Full moon means higher tides and tailing Redfish

For many, a full moon has mystical powers. For me, a full moon means higher than normal tides and tailing Redfish. In the Lowcountry, our tides typically range between five and six feet. On a full moon, the tides are often a foot or so higher than normal. This floods areas of the marsh that are usually dry and inhabited by vast numbers of fiddler crabs. Redfish love to eat fiddler crabs about as much as I love to eat doughnuts (which is a lot). So they use the higher tide to access their favorite snack. As a Redfish roots fiddler crabs out of the bottom, its tail will protrude above the surface of the water. Hence the name “tailing” Redfish.

Fishing for tailing Redfish is a lot like hunting. You search the marsh until you spot a tailing fish and you stalk it. Since the water is pretty shallow (about ankle deep) stalking is often done on foot. It is important to move slowly and silently. Any splashing or unusual water movement will spook the fish. Once in casting range, it is important to cast your fly or lure in front of the fish. Casts behind the fish will almost always put it off. A good cast rewards the angler by being able to watch the take. This is a very visual form of fishing.

This week, the moon was full so (my son) Elliott and I decided to target some “Tailers”. We launched the skiff two hours before high tide. When we arrived at the designated fishing area it was still dry. So we sat in the skiff and watched the tide roll in. It took a few minutes of looking but Elliott soon spotted a Redfish rooting out crabs. He grabbed his 7 weight fly rod, tied on a tan Clouser Minnow (fly) and began stalking the fish on foot. Elliott caught the fish about 50 yards from the skiff. Unfortunately, his iPhone was still in the skiff. So he released it without taking a picture.

Redfish will continue to tail well into October (when the water cools off). If you want to give it a try, check the moon. Perhaps it is mystical after all?

Contact Captain Greg Peralta at captgregp@gmail.com 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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