Dock Fishing For Winter Reds
With the fishing winter pattern still a factor for a few more months, fishing around docks can be a strategy that makes or breaks a day of fishing for Redfish. Even in the warmer water of Charleston’s Low Country, the Redfishing will slow and that means you need to approach dock fishing and consider a number of tactics.
First, finding the right dock to fish is important. You want to look for an older dock. The older docks will bring increased barnacle growth and many times be the home of oyster beds which is a common home place for Redfish. Also, the sign of a lot of growth is a dead giveaway that The Reds are likely in the neighborhood. Locating a dock near a feeder creek will serve to increase your chances. The feeder creeks bring moving water and moving bait. Also finding a dock near an old bulkhead that has even more growth is definitely a help.
The best fishing time is greatly determined by the tides. The last 2-3 hours of an outgoing tide is best. Make sure you get there a little early to take advantage of those last 3 hours. I like rigging with a Texas Eye Strike Jig head by Eye Strike and a ZMan Jerk ShrimpZ. I like starting with artificial bait first. This allows me to check the bottom for hang ups and underwater objects that may cause break offs without the danger of losing a more expensive lure.
Next, I start working the docks and nearby banks, remembering that the water is still somewhat cold and the fish will be responding slowly. This means a slower retrieve. I also work the pilings while getting closer to be able to flip the bait up under the dock, carefully trying not to get snagged on the pilings or the barnacles. I look for deeper pockets of water where the fish may be holding up as I continue to work around the dock and pilings. Again, you have to remember that the water is cold and the fish are many times slow to respond. So be patient. They’re there, but it may just take a while for them to start the feeding process. Also remember that stealth is the name of the game. When coming in towards the dock, make sure to use your trolling motor and allow the current to take you in closer. A loud outboard or clacking anchor chair can end a day of fishing before it even gets started.
Last words…be quiet and be patient.