 10 pound blue gill would pull, that is how hard a Triple Tail pulls.  This pattern runs from late March until June or July.  

At this time of year, I like to combine a red fish and Triple tail trip.  As in all sight fishing, a clear day with light wind makes for the fishing.  So, click the link below to inquire on booking a trip for a species I would bet you have never caught on fly.

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