Prime time for fishing

The crew of the Big Tease caught this blackfin tuna off Charleston last week. To see a gallery of images from the trip, go to

Prime fishing time has arrived in the Lowcountry.

Inshore, as the marsh turns bright green and temperature rises, the redfish, trout and flounder are feasting on the season’s first schools of menhaden.

Giant red drum, back from offshore spawning runs, have already started bending rods again along the beaches, and soon should be at the Charleston Jetties, Dynamite Hole and the Grillage.

The annual migration of spawning cobia into Port Royal Sound and the Broad River has begun, and big bruiser cobes should start circling nearshore channel buoys, reefs and wrecks off Charleston.

Offshore fishing? It’s getting better by the day. Grouper fishing cranked back up May 1 following a three-month spawning season closure, and the May dolphin run has begun. This push of mahi north along our coast is the stuff of local legend, a yearly high point for the recreational and for-hire offshore fleet.

Some buddies and I headed out last week to troll ballyhoo around the Southwest Banks and test rumors of the first wave of fish.

We didn’t tear it up, but the fish were definitely there. We picked at dolphin and blackfin tuna all morning and lost what seemed to be a massive wahoo. In all, we brought home 11 dolphin and four tunas.

Not too bad, considering the worsening seas chased us off the fishing grounds at 11:30 a.m. for a long, bumpy and wet ride home.

If we get the midweek break in wind I’m hoping for, we might try it again.

The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council will hold a special webinar meeting 1-5 p.m. Monday meant to fast-track changes to black sea bass regulations that could increase the length of this year’s fishing season.

Council will accept public comment and consider how to increase the total yearly allowable catch of black sea bass.

The changes were developed based on a recent stock assessment that showed that the black sea bass stock in the South Atlantic is no longer undergoing overfishing, is not overfished, and the stock is rebuilt.

Webinar participants are required to register at Those who want to comment verbally must use the question feature (box) on the webinar control panel to indicate their desire to speak. They must do so between noon and 1:15 p.m., when the chairman will begin the public comment period by calling on those who registered.

Reach Matt Winter, manager of niche content and design and editor of Tideline magazine, at (843) 937-5568 or mwinter