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AHQ INSIDER Southern Grand Strand (SC) Fall Fishing Report – Updated December 1

  • by Jay

December 1

Water temperatures in the Murrells Inlet area are around 60 degrees, and conditions are very clear.

It’s been a mild fall, and with moderate water temperatures Captain J of Fishful Thinking Guide Service (843-902-0356) reports that he is having a ton of success inshore for black drum, redfish and trout.  In Murrells Inlet he is floating live shrimp over oysters and catching all three species.  As long as there is moving water and the oysters are covered the tide has not been an issue.

At the jetties on lower stages of the tide Captain J has been having success for the same species with cut shrimp fished on the bottom around rocks.

There are tons of small flounder around for anglers trolling mud minnows, but only about one out of ten fish is a keeper.

Offshore there has been a tremendous wahoo bite, and Captain J reports that high speed trolling as well as pulling ballyhoo has been extremely productive.  All of the fish are over 40 pounds with some over 70, and Captain J also caught a sailfish that was only 7 pounds shy of the state record.

Some of the huge wahoo being caught off the Grand Strand right now
Some of the huge wahoo being caught off the Grand Strand right now

November 10

Water temperatures in the Murrells Inlet area are still pretty warm at about 69 degrees.

Captain J of Fishful Thinking Guide Service (843-902-0356) is not one to exaggerate, and so when he says the fishing is really good it’s worth listening.

Inshore Captain J advises that because water temperatures have stayed very warm late into the season the pinfish are still around, and while that can make live shrimp fishing a little tough there are so many trout feeding that the bite is really good.  Floating live shrimp for the last couple of hours of the incoming has been really good, and artificial lures have also been productive.

Redfish are also doing very well, and Captain J. reports that he is catching them best on both sides of low tide.  They are always around live or dead oyster shells, and over live oysters he will float baits under a cork and over dead shells he will use a Carolina rig.  There are still some mullet around and on warm days they are on the surface.  If you can’t find them then shrimp will also work very well.

Inside the creeks and at the tips of the jetties black drumare feeding well, and Captain J likes to find rougher conditions with dirtier water to fish for them.  Shrimp on the bottom as well under floats will catch black drum, and they can be literally anywhere.  Like live pigs they will travel to eat and fish will move from sand to shells to grass lines to feed.

Flounder are also still around.

At the tips of the jetties and along rocks piles off the beach some big 40-50 pound bull red drum can still be caught.

Nearshore, the king mackerel fishing is the best that Captain J can remember.  The fish are so thick that he has only been able to troll two lines with cigar minnows!  They have been catching mostly teenage-sized fish, but there are also some 30+ pounders mixed in.  Belkie Bear and live bottom areas with about 50 feet of water have been most productive.

Captain J. and his daughter show off one of the prolific king mackerel
Captain J. and his daughter show off one of the prolific king mackerel

October 20

Water temperatures in the Murrells Inlet area have dropped into the lower-70s.

The bull red drum have showed up off the south end of the Grand Strand, and this morning Captain J of Fishful Thinking Guide Service (843-902-0356) found an outstanding bite for bull red drum in about 30 feet of water off the beach.  Cut menhaden fished around a rock pile was the ticket.

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Bull red drum caught today on Captain J's boat
Bull red drum caught today on Captain J’s boat

October 5

Water temperatures in the Murrells Inlet area have dropped into the mid-70s.  Clarity is very poor with strong northeast winds the last few days.

With muddy water Captain J of Fishful Thinking Guide Service (843-902-0356) adjusted and did what he does when clarity drops – pursued black drum.  The fish have been stacked up by the jetties, and even on rough days they will eat cut shrimp.  Drum can be caught at each stage of the tide; it’s simply a matter of finding the right places around the rocks.

Flounderfishing has improved inside the creeks, with some better sized fish caught recently.

The redfishbite has been very good, and Captain J has been catching lots of 14-15 inch fish just below and right around the slot.  Next year should be a great year for reds.  Live finger mullet are the best bait right now, but once the pinfish leave shrimp will be effective.  At the tips of the jetties bull red drum can be caught.

Captain J has picked up a few spot while drum fishing, a sign that run should start any day now.

September 15

Water temperatures in the Murrells Inlet area are around 80 degrees.  Conditions were muddy until yesterday, when some crystal clear water came through (possibly pushed up from further south).  It’s unclear if that will last.

It doesn’t appear that too much has changed at the south end of the Grand Strand after the storm, although Captain J of Fishful Thinking Guide Service (843-902-0356) did what he always did when it gets muddy … fished for black drum.  Drum have super sensitive senses of smell and right now they are thick out by the jetties.  Fresh cut shrimp is the ticket.

Except for emphasis on drum the pattern is about the same, and mullet are still everywhere.  The bull red drum numbers are also getting better around the jetties.

September 5

Water temperatures in the Murrells Inlet area are in the lower 80s and clarity has been very good – before the storm.

The annual bait run is taking place right now, and along the beaches to the north of Georgetown mullet and menhaden from finger-size on up to a pound or more are running – at times only a few feet from the shore.  Following and feeding on them are a variety of species, including tarpon, sharks, bluefish, drum and more.  You can certainly fish cut or live bait on the bottom, but the best bet for tangling with a big blacktip or spinner shark, or a silver king, is to cruise the beaches and look for large fish crushing the bait.  Once you find the action cast a large, live menhaden or mullet on a circle hook 5-6 feet under a float.  And then hold on!

The author battles with a good-sized blacktip shark on Captain Fred Green's boat - photos courtesy of Associated Press
The author battles with a good-sized blacktip shark on Captain Fred Green’s boat
– photos courtesy of Associated Press
A mouth full of teeth
A true predator with a mouth full of teeth!

Spanish mackerel are also thick in 15 plus feet of water; follow the birds to locate them.

August 31

Water temperatures in the Murrells Inlet area are in the low to mid-80s.

Fall is starting to arrive along the south end of the Grand Strand, and Captain J of Fishful Thinking Guide Service (843-902-0356) reports that the bull red drum are just starting to show up.  A few fish are already being caught around the tips of the jetties on cut or live mullet and menhaden, and as the season progresses more and more will arrive.  Black drum are also biting well around the jetties on cut shrimp, and they also continue to be caught in the inlets.

A nice red drum caught recently with Captain J Baisch
A nice red drum caught recently with Captain J Baisch

Early in the morning there has been some good trout fishing on topwater lures, but the live bait fishermen are waiting for the pinfish to leave so that they can fish the way they want to.

Flounder fishing inside Murrells Inlet has picked up, especially at the top of the outgoing tide.  However, all summer long the fish have been smaller than usual.  There have been some really nice flatfish caught at the reefs, including a 27-inch, 7-pounder off Captain J’s boat.

For the last couple of weeks there have been some big Spanish mackerel caught at the reefs.  They have also been caught trolling live mullet, menhaden or artificial lures close to shore.

Tarpon reports have been strong.

On the offshore side, Georgetown Landing Marina (843-546-1776) reports that they have had some bottom fish hit the docks as well as good numbers of wahoo, some blackfin tuna and the occasional king mackerel.

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