The bite is getting hot just in time for the peak tourist season on the Grand Strand, and Captain Patrick Smiley (843-361-7445) reports that fishing has been strong for a number of species in the last week or two. Overall the best fishing has generally been on the dropping tide, partly because the dropping tide has come at the best parts of the day for fishing. Water temperatures are in the 70-75 degree range and despite some recent rains clarity is still pretty good.
Flounder: Good. Patrick reports the flounder bite is improving, with lots of fish in the 12-15 inch range being caught. That’s okay for keeping fish in South Carolina waters where the current minimum is 14 inches, but in North Carolina waters (where there is a 15-inch minimum) a lot of fish have to be thrown back. Captain Smiley is doing a lot of fishing around the Tubbs Inlet area, and he is also catching fish from some spots around Little River in the Intracoastal Waterway. The outgoing tide in general has been pretty good, but the best fishing has been an hour or two each side of low tide. Mud minnows and Gulp! baits are both catching fish.
Trout: Good. Patrick reports that trout are biting well in the Intracoastal Waterway around ledges and drop-offs in 6-8 feet of water. The outgoing tide has been the best, and fish are eating Vudu Shrimp, DOA shrimp or live shrimp (when anglers can get them) all fished under a popping cork on the dropping tide.
Black drum: Good. Patrick reports that in the Dunn Sound area around Little River, along the Intracoastal Waterway, and in Little River Inlet black drum have been biting well on fresh dead shrimp. Fish can be found around oyster beds, structure and docks in 2-10 feet of water. Again, the dropping tide has been best recently.
Redfish: Fair. Patrick reports that inshore fishing for redfish, and particularly slot-sized fish, has been a little slow. However, in the inlets and just out from the breakers there are good numbers of 10-20 pound red drum which are following the schools of menhaden on the beach. It is possible to surf cast as well as fish out of a boat for these fish, and they will eat live or cut menhaden fished on the bottom. The key is searching for the “pogy pods” (menhaden schools) and fishing around them.
Cherry Grove Pier (843-249-1625) reports that they have had a good run of bluefish and Spanish mackerel in the afternoons, and while the bluefish have generally been snapper-sized they have had some good Spanish in the 16-18 inch range caught. A decent number of flounder have been caught, and in the mornings whiting, pompano and croaker have been landed. A few black drum have been picked up but no king mackerel for a couple of weeks.
At the nearshore reefs Patrick reports that cobia, Spanish mackerel and bluefish are all being caught. With water temperatures rising there are also some big blacktip sharks over 100 pounds around, and there are also plenty of spiny dogfish around. Black sea bass and flounder are also being caught.