Look For: Flounder, red drum, black drum, spotted seatrout, bluefish, sheepshead.
Comments: Flounder are easily the best bet in inlets such as Pawleys, Murrells Inlet, Cherry Grove Inlet and Tubbs Inlet. Troll, drift or cast mud minnows or finger mullet (if available) to catch the flatfish. Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service in Georgetown had marginal success for flounder, red drum and bluefish on a Tuesday trip to North Inlet. McDonald says it’s a little early for numerous catches of flounder in North Inlet. “In the (Winyah Bay) area we generally don’t see that many flounder until May,” said McDonald. Jessica Perry of Perry’s Bait and Tackle reports good catches of flounder in Murrells Inlet despite less than favorable wind conditions. “I’ve had good reports of flounder even with the wind and everything,” said Perry.
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Look For: Spanish mackerel, bluefish, whiting, weakfish, pompano, flounder.
Comments: “Spanish are going off like absolutely nuts at the Three-Mile (Reef),” said Jessica Perry of Perry’s Bait and Tackle in Murrells Inlet. Yes, Spanish mackerel have made a big showing over the past week despite windy conditions. Near-shore reefs are also producing numerous bluefish, weakfish and black sea bass, although most black sea bass are under the 13-inch minimum size. Capt. Jay Sconyers of Aces Up Fishing caught a dozen weakfish, 30 blues and several Spanish at the Three-Mile on Monday. Perry recommends trolling green straw rigs on No. 1 planers to catch Spanish. Fishing has picked up significantly off Grand Strand piers, with bluefish and whiting the best bet. A few Spanish have been landed by pier anglers and Perry reports a 3-pound pompano was caught from the Myrtle Beach State Park Pier. A few bull red drum have been caught off the piers and anglers should note these fish over the 15- to 23-inch slot limit must be carefully released. The ocean water temperature at Springmaid Pier has cooled down a bit over the last week, to a reading of 63.5 degrees Thursday at 2 p.m.
Look For: Dolphin, blackfin tuna, wahoo, black sea bass, vermilion snapper, red porgy, triggerfish, grunts, amberjack.
Comments: The wind has been relentless of late, leaving local fishermen very frustrated. The few boats that have ventured offshore in the last week found that dolphin have arrived for the season and catching a trolling Carolina Slam of dolphin, wahoo and blackfin tuna is the rule. Capt. Ed Keelin of Earl E Bird headed out in dicey seas from Georgetown Monday and caught 28 blackfin tuna, seven dolphin and two wahoo. Look for trolling action to be superb over the next few weeks. Capt. Eric Heiden of Heidenseek Charters, fishing aboard his 30-foot Parker set up specifically for bottom fishing, has had great success on recent trips out of Georgetown Landing Marina. On four of five trips, Heiden has limited out on his main target species of black sea bass, vermilion snapper and red porgy. Heiden notes the black sea bass have been in the 3-pound range, the red porgy (silver snapper) in the 18-inch range and the vermilion (beeliners) in the 14-inch range. In addition, each trip has produced a mix of sizable triggerfish, grunts and jolthead porgy. Heiden has found the black sea bass in 85 feet of water and some of the other species in 110-115 feet. For a bait tip, Heiden suggests using small, whole, fresh squid. The annual Shallow-Water Grouper Spawning Season Closure is in effect and lasts about two more weeks, through April 30. Red snapper must be released indefinitely in the South Atlantic Region.
Look For: Bream, catfish, crappie, bass.
Comments: As the water continues to warm, bream are moving closer to their summer pattern. “They’re fishing for bream with the throw lines, you don’t have to lead line so much,”' said Rick Woodward of Rick’s Bait and Tackle. “You can catch them on the edge of the river now and crickets have took off (to use for bait).” The bream are big, too, Woodward said. “Probably because of the high water we went through for so long, those flatfish (bream), they are fat.” Woodward also says catfish catches are very good on the rivers, with a 43-pound blue catfish caught this week. Cut eel is a prime bait for catfish.