Water temperature is one of the keys to winter fishing at the pier so keep your fingers crossed it stays above 55 degrees. If that happens you could be counting sheepshead and trout as they come over the rail.
You can still catch fish between the 50 – 55-degree mark, but action will be slower. Below 50 and you’ll need a little luck on your side.
The two species we see the most during the colder months are sheepshead and trout. Target trout during the last two hours of the outgoing tide and the first two hours of the incoming.
Recently I witnessed a trout run from an angler who landed a dozen trout in a 20-minute span. Artificials like Billy Bay, Vudu, and ZMan are all popular among trout fishermen.
One popular method is to cast parallel to the pier and work your lure back at various depths and speeds. As the water temperature dips you’ll want to slow your retrieve significantly since the fish won’t be as active.
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Don’t underestimate letting it sit on the bottom and bumping it along slowly as you might just run into a flounder still hanging around.
Some sheepshead will move to deeper water as it gets colder, but there’s also a resident population that typically hangs around the pilings and can be caught year-round.
During the winter months, pier anglers have better luck with clams and oysters than fiddler crabs.
The crabs will still produce though if you have the patience to sift thru some smaller fish and donate a few to the known bait stealers.
The River Watch Café and Gift Shop sells frozen sand fleas which are also productive for sheepshead.
November thru February are typically the months we see some of the largest sheepshead caught each year.
It is not uncommon to see catches in the 7 – 10-pound range with some pushing 12 pounds or more. At the time of print there were at least three catches over 8 pounds in the past week.
Be sure to let us know when you land the big one on the pier and we’ll be glad to feature you in the next article. Stop by the shop or flag down a maintenance attendant to share your success.
CPRP Manager | Mount Pleasant Pier
Charleston County Park & Recreation Commission | Mount Pleasant Pier
For more info please contact the pier at (843) 762-9946
or visit www.charlestoncountparks.com
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