Look For: Flounder, spotted seatrout, red drum, black drum, sheepshead, bluefish.
Comments: Carolina Slams of the inshore variety – consisting of spotted seatrout, red drum and flounder – have been happening this week. “Not every trip, but we’ve been consistently getting slams,” said Capt. Patrick Kelly of Capt. Smiley Fishing Charters in Little River. “We’re not catching a lot of reds but we’re scrapping out one or two a trip.” Kelly has been doing most of his flounder fishing in North Carolina waters where the minimum size limit is 15 inches. “We’ve been catching a lot of small flounder – they’re either very small or 14 3/4 inches,” said Kelly. He has caught trout and flounder on Vudu shrimp, with a white Gulp Swimming Minnow on a 1/4-ounce jig head producing fish also. Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service in Georgetown had a successful trip on Sunday, producing seven trout and one red, using various plastic grubs with at least some chartreuse coloring. “The fish are there, but the water’s nasty and you’ve just got to be patient,” said McDonald, who said the water in Winyah Bay and North Inlet is close to normal in salinity levels. McDonald said plenty of bait including menhaden and finger mullet is available and observed a water temperature of 72 degrees on Wednesday.
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Look For: Spanish mackerel, king mackerel, bluefish, whiting, croaker, pompano, flounder, weakfish.
Comments: From the piers, along the beach and in the vicinity of the near-shore artificial reefs, catches of Spanish mackerel have been excellent, particularly early in the week. There have even been some limits of Spanish caught off the piers. Plenty of bluefish are also available in all areas. The reefs are producing good catches of weakfish and look for spadefish to show up at any time. Aside from Spanish and blues, Grand Strand piers are also producing very good catches of whiting with pompano also making the scene. The calendar turns to May on Sunday, meaning king mackerel closely followed by cobia will arrive soon. The ocean water temperature has zoomed up over the past week to a reading of 71.1 degrees Thursday at 4:18 p.m. at Springmaid Pier, about four degrees warmer than a week ago.
Look For: Dolphin, blackfin tuna, wahoo, grouper, black sea bass, vermilion snapper, triggerfish, red porgy, grunts, cobia, amberjack.
Comments: Don’t waste any time getting offshore on the next pretty day for trolling action that is absolutely on fire. Dolphin have shown up en masse with most boats catching a dozen or more fish per trip. Meatfish slams are common as blackfin tuna are on the scene along with wahoo. Top areas have been the Winyah Scarp and the Georgetown Hole. At midnight Saturday night, when May 1 arrives, the annual shallow-water grouper closure will end and anglers can again harvest a number of grouper species including gag, black grouper, red grouper, scamp, red hind, rock hind, coney, graysby, yellowfin grouper and yellowmouth grouper. Other reef species available include black sea bass, vermilion snapper, triggerfish, red porgy and grunts, along with amberjack. Red snapper cannot be harvested and must be released in the South Atlantic region.
Look For: Bream, crappie, bass, catfish.
Comments: With the water temperature warming up into the lower 70s, bream are bedding and fishing is excellent. Crickets are the bait of choice and should be floated in 2-4 feet of water along the bank. Caterpillars continue to fall into the water, meaning it is prime time to use popping bugs to hopefully catch bigger bream. Crappie and bass are hitting shiners and catfish will take a variety of cut or live bait. The rivers are making good tides and the water is at normal levels. The Waccamaw at Conway was at 7.61 feet Thursday at 5:15 p.m.