Trip Report Tailing Tides

#16
Thanks for the great report! I'm in Hilton Head this week and hope to get out for some redfish, but will at least fish the bass in the golf course ponds. Got one question for you though. How do you wade those flats without getting sucked into the pluff mud? Around our place, it's downright dangerous to wade in the grass flats. Got a secret to avoiding it?
 
#17
Thanks for the great report! I'm in Hilton Head this week and hope to get out for some redfish, but will at least fish the bass in the golf course ponds. Got one question for you though. How do you wade those flats without getting sucked into the pluff mud? Around our place, it's downright dangerous to wade in the grass flats. Got a secret to avoiding it?
There are two different types of grassy areas in a low marsh. Typically, there is a zone of tall grass immediately around the creek and river channels. This may continue for a couple dozen yards or as much as 100 yards or beyond the channel edges, depending on the size of the channel. This tall grass grows on the pluff mud and cannot safely be waded. Where the alluvial beyond the channel is broad enough and the slope to the high tide line gentle enough, the bottom eventually transitions to a mixture of mud and sand firm enough to walk on. Here, the grass will be shorter and less densely packed. This is where the fiddler crabs are concentrated and where redfish are most likely to engage in classic tailing behavior.

Generally, your wadeable grassflats are going to be back in behind the major river and creek channels. Think the kind of creeks that have marinas on them. You're not going to see them behind the smaller creeks. Hard-bottom flats tend to be big. I think some of those pictures give an inkling of the scale. If you've got grass for a quarter or half a mile past the low tide channel edge, you're likely looking at a good bit of hard-bottom stuff in the back. If it's like 50 feet from the creek to the high and dry, you're probably looking at sticky shit. Where the grass is consistently shin/knee high, you're looking at hard-bottom 100% of the time.
 
#18
There are two different types of grassy areas in a low marsh. Typically, there is a zone of tall grass immediately around the creek and river channels. This may continue for a couple dozen yards or as much as 100 yards or beyond the channel edges, depending on the size of the channel. This tall grass grows on the pluff mud and cannot safely be waded. Where the alluvial beyond the channel is broad enough and the slope to the high tide line gentle enough, the bottom eventually transitions to a mixture of mud and sand firm enough to walk on. Here, the grass will be shorter and less densely packed. This is where the fiddler crabs are concentrated and where redfish are most likely to engage in classic tailing behavior.
That's extremely helpful. My in-laws are from this area, but they don't fly fish so I can't tap into their knowledge. If I manage to get out this week, I'll post a report. Thanks a lot.
 
#20
I did get out over the past week to do some fishing at Hilton Head. First was bass in the golf course ponds. I've caught some huge bass in these ponds in the past, but this time it was just cookie cutter 10 to 12 inchers.
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Going for redfish was another story. I only ended up with a couple of hours on Wednesday to fish for reds. I didn't have time to properly scout out the wadeable flats, so decided to hire a local guide for a couple of hours. He had a nice flats boat, so we fished through the falling tide as the fish moved off the flats and along the edges. The guide was great and got us into some fish. Nothing huge, but it was a lot of fun. If you want his contact info, let me know.
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On Firday, I did get a chance to look for those short-grass flats that Dylar discussed. The tides were super high, but I just didn't have time to fish them this time around. My guide also suggested that with the colder weather, the fishing on flats would be hit-or-miss since the crabs are starting to burrow down into the mud over the winter and so the redfish on flats season is mostly April to October. But I know where to go next time. I'll try to time my spring through fall trips to Hilton Head according to the tides from now on. ;)

So lots of fun, and it will be better next time because I'll be better prepared. I did get to fish the guide's 9' 9 wt. Sage Salt HD. Really liked that rod.

Anyway, thanks Dylar for the tips. Maybe we can connect some time when I'm back down there.