S.C. Saltwater Fishing Trends
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- ICW water temperatures are around 65 degrees, and surf temperatures recently hit 64 then dropped a couple of degrees.
- Spottail Bass: Fair. Some anglers are catching spottail bass in the ICW using live mud minnows and Berkeley Gulp.
- Trout: Good. The trout bite is strong and 3 to 5 pound fish are being taken. Fish in the ICW up to the jetties with grubs and artificial shrimp. Berkeley Gulp baits and DOA shrimp have been particularly effective.
- Flounder: Good. Nice catches are being reported. Most of the flounder have now returned inshore and can be caught in Cherry Grove area creeks using mud minnows.
- Bottom Fish: Strong winds have continued to make getting offshore problematic, but nice catches of black sea bass have been reported on calm days.
- Cherry Grove Pier: Catches of sharks and skate are common, but whiting fishing is also picking up and some nice-sized fish are mixed in. Lots of small flounder are being caught and a 15 ½ inch fish was caught this week. Decent-sized bluefish have also been mixed into the catch.
- Surf temperatures have hit 63 degrees in many places and warm days should continue to lift this number.
- Spottail Bass: Very good. Fish the creeks using live or cut mullet or dead shrimp, or standard artificial lures. However, with the still-cool water temperatures natural bait seems to be producing a bit better and fish don’t yet seem too interested in chasing artificials. Look for holes that still have several feet of water at low tide.
- Black Drum: Good. The 2 to 5 pound drum are still hanging around and fishermen report nice catches using live mud minnows, pieces of dead shrimp, and broken crab pieces. Fish the creeks or head to the jetties.
- Trout: Fair. Trout are beginning to get a bit more aggressive and move out of deeper holes. The Georgetown area has been most successful for trout. Try Mirrolures or Gulp shrimp and fish deep areas very slowly.
- Flounder: Good. Flounder fishing is fast improving and nice numbers of fish are being reported with about half of these fish being keeper sized. Drift or troll live mud minnows in Murrells Inlet or other inlets and creeks. April 26 is the Grand Strand Saltwater Anglers Association 7th Annual Spring Flounder Tournament from Murrells Inlet State Ramp. First prize is $1500; call Ed Skowysz at 843-650-7553 or visit the SCFishingReport.com Message Boards for more information.
- Pompano: Fair. Pompano are beginning to show up in the surf and should arrive in full force in the next few days as sand fleas have returned. Fish areas that have not been dredged for best results. Sheepshead: Good. Good catches of Sheepshead are being reported around inshore structure and out at nearshore reefs. Perry’s Bait and Tackle has live fiddlers crabs.
- Springmaid Pier: Croaker, bluefish and whiting generally ranging from half to one pound are being caught, with occasional flounder and black and red drum mixed in. Spanish mackerel are also beginning to trickle in.
- Myrtle Beach State Park Pier: Good sized whiting are being caught and the 2 lb. 10 oz. state record was tied off the pier in the last few days. A few flounder are also beginning to be caught.
- Apache Pier: Croaker, blue fish and whiting generally ranging from 8 to 11 inches are being caught although a one pound two ounce kingfish was also landed last week. Black drum up to 3 and a half pounds have been landed and some nice sized spottails within the 15 to 23 inch slot limit are also being taken on fresh shrimp.
- Surfside Pier: Some very nice whiting up to 14 and 15 inches have been caught, and pompano making their way up the coast have been taken jigging with small hooks. Some bluefish are also around.
- Garden City Pier: Whiting, small black drum, and bluefish are all being caught, but flounder have not showed up yet. A beautiful 2 lb. 10 oz. pompano was also caught off the pier in the last few days.
- Bottom Fish: Fair. Windy conditions have kept most boats inshore but black sea bass, grouper, and snapper should all be available on calm days.
Cape Romain/ McClellanville
- Spottail Bass: Good. Fish are grouped in large to very large schools on the flats but are at times reluctant to feed in the very clear water. Try a variety of lures to get them to bite, ranging from DOA or Gulp shrimp to topwater plugs to gold spoons to flies. Mud minnows or live mullet may also be effective.
- Trout: Fair. The trout fishing has dropped off a bit in the last couple of weeks but expect it to pick back up again soon. Fish deeper than for the spottail bass and target holes in creeks. Use an Equalizer-type popping cork with a leader underneath and fish a grub on a lead headed jig. Finding the right action on the jig is very important.
- Inshore temperatures have hit 66 degrees although wind persists.
- Spottail Bass: Very good. Lots of fish are being caught in the ICW, creeks, and Wando River, and large numbers of baitfish such as finger mullet are beginning to appear in the Charleston Harbor. Spottails have not begun to tail in the shallow flats yet, but as water warms will begin to do so.
- Trout: Good. With the mild winter this should be a very good year for trout and nice catches are being reported. Fish are in the creeks around Dewees, Capers, and Bull Island, and up the Cooper River. Fish live shrimp under a float or Gulp shrimp; fly fishermen also report some nice catches. Night fishermen have also done well fishing DOA shrimp under well-lit docks.
- Flounder: Good. By now most flounder have completed their migration back inshore and can be found throughout inlets, the ICW, and creeks. Target flounder using live mud minnows fished slowly on the bottom.
- Sheepshead: Very good. Sheepshead are schooled up at the nearshore reefs such as Capers Reef and are also starting to be caught inshore. The state record sheepshead, a 16.35 pound fish, was recently caught inshore from the Wando River.
- Folly Beach Pier: Some whiting, spots, skate, and sharks are being caught, but surf fishing has yet to really pick up.
- Bottom Fish: Fair. Windy conditions have made it very difficult for most boats to get offshore this week, although the black sea bass, grouper, and snapper are still available and hungry.
- Offshore: Windy conditions persist. Some dolphin have been caught far-offshore in 1500 feet of water but few boats have been out.
- Spottail Bass: Very good. On calm days redfishing has been very productive for slot-limit sized fish using white Gulp swimming minnows fished around low tide and on the rising tide. Also use brown Gulp Swimming Minnows, or mud minnows. The water is not quite warm enough for tailing action, but on the beginning of the falling tide bigger spottails can be found cruising and feeding on mullet around oyster mounds near grass.
- Trout: Good. Trout fishing is improving and nice-sized fish are being caught. Use Gulp shrimp imitations or live shrimp and target drops on the falling tide. Some large fish have also been taken on mud minnows.
- Sheepshead: Very good. Offshore sheepshead fishing remains strong but anglers have had a hard time getting out with the high winds. When they can head out guides continue to report nice catches of sheepshead at the near shore reefs. Lots of fish are in the 2-5 pound range, but some larger fish up to 9 or 10 pounds are also being taken. Anglers forced to fish inshore are also doing well around structure with fiddler crabs.
- Cobia: Early cobia are starting to show up and, as per tradition, the cobia season should be in full swing by May 1. Sight fish for cobia using live eels, or fish menhaden around bridges and deep holes.
- Bottom Fish: Fair. Boats have had a very difficult time getting offshore this week with windy conditions.
- Spottail Bass: Good. Fish are beginning to spread out and feed aggressively on the large mullet schools which are showing up, although many spottails are still congregated in large schools. Target fish on dropping tides in creeks where water is moving out across oysters. Tailing action is beginning and sight-fishing is still productive on the flats.
- Trout: Fair to good. A mild winter should make for an outstanding trout season. Trout are beginning to spread out through the rivers and creeks; however, more fish are being caught near the Islands than in the Broad River area. Fish Gulp shrimp imitations, live mud minnows or live shrimp on the outgoing tide. Also, around low tide fly fishermen are catching some good-sized trout on lime green and orange rattling flies near the creek banks alongside spartina grass.
- Flounder: Good. Flounder are showing up in the inlets and beginning to be caught throughout the creeks. Fish soft plastics or mud minnows along the bottom.
- Sheepshead: Very good. Nice catches of sheepshead are being reported at the near shore reefs and wrecks. Also, inshore bridges, pilings, and wood are holding lots of 2 to 5 pound sheepshead.
- Cobia: The cobia run has not quite started but expect the fish to begin showing up very shortly.
- Bottom Fish and Offshore: Fair. While offshore fishing has been strong, windy conditions have made it very difficult to get out and pursue the fish. Sea Wolf Charters hope that calmer conditions will allow several charters to head out over the next few days and test the waters. When anglers can get offshore black sea bass are abundant although catching fish over the legal limit of 12 inches remains difficult. The same is true for red snapper, which have a legal limit of 20 inches. Grouper over the legal limit of 24 inches are being caught but not in huge numbers.
- Paradise Pier: Fripp Inlet temperatures are around 64 degrees. Some decent whiting have been caught as well as sharks and stingrays. Blue crabs are beginning to show up, including lots of female crabs filled with orange eggs, which must be released.