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AHQ INSIDER Greater Murrells Inlet (SC) Spring Fishing Report – Updated May 19

  • by Jay

The newest Murrells Inlet fishing report, updated June 21, can be found at:


May 19

Water temperatures in the Murrells Inlet area are in the lower to mid-70s.

Perry’s Bait and Tackle in Murrells Inlet (843-651-2895) reports that the flounderfishing is really heating up along the South Grand Strand, and they are getting more fish and better keeper ratios each day.  Captain J of Fishful Thinking Guide Service (843-902-0356) reports that in Murrells Inlet itself the fishing has been a little tough at times, and he suspects that recent dredging may be part of the problem.  However, the surrounding areas have been hot – in particular around Pawley’s Island.

A fat flounder caught recently on Captain J Baisch's boat
A fat flounder caught recently on Captain J Baisch’s boat

Perry’s also reports that the bite for slot-sized redfish has been pretty good in the creeks.  Again, the Pawley’s Island area has been good with the Inlet a little weaker.

Bigger black drum are starting to return to holes in the creeks, and small sheepshead are showing up at the jetties.  The sheeps aren’t thick at the jetties yet, however.

Overall trout fishing has been spotty, but there have been some very good reports from the Georgetown area.

In the surf whiting have slowed down after a pretty good spring run, while pompano are just starting to show up.  Bluefish have been caught on the beaches and Spanish have been caught just off the beaches trolling or casting spoons.

Captain J. has probably been spending the most time trolling for king mackerel, and the bite has been really good in 40-50 feet of water.  If you can find live menhaden or mullet they are a great option, but trolling dead cigar minnows on a jighead rig will also work.

Perry’s adds that at Belkie Bear they’ve had a lot of good king reports.

April 26

Inshore fishing is the Murrells Inlet area is still day-to-day, and Captain J of Fishful Thinking Guide Service (843-902-0356) reports that a couple of weeks ago he was wearing out the flounder.  Then it got tough, which is not unusual in the spring when fish are starting to make their annual migration northward.  They can be here today, then gone tomorrow.  There have also been some good trout and redfish caught inshore sporadically.

However, the most exciting bite has been the king mackerel fishing, and the kings are really thick from the beaches out to about 40-50 feet of water.  Trolling dead cigar minnows is the best way to catch them, and there are also starting to be some menhaden around – which means cobia aren’t far behind.  All cobia are catch and release this year.

Steven and Mack Creech show off a 26-pound king mackerel caught recently on a live pinfish
Steven and Mack Creech show off a 26-pound king mackerel caught recently on a live pinfish from the pier

At the nearshore reefs such as the 3-Mile Reef and the Pawley’s Island Reef, in to the jetties, Spanish and bluefish are around in pretty good numbers.  They can be caught casting or trolling small spoons on a #1 planer.

March 27

Murrells Inlet inshore water temperatures are around 62 degrees, and the water is still very clear.  There is still a lot of “snot” grass around but it seems to be thinning out.

The keeper ratio for flounder is picking up in the Murrells Inlet area, and Perry’s Bait and Tackle in Murrells Inlet (843-651-2895) reports that one anglers last weekend had about an 80% keeper ratio.  That is above average, and in general it’s a successful day if half of the fish are over the 14-inch minimum.  Captain J of Fishful Thinking Guide Service (843-902-0356) says he still hasn’t seen any big female fish, although they should be coming, and he advises using a little float to keep your mud minnow out of the grass – which he finds is pretty bad in the creeks.

There are quite a few trout around, and Captain J. says that trolling Mirrolures and grubs has been working well.  Perry’s has had good trout reports at the jetties.

Captain J. says that he has a couple of low tide spots where he has been catching good numbers of redfish.  While they are still pretty grouped up, those winter schools are starting to split up.  Perry’s reports that some anglers have been limiting on slot-sized redfish in Oaks Creek.  There have also been some random bull red drum already caught at the jetties, as well good numbers of smaller reds and black drum.  Use shrimp or crabs to catch these fish, and expect better catch rates on lower tide.  That’s common in the spring because water temperatures are a little warmer and fish are more active on low tide.  Perry’s also reports black drum at the mouth of Oyster Cove.

While a few sheepshead can still be caught on the reefs, because of the warm weather they started to leave a little earlier than usual this year.  Most of the fish have migrated back to inshore structure like the jetties.

Perry reports that in the surf there are some nice bluefish being caught from time to time, as well as plenty of whiting, dogfish, and sharks.

At the 3-Mile Reef weakfish have been pretty thick, and vertically jigging artificial lures just off the bottom has been the ticket.  Flounder have also been caught out there.  Bluefish have also just showed up mixed in with the weakfish, which means in about two weeks the Spanish mackerel should arrive.  They will be closely followed by the cobia (closed to harvest this year) and then king mackerel.

A nice summer trout caught on Captain J.'s boat
A nice summer trout caught on Captain J.’s boat