S.C. Saltwater Fishing Reports
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- ICW water temperatures are around 66 degrees, and surf temperatures recently hit 65 and then dropped a couple of degrees.
- Spottail Bass: Fair. Anglers are catching spottail bass along structure in the ICW and in the upper creeks using live mud minnows and Berkeley Gulp; however, most of the fish are short of the slot. Better spottail bass action may be found out at the jetties. 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. Fish soft plastics on falling tides and also try live baits in the main channels.
- Flounder: Very 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. Target the Hog Inlet area where water temperatures rise fastest.
- 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: The pier season is in full swing and fishing is hot. In the last few days bluefish have been caught up to 11 pounds as well as king mackerel of 33.5 and 22.75 pounds. Spanish mackerel are also being caught as well as whiting and some flounder.
- Spottail Bass: Very good. Fish the creeks and inlets using live or cut mullet, dead shrimp, or live fiddler or mud crabs (available at Perry’s Bait and Tackle). Natural bait seems to be producing better than lures 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 inlets or head to the jetties.
- Trout: Fair. There are few recent reports of trout catches but the Georgetown area has been most successful for trout. Try Mirrolures, Gulp shrimp, or live shrimp and fish the drops.
- Sheepshead: Good. Nice sheepshead are being taken at the reefs as well as at the Murrells Inlet jetties. Use fiddler crabs.
- 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. In the April 26 Grand Strand Saltwater Anglers Association 7th Annual Spring Flounder Tournament the big fish weighed 5.65 pounds and all of the anglers reported success catching small and medium sized fish.
- Pompano: Good. Pompano have showed up and are feeding aggressively in the surf. Fish areas that have not been dredged with sand fleas for best results.
- Sheepshead: Good. Good catches of sheepshead are being reported around inshore structure and out at nearshore reefs.
- 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 be caught.
- Myrtle Beach State Park Pier: Good sized whiting are being caught and the 2 lb. 10 oz. state record was tied off the pier last week. A few flounder are also beginning to be caught.
- Apache Pier: Spanish mackerel and bluefish up to 7 pounds have been caught in the last few days and black drum in the 14 to 15 inch range are also biting well. Whiting generally ranging from 8 to 11 inches are being caught although a one pound two ounce kingfish was also landed recently. Some nice sized spottails within the 15 to 23 inch slot limit are also being taken on fresh shrimp.
- Surfside Pier: Spanish mackerel up to 6 pounds 5 ounces have been caught in the last few days and bluefish weighing 6, 7 and 10 pounds have been taken. 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. A 2 pound 5 ounce pompano was weighed in a few days ago. Some trout have also been caught.
- Garden City Pier: Whiting, small black drum, and bluefish are all being caught, and flounder are starting to show up. A beautiful 2 lb. 10 oz. pompano was recently caught, and some Spanish mackerel are beginning to show up.
- Offshore: Nice catches of dolphin up to 27 pounds and blackfin tuna are being reported – on best days boats are landing 14 or 15 of either species, and some nice sized wahoo up to 42 pounds have been mixed in.
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 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.
- The inshore bite has really heated up in the Charleston area as the water has warmed and the baitfish have moved back into the area.
- 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. Some monster spottails are being caught out around the Charleston jetties fishing cut bait such as bluefish. Large schools of redfish can be seen on the flats.
- Trout: Very good. With the mild winter this should be a very good year for trout and warm temperatures have improved the bite over the last week or two. Fish are in the Wando, Cooper, and the creeks around Wild Dunes. 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. Anglers report 20 fish days, and lots of nice sized trout are around.
- 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. Small flounder are also being caught in the surf.
- Sheepshead: Very good. Sheepshead are schooled up at the nearshore reefs such as Capers Reef and are also starting to be caught inshore. Reports of nice catches around inshore structure, as well as at the Charleston jetties, are common.
- Folly Beach Pier: Some whiting, spots, skate, and sharks are being caught, but pier fishing has yet to really pick up.
- Offshore: While windy conditions continue on calmer days boats have been doing well. Some dolphin have showed up as well as some giant wahoo, including one recent fish weighing 93 pounds, and some yellowfin and blackfin tuna are around although those fish are running stronger up near Georgetown. A few king mackerel are mixed in but offshore fishing is on the brink of exploding.
- Spottail Bass: Very good. Fish the edges of grass on the incoming tide with rattle floats and natural colored Gulp Shrimp to catch slot sized fish as well as larger ones. Also use brown Gulp Swimming Minnows, or mud minnows. On the beginning of the falling tide bigger spottails can be found schooling and feeding aggressively for brief periods. The topwater bite is also very good on shallow and medium depth flats when the weather is calm.
- Trout: Very good. Trout fishing is fast improving and nice-sized fish are being caught. Use Gulp shrimp imitations or live shrimp and target drops on the falling tide, or fish around the grass when the water is high. Large fish in the 18 to 20 inch range are being taken when the water is up.
- 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: Read about cobia fishing in the Beaufort report.
- Spottail Bass: Good. Fish are beginning to spread out and feed aggressively on the large mullet schools which are showing up, although some spottails are still congregated in large schools. Spottails are beginning to tail in large numbers in the grass and can be sight-fished for by lure or fly fishermen. Some topwater action is also being reported.
- Trout: Good. A mild winter should make for an outstanding trout season and warmer temperatures have improved trout fishing over the last week. The fish 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 holes and drops, although some topwater action is being reported on the Bite A Bait topwater lure. 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. Most fish are still at or below the legal limit; this may improve somewhat as the season continues but biologists suspect the average size of the flounder stock is smaller than usual this year.
- Sheepshead: Fair. Catches of sheepshead are still being reported around inshore bridges, pilings, and wood, but many of the larger fish seem to have headed offshore to spawn. They should be back in time for late spring and summer.
- Cobia: Small male cobia have begun to show up in the Broad River and Port Royal Sound but expect the very full tides in the next few days to bring in the first large wave of May cobia. Anglers can target cobia with the traditional bait of live eels, but menhaden, bluefish, croaker, whole squid and crabs are also effective. Try to fish the entire water column – have one rod shallow, another at medium depth, and another on the bottom. Best fishing is two hour each side of the tide change – when tides are running strongest fish are unlikely to bite.
- Paradise Pier: Fripp Inlet temperatures are around 67 degrees. Some decent whiting have been caught as well as black tip sharks and stingrays. The biggest catch is blue crabs which are being caught by the 5 gallon bucketful around low tide.
- Bottom Fishing: Black Sea Bass are still abundant; fishermen should take a variety of baits with them including shrimp, squid, and cigar minnows. A particular method to see what the fish are biting is to chum with each bait and see which is eaten. The legal limit for black sea bass is 12 inches, for red snapper is 20 inches, and for grouper is 24 inches.
- Offshore: Dolphin, wahoo, and king mackerel are all being caught although yellowfin and blackfin tuna are not around. In the recent King Mackerel Tournament from Fripp Island the winning king weighed 22.5 caught by Full Tilt, the winning weighing wahoo weighed 38.1 caught by Redemption, and the winning dolphin weighed 26.9 caught by Sugar Rene. To view tournament photos visit the SCFishingReport.com message boards. Also, Sea Wolf Charters saw two right hump whales around the R7 Navy Tower a few days ago.