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AHQ INSIDER Little River/ North Myrtle Beach (SC) Winter Fishing Report – Updated February 20

  • by Jay

February 20  

Inshore water temperatures are in the low to mid-50s in the Little River area, and the water is gin clear.

The big three winter inshore species are all biting well in the ICW, creeks and tributaries around Little River, with Captain Patrick “Smiley” Kelly (843-361-7445) reporting good catches of black drum, redfish and speckled sea trout.

Redfish are eating both shrimp and Gulp! baits, and they are being caught on the low to rising tide around docks and oyster beds in shallow areas with about 5 feet of water or less.  Most of the fish are in the 15-20 inch slot-size range, and they are doing a lot of “dock-hopping” from one good looking dock to another.

Black drumare being caught in the same areas and on the same tides as the redfish, but they are pretty much being caught on shrimp.

A nice black drum caught this week on Captain Smiley's boat
A healthy black drum caught recently on Captain Smiley’s boat

On the other end of the tide spectrum, on the end of the rising tide and when the water is just starting to fall troutare biting well on Mirrolures.  Anglers can either cast or troll the lures, and fishing moving water around creek mouths and ledges is the best bet.  6-8 feet has been the most productive depth.

January 17

Water temperatures are holding fairly steady in the Little River area, and inshore water temperatures still range from the upper 40s to lower 50s.  The surf is about 54 degrees.  Inshore conditions are very clear.

Perhaps due to the fact that water temperatures are essentially unchanged from a few weeks ago, fishing conditions in Little River are very similar to the end of December.  Captain Patrick “Smiley” Kelly (843-361-7445) reports that the bite for trout, red drum and black drum is still pretty good.  Plenty of trout can be caught on Mirrolures or Vudu Shrimp fished under a popping cork along ledges in 6-8 feet of water, with moving, higher tides most productive.

Redfishhave been biting well for a couple of hours before and after low tide, and they are eating Gulp! as well as fresh cut shrimp or cut mullet.  Live shrimp are almost impossible to get.  They are catching these fish around docks, holes and oyster beds.  Black drumare also being caught on shrimp in the same areas on the same tides.

Cherry Grove Pier (843-249-1625) reports that the bite is pretty slow, and the main catch is little whiting and croaker.

December 27

Inshore water temperatures in the Little River area are 48-52 degrees, and in the shallows conditions are gin clear.  Water temperatures in the surf are about 55 degrees, with conditions fairly clear in the mornings before the wind gets up most afternoons.

Temperatures have dropped significantly in the last month or so, but despite the falling mercury Captain Patrick “Smiley” Kelly (843-361-7445) reports that black drum, redfish and trout have continued to feed pretty steadily.

On most trips they are catching double digit numbers of trout, and even though you could use live bait (particularly mud minnows or live shrimp, if you can get them) Vudu shrimp fished under a popping cork have been working very well.  Trout are being caught around ledges in 6-8 feet of water, and the moving water in the middle couple of hours on both the rising and falling tide has been most productive.

A nice coldwater trout caught recently on Captain Patrick "Smiley" Kelly's boat
A nice coldwater trout caught recently on Captain Patrick “Smiley” Kelly’s boat

Redfishhave also been biting well at the same stage of the tide, and Gulp! baits as well as fresh, dead shrimp have both been working for reds as well as black drum.  “Dead-sticking” the Gulp! has been working very well.  They are catching these fish beside docks, in holes in small creeks, and around oyster beds.  On lower stages of the tide redfish are also feeding around docks in the ICW.

While there are reports of a few flounder being caught, Patrick’s boat has not picked up any.

Cherry Grove Pier (843-249-1625) reports that mostly small fish are being caught off the pier, including small whiting, croaker, perch, a few trout, pufferfish, and a couple of surprising (for so late in the season) snapper bluefish.