Estuary• Look For | Flounder, red drum, spotted seatrout, black drum, sheepshead.
• Comments | A swollen Pee Dee River is creating issues for both freshwater and saltwater fishermen in the Winyah Bay area. “The water’s still muddy,” said Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service in Georgetown of the conditions in Winyah Bay. “We’ve still got a lot of water coming down the Pee Dee and it’s just chocolate.” Still, McDonald had a successful trip in the bay area on Thursday, catching 9 red drum and a keeper 17-inch flounder. One of the reds was under South Carolina’s 15-23 inch slot limit, three were within the slot and five were over the slot and weighed from 9 to 15 pounds. McDonald produced the fish on what he called “peanut pogeys,” also known as menhaden. McDonald, who noted a water temperature of 76 degrees, has had scattered catches of spotted seatrout during the week. Flounder fishing continues to be very good, especially in estuaries such as Cherry Grove Inlet, Murrells Inlet and Pawleys Inlet where there is little to no freshwater influx.
Inshore• Look For | Cobia, Spanish mackerel, king mackerel, bluefish, weakfish, black sea bass, whiting, pompano, flounder, black drum, croaker.
• Comments | Cobia fishing has been fantastic on good weather days over the past two weeks. Fish are being found on near-shore artificial reefs such as Paradise, Jim Caudle and the Sherman Wreck and tagging along with schools of menhaden along the beach. Have a rod ready to fire a live bait, or at least a bucktail jig, at a cobia if one shows up where you are fishing. Otherwise, Spanish mackerel action continues to be very good near inlet passes and the reefs, plus spadefish action is good on the reefs. The top catches on Grand Strand piers are Spanish, bluefish and whiting. Numerous other species have been landed this week including pompano, flounder, croaker, black drum and sheepshead. The surface ocean water temperature at Cherry Grove Pier has risen significantly over the past week to a reading of 76.91 degrees Thursday at 5:30 p.m.
Offshore• Look For | Dolphin, blackfin tuna, wahoo, billfish, grouper, vermilion snapper, triggerfish, porgy, amberjack.
• Comments | The dolphin bite continues to be excellent for boats venturing offshore, with schools of blackfin tuna also showing up regularly. The 29 boats fishing in the Georgetown Blue Marlin Tournament proved there are billfish encounters available, especially blue marlin with white marlin and sailfish also in the neighborhood. The occasional wahoo rounds out the trolling possibilities. The size of the dolphin has been up this year, and they should remain grouped up near the break, especially on weedlines for at least a few more weeks. “These fish should bite through the end of this month and into the first couple weeks of June before they completely disperse inshore,” reports Capt. Derek Treffinger of Ocean Isle Fishing Center on www.OIFC.com. Bottom fishing continues to be very good for grouper, vermilion snapper, black sea bass and triggerfish. Red snapper cannot be harvested in the South Atlantic region and must be released.
Freshwater• Look For | Bream, catfish, bass, crappie
• Comments | “They are still doing real well with (bream),” said Jamie Dunn of Fisherman’s Headquarters in Conway. Dunn noted bream are entering their summertime mode and are being caught in 1.5 to 3 feet of water, hitting crickets plus worms. Top areas are the Waccamaw, including the Bucksport and Ricefields area. As noted above, the Pee Dee remains high and muddy with the water in the woods. “The Pee Dee is still up but the Waccamaw and the Ricefields area are making good tides,” said Dunn. Dunn noted bass action is better, especially early and late, with fish hitting top-water baits and plastic worms on Carolina rigs. Dunn also said catfish action has slowed down a bit, but he expects it to pick up soon, particularly at night.