Charleston’s February Fishing Forecast
Greg with a great wintertime red, one of many caught on fly that day.
February is the last month of winter here in the Lowcountry. Since this is also the last month to find redfish in large schools, there will be great sight fishing for redfish on the flats in and around the Charleston area. Expect redfish to be in large schools of 100 to 200 fish per school.
This winter has been very mild, so the fish are still active with the warmer water temps. Redfish can be found in shallow warmer water, and since the water is so clear, you will be able to see the fish very well. I typically look for calm, warm days when the tide is low in the midmorning or early afternoon. The warmer water draws the redfish to the very shallow areas and also puts them in the mood to eat something. If you fish a school for a while and the fish will not eat, you may need to find another school that has moved into warmer water. On the other hand, sometimes it pays to stay put and be patient. I have fished a school for an hour without getting a bite; however, when the tide changed or the water warmed up, we caught fish every cast. One important thing to remember is that the large schools of fish can spook easily, so be very quiet when approaching the school and make long casts to the fish so as not to spook them. Another key factor to keep in mind is that cold water will slow the fish down. You want to work your bait or fly very slowly to give the fish time to eat it. Even if you think you are fishing slowly, slow down even more.
Because fish are moving slowly and eating small things, you should fish small baits or flies. I like to use very natural colors this time of year. I will either go with something olive-clear like the water or something dark brown-black to match the bottom. Another tip is to use ultralight rods so you can feel the bite, as sometimes the bite can be very subtle. I like to use light-action rods in the 6- to 12-pound class (G-Loomis E6E 841 or NRX 882 DSR) with no more than 10-pound test line.
The days will get longer as the month progresses, so the time you can sight fish will increase. Follow these tips, and you will find some excellent and exciting sight fishing. I had some of my best redfish days last February, so get out and fish when you can so that you don’t miss some great action.
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 22 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.
Capt. Mark Phelps
Shore Thang Charters