Tailing Reds in the Marsh

Target the marshes of Georgia and South Carolina for hungry redfish

December 5, 2011
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Fish around a 7 1/2-foot high tide from spring through fall in the marshlands of South Carolina, Georgia (pictured here) and North Florida, and you’ll find slot-size reds tailing and hungry. Chris Woodward
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At low tide, water runs out of the creeks and grasses of this Georgia estuary, but reds stage near the grass line as the water returns. The flooded marsh holds loads of crabs and small fish. Chris Woodward
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Georgia’s marshes flood twice daily; high tides can range from 6 to 9 feet. With a lower tidal amplitude, the fish can’t make it far into the grass. On the high end, anglers can’t see the fish to cast to them. Chris Woodward
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A snail clings to a blade of grass as the waters rise. Some grassy areas can be too thick for proper bait presentation, but there are plenty of holes where fish move, and a fly, scented plastic lure or cut bait can attract attention. Chris Woodward
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Keen eyes will spot a tail or a swirl of water as a redfish turns to engulf a meal. Chris Woodward
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Light spinning tackle is perfect for the medium-size reds that frequent the spartina. Chris Woodward
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A happy angler with the first of many marsh redfish caught and released on a late afternoon in fall. Chris Woodward
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On this trip, we released all the redfish we caught. A few were within Georgia’s 14- to 23-inch slot; many taped out longer. Chris Woodward
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As sunset approached, these marsh reds turned on. They bit almost every bait presented. Chris Woodward
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A Gulp! bait fooled this red along the marsh edge near Jekyll Island, Georgia. Chris Woodward
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Often these marsh fish display a brilliant, deep-bronze color. Chris Woodward
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The moon rises and the sun fades, but fishing continues to improve. The ability to sight-cast, however, diminishes. Chris Woodward
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Capt. Greg Hildreth ( makes one more push into the grass from the poling platform of his skiff. Guides use flats skiffs, but local anglers also use canoes and kayaks to access the marsh reds. Chris Woodward
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Scouring a darkening flat, an angler waits to cast to the last fish of the evening. Chris Woodward

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