The Search for Hard Bottoms & Tan Lines – How to Fish a Low Tide

Lowcountry Kayak Fishing | Chris Tweedy | July 2021

The heat of summer is here and with it comes a likely shift to early morning or late day fishing.

Redfish go deeper, the creeks are full of mullet that you could swear are redfish, and sometimes that middle of the day sun makes you not want to be outside.

While the action may slow for some of our year-round inshore targets, other opportunities present themselves as you slow down the fishing and try to capitalize on the windows we have to drop the hammer on some fish.

That late morning into early afternoon period, particularly on a falling to low tide cycle, gives anglers a great shot at fishing for some fun catches as well as scouting around a bit to extend your fishing areas!

In Bulls Bay, I spend the summer exploring new creeks on the falling tide to identify spots I want to target on future trips.

Why low tide? It helps me find the areas along the Bay, ICW, and Cape Romain that I think are likely areas to hold fish at some point in the tide cycle and for me, find where fish and bait are likely to be at some point in the tide cycle.

The ultimate key for me is finding hard bottoms. sand, docks, hard grass-lines, undercut banks, and live or dead oysters are beacons to target fish as well as what they feed.

Finding and marking these areas, especially ones adjacent to other places fish will orient throughout the tide is a great way to narrow your search.

Think like a fish and ask yourself if you’d be comfortable at a particular spot relative to your ability to eat at the same time you won’t risk being eaten yourself.

Consider the proximity to escape routes like a dock structure, deeper water, or access to get up a creek or into the marsh where dolphins can’t go.

Many fish will go deep (like 20ft plus) in the summer to find cooler water, rising late and early to feed in comfort and safety.  These spots are likely to help you figure out where to look and when.

Examine each area up close and from a distance, get the micro and macro view of each potential area and learn to think one step up or down the food chain as well as incorporating what you already know about the fish you’re wanting to catch.

While I’m out scouting, I’m also looking for signs of life. Flounder tracks that show their presence in the area means it’s a comfortable place for them to be at some point in the tide.

Fun, catchable sharks will show their fins along the areas you’ll be scouting and make for a fun time sight casting with medium tackle.

Big red and black drum can be pulled from deeper holes sometimes adjacent to shell at the intersections of side creeks and the main waterway.

When you’re out there, especially midsummer, remember to stay hydrated, keep that sunscreen handy, and wear long pants/sleeves!

So take your time, explore a little and slow down in the heat as you learn to immerse yourself in the watery world around us.

If you want some help on scouting or putting your game plan in action, let me take you out and show you around Bulls Bay and Cape Romain this summer. Hope you catch em up!

Looking for a different local restaurant experience? We recommend trying the Salty Dog Cafe at Bohicket Marina, sit on their deck and enjoy beautiful sunsets over the lowcountry! click above for more info


Chasing  Summer Bowfin

The months of July and August can find the midday bite on the saltwater fish a grueling experience.

Those lucky enough to be initiated in the art of fishing for bowfin (mudfish/dogfish) locally know there is one fish that will fight all summer, with size and in numbers!

Our region is well known as a world-class bowfin fishery, with big fish (30+ inches) fighting hard even mid-day and catches numbering 20 or more fish in just a few hours.

The growing popularity of this has lead to a several local tournaments and events that celebrate catching these cypress trout.

May through August finds the Muddy Masters events on Saturdays at Dawhoo Lake (open to boats as well as bank fishing).

Lowcountry Kayak Anglers has the Jurassic Classic on August 7 at Wee Tee WMA and Dawhoo Lake, and this year my charter is sponsoring the first ever BOWFIN KAYAK NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP in partnership with Yak ‘Bassin tournaments.

Come on out and compete for fame, glory, and a good paycheck at any of these events.
Hit me up if you need any help or have any questions!

Topwater’s video reports for June focus on examining some of these high and low tide scouting areas so be sure to check our Topwater Kayak Charters and Coastal Angler Charleston’s facebook pages for a visual breakdown of tidal scouting.

Hit me up with some questions/pictures of your scouting or give me a call to help you shorten the saltwater learning curve or any other area of your inshore game that needs some help.

For a kayak fishing charter you will never forget give us a call at 843-906-7112 or check us out on Facebook or at

Thanks for reading and tight lines,

Chris Tweedy, Owner/Operator
Topwater Kayak Charters


You may also enjoy reading:

Kayak Puddle Jumping – Guide To Fishing Great Ponds & Lakes In The Lowcountry

Kayak Fishing Gear: The Basics

Are You Ready to Slay Dinosaurs? Fishing for Bowfin

Crazy Redfish!

Tournament Time – Five Lures To Cover All The Bass Bases