The early bird gets the worm...and the fish!

The forecast for last Saturday called for summer-like conditions. Plenty of sun, hot temperatures and calm winds means lots of boats on the water. So, I planned to fish like I do all summer. Get out early (before sunrise) and get back before most people wake up. When fishing the “Dawn Patrol,” top water is the name of the game. With the water temperature consistently in the low 70-degree range, bluefish and Spanish mackerel have returned to Charleston Harbor. They were my target species on Saturday.

It took a few minutes to get from Daniel Island to the harbor. In low light conditions, I tend to run the boat at a lower cruise speed. As I passed under the Ravenel Bridge, a flock of seagulls was hovering over a school of glass minnows. This is always a great sign when targeting bluefish and Spanish mackerel. There were no fish busting the surface, so I picked up a rod rigged with a 21-gram Shimano Colt Sniper jig and made a long cast to the glass minnows. Rather than start an immediate retrieve, I let the lure sink (it has a very erratic flutter when allowed to sink on a slack line). It did not sink very long before a Spanish mackerel thumped the jig. I quickly landed and released the fish.

Now that I knew predators were lurking beneath the surface, I put away the jig rod and began casting a top water lure. Bluefish and Spanish mackerel viciously attacked the Zara Spook lure. The action was fast and furious until the sun cleared the horizon. Then the surface bite shut off like a switch. Not to worry, the fish were still around but unwilling to strike at the surface. A quick switch back to the Colt Sniper jig and I began catching fish again.

Over the next few weeks, tarpon and jacks will begin to show up and I will be looking for them on Dawn Patrol. You should, too!

Contact Captain Greg Peralta at or call (843) 224-0099.

Daniel Island Publishing

225 Seven Farms Drive
Unit 108
Daniel Island, SC 29492 

Office Number: 843-856-1999
Fax Number: 843-856-8555


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