Making the Best of Fishing for Fall Reds

With the cooler temperatures just around the corner, fishing will change. Fall has always proven to be the best time of year for Redfishing. So recently, we reach out to Perry McDougald of Pogies Fishing Center of Swansboro. Perry is a light tackle guide that specializes in both Redfishing and Kayak fishing. This makes for a great combination for fall and we wanted to get Perry’s take on how he prepares for the coming Fall season.

The first thing that Perry brought up was how the temperature changes will impact the movement and feeding habits of the Redfish. The cooler water will result in the fish increasing their feeding. This is due to coming winter and the reduced presence of bait fish in the months to come. The fish change their feeding patterns to prefer shrimp but will still take artificials. Live shrimp is the lure of the day. The flood tides are a great time to start. This is when most of the bait is in the water and moving. Perry stressed that the Fall is a time of year to look for Redfish in places you might not normally be looking like the middle of channels that will be carrying lots of bait. You’ll also find the fish many times schooling in these deeper creeks and bodies of water.

Fall fishing for Redfish has so many benefits. The cooler weather and less boating activity makes it feel as if you have the fishing all to yourself. Add in the fall backdrop and you have the perfect setting. Factor that with the increased Redfish feeding; it has to the best time of the year. Another aspect that makes it so enjoyable for Perry and other anglers is how the fish move. Since they are more active, it makes sight fishing for them easier. Perry advises to look for pushing water for the moving fish. Looking for the tailfin or dorsal fin popping out of the water is another good sign. It’s important to remember that Redfish commonly feed with their tail at a higher angle than their head. This is one of the reasons the tail many times makes an easy target when sight fishing. Remember they’re always looking for bait like shrimp and other small baitfish. That means they are commonly looking downward, thus protruding their tail and dorsal fins out of the water as they search and move. Once spotted, Perry tells us to cast the bait ahead of the fish then pull the bait just a few feet from the fish as it passes.

Fishing for Redfish in the fall requires a stealthy approach. A quiet boat with a trolling motor or even a push pole are best. The more shallow the draft, the better. A noisy anchor or chain will end your fishing day fast. Moving into the area as slow as you can will be the best tactic. Keep that rod ready and be prepared to cast the moment you see that pushing water of fins cutting through. When all those factors come together…it’s Redfish time.

Written By: Captain Tim Wilson
Contribution By: Perry McDougald


Charleston Fishing Report: September 1, 2017

Charleston is a great place to be fishing! No matter what type of fish you want to catch, they are all active and biting. Fishing for redfish and trout remains strong even with increasingly warmer water temperatures. Seasonal species like spanish mackerel, ladyfish, bluefish and shark are plentiful as well!

With a perfect set of conditions in place, anglers can be confident that inshore fishing will really pick up in September. The combination of lots of bait, cooler water temperatures and less traffic on the water should make for great fishing. While most people will turn their focus to hunting and football, fishermen who save some time for wetting a line will be well rewarded.

As usual during this time of year, redfish will begin to increasingly take artificial baits. Plastic lures that mimic the minnows in our waters are very effective. Zman’s 3 ¾” streakz in smokey shad is an excellent choice. I pair this lure with a 1/8oz. jighead but conditions may call for a heavier weight. Make sure to vary your rate of retrieve as you work a spot. Sometimes just slowing down or speeding up the pace of the lure can make the bite come to life.

We continue to find our best trout bite by fishing topwater lures first thing in the morning when temperatures are cooler. Our perennial favorite lure remains the Super Spook Jr. with a black head/chartreuse body. Something about the contrast in colors seems to really get the trout fired up. As the topwater bite fades with the rising sun, try switching over to MirrOLure suspended lures and you can usually find more eager fish.

It’s not uncommon to catch bull redfish (36” inches plus) during the summer time at the jetties or at nearshore reefs. During the Fall, these same fish come increasingly more into the harbor and inlets as they track down large baitfish. Rods rigged for these fish will have heavy test braided line connected to a 50-60lb. leader and 7/0 circle hooks. Fresh chunks of mullet, menhaden or smaller fish are effective baits. Target spots where there are marked changes in depth and wait for the massive strikes!

See you on the water!

Capt. Geoff Bennett operates Charleston Charter Fishing providing light tackle fishing charters. Clients choose from a full menu of options with charters tailored to their desires. USCG licensed and insured, Capt. Bennett is committed to providing a safe and enjoyable charter to anglers of all skill levels and ages. For more information, call Capt. Bennett at 843-324-3332, visit his website at or email him at

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