HHI on the Fly Blog

Fly Fishing Hilton Head

Andrew Mahoney - Friday, April 15, 2016
Fly fishing in Hilton Head has been on fire this spring. We are consistently catching nice redfish in the flats on shrimp and crab flies. We have caught our first high tide tailing redfish of the season and lowtide this spring has been the best it's been in 5 years. The marsh is a wonderful place to be at this time of the year and fly fishing in Hilton Head is a great way to experience it.

Fly Fishing Hilton Head

Andrew Mahoney - Friday, March 11, 2016

Fly fishing in Hilton Head in the spring months can often be very challenging.  The combination of high afternoon winds, muddy water and extreme tides can leave most skiffs poling the flats of Hilton Head, frustrated and confused.   But, if you play your cards right and use your head, spring time can grant you some of the best fly fishing days the year will give you.  

Working as a team is never more detrimental then at this time of the year.  Listening to each other and staying positive, when the elements are against you will grind you through some of those tough days.  Use your eyes and look hard into the water; I tell all of our anglers, "if your head doesn't hurt by the end of today, then you didn't catch any."   Fly fishing in Hilton Head flats in the spring is not your normal flats scenario.  Telling you to cast 50 feet at 11 o'clock and you making that cast, without seeing the fish is not an effective technique at this time of the year.  Learn how to see the fish so you can follow them and know where to cast.  If you make a perfect cast and they don't eat it, don't be whiney or negative, pick the fly up and do it again. If you keep a cool head and present the fly to the fish multiple times, they are going to eat it, even if they don't want to.  

One thing that I started doing a few years ago on the negative tides, is wading the the low tide flats with my guests.  It takes a lifetime of knowledge to be safe while doing the low tide shuffle.  To the inexperienced anglers without the helping hand of a local guide it is very dangerous. With sharp razor blade oysters, sting rays, pluff mud and fast moving tides that are lots of elements to consider when walking through our mud flats.  Currently the only guided wading trip that you can book in South Carolina in the mud flats is with HHI on the Fly, mainly because of our local knowledge and extreme attention to safety.  It has become my favorite trip to guide, and is a very spiritual experience walking in the low country marsh, and catching Hilton Head redfish on the fly.  

Next time your looking to experience the best fly fishing in Hilton Head please feel free to contact Captain Andrew.

Top Water Redfish in Hilton Head

Andrew Mahoney - Saturday, May 09, 2015

Fly fishing in Hilton Head Island with top water flies is probably the most exciting way to fish Hilton Head's inshore waters and despite what many other anglers believe can be done all year.  Just seeing the fish looking at the top water flies, deciding whether or not to eat it, can be a real treat.  It is the ultimate test of an anglers' skills to make a fish that is an opportunistic feeder change into an aggressive reaction feeder.  We've had many successful days throwing topwater on the skiff, but one thing I have noticed is that even the self proclaimed experienced fly anglers have trouble putting the proper action on the top water to get the fish fired up enough to eat it.

When trying to get the top water bites on flies with redfish in Hilton Head you want to keep the fly line as straight as possible between the tip of the rod and the fly(no slack) and keep the rod tip in the water while you strip the fly.  These two tips will cause the fly to react when and how you want it to.

Stripping the fly the correct way can be the difference between you giving up on the topwater, and getting the type of eats that we all hope for.  It is not the normal mindless angling that most people want fishing to be like.  During most of the year the noise and the spray that the fly makes is what attracts the redfish in Hilton Head.  There is a reason they call flies "gurglers" and "poppers", it's the combination of the noise and spray when fished correctly that gives them that name.  Because the fish are shallow and often finicky, the strip should be smooth and subtle.  A hard fast strip will often times spook a Hilton Head redfish.  It does not normally have to have a rhythm until the fish starts following it, just the right noise and spray while the fish is looking at it.  

The "pause" is the key.  After stripping the fly correctly in front of a Hilton Head redfish it will often times get the fish fired up enough to come give it a look.  Pausing after a correct strip is when most bites will happen, if it does not give it another proper strip to keep the redfish's interest up.

The most difficult thing for most anglers that are inexperienced in top water fly fishing in Hilton Head is keeping their cool when they see the fish come up and crush their fly.  Just let them eat it and don't set the the hook until you feel them.  If they miss which they often do, since they are designed to be bottom feeders, keep your cool and keep stripping the fly correctly.  They are already fired up and angry that their prey is still swimming, if you use your head they will eat again.  

Finally, none of this works unless you are seeing the fish correctly.  When fishing topwater for redfish in Hilton Head you are going to spend your time looking into the water to see the fish correctly and not casting until you are casting in the right place.  If you are guessing and casting then your are not being productive and if your head doesn't hurt form looking into the water when you get back to the dock then you didn't catch them.  

Check out this old clip from a few years back while throwing the gurgler during the low tide shuffle 


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