AHQ INSIDER Little River/ North Myrtle Beach (SC) Spring Fishing Report – Updated May 9
Inshore water temperatures in Little River had been in the mid to lower-70s, but over the weekend they dropped into the 70-degree range – and even slightly cooler. With warm weather they will rebound quickly.
Inshore fishing continues to be good in the Little River area, and Captain Patrick “Smiley” Kelly (843-361-7445) that most of the inshore species are feeding pretty well right now.
Even with the high winds redfish have been available, with 15-22 inches the average catch size. Fish have been biting best on falling tides, and they have been around docks and oyster beds. Live mud minnows and Gulp! baits fished on a ¼ ounce jighead have been working best.
Black drum have been found in the same areas and on the same tides as the red drum, but shrimp have been working best for them. More and more bait stealers like pinfish show up each week so keeping a shrimp in the water until a drum finds it is getting harder and harder.
Trout have been found in slightly deeper water in the 6-10 foot range around ledges and oyster bars, with the low to rising tide most productive. Mud minnows or Vudu Shrimp fished under a popping cork have worked well, as has just jigging one of the imitation shrimp without a cork.
In the Tubbs Inlet-area lots of short flounder in the 12-15 inch range have been caught, while in Cherry Grove plenty of keepers are being landed. Guides report catching fish up to about 6 pounds in the area.
Cherry Grove Pier (843-249-1625) reports that on the bottom whiting, croaker and perch are around, and there have also been bluefish and Spanish mackerel. Yesterday they had a nice run of Spanish with some fish undersized, the biggest up to 22 inches, and a good number of 14-16 inch fish. There have been no kings in the last week but four so far this year, with those coming in mid-April.
Inshore water temperatures are ranging from about 68-70 in the Little River area. Water clarity has been pretty good, but with the big rain this morning visibility has declined.
It’s been a good month for fishing in the Little River area, and Captain Patrick “Smiley” Kelly (843-361-7445) reports that inshore fishing has been pretty consistent with a little bit of everything biting right now.
Trout have been hitting well on Vudu Shrimp and Gulp! Shrimp fished under popping corks, and topwater plugs and Mirrolures have also been working well. Fish are mostly being caught along ledges and drop-offs in the ICW where the depth goes from about 5 feet down to 13, and the best bite for trout (like most species) has come on the incoming tide. Most of the trout being caught have been keeper-sized.
This spring the redfish population seems to have rebounded from last year, and while Captain Smiley’s boat is not catching a lot of big fish they are catching plenty of 17-20 inch redfish. The fish are biting around oyster beds and docks, with the best success coming with mud minnows or Gulp! Shrimp fished on a ¼ ounce jighead. Again the rising tide has been best.
The black drum fishery is also strong, and black drum are biting well on cut shrimp fished around bulkheads, docks and deep holes with oyster bottoms.
There has been a very good run of bluefish so far this spring, and lots of 18-inch fish as well as some random, very large fish up to 10 pounds or more have been caught inshore. They will eat topwater plugs, live bait and most anything that moves. Inshore fish have been caught on the outgoing tide around deeper holes where water runs across shell beds, and they are also in the Little River Inlet around the jetties.
Flounder traditionally move into all the other inlets along the Grand Strand (Murrells Inlet, behind Pawley’s, Tubbs, etc.) before they migrate back into Little River Inlet, and this year appears to be no exception. Already they are catching lots of short 12-inch fish as well as some occasional 15 inchers, but the better flounder on up to doormat size have certainly not shown up yet.
Inshore water temperatures have risen to the low-60s in the Little River area, while the water generally remains gin clear.
While conditions have been pretty windy in the Little River area, Captain Patrick “Smiley” Kelly (843-361-7445) reports that inshore fishing is off to a good start this spring.
There have been some big trout caught out at the Little River jetties, while on the inside some smaller ones have been landed. There have also been some keeper-sized fish caught around the Sunset Beach Bridge and Dunn Sound. In the Inlet the falling tide has been most productive, with the incoming best in Dunn Sound and the outgoing best in the Calabash River. Vudu Shrimp and Mirrolures have been working well.
Some smaller redfish have been caught dock hopping in the IntraCoastal Waterway, and they will bite on Gulp! baits fished on a jighead. However, there are plenty of black drum around as well, and so the best bet is to fish fresh shrimp which both species will eat. The main bait stealers right now are some small Virginia perch, and so fishing with shrimp is not too bad. By the time you can throw a cast net for shrimp in the creeks the pinfish and other bait stealers will have arrived en masse – and fishing shrimp gets tougher.
Small black drum and redfish can also be caught in the smaller creeks, particularly on the falling tide. However, boats can’t stay too long or else they will be stranded.