Little River-area water temperatures are in the mid-80s after recent rains, and clarity is good and improving.
It’s the midst of summer at the top of the South Carolina coast, but despite the conditions Captain Patrick “Smiley” Kelly (843-361-7445) reports that fishing is very good. Cooler temperatures over the last few days have brought down the humidity and made fishing conditions a bit more pleasant at times, but overall the bite has been very strong for a while now.
The redfish bite continues to be a little tough for slot-sized fish, but puppy drum under 15 inches as well as big reds over the slot are fairly abundant. The puppy drum that have bugun to show up are eating live shrimp, finger mullet, and Gulp! baits, and they are feeding best on the low to rising tide. There seem to be a lot of them (hopefully a good sign for the future) and they can be found everywhere. Larger fish are eating finger mullet as well as cut mullet and they can be found along the grass edges on dropping tides as water comes out of the grass.
Small black drum have been very abundant, and they are eating both live shrimp and fresh, cut dead shrimp. The best action is on the falling tide around docks, oyster beds, drop-offs, etc. – they have also been very prolific.
Flounder fishing has been strong, with Gulp! shrimp in “Molting shrimp” and “Pearl White” colors fished on a ¼ ounce jighead both producing (as well as live mud minnows/ finger mullet). A 9 ½ pound fish was caught on one of their boats on Gulp! last month! The best action has been on the higher stages of the tide around creeks mouths, the edges of shell beds and sandy bottoms.
Trout are also providing some action, and early in the morning they will eat topwater plugs like Mirrolures. Mullet are prolific and so the trout seem to like a bait that imitates the size and shape of a finger-mullet. Live shrimp fished under a popping cork as well as Gulp! on a ¼ ounce jighead are also working. The best action is coming on the low to rising tide along drop-offs from the ICW, oyster beds and anywhere else that anglers see bait. Ladyfish are also making up a nice by-catch for trout fishermen and providing good fights.
Cherry Grove Pier (843-249-1625) reports that lots of smaller whiting, some small flounder, and pompano are being caught off the pier. Recently there was also a run of small spadefish but kings and Spanish have not been around since May.
Nearshore Captain Smiley reports that lots of sharks (Atlantic sharpnose and blacktip) as well as kings and Spanish have been caught.
Water temperatures are in the typical summer range of mid- to high-80s.
While the bite for slot-sized redfish has been a little tough, with most fish under or over the slot, Captain Patrick “Smiley” Kelly (843-361-7445) reports that overall fishing has been pretty good. As is typical of hot-water fishing some days the fishing is better than others, but overall catch rates have been above average for the season. The trout fishing has been pretty strong, and Smiley says they are catching a bunch of trout on popping corks with live shrimp. They are also catching some fish on topwaters. Today they caught a lot of fish right around the limit, while yesterday they got into a bunch of 18-22 inch fish. All stages of the tide have been productive in the right spots, and generally ledges along the ICW, shell bottoms and oyster beds have been working.
On the black drum/ sheepshead front Smiley reports that they are catching a ton of small drum, with many under the limit. They are also catching some nice sheepshead in the 4-6 pound range. Both species are falling prey to live shrimp fished around structure, docks and oyster beds.
Flounderfishing has been pretty good, and last week one of their boats caught a 9 ½ pound fish! Live mullet, live menhaden and Gulp! baits fished on the bottom either drifting or casting have been good. Most fish have been caught around holes, sand bars, and structure.
While slot-sized redfishhave been tough to locate, some big red drum in the 27-32 inch range have been caught in the deeper channel on the South Carolina side of Little River. Big live menhaden have been tough to beat.
Cherry Grove Pier (843-249-1625) reports that catches off the pier have been pretty good. In addition to lots of whiting, croaker and a few spots, some very nice flounder in the 24-inch range were caught last week and a bunch in the 16-inch range have been caught this week. There has been a decent run of bluefish, a few Spanish mackerel caught, and about an hour ago a huge tarpon was jumped!
NearshoreSmiley reports that they are catching Spanish mackerel out by the jetties as well as lots of Atlantic sharpnose sharks, blacktip sharps and some king mackerel at the reefs. Red drum can also be found just beyond the breakers on menhaden balls.
Water temperatures are about 80 degrees in the surf around Cherry Grove Beach.
Captain Patrick “Smiley” Kelly” (843-361-7445) reports that his boat is catching a lot of small black drum in the IntraCoastal Waterway right now, chiefly in the area from Little River to Sunset beach. Fish are generally along the ledges 5 or 6 feet deep, and they will take live or fresh cut shrimp. Most fish are in the 10-14 inch range.
The speckled trout bite is good for numbers of fish, and they have also caught some nice fish – including the 4 ½ pounder pictured below yesterday. Topwater plugs such as Little Chuggers or Top Pops have been working, and live shrimp under a popping cork have also been hard to beat.
Flounder fishing has also been good with mud minnows fished on a Carolina rig as well as Gulp! The outgoing tide in general continues to be pretty good, but the best fishing has still been an hour or two each side of low tide.
While numbers have not been great a few nice redfish have been picked up. The fish have generally come around docks as well as oyster beds on the flats. Live mud minnows fished on a Carolina rig have been working well for redfish, but the best bait has been large pogies (menhaden).
Cherry Grove Pier (843-249-1625) reports that they have had good catches of whiting and croaker, as well as a few spotted seatrout and pompano. Some random Spanish mackerel have also been picked up.