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Hilton Head Fly Fishing

Hilton Head Offers Some Fantastic Saltwater Fly Fishing
Opportunities. Our Fly Fishing Charters Are Custom Tailored
For Most Experience Levels!
There is nothing quite like poling through the shallow flats and saltwater marshes in search of tailing redfish. Fly fishing around Hilton Head is a lot like hunting as we stalk our prey in sometimes inches of water, waiting for the opportunity to make the perfect cast. Most of the fly fishing we offer is sight casting to individual or schooling fish, which typically requires experience and precision. First time casters will benefit from some land based instruction and practice to take full advantage of your fly fishing charter. Experienced fly anglers always enjoy the experience aboard our boats and the opportunities at those fish of a lifetime. Though fly fishing can be challenging at times, the feeling we get from watching a fish explode on our fly and pull the line from our fingers is nothing short of AWESOME! Captain Kai Williams is a 15 year fly fishing enthusiast who’s hand tied flies are just plain irresistible to fresh and saltwater gamefish. There is a reason why clients keep coming back every time to Awesome Adventure Charters, our name says it all. See our list of species below who like to chew on flies!  

Redfish: Year round
REDFISH: Redfishing in Hilton Head Island is great for fly and light tackle anglers 12 months a year. Redfish use the nutrient rich coastal marshlands of Hilton Head, SC as a nursery and typically stay around for 3-5 years, or until they grow 30+”. Redfish live in a number of interesting places which all require different fishing methods for a successful day on the water. During the Winter months, when the water is anywhere from the mid 60s down to the low 50s, the water is much more clear to the eye due to a lack of planktons and algae that require more sunlight and warmer temperatures to grow. When the waters around Hilton Head are cool and clear, sight casting the flats is at its prime. With schools up to 300+ redfish in size in only a foot or two of water, you can imagine the sight fishing is just unreal. These redfish will not always be in feeding mode as they use the shallows for warmth and protection from dolphin. When you do get the weather, tides, and fish cooperating at the same time you are likely to have a fishing day you will never forget. Spring and Summer months are also a blast when it comes to the flats. Rather than fishing the low tide mud flats during winter, the high tide spartina grass flats are the place to be to sight cast redfish. According to the moon phases, higher tides will flood the marshlands which are home to fiddler crabs. Redfish will cruise into areas so shallow that their backs may be above the surface as they slosh around sucking crabs from their burrows. As the redfish comb the bottoms of the flats, their golden tails break the surface and wave to you as if they are saying, “Hey, I’m over here. Cast right here.” Warmer months are also great for targeting redfish around structure such as docks, rocks/bulkheads, oyster bars, and grass points. Fall is the ultimate redfish season for light tackle and fly anglers. With large white shrimp in great numbers though out the marshes and rivers and the cooling water temperatures, redfish just plain gorge themselves. Fall is a great time to book a full day charter because redfish will begin schooling in good numbers on the low tide mud flats and still tail up on the high tide spartina grass flats. When anglers think of low country redfish and trout action, they typically think Sept-Dec. These are also great times to target redfish with artificial lures and flies such as gold spoons, Z-man soft plastics, Gulp Shrimp, and top water plugs. Once a redfish outgrows the marsh, they are know as “bull reds” that live the rest of their lives in giant schools out in the ocean. These bull reds return to the sounds and rivers along Hilton Head, SC annually to spawn starting in September and can be successfully targeted through December. The bull red season provides action-packed, red hot fishing with redfish ranging from 15lbs to 35lbs! These are drag peeling bulldogging, head shaking, fighting machines on light tackle. Bull redfishing is typically a deeper water, cut bait style of fishing with some opportunities on fly and artificial lures.  For more information on bull reds
click here.

Sea Trout: Summer & Fall
SEA TROUT: Speckled sea trout make a great light tackle target species here in the Low Country. Trout can be found almost all year round but are most predictable during the fall when the shrimp are in abundance. Starting in the Spring we will see trout along the oyster bars and grass points with very little pattern to their whereabouts. Action picks up through the Summer as trout follow white shrimp into the ocean where they can be targeted on structure such as our nearshore artificial reefs. Many of the trout will stay in the estuaries all the way through Winter. Fall is by far the very best speckled sea trout fishing Hilton Head Island has to offer. With shrimp marching inshore and mega schools of mullet migrating south, these trout will become much more predictable bringing us some fantastic light tackle action through the new year! With most trout ranging from 1/2lb to 4lbs around Hilton Head and Beaufort, medium-light action spinning rods and 10lb line are recommended. Typical trout tactics include soft plastics, plugs, spoons and of course live shrimp, mud minnows and finger mullet. There’s nothing quite like a big gator sea trout thrashing its head at the surface as you crank in yet another. If your looking for a species that behaves and takes artificial lures like a large mouth bass, this is it!

Flounder: Spring & Summer
FLOUNDER: Flounder can be caught from Spring-Fall around Hilton Head Island, before they migrate offshore to wrecks and reefs for Winter. These flat fish are bottom dwellers and sit buried to the bottom facing up current, waiting on their prey to pass overtop for the ambush.  Flounder feed on shrimp and fish and are somewhat challenging to target with traditional rod and reel.  Most of our flounder bites come as by-catch while redfishing and trout fishing.  The initial bite from a flounder can be a very subtle and feel as if you are snagged on the bottom.  Once you pull on that snag a bit, the flounder will peel off the bottom and put up a little bit of a fight.  Live shrimp, finger mullet, and mud minnows fished on a jig head or carolina rigged on the bottom are great choices when it comes to flounder fishing here in Hilton Head.  When it comes to artificial baits, Berkley Gulp and Z-man soft plastics fished slow and low will get the job done.  Flounder can also be taken on fly gear by blind casting around oyster bars and creek mouths.  Clousers, EP minnows, and shrimp patterns seem to work best for flounder on the fly.  Awesome Adventure Charters encourages catch in release for most inshore species but sometimes a big ol’ flounder is hard to resist. Yum!

Jack Crevalle: Summer & Early Fall
JACK CREVASSE: It doesn’t get much more exciting than jack crevalle fishing in Hilton Head!  Large schools of adult jack crevalle swim into Port Royal Sound, Calibogue Sound, and off the beaches starting in May and will stay around until around October when the water cools.  These fish range from 20-40lbs of pure muscle and are sure to break a sweat on even the most experienced anglers.  These schools swim the surface in calm conditions and are noticeable to the trained eye.  Sometimes you will see what looks like a river moving through a calm slick of water and sometimes only an inch or two of their yellow, sickle-shaped tail fins are visible above the water.  Once you locate these monster jacks, you have a variety of offerings they are likely to explode on.  Many favor large offshore poppers and lipless crank baits because these baits are large, noisy, bright, and they just plain get eaten!  The ultimate way to catch a giant jack crevalle is on a big popper fly.  There is just nothing like watching a dozen jacks break away from the school and compete for your fly in a fast, splashing yellow blur!  Once you hook up on an adult jack crevalle, you’d better clear your schedule because these brutes will peel 100 yards of line on their first run and then sound down to the bottom for as long as they can stand.   My tackle of choice for giant jacks are the same spinning rods as I use for tarpon, St. Croix Tidemaster Heavy 8 footers with 6000 size reels full of 50lb braided line.  These rods launch plugs accurately and have the backbone to break a jack crevalle’s spirit.  For fly gear I use 10-12wt Sage xi3 rods loaded with Rio floating tarpon lines.  These larger rods and lines will help get the extra distance casting those larger poppers or streamers, and you’ll be glad you brought the 12wt once you hook one!  Getting these fish unhooked and back into the water quickly is critical to the fish’s survival, because a large jack crevalle on light enough tackle can literally fight themselves to death.  Don’t miss your chance at a fish of a lifetime, let’s go get one!

Cobia: May & June
COBIA: The Spring cobia run here in Hilton Head Island makes for a very unique cobia fishing experience.  These highly migratory fish enter the sounds on each side of Hilton Head Island in May and stay around through June.  Port Royal Sound is the most important spawning grounds on the East coast and has very high concentrations of spawning fish.  Cobia grow to about 1oo pounds and average 20-40 pounds around Hilton Head.  The larger of these fish of course are the females which carry bellies full of roe.  Cobia are interesting looking to say the least, like a cross between a catfish and a shark.  Many (too many) value cobia as table fare and most end up being sold to restaurants around the island.  These large brown predators are being over harvested in our area and their population is dropping at an alarming rate. While some hunt cobia for meat, we hunt cobia for the thrill of hooking a 50 pounder on fly and light tackle only a few hundred yards from the marsh!  As cobia overeat and get full, they approach the surface to utilize the warmer temperatures for digestion. When tides are slow and winds are calm, large cobia can be seen quite a ways away as they send out their own wake across the surface, like a small brown submarine.  These cobia are not the smartest fish in our waters so as long as your offering is in sight of a surface cobia, you have a pretty good chance at a hook-up.  Medium heavy spinning gear loaded with 30lb braided line and 10-12wt fly rods are my go-to for inshore cobia sight casting.  Large eel imitations and large saltwater plugs are often eaten at first glance.  Live bait of course is almost a done deal if placed in front of a curious cobia. Brightly colored flies that imitate eels and large baitfish work well in white, green, orange, and red.  This fishery is very seasonal so mark your calendar and lets go sight cast a huge cobia!

Spanish Mackerel: Summer
SPANISH MACKEREL: Spanish Mackerel a blast on light tackle and fly rods! These Atlantic predators arrive April and are available through October. Spanish mackerel can be caught in the Port Royal Sound, Calibogue Sound, and on nearshore wrecks in the ocean.  The larger Mackerel in the 5 pound range tend to stay in the ocean whereas the smaller 2 and 3 pounders migrate towards the marshlands.  These are vicious predators with big appetites and a mouth full of little razor sharp teeth.  Spanish mackerel feed almost constantly on small squid, anchovy minnows, and menhaden.  It is not uncommon to retrieve a live bait that is cut clean in half by mackerel. There are many ways to catch spanish mackerel here around Hilton Head Island.  The most interactive approach is to follow diving birds and blitzing baitfish.   When the birds are working the bait, the mackerel are often underneath in a feeding frenzy. Casting spoons, gotcha plugs, and flies into these baitfish blitzes can be very productive.  Another method we do very well with is live baiting over artificial reefs.  With enough chumming, mackerel can be enticed to attack surface baits and put on quite a show!  These green bullets are a great fight on light tackle and flyrods, but be sure your reels are loaded with line because these fish pull!

Ladyfish: Summer & Fall
LADYFISH: The poor man’s tarpon! These slender beauties make fast runs with impressive aerial antics! What a fun fish to throw artificial lures and flies at all summer long!

Bluefish: Summer & Fall
BLUEFISH: Bluefish are a lot of fun to catch whether your a little kid, or an elite fly fisherman. The bluefish around Hilton Head, SC average 1-6lbs and are not hard to entice. Silver spoons, shiny flies, and even live bait can get you hooked up to some bluefish.  When bluefish are traveling in large schools, it can be very productive to drift around the school and cast lures and flies into tidal rips and around sandbars or other structure.  Small bluefish make great bait for other predatory fish such as cobia, bull redfish, tarpon, and sharks.  Loading up the bait well with little “snapper blues” on light tackle and using them as bait for the more challenging target species is a lot of fun!  Come on and lets catch em’ up!

Tripple Tail:
TRIPPLE TAIL: Triple tail fishing in Hilton Head Island is exciting, when you can find them.  During the Spring, Summer, and Fall, triple tail migrate into the sounds and creeks and hide out underneath or beside structure and floating debris.  More times than not, triple tail look like a paper bags floating in the water and are tough to distinguish in cloudy water.  Triple tail think they are masters of disguise but they often present great sight casting opportunities for fly and spinning anglers.  Big Spring tides that wash large mats of spartina grass out of the marshes are most productive for sight fishing triple tail. Otherwise, it pays to keep an eye out for suspicious blobs under the surface while traveling from fishing spot to fishing spot. Awesome Adventure Charters strongly encourages catch and release however, a big triple tail is a tough fish to throw back. Yum!