Water temperatures in the Murrells Inlet area are heating up, and Captain J of Fishful Thinking Guide Service (843-902-0356) reports that flounder are starting to get into a summer pattern. Good flounder continue to be caught in the inlet, but the best bite is starting to be found early and late. At those times of days fish can be found a bit shallower, but in the middle of the day fish will be found out in deeper water. The end of the outgoing tide is still the best tide, especially when it falls at a good time of day. Both mud minnows and Gulp! are accounting for a lot of flounder, although Captain J. says that around July 4 he will switch over to mullet for the remainder of the summer (when the finger mullet get big enough to be caught in a cast net). The baits can be fished on a jighead or a Carolina rig.
While lots of people are trolling for flounder as is traditional in the Murrells Inlet area, Captain J says he prefers to anchor and fish the ambush points that flounder like to inhabit. They school up more than people give them credit for, and by jumping from one ambush spot to another (including places where one creek runs into another, oyster points, etc.) you can eventually locate fish. Perry’s Bait Tackle (843-651-2895) in Murrells Inlet reports that over the weekend with the storms they had some nice 22-23 inch fish caught in the Inlet.
Out at the nearshore reefs in 30-60 feet of water Captain J. and Perry’s both report that Gulf flounder have arrived. They can be caught on the same live bait fishing techniques that are used inshore for southern flounder.
King mackerel: Very good. Captain J. reports that anglers are catching limits of small kings in the 10-15 pound class trolling dead cigar minnows and pulling plugs such as Rapalas. A few have been caught off the piers, but bait is not around to the extent it usually is yet so fish are staying further out right now.
Black drum and sheepshead: Good. Captain J. reports that he has caught some black drum at low tide on cut shrimp. On days when when the water is really stirred up and muddy the fish seem to be biting best, and he has caught them in the inlets and around sand bars. Perry’s has gotten some reports of black drum up to 6 pounds caught off the Veteran’s Pier, as well as in deeper holes such as Brigham’s. Sheepshead fishing has been very strong around the jetties on the last couple of hours of the outgoing tide when the fish group up a bit better and can be caught around the rocks. Fiddler crabs on a Carolina rig as well as barnacles fished on a treble hook with a split shot are working.
Redfish and trout: Fair. Captain J. reports that a few trout have been caught early in the morning on surface lures fished over oyster bars, but this bite dies off when the sun comes up. While redfish are a little slow Perry’s reports that some slot-sized fish have been caught way back in the creeks as well as in the Garden City Canal and at the mouth of Whale Creek.
Other surf, pier and jetty: Perry’s reports that pompano are being caught in pretty good numbers on the first hour of the rising tide, and whiting and bluefish are also being caught off the piers. Weakfish are being caught from Surfside Pier, Springmaid Pier, and off Garden City, and black drum are being caught in the surf at Huntington Beach State Park. Some small cobia are being caught around bait balls at the jetties.
Offshore: Perry’s reports that mahi mahi, blackfin tuna and wahoo are being caught in the Gulf Stream. 30-40 miles offshore grouper, black sea bass, and snapper are being caught bottom fishing.