Painting by William M. Rhett III.
Our South Carolina coast with its miles of rivers, creeks and estuaries is home to hundreds of species of fish, birds, and animals. The redfish are the rulers of these waters. During high tides, the Reds take shelter amongst the spartina grass, creating hiding places from predators such as eagles, ospreys and dolphins. As the tide begins to recede, the reds are forced out from their spartina shelter into open areas usually surrounded by mud bars and oyster mounds.
Shortly after the warming begins the larger bull reds start moving back into the estuaries from offshore waters. So spring is a great time of year to catch ‘em and cook ‘em up for supper!
Even if you don’t like to fish for your dinner, incredible sight fishing adventures await you, thanks to the extreme high tides which flood our marshes. Depending on the moon phase, full or new, the gravitational pull causes these flood tides. Each month we have six to eight such tides.
As the water starts to flood the marsh, the reds will move onto the spartina- covered flats to feed on fiddler crabs. As these fish feed on the crabs, they will appear to be standing on their heads. Depending on the depth of the water, the fish may be feeding in shallow-enough water to completely expose their backs and tails.
Just the sheer thought of casting a fly rod into a milling school of redfish is enough to raise the hair on the back of the neck of most anglers. The shallower the water, the more thrilling the fight.
Ever tasted a redfish? redfish or red drum have a mild, sweet flavor with a medium-firm texture, not a steak texture like swordfish and not as flaky as a flounder. §