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AHQ INSIDER Charleston (SC) 2024 Week 28 Fishing Report – Updated July 11

  • by Jay

July 11

Morning surface water temperatures are in the mid-80s around Charleston. 

Even though it’s hot as a sauna, the fishing off  Folly Beach Pier (843-762-9516) has been pretty fair – particularly for anglers targeting trout. Manager Noah O’Brien reports that they are seeing lots of trout in the 13-20 inch range seeking oxygenated water in the surf or just behind it, with most of them caught on bobber rigs with fresh dead or live shrimp. The black drum bite has slowed even though there are still some around, but at the same time they are seeing a lot more sheepshead. Most of these are in the 10-16 inch range. 

July 10

Morning surface water temperatures are in the mid-80s around Charleston. 

As happens every year about this time with the inshore fishing, Captain Rob Bennett with Lowcountry Inshore Charters (843-367-3777) reports that the “rat” redfish are starting to show up in impressive numbers. They can be caught around the tide cycle on a variety of baits, but the constants are that they feed best around oyster shells and when the tide is moving. Better fish are mixed in but there are enough small ones for constant action. 

The reds are showing up nicely - with Captain Rob Bennett

The flounder fishing also continues to be pretty exceptional, with Captain Rob still catching all of his fish on mud minnows under a cork. The best action is coming on the high incoming tide over mud banks and points alongside the grass in about 2-4 feet of water. 

While trout have been virtually non-existent, Rob reports that the best way to get your line pulled by a big fish is to follow the shrimp boats and target blacktip sharks.  In about 20 feet of water it’s as simple throwing out cut menhaden and holding on. 

While Captain Addison Rupert (843-557-3476) with Lowcountry Outdoor Adventures has been limited to his flats boat this past week, he should be week on the water in his main boat with a new motor this weekend.  However, he reports that tarpon have showed up in some pretty incredible numbers. Just north of Charleston they saw no less than 40-50 fish roll in a couple of hours, and so even though they wouldn’t eat a fly there is no question they are abundant. 

Nearshore Spanish mackerel are thick 3-4 miles out, while further offshore in 40-90 or more feet there lots of king mackerel around – as well as too many barracuda. Rob did see one king hit a bait in just 20 feet of water off Kiawah. 

More to follow. 

June 26

Morning surface water temperatures are in the low to mid-80s around Charleston. 

The wind has basically limited our Charleston captains to inshore fishing, but Captain Rob Bennett with Lowcountry Inshore Charters (843-367-3777) reports that there has been a pretty exceptional flounder bite recently. He is catching all of his fish on mud minnows under a cork, and the best action is coming at high tide over main river shell points in about 2 feet of water. 

This week with Captain Rob Bennett

At the same time Captain Addison Rupert (843-557-3476) with Lowcountry Outdoor Adventures reports that he is finding a good creek bite for redfish, and even though the wind has them pinned down they are having a pretty easy time catching fish on cut menhaden or mullet around docks and other structure. The trout bite has also been better than expected in the creeks, including some good quality fish, but they are having to fish a little bit deeper than usual in the heat. Surprisingly some of the biggest trout are coming on cut bait while targeting reds. 

On cut bait with Captain Addison Rupert

The last time they were able to fish the harbor they did find an excellent bite for bull red drum, and in the inlets you can find both bull red drum and tarpon in 6-10 feet of water around current breaks and ledges. Both species will take cut menhaden and mullet.  

Finally, a combination of factors including beach renourishment and bad surf conditions have made for some really muddy water around Folly Beach Pier (843-762-9516), but manager Noah O’Brien reports that there have still been some black drum and trout being caught. The black drum in the 10-16 inches range, and the trout have ranged from about 12-24 inches.  There was a beautiful 4-pound trout caught in their recent tournament!

June 12

Morning surface water temperatures are about 80 degrees around Charleston. 

The inshore fishing has picked up again this week for Captain Rob Bennett with Lowcountry Inshore Charters (843-367-3777), and he reports that in particular the redfish bite has come on strong. It must have been the crazy tides that slowed the fishing last week. Inside the creeks the reds are chasing glass minnows and other baitfish up against the banks, and they are also picking up lots of flounder fishing the same areas. Mud minnows are working for everything. 

After some up-and-down days the bull redfish bite in the Charleston Harbor has also gotten more consistent for Captain Addison Rupert (843-557-3476) with Lowcountry Outdoor Adventures, who reports that they are eating menhaden pretty well this week.

Overall Captain Addison believes we are in something of a sweet spot right now, where the water has gotten warm enough to have the fish active (and out of any spring funks) but not so hot as to make them lethargic. Inshore his boat is fishing a mix of menhaden and live shrimp, and in addition to redfish and flounder they are finding trout as well as black drum and smaller sheepshead. 

Also, Addison has received two reports of tarpon being hooked this week! One came on a live shrimp at the jetties and was totally random, but the other was by an angler targeting them. It won’t be long until Charleston fishermen are chasing silver kings.    

Finally, the Folly Beach Pier (843-762-9516) reports that in addition to the usual suspects it has been a good week for black drum and trout in the surf or just behind it. 

June 6

Morning surface water temperatures are about 80 degrees inshore and 77-78 off the beaches. Shrimp have gotten harder to catch but tons of “peanut” menhaden are around. 

It could be the 80 degree water temperatures, or it could be the astronomical new moon tides, but Captain Rob Bennett with Lowcountry Inshore Charters (843-367-3777) reports that the inshore fishing for redfish and trout has slowed pretty dramatically this week. Last week they were killing both species, but this week has been a different story. As these very large tides fade away he is hopeful the slower action is more a function of temperature than tide.

Captain Rob Bennett with a good one this week

In particular the harbor bite has been a grind this week for Captain Addison Rupert (843-557-3476) with Lowcountry Outdoor Adventures, who reports that he is having better success inside the creeks than in Charleston Harbor for big reds. Perhaps the pressure is getting to be too much. 

Small menhaden have been working pretty well for bait, as they continue to scratch out some nice redfish along grass lines, structure and oyster beds. There seem to be more flounder at the jetties right now, but they did get one nice one on a swimbait inshore. They have also picked up some black drum on frozen shrimp around structure in the creeks. 

But Captain Addison is really ready for tarpon to show up!

When the creek fishing is slow Captain Rob reports that there is still a reliable whiting bite in the inlets, and fishing over sandy bottoms in 5-15/20 feet of water is a pretty surefire way to catch fish. There also tons of sharks to be caught in the inlets. 

Both for nearshore and offshore fishing weather has been a factor, but the spadefish and Spanish mackerel are pretty thick at the reefs and there are jelly balls around. But it’s been one of the worst years for dolphin recent memory, while probably the best year for marlin most people have ever seen!

May 23

Morning surface water temperatures are about 73-74 degrees inshore and off the beaches. 

With water temperatures still mild there is a pretty fantastic inshore bite around Charleston, and Captain Addison Rupert (843-557-3476) with Lowcountry Outdoor Adventures reports that he is catching trout, redfish, black drum and even a bunch of flounder. While the bigger flounder are usually at the jetties, they did have one awesome 24-inch fish this week and a bunch more keepers. 

A doormat caught this week with Captain Addison Rupert

Right now all the fish seem to be in similar areas, and the best fishing has been along main river or creek grass lines with clean, moving water on either tide.  Oyster mounds have also been good, and around riprap they are finding proportionately more redfish. 

With live shrimp under a popping cork you will catch everything and Captain Addison is still able to net them in deep holes. 

Even though the full moon has messed up his fishing for a day or so, Captain Rob Bennett with Lowcountry Inshore Charters (843-367-3777) reports that overall the redfish bite has still been really good for him around docks. 

In the Charleston Harbor, the bull redfish are around and Addison’s boat is catching them on cut menhaden. 

Some weird weather slowed the fishing activity and the bite off the Folly Beach Pier (843-762-9516) this week, but manager Noah O’Brien reports that they still saw some nice sheepshead between 12-18 inches all over the pilings from the beach to the diamond. The trout are also really starting to show up, mostly in the 12-16 inch range. Other than that it’s been the usual suspects of whiting, croaker, shark and rays. 

Nearshore, Captain Rob reports that the Spanish mackerel are abundant and there are also cobia in 40-60 feet, while offshore the dolphin bite is good. 

May 16

Morning surface water temperatures are about 75 degrees on Folly Beach.

The bite continues to get hotter off Folly Beach Pier (843-762-9516), and manager Noah O’Brien reports that they are still catching a lot of decent black drum between 12 and 26 inches. The sheepshead bite has finally started kicking off, with some monsters being caught between 14-24 inches. They have been all over the pilings either in the surf or off of the diamond. They are also starting to see a lot of pompano anywhere from 6-16 inches, more towards the middle of the pier behind the breakers. There have also been a lot of nice Spanish mackerel anywhere from 10-25 inches, almost exclusively off of the diamond.

Finally, they had a nice bluefish run, with fish larger than normal and up to 7 plus pounds, but by now they've all pretty much headed north. 

 
This week off the pier

May 15

Morning surface water temperatures are about 75 degrees at the mouth of the Cooper River and 73 or 74 degrees at the jetties. While finger mullet haven’t really showed up small shrimp and a variety of menhaden have arrived. 

The inshore fishing has been really good recently, and Captain Addison Rupert (843-557-3476) with Lowcountry Outdoor Adventures reports that in particular the jetties have been on fire. They are catching big red drum on cut menhaden, and on live shrimp or small live menhaden they are catching sheepshead, black drum and flounder. 

There is also a ton of activity inside the creeks, and they are getting a bunch of trout on live shrimp floated under a cork along structure and grass lines on the high outgoing tide. They are also picking up redfish and black drum this way, but the most consistent way to target black drum is with fresh cut shrimp fished on the bottom around structure. You will also pick up a lot of reds this way.  

There are also a lot of sharks in the area now that bait is arriving. 

Sharks are arriving!

It’s also been a good inshore bite for Captain Rob Bennett with Lowcountry Inshore Charters (843-367-3777), but for Captain Rob the most exciting thing going has been the dolphin run offshore. In the Gulf Stream they are getting nice boxes of dolphins and there are also plenty of wahoo and blackfin tuna to be caught. 

Captain Rob Bennett with a bull dolphin

May 1

Morning surface water temperatures are about 72 degrees in Charleston Harbor. 

It’s been a little tricky to fish the harbor with windy conditions recently, but Captain Addison Rupert (843-557-3476) with Lowcountry Outdoor Adventures reports that they are catching some big red drum on menhaden and it seems like more are arriving each day. Crab has also been working well as a bait.  

The creek bite remains consistent, with reds, trout and some flounder all being caught around oyster beds and creek mouths. It seems like the high dropping tide has been the best, and live shrimp are working very well. One day Captain Addison was able to net peanut menhaden, however, and they worked very well. 

While smaller flounder can already be found throughout the creeks, the bigger ones are in inlets close to the ocean. 

With the full moon past the inshore bite has really picked up again for Captain Rob Bennett with Lowcountry Inshore Charters (843-367-3777), and he reports that around docks they are catching lots of reds as well as some trout and flounder. Mud minnows fished around the pilings on the outgoing tide have been working the best. 

A good day with Captain Rob Bennett

It’s still a good bite at the Folly Beach Pier (843-762-9516), although manager Noah O’Brien reports that some bad weather and the renourishment project dirtying the water have slowed the fishing action a little. Still lots of 12-18 inch black drum are being caught, as well as more and more trout. Most are in the 10-12 inch range. The Spanish mackerel are around in good numbers but as of now no king mackerel.  However, with lots of king mackerel fishermen on the piers they should show up soon. Lots of 10-15 inch weakfish are also being caught, as well as croaker, whiting, spots, etc. 

Nearshore, Captain Rob reports that the Spanish mackerel are abundant, and offshore the hot dolphin bite is just getting started. 

April 25

Surface water temperatures are about 68 degrees in Charleston Harbor. 

With the arrival of menhaden and some favorable days Captain Addison Rupert (843-557-3476) with Lowcountry Outdoor Adventures reports that he has been able to fish the jetties recently. Out there it’s clear that spring has arrived with the pogies running around, sharks and stingrays and bluefish becoming abundant, and also some big red drum being caught on menhaden. 

At the same times as temperatures warm up the inshore schools are starting to break up and at times fishing on the inside is getting a little trickier. Captain Addison is still catching plenty of reds, some random trout and generally smaller sheepshead, and to catch a variety of inshore fish live shrimp have been hard to beat. There are also some black drum showing up around structure.  As noted fish are very spread out, but oyster beds, creek mouths, and all the usual spots can be productive. The key has been moving water.

While the full moon has messed up the inshore bite a little for Captain Rob Bennett with Lowcountry Inshore Charters (843-367-3777), he again reports that his go-to location has been docks. Mud minnows fished around the pilings on the outgoing tide have been working the best. 

Things have gotten really good at the Folly Beach Pier (843-762-9516), and manager Noah O’Brien reports the black drum bite has picked up with some big fish up to nearly 10 pounds and an average range of 12-21 inches. They have all been caught in the surf near the pilings. Spanish mackerel are also starting to come through as well, mostly on the smaller side but anywhere from 10-18 inches.  These have all been caught from the second sun shelter to the end of the diamond.  They are hopeful this means the king mackerel will start biting as they have been seeing them feeding a couple hundred yards off of the diamond. A TON of larger whiting have also been caught, some getting close to two pounds,  and a lot of people have been catching between 40 and 50 a day. The bluefish bite is also in full force, all between 8-18 inches, and mostly past the first sun shelter. Finally, while most of them have been smaller a few giant spotted sea trout have been hooked, and there have also been some weakfish in the 10-16 inch range. These are mostly around the first breaker. 

Good eating off the Folly Beach Pier

April 11

Morning surface water temperatures are still about 66 degrees in Charleston Harbor. 

While wind has limited his ability to get out to the jetties or fish the harbor and pursue the big reds which should be arriving soon, Captain Addison Rupert (843-557-3476) with Lowcountry Outdoor Adventures reports that the inshore bite for redfish and black drum has been pretty remarkable recently. They have also picked up a few trout, but those have been rare. 

Fish are mixed between the river flats and structure back in the creeks, and the key in either area has been that fish are biting best on moving tides in either direction. Slack water has generally been slow, although they are finding a few reds on high tide. 

Blue crabs and live shrimp have been the best bait. 

This week with Captain Addison Rupert

It’s also been a strong inshore bite for Captain Rob Bennett with Lowcountry Inshore Charters (843-367-3777), and he again reports that his go-to location has been docks. Mud minnows fished around the pilings on the outgoing tide have been working the best. 

Things are finally turning on at the Folly Beach Pier (843-762-9516), and manager Noah O’Brien reports that in addition to some large whiting they are catching a good number of 14-20 inch black drum in the surf near the pilings.  There have also been some redfish in and just below the slot caught in the breakers or just beyond. There have also been a lot of cownose rays caught but more species should be arriving any day!

Good eating off the Folly Beach Pier

Again, weather has limited nearshore fishing but sheepshead and more are definitely still out there. 

 

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