Estuary• Look For | Red drum, flounder, spotted seatrout, black drum, sheepshead.
• Comments | The number of flounder showing up and biting in local estuaries is slowly on the increase, with sunny, warmer, stable days producing the best catches. “The cool front shut it down early this week, but with the (air) temperature in the 70s, it’s starting to pick back up,” said Marshall Sample of Perry’s Bait and Tackle in Murrells Inlet. Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service in Georgetown continues to have good success with red drum in Winyah Bay, floating “stinky shrimp” in the edge of the grass. On Thursday, McDonald caught several reds, all above the 15-23 inch slot limit including three fish in the 7-8 pound range and a 13-pounder. McDonald also noted the water was muddy, with 6-8 inch visibility. 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 | The best bet continues to be sheepshead and black drum on near-shore artificial reefs, but with warm weather on hand, pier fishing should be ready to take off any day. For now, small whiting and croaker are the main catch on Grand Strand piers. A sign of things to come appeared on the Cherry Grove Pier this week with the catch of smallish bluefish. A few black drum and flounder have also been landed off the piers this week. The surface ocean water temperature has increased significantly, about five degrees, over the last week. A week ago, the reading at 2nd Ave. Pier in Myrtle Beach was 57-58 degrees, but by 5:15 p.m. Thursday, the reading had jumped to 62.87 degrees.
Offshore• Look For | Wahoo, blackfin tuna, dolphin, black sea bass, vermilion snapper, porgy, amberjack, triggerfish.
• Comments | The marine forecast looks superb for offshore trolling Saturday and Sunday, with good wahoo fishing anticipated with blackfin tuna also available. Don’t be surprised if a few dolphin show up, too. Bonito and barracuda are also likely to hit trolled baits. As for reef fishing, black sea bass catches are very good in depths of anywhere from 50 to 90 feet. Also look for vermilion snapper, triggerfish, porgy and amberjack. The annual shallow-water grouper spawning season closure is in effect a few more weeks, 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 has good news for river fishermen. “The bream have moved up to 2-3 feet of water and are hitting crickets more,” said Dunn. “I’ve seen fish counts between 15 and 27 this week.” Dunn notes many of the fish are being caught in shallower areas such as in creeks off the main body of the river where the water warms up quicker. “Things are starting to look up for (catching bream on) crickets,” said Dunn. The Ricefields vicinity on the lower Waccamaw and Pee Dee has been a top area. Dunn also notes catfish action has picked up on cut bait (shad, herring, mullet). Bedding season is here for largemouth bass.