South Carolina Saltwater Fishing Trends
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- Strong winds have made for tough fishing this week in the Little River area.
- Spottail Bass: Fair. Anglers are catching spottail bass along structure in the ICW, around creek mouth drains, and in the upper creeks 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. At the Little River jetties some big trout are being caught on live shrimp.
- Flounder: Very good. Most of the flounder have now returned inshore and can be caught in Cherry Grove and 53rd area creeks using mud minnows. Target the Hog Inlet area where water temperatures rise fastest. Flounder are also being taken at the Little River jetties.
- Cherry Grove Pier: Pier fishing was very good for nice bluefish and Spanish Mackerel, as well as king mackerel up to 35 pounds, but strong winds the last few days have muddied the water and slowed the pier fishing down. Expect fishing to improve again shortly.
- Spottail Bass: Good. Fish the 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. Spottails are also beginning to show up in the surf.
- 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. Black drum are also being caught in the hole off the end of the former Veteran’s Pier in the Murrells Inlet area.
- 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.
- Flounder: Very good. Flounder fishing is hot 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.
- Sheepshead: Excellent. Nice sheepshead are being taken, particularly in the Georgetown area, as well as at the Murrells Inlet jetties. Use fiddler crabs.
- Pompano: Very 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. The fish are mainly small but a 2.5 pounder was weighed in recently.
- Bluefish: Huge bluefish by South Carolina standards are being caught in the surf, including large numbers of fish between 8 and 15 pounds as well as lots of 12 to 14 inch fish.
- Piers: This is one of the best years in memory for Spanish Mackerel off the piers, and the bluefish run is also one of the strongest in some time. The fishing has declined a bit as the water muddied but expect it to pick back up soon.
- 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 being caught. Fishing was much better before the water got muddy recently.
- Myrtle Beach State Park Pier: Good sized whiting are being caught and the 2 lb. 10 oz. state record was tied off the pier recently. Lots of good sized Spanish Mackerel and bluefish are being caught, and a 2 lb 8 oz. pompano was caught off the pier a few days ago.
- Apache Pier: Large bluefish up to 10 pounds have been caught as well as nice kings up to 31 pounds and Spanish up to 7 lb 8 oz, although average Spanish are much smaller. Whiting, pompano, and flounder are also being caught. Some nice sized spottails within the 15 to 23 inch slot limit are also being taken on fresh shrimp.
- Surfside Pier: Large Spanish Mackerel up to 6 pounds 5 ounces and bluefish in the 6 to 8 pound range were being caught before the combined effect of a front and muddier water put the fish off. Pompano and whiting have also been abundant and should be feeding again soon.
- Garden City Pier: Spanish mackerel, nice sized bluefish up to 9 pounds, and flounder are all being caught off the pier. A 6 pound black drum was also taken recently.
- Offshore: King and Spanish mackerel are being caught by boats just off the beaches on out to Belkie Bear, and out at the Parking Lot kings, dolphins, and some wahoo are being caught. Grouper and Snapper are still biting out at the Ledge.
- 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.
- Spottail Bass: Very good. More and more bait is showing up everyday and tailing action is starting to get hot on the flats. Lots of fish are also being caught in the ICW, creeks, and Wando River, with tons of 5-12 pound redfish being caught on live and dead mullet, shrimp and crabs. The Harbor, inlets, and creeks are teeming with bait, and some monster spottails are being caught out around the Charleston jetties fishing cut bait.
- Trout: Very good. Fish are in the Wando, Cooper, and the creeks around Wild Dunes. Early morning topwater action on Spooks has heated up, and during the day anglers should fish live shrimp under a float, or DOA and RipTide shrimp with a slow retrieve around oyster beds. Night fishermen have also done well fishing DOA shrimp under well-lit docks.
- Flounder: Very good. 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 being caught inshore. Reports of nice catches around inshore structure, as well as at the Charleston jetties, are common.
- Folly Beach Pier: Some whiting, spots, pompano and a few trout are being caught, but pier fishing has yet to really pick up in the area.
- Offshore: Out at nearshore reefs sea bass are still being caught in good numbers, and spadefish have started to show up as well as large bluefish. Dolphin are abundant and being caught in large numbers (although the real bulls haven’t arrived), and wahoo fishing is great. Barracuda are out in full force, and some tuna are being caught at the Georgetown Hole. C-Level Charters reports having billfish in the spread but being unable so far to draw a strike.
- Spottail Bass: Very good. Tailing action is strong around high tide. At other times 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. Topwater fishing is also productive in the morning.
- 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.
Offshore: Wind has been tough but wahoo have been caught offshore on days when boats can get out.
- 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 past several weeks. 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 in the inlets and beginning to be caught throughout the creeks. Fish 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: Cobia have arrived in full force in the Port Royal Sound and Broad River, if a little late, and fish range from little peanuts to 70 plus pound fish. The Christmas Tree rip has been productive. Fish are being caught on all types of baits, such as threadfin, eels, squid, and whiting, when anchored up or drifting. Sight fishing with plugs has been off and on, and the fish have been willing to take flies, too. Puglisi fly patterns have worked the best. Best fishing is two hour each side of the tide change – when tides are running strongest fish are unlikely to bite.
Paradise Pier: 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.
- Offshore: Spanish Mackerel are being caught off Bay Point 8 miles out, and little tunny and king mackerel are 20 miles out. Bottom fishing has dropped off somewhat but spadefish are at the reefs and will bite well once jelly balls show up. Dolphin and wahoo are abundant in the Gulf Stream, and yellowfin tuna are being taken sporadically fishing deep.