Look For: Flounder, sheepshead, spotted seatrout, red drum, black drum, bluefish.
Comments: It was the tale of two days this week for Capt. Patrick Kelly of Captain Smiley Charters in Little River. Following the passage of a nasty low pressure on Tuesday, Kelly found less-than-desirable fishing conditions on Wednesday. “It was pretty tough fishing,” said Kelly. “The water was dirty.” Kelly managed to produce some spotted seatrout on live shrimp on popping corks. A day later, on Thursday, conditions had improved and Kelly produced a dozen flounder including a few keepers, about a dozen trout and some sizable croaker. On the south end, Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service in Georgetown notes the water temperature has cooled a bit. “The water temperature is easing off – it’s not as hot as it has been,” said McDonald, who noted a reading of 83 degrees in Winyah Bay on Thursday. “There are still a lot of sharks. It’s hard to get a red or trout to the boat without a shark cutting him off.” McDonald has found a few small reds this week, but has mostly fished for croakers. McDonald has also noticed an “abundance of ladyfish right now.” Sheepshead action has been very good at area jetties. Tarpon can be found in estuaries from Winyah Bay and south.
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Look For: Spanish mackerel, bluefish, king mackerel, cobia, flounder, whiting, pompano, croaker, black drum, spadefish.
Comments: Flounder continue to be the top option on Grand Strand piers. Capt. Jeff Maples of Reel Salty Fishing Charters reports flounder have also shown up nicely on near-shore artificial reefs, when boats can get out there. Bluefish are plentiful with Spanish mackerel also available from the piers, along with scattered catches of whiting, croaker, weakfish and pompano. The reefs are also producing spadefish, weakfish and black sea bass (13-inch minimum size limit), with Spanish, kings and possibly cobia roaming the vicinity. Ocean water temperature was 85 degrees at the Springmaid Pier.
Look For: Wahoo, dolphin, blackfin tuna, sailfish, blue marlin, grouper, black sea bass, vermilion snapper, porgy, triggerfish, grunts, amberjack.
Comments: Opportunities to get offshore have been scarce lately, including a tropical-storm type day on Tuesday that really churned the ocean up. On Saturday, the Underdog out of Murrells Inlet made it offshore and produced six sizable blackfin tuna and a nice king mackerel. Wahoo are the best bet for trolling boats with dolphin and tuna also a possibility. Bottom fishing is very good for grouper, black sea bass, vermilion snapper, triggerfish, porgy, amberjack and grunts. Red snapper continue to be caught occasionally, but cannot be harvested indefinitely in the South Atlantic Region and must be released.
Look For: Bream, catfish, bass, crappie, stripers.
Comments: “Catfish and bream, that’s what they’re working on right now,” said Rick Woodward of Rick's Bait and Tackle in Conway. “If we start going through some cool spells, we’ll starting getting some crappie showing up.” For now, bream are hitting crickets, red worms and popping bugs in about 2-5 feet of water, but fish in 4-5 feet to find the larger fish. Catfish catches are good on a variety of live or cut bait. The water temperature Sunday in Bull Creek off the Waccamaw River was 87-88 degrees. Water levels remain low, especially on the Little Pee Dee River. Boaters should exercise caution.