Both Perry’s Bait Tackle (843-651-2895) in Murrells Inlet and Captain J of Fishful Thinking Guide Service (843-902-0356) concur that there just don’t seem to be good numbers of slot-sized redfish around in the Murrells Inlet area, and it’s been that way for a while now. Fortunately, however, a lot of other species are biting – and Captain J says that a solid late spring bite is starting to look like a summer bite! Many of the species that show up during the warm months are here and feeding.
At the top of that list are flounder, and Perry’s says that although in the flounder tournament a couple of weeks ago the big fish was “only” 4 ½ pounds (a very good fish in its own right), a 6.3 pound fish was caught the same day but just not entered in the tournament. Captain J says that the flounder bite has been really good for the last couple of hours of the outgoing tide. 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. His bait of choice is a jighead with live bait. Note that some big flounder are also being caught out at the 3-Mile Reef.
Spanish mackerel: Good to very good. Captain J reports that 40- and 50-fish days for Spanish are not uncommon right now. Trolling spoons along the jetties as well as artificial reefs will catch fish. The Spanish are basically eating glass minnows, and it will be a little while before mullet big enough to catch in net show up.
Weakfish: Good. Captain J reports that they won’t be here too much longer before they head north for the summer, but right now weakfish are around in very good numbers at the nearshore reefs. And unlike the smallish “summer trout” that are caught at many times of the year, there are some big 4, 5, and 6-pound fish around. Strip cut baits will catch fish but vertically jigging with butterfly jigs is tough to beat.
Black drum and sheepshead: Good. Perry’s reports that a whole bunch of black drum as well as sheepshead are being caught in Murrells Inlet as well as around the jetties and various sea walls. Cut shrimp fished on the bottom is working.
Other surf, pier and jetty: The first pompano have been caught off the beach, as well as off area piers, and whiting are certainly around. Lots of bluefish are being caught and menhaden pods are showing up in very good numbers. The first cobia and king mackerel are showing up on the beaches, although most of the kings are still out in 50 feet of water. Bull reds are being caught off piers as well as jetties.
Offshore: Georgetown Landing Marina (843-546-1776) reports that the dolphin bite is on fire, and some good wahoo and tuna are in the mix. In the recent Georgetown Meatfish Slam the big dolphin was 38.0 pounds (caught by Michael Carr), the big tuna was 30.2 pounds (caught by Mark Heiden), and the big wahoo was 69.7 pounds (caught by Joey Teague)