AHQ INSIDER Little River/ North Myrtle Beach (SC) Summer 2017 Fishing Report – Updated August 9
Inshore water temperatures on the North End of the Grand Strand are in the lower 80s, and water clarity is poor after the rain the past few days.
Despite less than ideal weather, Captain Patrick “Smiley” Kelly reports that the fishing has been pretty steady – especially on the outgoing tide. His boat has been catching redfish and black drum in the IntraCoastal Waterway around Tubbs Inlet, mainly fishing with live shrimp or finger mullet on a Carolina rig. They are fishing on the bottom in about 15 feet of water in the middle of the ICW. This is a pretty typical August pattern.
There is still a pretty good bite for trout first thing on topwater lures, and they are also catching fish on live shrimp fished underneath a popping cork. Tubbs Inlet, Little River Inlet, and the Calabash River have all been productive. On high water fishing around the grass is the best bet, and on lower tides fishing around oyster beds or drop-offs in the channel is most productive. The best bite of the day is early in lower light conditions before it gets hot.
Flounder have been caught on finger mullet in small drains off the main waterways, along with some redfish and topwater trout. Fishing finger mullet on the outgoing tide has been the best pattern.
Inshore water temperatures on the North End of the Grand Strand are around 80 degrees, and water clarity is pretty good for now.
The heat of summer has arrived in the Little River/ North Myrtle Beach area, and Captain Patrick “Smiley” Kelly (843-361-7445) reports that as a result fishing is a little bit of a roller coaster right now. On days like today his boat had caught more than a dozen trout to go with redfish and bluefish by 9 a.m., but on other days the fishing is slower and they only catch a few fish.
Overall the trout bite continues to be about the best thing going, and early in the morning they are catching fish on topwater lures like Mirrolure Top Pups and Zara Spooks before switching over to live shrimp underneath a popping cork. Today they caught a 4-pounder on shrimp.
Redfish are eating Gulp! jerkshad and shrimp, and they are also picking up reds dead sticking baits around docks. In the Calabash River there are giant schools of pogies, and fishing these baits on the bottom around Tubbs Inlet, Tillman’s Dock and Bonaparte Creek is letting anglers tangle with some big drum.
The black drum bite has slowed down in the summer heat, but they are still catching a decent number of short flounder as a by-catch. Overall it’s been a down year for flounder, however.
Inshore water temperatures in the Little River have risen into the mid- to lower 80s, and clarity is good.
Inshore fishing on the upper Grand Strand continues to be very strong, and Captain Patrick “Smiley” Kelly (843-361-7445) reports that his boat is still catching a mix of species. The best bite has been for trout, and recently there has been an exciting topwater bite first thing in the morning (and late) when fish will eat Zara Spooks, Mirrolure Top Pups, and other topwater walking baits. You need to move the bait slowly and then pause it, and the fish will be in the shallows. Instead of looking for any particular type of cover or structure the key is to find areas where mullet are showering – indicating feeding fish. Trout can also be caught on popping corks with live shrimp. Tubbs Inlet, the Little River Inlet, and Dunn Sound have all been producing. Ladyfish, which often inhabit the same areas as trout, will also be caught on topwaters as well as popping corks.
It’s also possible to pick up some redfish while fishing topwaters, and there also some nice 20-23 inch fish being caught along the grass on cut mullet when you catch the tide right. Bigger reds over the slot can be caught at the jetties.
Black drum have been feeding well, and this week Captain Smiley has been catching them mostly on the incoming tide. The best bait has been a live shrimp hooked through the legs up to the head on a ¼ ounce jighead, and fish can be caught jigging along the bottom in deep holes.
There has also been a good flounder bite in holes as well as around sandy bottoms, and both Gulp baits as well as small finger mullet (prolific in the creeks) fished on a ¼ ounce jighead are working. Fish have ranged from 12 inches up to some nice ones in the 20-inch range, and recently the incoming has been productive.
Inshore water temperatures in the Little River area in the mid- to upper-70s. Water conditions in areas like Tubbs Inlet are pretty clean with a typical summer, tannic color.
This has been a great early summer for inshore fishing, and Captain Patrick “Smiley” Kelly (843-361-7445) reports that the “big four” inshore species are all feeding well.
Flounder fishing is improving as temperatures warm, and the lower to rising tide has been the best. The areas around Tubbs Inlet and Sunset Beach have been most productive. Fish will certainly eat live bait, but the biggest fish (including a 3.7 pounder in a tournament last weekend) have come on white Berkley Gulp! jerk shad.
Fishing for slot-sized redfish has been pretty good, and there have been a bunch of 19-21 inch fish caught. On lower stages of the tide fish have been around docks and structure, while on higher stages fishing in and around the grass has been best. Fish will eat cut mullet, live mullet, Gulp! jerk shad, and Gulp! shrimp – new penny color has been best. It works well to present baits on a ¼ ounce jig.
Lots of nice trout have been caught on live shrimp or Vudu Shrimp fished under a popping cork, particularly on the low to rising tide. Fishing around spartina grass or oyster banks that have drop offs in 3-6 feet of water has been the best bet. Around Tubbs Inlet, the Calabash River and Dunn Sound the fishing has been good. Although Patrick’s boat hasn’t done much of it, fish will chomp topwater plugs first thing.
The black drum bite is hot, with fish eating fresh cut shrimp as well as live shrimp presented on a ¼ ounce jig and fished on the bottom. The low to rising tide has again been best, and the best fishing has been in deep holes such as those that have around 10 feet of water.