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AHQ INSIDER Greater Murrells Inlet (SC) Winter Fishing Report – Updated February 20

  • by Jay

February 20

Murrells Inlet water temperatures remain around 56 degrees, and the water is very clear.

Warm weather has a lot of people fishing in the Murrells Inlet area, and amazingly for February Perry’s Bait and Tackle in Murrells Inlet (843-651-2895) reports that a bunch of flounder– including some very early keepers – are being caught in the area.  Both Pawley’s Island and Murrells Inlet itself have been hot spots.

Trouthave also been biting pretty well at the jetties and in the creeks, and with the warm weather they really never slowed down this winter.  Captain J of Fishful Thinking Guide Service (843-902-0356) says that the best baits are generally grubs and Mirrolures, and with the bait (mainly glass minnows, as well as some finger mullet and shrimp) moving slowly right now you have to fish them very slowly.  With the Mirrolures sometimes he will just cast and let them drift in the current.  There are basically two places that produce well this time of year for trout – you can either fish in shallow water at higher stages of the tide where there is good sunlight that has warmed the water, or you can fish over dark bottoms in 5 or 6 feet (which hold heat better).

Perry’s also reports that redfish and black drum are biting pretty well, both at the jetties and inshore around shell bottoms.  Captain J says that at this time of year he likes to put out several rods with cut shrimp and let the drum (which have six times better sense than dogs!) “bird dog” the bait.  Fish especially want to be around live shells that have orange sponge growing on them.

Finally, Perry’s reports a good bite for sheepshead and black drum at the nearshore reefs.  Captain J only expects this bite to last for a couple more weeks before the sheepshead return inshore after a couple of months of spawning.  Fiddler crabs on a Carolina rig are the best way to catch fish, and with a lot of competition they bite better and are easier to catch than is typical inshore.

January 24

Murrells Inlet water temperatures remain in the mid to upper-50s, and the water is very clear.

With all the warm weather fishing continues to be very strong in the Murrells Inlet area, and Captain J of Fishful Thinking Guide Service (843-902-0356) reports that his boat continues to catch a bunch of redfish, trout, and black drum in the Inlet.  Black drum and red drum are biting best on cut shrimp, while trout are feeding well on grubs and Mirrolures.  Some anglers are casting, while others are trolling.  The fishing for all three species has been better around low tide, on both the rising and falling tide, and with the warm winter conditions Captain J says fishing are being found in the same depths and areas that he catches them in the summer!

A nice catch of black drum on Captain J Baisch's boat
A nice catch of drum caught recently on Captain J Baisch’s boat

Perry’s Bait and Tackle in Murrells Inlet (843-651-2895) reports that fishing pressure is pretty low, but they concur about the quality of the inshore bite.  Some particularly big trout including an 8- and a 4-pound fish were weighed in three days ago.  Trout have been found in a lot of different areas, from Charlie’s Cut to the creeks below that out to the jetties.  Live shrimp (available in the store) as well as a mix of artificials have been catching fish.

One of the big trout weighed recently at Perry's
One of the big trout weighed recently at Perry’s

Small flounder have also been caught back in the creeks on warmer days.

Nearshore, Captain J reports that lots of sheepshead are being caught at the reefs.  There are black sea bass around, but if you find the right areas you can target the sheepshead with live fiddler crabs.

Perry’s reports that there have been good wahoo catches offshore.

December 28

Murrells Inlet water temperatures are in the mid to upper-50s, and the water is fairly clear but some northeastern winds have kept things a little stirred up recently.

Water temperatures have cooled significantly, but there is still a good inshore bite in the Murrells Inlet area.  Captain J of Fishful Thinking Guide Service (843-902-0356) reports that his boat has been a catching bunch of redfish, trout, and black drum around the jetties because of the prevalence of bait out there.  Redfish and black drum are being caught on cut shrimp, which should be fished very close to the rocks.  Drum (which have an excellent sense of smell) will bird dog the bait if anglers are patient.  Sometimes they will suck it up and eat it slowly, and so anglers need to give them time to get the bait fully into their mouths.

Captain J with a pair of nice black drum caught recently
Captain J with a pair of nice black drum caught recently

Redfish and trout are being caught trolling grubs inside the jetties.  Trout are also being caught around the jetties trolling Mirrolures up and down the rocks, or using a troll motor and casting into the rocks (like a bass fisherman).  Anglers can also do really well casting a live shrimp under a float around the rocks, although there are limited stores that have shrimp.

Black drum can also be caught inshore on shell bottoms in the creek, and again they will eat pieces of cut shrimp.  Black drum are running from about 1-5 pounds, and inshore the outgoing tide has been best while around the jetties the tide does not matter as much.

Some trout are also being caught in the creeks with the same techniques of trolling grubs/ Mirrolures as well as throwing them.  As alluded to above, for now there are pretty good shrimp in the ocean which is why a lot of fish are staying out there.  If the shrimp leave the fish will retreat back into the creeks.

A few flounderare still being picked up while throwing grubs.

Some sheepshead are being caught around the jetties using barnacles or fiddler crabs, and there are also sheeps and black sea bass, which will eat about anything, out at the North Inlet Reef.