We’ve all done it. You head out for a morning of trout fishing, pull your boat into a small creek along the water way that is loaded with bait, catch a net full of bait and take off for your latest hot spot. This is a natural tendency to leave the small creeks for larger intersections of rivers with big pretty shell banks, often visible even at high tide. These spots catch our eye and we gravitate toward them as if drawn in by some secret magnetic force. Don’t get me wrong, these big shell banks hold fish, but they also draw crowds and fishing pressure.
The smaller creeks we often pass to get to these “honey holes” produce nice catches of fish as well. Some of the largest trout I’ve caught were caught while wading in knee deep water at the mouth of a creek. These areas make great fishing spots because much like the intersections of the larger rivers, they almost always have structure near the mouth. Many of the smaller creeks come close to drying up at low tide, forcing all of that bait out into the deeper water surrounding the creek mouths. Doing your homework and scouting the creek mouths at low tide will give you some great insight into where to fish. Some things to look for are shells, areas of relief and ledges that drop off into the channel. Using a float when fishing will also give you a good idea of how the tide flows on incoming and outgoing and you can discover where the trout like to ambush their dinner. Another popular method is to make your way down the main body of water and fan-cast the smaller creek mouths with live bait or lures. Through the stages of the tide the trout will move to different ambush points depending on the flow of the water and the amount of water around the structures. The beauty of the lowcountry is that there is an abundance of these areas and the next time you are catching your bait you may want to take a short stop at the end of your “bait creek” you may find that you have been overlooking a hot spot for years.