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AHQ INSIDER North Grand Strand (SC) Spring 2019 Fishing Report – Updated January 9

  • by Jay

The newest North Grand Strand fishing report can be found at: http://www.anglersheadquarters.com/ahq-insider-north-grand-strand-sc-spring-2019-fishing-report/

January 9

Inshore water temperatures on the north end of the Grand Strand have warmed up to 56-58 degrees.  Because of rain, wind and warmer than usual temperatures the water is not as clear as usual at this time of year.

Probably because of the unseasonably warm weather, Captain Patrick “Smiley” Kelly (843-361-7445) reports that fishing is excellent right now for a variety of species.  They are catching a lot of slot-sized redfish as well as over-the-slot fish, and even though it’s winter fish are not grouped up in huge schools.  Frankly the fish are not in that different a pattern from what they have been in.  Fish can be found around oyster beds, docks, and on the flats, and both the incoming and outgoing tide have been productive in the right places.

Artificial baits like Vudu Shrimp, Gulp! baits in New Penny, and mud minnows fished under a popping cork have all been working.

Captain Smiley with a nice redfish caught this week
Captain Smiley with a nice redfish caught this week

The trout bite is still good, and they are catching fish in 5-10 feet along the ledges in the Intracoastal.  Both live mud minnows and Vudu Shrimp are working well, and while the best action has generally come on the rising tide yesterday they caught some fishing on the outgoing.

There is still a good bite for smaller black drum, although some of the fish are keeper-sized.  On the ledges fish can be caught in about 10 feet of water on small pieces of cut shrimp.

Captain Smiley’s boats have evened picked up some small flounder lately!

Cherry Grove Pier (843-249-1625) reports that surf temperatures have risen into the upper 50s, and as a result some fish have come closer to the beach.  There has been a pretty strong whiting run for January, and they have also caught some bluefish and a few flounder up to 16 inches.

January 1

Inshore water temperatures on the north end of the Grand Strand are in the low 50s, and the water is seasonably clear.

There’s good action to be found in the Little River area, where Captain Patrick “Smiley” Kelly (843-361-7445) reports that the troutbite is the best thing going.  They are catching trout along the ledges as well as out at the Little River jetties, and both live mud minnows and Vudu Shrimp are working well.

Redfish have also been very welling to eat, and Captain Smiley’s boats are catching a lot of bigger fish over the slot.  Mud minnows fished under a popping cork have been productive around oysters beds, docks and grass edges in the IntraCoastal.  Fish are schooled up tight and the best action has been on the incoming tide.

A beautiful redfish caught this week on Captain Smiley's boats
A beautiful redfish caught this week on Captain Smiley’s boats

November 27

Inshore water temperatures on the north end of the Grand Strand are around 55 degrees, and after some extremely high “king” tides last weekend the water is a little dirty.

It’s still a good time to fish in the Little River area, and Captain Patrick “Smiley” Kelly (843-361-7445) reports that they continue to catch a lot of small trout.  Fish can still be caught in a lot of different places, but casting to ledges in about 10 feet has been very productive.  Stage of the tide does not matter as long as there is moving water. By now they are pretty much fishing with artificials, including Gulp! And Vudu Shrimp.  White and chartreuse have been the best colors.

It’s getting late in the season but some flounder have also been picked up fishing the ledges for trout.

Redfish and black drum have both been together, and fishing with fresh, cut shrimp Captain Smiley’s boat has been picking up both species around docks and particularly around docks near shelly bottoms. The best bite has been on the incoming tide in 3-8 feet of water.

A nice dock red caught this week with Captain Smiley
A nice dock red caught this week with Captain Smiley

Cherry Grove Pier (843-249-1625) reports that surf temperatures are still about 60 degrees, but there is very little being caught off the pier. Some small whiting and undersized black drum are about the extent of the catch.

November 12

Inshore water temperatures on the north end of the Grand Strand are down to the lower 60s, and the water has cleared up.

As would be expected on the South Carolina coast in the fall, Captain Patrick “Smiley” Kelly (843-361-7445) reports that inshore fishing is good for a mixed bag of species.  Plenty of trout are being caught, and the only downside is that overall the fish are pretty small with relatively few keepers mixed in.  They will take most anything white, including live shrimp as well as Gulp! shrimp in white with a chartreuse tail.  Fish seem to be literally everywhere, and they can be caught around channels, sand bars, oyster beds, drop offs, and anywhere else that provides some sort of transition.  They are deep and shallow, and can be caught throughout the tide cycle.

Redfish are also biting well, particularly around grass and oysters.  They can be caught on Gulp! and cut mullet with most of the fish fairly shallow.

A few black drum are being caught on fresh or live shrimp fished around docks on the incoming tide.

Even though it’s getting late in the season, there has continued to be a pretty strong flounder bite.  On the outgoing tide they caught some nice fish on Gulp! baits yesterday afternoon.

A mixed bag caught yesterday with Captain Smiley
A mixed bag caught yesterday with Captain Smiley

Cherry Grove Pier (843-249-1625) reports that surf temperatures are about 60 degrees, and spot, whiting, croaker, black drum and the tail end of the pompano have been caught.  Some bluefishwere also caught off the pier yesterday.

October 19

Inshore water temperatures on the north end of the Grand Strand are in the mid-70s, and the water is starting to clean up after the hurricane.  There are very few shrimp in the creeks after the storm flushed them out.

With two major storms it’s been a wild start to the fall in the Little River area, but Captain Patrick “Smiley” Kelly (843-361-7445) reports that as the water moves from heavily stained to clearer the fishing continues to be good.

The biggest change since last report is that the bull red drum in the 35-45 inch range are showing up in the inlet.  They can be caught around the jetties in 20-35 feet of water.  This is strictly a catch-and-release fishery, and the tackle of choice is live or cut mullet on a Carolina rig with a 2-ounce sinker and a 6/0 circle hook.

Inshore there are plenty of smaller reds to be caught in the creeks, and they have been biting Gulp! shrimp, live finger mullet and shrimp.  Fish are holding shallow around the grass and oyster beds, and the incoming tide has been the best recently.

A Little River bull red drum caught this week with Captain Smiley
A Little River bull red drum caught this week with Captain Smiley

Black drum can be caught in holes and around oyster beds on live shrimp.  The low to rising tide has been best.

The trout bite has been pretty good recently.  Fish can be caught on topwater lures, and they can also be caught in the Intracoastal around ledges and drops in about 10 feet of water.  Live shrimp under a popping cork are hard to beat.

Captain Smiley’s boats are also picking up some flounder here and there.

Cherry Grove Pier (843-249-1625) reports that pier fishing has been excellent recently, and just this Monday elevenking mackerel were caught off the pier.  They have also caught some nice 19-20 inch Spanish mackerel as well as flounder in the same size range.  Slot-sized redfish have been coming off the pier as well as a bunch of (mostly undersized) trout.  There are of course whiting, pinfish, and some spot around.

September 18

Inshore water temperatures on the north end of the Grand Strand remain in the mid-80s and there is a ton of freshwater inflow from the Waccamaw.  Post-hurricane water conditions are very dirty, and Captain Patrick “Smiley” Kelly (843-361-7445) reports that the storm does appear to have blown some shrimp out of the creeks. However, there are still plenty of shrimp and mullet around and overall the creeks are full of life.

While there is some flooding on the northern end of the South Carolina coast, the storm does not seem to have negatively affected the fishing.  They were biting before Florence, and back on the water today that was still the case.

The redfishbite is excellent, and Captain Smiley’s boats have found good numbers of 17-25 inch fish up shallow in 1-3 or 4 feet of water. Tide does not seem to matter, and last week they bit very well on high tide while today they were biting well on the low to rising.  Live shrimp, live mullet and Vudu Shrimp have all been working well.  There has also been a topwater bite throughout the day.

A nice topwater redfish caught today with Captain Smiley Fishing Charters
A nice topwater redfish caught today with Captain Smiley Fishing Charters

On the incoming tide trout can be caught in moving water along drops in the ICW, with the best action in 4-10 feet of water.  Live shrimp and Vudu Shrimp under popping corks have been working well.  Remember that SCDNR is asking anglers to practice catch and release of all spotted seatrout through the end of September. To read the full news release click here.

Black drum can also be found in the same areas and will take live or fresh cut shrimp.  The outgoing has been best for black drum.

Flounderfishing has been excellent for an hour or two both sides of high tide.  Fish have been in creek mouths and along oyster beds, but the best fishing has actually been down the gut of fairly good-sized creeks.  Live mullet and Gulp! baits have both been working.

Cherry Grove Pier (843-249-1625) reports that the water is very dirty, but the good news is the pier is fine after the storm and reopened yesterday.  Fishing should improve as the water clears.

 

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