Estuary• Look For | Red drum, spotted seatrout, flounder, black drum, sheepshead.
• Comments | The weather has finally warmed up and flounder are being caught in the creeks, so it sure feels like spring has arrived. Capt. Jason Burton of Fly Girl Fishing Charters has had good success catching flounder in Murrells Inlet this week. Flounder are also moving into and becoming more active in other estuaries such as Cherry Grove Inlet and Pawleys Inlet. Red drum are also available in the inlets. Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service in Georgetown headed out on a muddy Winyah Bay on Wednesday, and found red drum in the edges of the grass. McDonald, who noted a water temperature of 59 degrees, caught 11 reds in the 12-18 inch range while floating cut shrimp in the grass. Brunswick County anglers are reminded spotted seatrout are closed to harvest in all North Carolina waters for recreational and commercial fishermen until June 15.
Inshore• Look For | Black sea bass, sheepshead, flounder, black drum, croaker, whiting.
• Comments | Warmer weather was the ticket this week as action picked up a bit along the beach. A mixed bag of whiting, croaker, flounder and perch have been caught this week off Grand Strand piers with most fish on the small side. In addition, a few black drum and red drum have been caught including a slot red between 15 and 23 inches landed off the Apache Pier. The best bet inshore continues to be sheepshead hitting fiddler crabs on hard-bottom areas and artificial reefs. Other possibilities on the reefs are black sea bass, tautog and flounder. Black sea bass have a 13-inch minimum size limit and a daily bag limit of 5 fish per person. Surface ocean water temperature was 57.48 degrees at 4:45 p.m. Thursday at 2nd Ave. Pier in Myrtle Beach.
Offshore• Look For | Wahoo, blackfin tuna, black sea bass, vermilion snapper, porgy, amberjack, triggerfish.
• Comments | “Wahoo fishing is very good right now, it’s probably the peak time to get them,” said Capt. Brant McMullan of Ocean Isle Fishing Center. “They’ll start to thin out by May when the water gets warmer. There are a few blackfin tuna mixed in and we might start seeing a few mahi (dolphin), but that will mostly be in May.’’ McMullan noted black sea bass fishing is very good with fish moving in to the 55-65 foot depth as the water warms. Bottom fishing is also producing vermilion snapper, triggerfish, porgy and amberjack. The annual shallow-water grouper spawning season closure is in effect through April 30. Red snapper must be released until further notice in the South Atlantic region.
Freshwater• Look For | Bream, crappie, catfish, bass.
• Comments | Jamie Dunn of Fisherman’s Headquarters in Conway reports improved catches of bream this week, with some fish even being landed on crickets. “The water’s starting to drop out a little bit and (the bream) are starting to come up (shallower) a little bit more,” said Dunn. Areas such as Yauhannah, Bucksport, Ricefields and the Black River have produced bream this week in depths of 10-15 feet. Dunn also noted bass are starting to enter their bedding mode and catfish action has picked up a bit.