AHQ INSIDER South Grand Strand (SC) Spring 2019 Fishing Report – Updated January 11
The newest South Grand Strand fishing report can be found at: http://www.anglersheadquarters.com/ahq-insider-south-grand-strand-sc-spring-2019-fishing-report/
Inshore water is cold and very clear on the south end of the Grand Strand.
The fishing has been excellent around Murrells Inlet, and Captain J Baisch of Fishful Thinking Guide Service (843-902-0356) and Baisch Boys Bait and Tackle (843-651-1915) reports that they continue to catch a ton of fish.
Trout are in a transition period, but fortunately for fishermen it’s a good transition. They can still be caught out at the tips of the jetties, but as shrimp start to disappear from the surf a lot of the big 17-22+ inch fish are moving inside the inlet chasing new food sources (chiefly fish). But they are just coming off a shrimp bite, and so if they can get it that is still their first choice. The store has been able to keep live shrimp in stock, and floating live shrimp under a cork has been phenomenal for trout inside the inlet as well as at the tips of the jetties. Mirrolures, grubs, and Trout Tricks will also work.
Inside the inlet J. looks for a few things in finding the best spots, including current (the bigger fish don’t mind fast-moving water); laid-down shell or live shell bottom; and areas with sandy, 2-foot ripples where the trout can sit and have bait washed over their heads. A good depth range is 4-10 feet, and trout can be caught across the tide cycle right now.
Catches of black drum have also been excellent. Black drum are frequently an indicator species for trout, and they are often found in the same areas. With pinfish gone Captain J is fishing for them the same way one would fish for catfish, putting out a number of rods with cut shrimp on the bottom and waiting. He is also doing some very light chumming up current with small pieces of shrimp. When the black drum take the bait it has generally been a very soft bite recently, while when redfish are picked up on the same technique it is generally a more aggressive strike.
Overall reds have been found a bit shallower than black drum, and in general Captain J is finding them in the warmest water way up the canals. The best time to target them is on the outgoing low tide when the water has the most potential to heat up and fish are the most active – on the incoming cold water often slows down the bite. The best bite is when the water is out of the grass.
Amazingly, they are still catching keeper-sized flounder floating shrimp in Murrells Inlet. In the Pawley’s Island area fishermen are still buying mud minnows to drift, although this cold snap may signal the end of the flounder season.
Some black drum have moved into the surf but overall surf fishing is pretty slow.
Nearshore at the 3-mile reef black drum and sheepshead can both be caught on fiddler crabs. If anglers go 10 miles offshore and reach 50 or 60 feet there are good black sea bass available.
Inshore water temperatures have dropped into the lower 50s along the south end of the Grand Strand. The water is generally clear.
Winter is approaching but there are still a smorgasbord of species biting around Murrells Inlet. Captain J Baisch of Fishful Thinking Guide Service (843-902-0356) and Baisch Boys Bait and Tackle (843-651-1915) reports that they are catching a bunch of trout, black drum and sheepshead, and some redfish are also being picked up.
A lot of anglers are catching trout trolling Mirrolures and grubs inside the creeks and inlet, but the biggest fish have been caught out at the jetties. Shrimp are making their way down the coast, and when they hit the jetties they get pushed out to the ends where the big trout are waiting. In the last week Captain J has caught a couple of fish over 5 to go with multiple 3- and 4-pound fish. Live shrimp are available in the store.
Both in the creeks and out at the jetties cut shrimp on the bottom are working well for black drum. Even though it’s cold fish are still in some of the same 3-4 foot deep spots where they can be found in the summer, but they are biting differently. Instead of a hard pull it’s more a like a pinfish bite that bounces a bit. With the water very clear a stealthy approach is necessary and you need to drift quietly in instead of motoring up and banging around. Then set up multiple rods as if you are catfish fishing.
Sheepshead fishing continues to be really good around the Murrells Inlet jetties. They are catching fish over rocks on the incoming tide and at the tip of the jetties at low tide. Both barnacles and fiddler crabs are working.
Some reds continue to be caught mixed in with the black drum on shrimp, and there are also redfish taking finger mullet. Even very late in the season finger mullet can still be found in the creeks.
Inshore water temperatures have dropped into the upper 50s along the south end of the Grand Strand. Tides have been extreme and the water is dirty.
There are still a ton of small trout around in the Murrells Inlet area, but Captain J. Baisch of Fishful Thinking Guide Service (843-902-0356) and Baisch Boys Bait and Tackle (843-651-1915) reports that they are starting to see more big ones. Out at the jetties there are a lot of good trout, and there are also some better fish in the creeks.
Trout will still eat live shrimp, available at the store, fished under a float. However, cleaning fish Captain J has started to notice that the bigger fish generally have baitfish in their stomachs, and he has had success for better fish switching over to Mirrolures and paddle tail grubs. But good fish can certainly be caught on shrimp, too.
Fish can still be found anywhere where there is a little current from 3-10 feet, and 7-9 feet remains a good range.
In the last two weeks the black drum bite has really turned on, and Captain J has been catching fish around jetties, oysters bars, or anywhere that current runs over a shell bottom. He is basically fishing for them the same way you would anchor for catfish, casting out a bunch of rods with fresh, cut shrimp and waiting for the fish to find the bait. There are still some pinfish and croaker around, but you don’t have to worry as much about bait stealers as a month ago.
They are also picking up some redfish on cut shrimp while fishing for black drum.
Sheepshead fishing continues to be really good around the Murrells Inlet jetties and the Georgetown jetties. They are catching fish over rocks on the incoming tide and at the tip of the jetties at low tide. Both barnacles and fiddler crabs are working.
Interestingly there are still some big flounder around, and giggers report seeing some 7- and 8-pound fish. While netting shrimp Captain J has also seen some good ones.
Black drum and whiting can still be found in the surf.
Inshore water temperatures have dropped into the mid-60s along the south end of the Grand Strand.
It would not have seemed possible nine, six, or even two or three months ago, but Captain J. Baisch of Fishful Thinking Guide Service (843-902-0356) and Baisch Boys Bait and Tackle (843-651-1915) reports that he is seeing more trout in Murrells Inlet right now than he has ever seen before. In the last three days his boat has caught more than 150 trout, with the only downside being that nine out of ten are sub-legal fish. After the super cold winter that slowed down the trout fishing earlier this year it only makes sense that these fish have come from somewhere else, perhaps displaced from North Carolina as a result of the storms and freshwater inflow.
Trout will eat live shrimp, still available at the store, fished under a float. Zman Trout Tricks and Zman MinnowZ in opening night color have also been working well. Fish are eating glass minnows, which go all over the place, as well as shrimp, and so they can be found anywhere where there is a little current from 3-10 feet. 7-9 feet has been a good range.
The bite for slot-sized redfish has been good in all the usual places around oyster beds with live mullet. Fishing for bull reds has slowed down.
Sheepshead fishing has been really good, and both around the Murrells Inlet jetties and around the Georgetown jetties they have been killing the convict fish. Fiddler crabs are working both places, with the best fishing in Georgetown around low tide but Murrells Inlet fish biting on different parts of the jetties throughout the tide cycle.
Even though it’s getting late in the year flounder fishing is still good, and at low tide you can still catch a good number of fish. While some smaller fish will winter here in the next month most flounder will leave.
Black drum fishing has been slow.
Whiting, bluefish and the end of the year’s pompano have been caught in the surf.
Inshore water temperatures are still unseasonably warm in the mid- to upper-70s along the Grand Strand, and the water is very stained.
October is usually a peak time to fish the South Grand Strand, and Captain J. Baisch of Fishful Thinking Guide Service (843-902-0356) and Baisch Boys Bait and Tackle (843-651-1915) reports that this month is no exception. Despite the dirty water, and spotty catches of shrimp for bait, they are still catching tons of fish.
Inshore smaller “rat” redfish are really thick, and with so much rainwater coming up from Georgetown Captain J wonders if those fish have pushed up to Pawley’s and Murrells Inlet.
The flounder fishing has also been really good, and right now fish can be caught anywhere along the beach where there is some structure to create an ambush point for the fish, such as the groins at Garden City. The mullet run is underway, and mullet generally swim near the surface. Flounder don’t want to come more than about three feet off the bottom to attack a bait, and so you need to fish fairly shallow.
There has also been some good trout action floating live shrimp at the jetties.
In the surf pompano fishing has been excellent. There are not a lot of sand fleas around right now, but salted clam available at the store has been working well.
The most exciting bite going, however, has been for king mackerel. There are schools of big kings in the 20-40 pound range right off the beach, and trolling off Garden City and Surfside has led to some excellent catches. Tarpon have been mixed in and it has been some really fun fishing.
Bull red drum in the 20-40 pound range can be caught around rock piles on cut bait.
The mullet run is in full swing along the South Grand Strand, and Captain J. Baisch of Fishful Thinking Guide Service (843-902-0356) and Baisch Boys Bait and Tackle (843-651-1915) reports that this means that the fishing is outstanding.
In the surf red drum are hanging out at most any ambush point waiting for mullet to swim by, and the fish are so thick that they are biting around the tide cycle. Groins, jetties or any other current break off Garden City, Litchfield, Pawley’s or at the main Murrells Inlet jetties are holding reds. At the tips of the big jetties there are big drum, and further in plenty of slot-sized fish. Black drum are also in the same areas feeding on shrimp.
In the creeks there is also good fishing for redfish, but on the higher tides the bait goes up in the grass to hide so they can be harder to target. On low tide the fishing is wide open.
There is also an excellent bite for Spanish mackerel and bluefish along the beach on mullet and artificial lures, and the Spanish are close enough in that with the right tackle you can cast to them right off the beach.
Flounder are relatively few and far between, and it seems like the freshwater inflow has pushed them further out.
Offshore, Georgetown Landing Marina (843-546-1776) reports that wahoo, blacken tuna and dolphin have been caught.