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  • Captain Alex Pennekamp

When The Struggle is Real


Fighting a nice redfish in the back of a creek while fishing in Charleston, SC.

Inshore Fishing Charters this time of year can be a hit or miss, especially if you are targeting fish on the flats. Everyone thinks that the fish are schooled up this time of year, which makes them easier to catch. Well, that is not always the case. Last week was a prime example of why fishing in the winter/early spring can be difficult.

The weather last weekend was "forecasted" to be west southwest winds 5-10mph, and the sun was supposed to be out for at least the majority of the morning. The weather sounded great, and I had someone call who wanted to fish the flats for redfish, which made it even better. Saturday rolled around, and what did we have? Cloudy skies, fog, and wind.

But, because we were already scheduled, off we went in search of redfish on the flats. At the first flat we pulled up to, the dolphins were terrorizing the redfish. The second flat we went to had water so muddy that it looked like Yoo-hoo. At the third and final flat, the redfish were nowhere to be found. As of that point, the trip looked like it was going to be a bust. I quickly began to scramble, and I asked my clients, "would you guys like to ditch the flats and head to the creeks with bait?" I always carry a live well full of shrimp as back up when things aren't going as planned. To my surprise they said, "lets go for it."

Every guide has one "Hail Mary" spot, the one where they know they can scratch out a few fish. My "Hail Mary" spot happens to be in a creek that has a deep hole in the back. Redfish this time of year tend to seek shelter in the backs of creeks away from predators. So, we made our way to that spot with our live well full of bait. The first shrimp that hit the water was immediately inhaled by a redfish, then the second, and then the third. Our day went straight from zero to hero.

Fishing is not always easy in the winter/spring, but being able to adapt to the conditions will allow you to be more successful. The flats were clearly not going to produce, so instead of grinding it out, we switched game plans, and turned a rather slow day into a very productive day. I always make sure that I carry shrimp with me in the boat so that I have a backup plan at all times. If your original plan is not working, switch it up try something new, try a different area, and don't just settle for “well, they are not biting today.” My day was made when my clients said, "we will definitely be back for another inshore fishing charter!"

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