Charleston’s December Fishing Forecast By Capt. Mark Phelps

Would like to wish everyone a happy holiday season it’s hard to believe it’s the end of the year already. With all the hustle and bustle the end of the year brings, many forget how great the fishing can be.

With all the hustle and bustle the end of the year brings, many forget how great the fishing can be. The weather is cooler but the redfish and trout bite can be excellent.

The first thing you notice when fishing in December is how peaceful it is on the water. You won’t find any jet skis or many pleasure riders.

The majority of the boats are put up for the winter. Mostly what you will find are friendly fellow fisherman.

Fishing in December means you should concentrate on two things: redfish and sea trout. The inshore waters of Charleston will be loaded with large schools of both species.

The cold weather will have the fish in large schools looking for protection from dolphins and working together to find food.

That means you might have to move around to find the large schools or wait a while in your favorite spot until a school comes to you. Either way, you will be in for some fast action when you find them.

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Most of the bait will be gone and the fish are hungry for almost any artificial lure or fly you place in their path. Look for redfish to be in very shallow water trying to find food and stay warm.

Pole or troll down a shallow flat looking for the disturbance or gold flashes. It is not uncommon to see more than 100 fish in a school this time of the year.

The water will be very clear and easy to see on a sunny day. You must be quiet and have polarized glasses to help you see in the water.

The trout will move from place to place depending on the water temperature.

After a cold front you might find them in a 10-20 foot hole. However, a warm afternoon will have them in 2 feet of water along the grass.

Midday high tides or late afternoon incoming tides can be the best for trout. Trout will key in on certain colors depending on conditions.

Try bright, natural or smoke gray colors until you get the bite. Use light tackle. I like to use 6-12lb class rods, 8lb braid “Like power pro super slick”.

This will help you feel the light tap of a trout and easily help you get light jigs or lures into the strike zone. Remember to slow down your retrieve of all lures this time of the year.

The fish will be moving and reacting more slowly in the colder water. When you find the reds or trout it may be easy to catch several.

Even more than your limit. Consider doing mostly catch and release this time of year. Fishing one huge school of fish and keeping a bunch of them only means less fish for everyone next yr.

If you want to keep and eat fish, consider just keeping a few for dinner that night and save the rest for the future..

A great way to spend the day on the water is to book one of the area’s great guides.  Having fished in Charleston for almost twenty four years, I am extremely knowledgeable and experienced in this area.

As owner and operator of Shore Thang Charters, I would love to share my expertise with you on the water.

Captain Mark Phelps / Shore Thang Charters



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