AHQ INSIDER South Grand Strand (SC) Summer 2018 Fishing Report – Updated September 21 Reviewed by Momizat on . -- September 21 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 -- September 21 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 Rating: 0
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AHQ INSIDER South Grand Strand (SC) Summer 2018 Fishing Report – Updated September 21

September 21

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.

It's redfish time!

It’s redfish time!

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 wahooblacken tuna and dolphin have been caught.

August 22

Inshore water temperatures are in the mid- to upper-80s around Murrells Inlet, and fishing continues to be good.

Captain J. Baisch of Fishful Thinking Guide Service (843-902-0356) and Baisch Boys Bait and Tackle (843-651-1915) reports that inshore the flounder bite is typically spotty for this time of year.  One day the fish will be biting in an area but they may not be there the next day, and so you have to move around a lot until you find fish.

The better pattern for flounder, when you can get offshore, continues to be fishing in 25-60 feet of water on the reefs.  Live finger mullet on a Carolina rig have been hard to beat, fished with a one-ounce weight and an Eagle Claw Lazer Sharp #2 wide bend hook.

Jeff Taylor of Rock Hill shows off a 4-pound Murrells Inlet flounde

Jeff Taylor of Rock Hill shows off a 4-pound Murrells Inlet flounder

Redfish have been biting pretty well on live mullet, and Captain J says he’s fishing for them almost like fishing for catfish.  He puts out a bunch of baits on the same Carolina rig and waits.  When boat traffic is bad then he fishes deeper, but generally it’s in 3 feet of water or less.

A few anglers have done well for trout fishing on the incoming tide along grass.  Fishermen are reminded that, as a precautionary measure, the SCDNR is strongly encouraging anglers to practice catch and release of all spotted seatrout through the end of September.  To read the full news release click here.

It’s been super windy and so surf fishing has been a little tough, but some whiting, small sharks and occasional black drum are being caught.  Overall though it’s the summer doldrums in the surf.

This weekend is the 8thAnnual Spanish Mackerel Derby from the Mullet Hut in Murrells Inlet, and with last year’s tournament cancelled due to a hurricane and the prize money rolled over there is a lot on the line.  The Spanish bite has been good trolling menhaden, cigar minnows and other baits, and so hopes are high.  The tips of the jetties, Myrtle Beach Rocks and Belkie Bear are all giving up fish.

July 13

Inshore water temperatures are in the mid-80s around Murrells Inlet, and fishing continues to be good.

Captain J. Baisch of Fishful Thinking Guide Service (843-902-0356) and Baisch Boys Bait and Tackle (843-651-1915) reports that inshore the flounder fishing has slowed down as the water has gotten very warm.  However, there are still catching a good number of small fish as well as some keepers mixed in.  At the jetties there has been a pretty decent flounder bite, but the best flounder fishing has been out at nearshore reefs like 3-mile.  Live mullet fished on a Carolina rig have been dynamite.

Mrs. Captain J Baisch with a couple of doormats

Mrs. Captain J Baisch with a couple of doormats

Inshore the redfish have been feeding pretty well despite the heat, and with finger mullet just now big enough to get on a hook they are the best bait. Captain J has done his best fishing on the high outgoing, but the fish are around all the time and you just have to find them.

Early morning there are some guys trout fishing with surface lures, and at other times fish can be caught floating shrimp over oyster bars on higher tides.  They are getting a decent number of 2-pound fish.  Fishermen are reminded that, as a precautionary measure, the SCDNR is strongly encouraging anglers to practice catch and release of all spotted seatrout through the end of September.  To read the full news release click here.

The sheepshead bite has slowed down at the Murrells Inlet jetties, and most of the fish seem to have come inside the inlet where they are hanging around docks.  The Georgetown jetties are still producing.

In the surf the water has been cloudy for about the last week after the storms came through, but before that there was one of the best pompano bites in years.  It is expected to return once things clear up.

Nearshore trolling for king mackerel is still very good, and the best fishing is around reefs like Paradise Reef, the 10-mile Reef, and the Pawley’s Island Reef.  There are still some kings closer to the beaches like there were a few weeks ago but more of them have moved offshore again.

June 20

Inshore water temperatures are in the lower 80s around Murrells Inlet, and it’s a strong summer bite.

Captain J. Baisch of Fishful Thinking Guide Service (843-902-0356) and Baisch Boys Bait and Tackle (843-651-1915) reports that in the last week there has been some really good flounder fishing with a bunch of fish in the 18-20 inch range caught.  The speculation is that the extreme high new moon tides about a week ago flushed in a bunch of new fish, and they have been hungry and willing to eat both mud minnows and Vudu shrimp.  The mullet aren’t quite big enough to stay on a hook well, and they need to be about an inch longer than a mud minnow for their head to be firm enough to hold.  That usually happens around the beginning of July.

There has also been some good redfish action inshore, and Captain J has found them in the typical places for this time of year.  They have been biting well around shallow, laid down oysters in 3-4 feet – including a 30-incher caught yesterday.

Caught yesterday with Captain J

Caught yesterday with Captain J

No new spotted seatrout report.  Fishermen are reminded that, as a precautionary measure, the SCDNR is strongly encouraging anglers to practice catch and release of all spotted seatrout through the end of September.  To read the full news release click here.

In the surf it has been a really good season for whiting and pompano, which are eating sand fleas but also doing well on native clam (available in the store) cured in salt/ nitrogen.   At the mouths of the jetties there are Spanish mackerel at times, but typical for summer fishing it varies day-to-day.

There have also been some king mackerel reported at the mouth of inlets and off the piers, but just offshore in 40-60 feet the king bite has been red-hot.  The most common size is 6-10 pounds although there are plenty of bigger ones, and they are coming on artificial lures including drone spoons and cigar minnows trolled over live bottom areas.  Myrtle Beach Rocks and Belkie Bear have been good.

Captain J is also wearing out the black drum at night chumming with clam around artificial reefs in 30-40 feet of water.

Offshore, Georgetown Landing Marina (843-546-1776) reports that when weather allows dolphin, blackfin tuna, wahoo, sailfishand blue marlin are around.

May 24

Inshore water temperatures have risen to the mid-70s on the lower Grand Strand.

It’s a special time for fishing the lower 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 the water has warmed up enough for most of the fishery to turn on.

Inshore the flounder bite remains really good, but more and more big fish are showing up.  The outgoing tide has been best, and in addition to normal live bait techniques Vudu Shrimp in the larger size have been working really well.

Redfish are biting well, including some big fish over the slot.  In the last two weeks the ocean temperatures have warmed up enough that fish can go anywhere, not just stay inshore in the creeks where it is warmer, and so reds and black drum are both being caught at the jetties.

Not many spotted seatrout seem to be around, but the real experts who know what they are doing are catching some throwing suspending jerkbaits early in the morning.  Fishermen are reminded that, as a precautionary measure, the SCDNR is strongly encouraging anglers to practice catch and release of all spotted seatrout through the end of September.  To read the full news release click here.

In the surf some nice whiting in the 14-15 inch range are being caught, and there are also some pompano biting.  Sand fleas are not very big right now but Baisch Boys is selling salted, treated clams that are working very well and the pinfish can’t pull off the hook.   From the beach out to 5 miles offshore Spanish mackerel have been really good when you can get out trolling planer boards with tree rigs and Clarks Spoons.

Offshore, the king mackerel bite has turned on really well in 40-60 feet of water and there are also cobia out there.  It has been hard to get live bait, although there are a few schools 10-15 miles south of Murrells Inlet, and so a lot of boats are trolling cigar minnows.

A good morning for small kings with Captain J

A good morning for small kings with Captain J

May 10

Inshore water temperatures are around 71 or 72 degrees on the lower Grand Strand, although temperatures as warm as the upper 70s have been spotted on low tide in the afternoon.

It’s an excellent inshore bite right now in the Murrells Inlet area, and Captain J of Fishful Thinking Guide Service (843-902-0356) reports that they are catching a ton of flounder.  With a 15-inch minimum size most of them are undersized, but there are also plenty of keepers mixed in.  The best pattern has been fishing mud minnows or artificial grubs around areas with a dark bottom that heats up quickly on low tide, as the warmest areas have been producing better.

The action for redfish and black drum has also been strong in the shallows in 3-5 feet of water. The low, outgoing tide has been the best, but there have also been some reds caught on the incoming.  Cut shrimp have been working best for black drum and mud minnows for reds.

They have not caught any trout.  Fishermen are reminded that, as a precautionary measure, the SCDNR is strongly encouraging anglers to practice catch and release of all spotted seatrout through the end of September.  To read the full news release click here.

On the nearshore reefs Captain J reports that they have been killing the flounder and Spanish mackerel, and they have been catching Spanish on planer boards and “tree rigs” with Clarks Spoons and multiple hooks often three or four at a time.  They have also seen a few cobia, and king mackerel are being caught out in 40-60 feet trolling cigar minnows.

Offshore, Georgetown Landing Marina (843-546-1776) reports that plenty of dolphin, blackfin tuna, wahoo and even some blue marlin are around.

There's no shortage of meatfish around; photo courtesy of GLM

There’s no shortage of meatfish around; photo courtesy of GLM

April 27

Inshore water temperatures are in the mid-60s on the south end of the Grand Strand.

Finally, the flounder are starting to show up in the Murrells Inlet area, and Captain J of Fishful Thinking Guide Service (843-902-0356) reports that after a long wait anglers are starting to get some keeper-sized fish.  The males have been here a while, but now out of 15-20 fish anglers will be able to keep a couple.  Still not great odds, but an improvement from 0 a little while back. Fishing mud minnows on a ½ or 3/8 ounce jighead has been working well.

Some nice Grand Strand flounder

Some nice Grand Strand flounder

Black drum and redfish are still biting really well, but complicating matters is that the pinfish are here in big numbers.  The best pattern is still to fish with cut shrimp on the bottom for the last couple of hours of the outgoing, and the best areas are in spots with dead, laid down oyster shells.  Now that the bait stealers are here you have to be prepared to feed them until drum smell the bait and push them out.

Nearshore Spanish mackerel are thick on the reefs, and you can catch a bunch by throwing 1 ½ ounce Gotcha spoons and retrieving them as fast as you can.  If you put wire on the lures the fish won’t touch them and so you need to throw them as far as you can and then retrieve very fast.

With a pretty forecast for Saturday Georgetown Landing Marina (843-546-1776) advises anglers that the Meatfish Slam tournament will take place on April 27.

Fishermen are reminded that, as a precautionary measure, the SCDNR is asking anglers to practice catch and release of all spotted seatrout through the end of September.  To read the full news release click here.

April 11

Inshore water temperatures are around 58 degrees on the south end of the Grand Strand and water clarity is dropping as temperatures rise.

Water temperatures remain cool around Murrells Inlet, but Captain J of Fishful Thinking Guide Service (843-902-0356) reports that there are a lot of signs that spring is arriving.  Inshore his boat is still having great success with the black drum and redfish anchoring cut shrimp on the bottom on the last of the outgoing, but now you have to wade through early pinfish and croaker to catch then.  Keeper-sized flounder are also finally beginning to show up and being caught on grubs and mud minnows by anglers trolling as well as casting, particularly in the warmest areas around low tide when some sun has beaten down on the water.

These same anglers are also catching some unusually large bluefish while flounder fishing, and 5-7 pound bluefish have not been uncommon inshore. They can also be caught at the jetties as well as out at the reefs where some people are targeting them.  Whiting and blues are pretty heavy in the surf, and in a week Spanish mackerel should start to arrive.

Some weakfish are being caught on the nearshore reefs like the 3-Mile and Pawley’s Island vertical jigging.

There has been way too much wind recently, but when anglers can get offshore there have been some good wahoo for the taking.  Georgetown Landing Marina (843-546-1776) reminds anglers that the Meatfish Slam tournament will take place on April 26.

Fishermen are reminded that, as a precautionary measure, the SCDNR is asking anglers to practice catch and release of all spotted seatrout through the end of September.  To read the full news release click here.

March 30

Water temperatures in Murrells Inlet are in the mid-50s, and the water is starting to get a bit of color to it but is still pretty.  The snot grass is beginning to break up.

It’s starting to look like spring on the south end of the Grand Strand, and Captain J of Fishful Thinking Guide Service(843-902-0356) reports that that they are still catching a bunch of red and black drum on cut shrimp on the bottom.  The last of the outgoing has been the best tide to fish for them.

Captain J, a young client and a nice red

Captain J, a young client and a nice red

Flounder are showing up in good numbers, but they are pretty much all small males.  A few females in the 16-17 inch range are around.

March 15

Water temperatures in Murrells Inlet have dropped into the mid-50s, and the inshore water remains very clear.  There is still lots of  “snot grass” around.

Inshore Captain J of Fishful Thinking Guide Service (843-902-0356) reports that temperatures have gotten into a more normal range for this time of year, and his boat is still catching some redfish in the Inlet.  A friend who gigs reported seeing 50 or 60 flounder a few days ago, but they were all still little.  In about another month the bigger fish should return.

Young, happy anglers on Captain J's boat

Young, happy anglers on Captain J’s boat

The nearshore sheepshead bite seems to be winding down, and on the last couple of trips they caught about 40 fish but only 4 were keepers.  They were mostly males and so the females seem to be about done spawning.

In 40-100 feet of water there are still a bunch of black sea bass being caught around artificial reefs and hard bottom areas.

When anglers can get out the wahoo bite remains good, and there have also been some dolphin, blackfin tuna, and amberjack caught out of Georgetown Landing Marina (843-546-1776).

Fishermen are reminded that, as a precautionary measure, the SCDNR is asking anglers to practice catch and release of all spotted seatrout through the end of September.  To read the full news release click here.

March 2

Water temperatures in Murrells Inlet are in the upper-50s, and the inshore water remains very clear.

It’s been a windy week on the south end of the Grand Strand, and as a result Captain J of Fishful Thinking Guide Service (843-902-0356) reports that it’s limited the number of trips, particularly nearshore and offshore.  There are still plenty of nice redfish to be caught in the creeks/ inlet on small pieces of cut shrimp, but even when they have been able to get offshore the sheepshead bite at the wrecks seems to be slowing down.

When anglers can get out the wahoo bite has been good, with some really big fish caught out of Georgetown Landing Marina (843-546-1776).

Photo courtesy of Georgetown Landing Marina

Photo courtesy of Georgetown Landing Marina

February 23

Water temperatures in Murrells Inlet are up to the mid- to upper-50s, and the inshore water remains very clear.  The stringy “snot grass” is still everywhere.

In the last few days Captain J of Fishful Thinking Guide Service (843-902-0356) has found a ton of redfish in Murrells Inlet to go with a few nice black drum.  He is fishing with tiny pieces of cut shrimp on the bottom around laid down oysters that don’t have the grass on them, and he is searching for fish in the clear water on low tide then going back later and catching them.  The last few hours of the outgoing tide has been most productive on warm afternoons.

A nice haul of red and black drum this week on Captain J's boat

A nice haul of red and black drum this week on Captain J’s boat

At the nearshore reefs and wrecks the sheepshead bite is still red hot.  Getting 25 or 30 big fish on a trip is routine, and there are also some nice black drum out there too.  This bite should hold up for several more weeks.

No new offshore reports from Georgetown Landing Marina (843-546-1776), but Captain J reports that the wahoo bite should be phenomenal when you can get offshore.

While he is not targeting them, Captain J reports that some of his friends have seen a few trout while looking for flounder to gig (a few male 15-inch flounder have returned inshore).  Anglers are reminded that, as a precautionary measure, the SCDNR is asking anglers to practice catch and release of all spotted seatrout through the end of September.  To read the full news release click here.

February 16

Water temperatures in Murrells Inlet are up to the low- to mid-50s, and the inshore water remains very clear.  The stringy “snot grass” is still everywhere.

With warming water temperatures black drum and redfish have gotten more active in Murrells Inlet, but Captain J of Fishful Thinking Guide Service (843-902-0356) reports that he is still spending most of his fishing time at the nearshore reefs and wrecks where the sheepshead bite is still red hot.  Getting 25 or 30 big fish on a trip is routine, and there are also some nice black drum out there too.  This bite should hold up for several more weeks.

No new offshore reports from Georgetown Landing Marina (843-546-1776), but there should be plenty of wahoo caught very soon.

Anglers are reminded that, as a precautionary measure, the SCDNR is asking anglers to practice catch and release of all spotted seatrout through the end of September.  To read the full news release click here.

February 9

Water temperatures in Murrells Inlet are still around 48 or 49 degrees, and the water remains very clear.

It’s been really windy this week, and Captain J of Fishful Thinking Guide Service (843-902-0356) reports that he hasn’t been able to do a lot of fishing.  But by all reports it’s still a good time to go after redfish in the creeks with shrimp pieces at anchor, and at the nearshore reefs and wrecks the sheepshead bite is still good.  Black sea bass and vermillion snapper have also been caught on the nearshore side of offshore.

Offshore, Georgetown Landing Marina (843-546-1776) reports that on the days when someone goes out after them wahoo are around.

Photo courtesy of Georgetown Landing Marina

Photo courtesy of Georgetown Landing Marina

February 1

Water temperatures in Murrells Inlet are around 48 or 49 degrees, and the water is very clear.

With extremely high visibility in the creeks anglers can see what’s swimming around, and Captain J of Fishful Thinking Guide Service (843-902-0356) has been able to spot redfish in the creeks.  Probably the best way to catch them is to fish with tiny pieces of cut shrimp on the bottom, put out a bunch of rods, and let the fish’s excellent sense of smell help them locate the bait.

The best bite, however, can be found out at the nearshore artificial reefs and wrecks in 20-40 feet of water fishing for sheepshead.   For the next couple of months the fish will be out there as they get ready to spawn, and it’s a dynamite time to catch them.

Captain J and a couple of clients show off a nice sheepshead haul caught yesterday

Captain J and a couple of clients show off a nice sheepshead haul caught yesterday

It’s possible the lower Grand Strand avoided some of the worst trout kills that may have happened further south, and Captain J never saw evidence too many dead fish.  There have also been some reports of trout spotted after the extreme cold.  However, it’s far too early to tell.  As a precautionary measure, the SCDNR is asking anglers to practice catch and release of all spotted seatrout through the end of September.  To read the full news release click here.

December 21

Water temperatures in the Murrells Inlet area remain in the mid- to lower-50s and conditions are clearing nicely.

The inshore bite for black drum and redfish is still pretty good around the rocks, and trout are still biting inside the Inlet on both live bait and artificials.  However, Captain J of Fishful Thinking Guide Service (843-902-0356) reports he has been heading offshore when conditions allowed, and earlier this week he caught three wahoo, six blackfin tuna, and a few king mackerel in the Gulf Stream.  There is also some pretty good black sea bass fishing about 15 miles offshore.

Captain J and his daughter show off a winter South Carolina tuna!

Captain J and his daughter show off a winter South Carolina tuna!

December 15

Water temperatures in the Murrells Inlet area are have dipped into the mid- to lower-50s.

Winter is pretty much here, but Captain J of Fishful Thinking Guide Service (843-902-0356) reports that the fishing is still good.  Lately he has been catching a bunch of black drum and redfish around the tips of the jetties, chiefly with cut shrimp on the bottom.

There are also a bunch of trout being caught inside Murrell’s Inlet, and anglers are throwing grubs and Mirrolures to target them.  Floating live shrimp under a cork will also catch trout.  There are still some shrimp around but they have gotten very hard to catch, but the bait shops do have them.

The wahoo are also still biting offshore and should continue through February or March.

December 1

Water temperatures in the Murrells Inlet area are around 60 degrees, and conditions are very clear.

It’s been a mild fall, and with moderate water temperatures Captain J of Fishful Thinking Guide Service (843-902-0356) reports that he is having a ton of success inshore for black drum, redfish and trout.  In Murrells Inlet he is floating live shrimp over oysters and catching all three species.  As long as there is moving water and the oysters are covered the tide has not been an issue.

At the jetties on lower stages of the tide Captain J has been having success for the same species with cut shrimp fished on the bottom around rocks.

There are tons of small flounder around for anglers trolling mud minnows, but only about one out of ten fish is a keeper.

Offshore there has been a tremendous wahoo bite, and Captain J reports that high speed trolling as well as pulling ballyhoo has been extremely productive.  All of the fish are over 40 pounds with some over 70, and Captain J also caught a sailfish that was only 7 pounds shy of the state record.

Some of the huge wahoo being caught off the Grand Strand right now

Some of the huge wahoo being caught off the Grand Strand right now

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