Look For: Flounder, black drum, red drum, spotted seatrout, sheepshead, ladyfish, bluefish, tarpon.
Comments: Capt. Patrick Kelly of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters reports good action for a variety of species in the Little River area, even with the water temperature at a balmy mid-80s in mid-July. “It’s slowed down a tad, but it’s still excellent fishing for summertime,” said Kelly, who has been taking advantage of “tons of finger mullet” available for bait. Kelly has used live and cut mullet, and live shrimp on jig heads, plus live shrimp on popping corks to catch red drum, black drum, flounder and spotted seatrout. Kelly also has used Berkeley Gulp baits (shrimp and swimming mullet) to catch fish. After a slow start to the week, action heated up a bit on Thursday for Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service in Georgetown. McDonald produced several reds drum, a tripletail, a few flounder and a ladyfish on a trip in the Winyah Bay area. McDonald was using live and cut finger mullet and cut shrimp for bait, both floated and on a Carolina rig. Look for tarpon in Winyah Bay and in the vicinity of the bay’s jetties.
Look For: King mackerel, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, spadefish, black sea bass, flounder, weakfish, whiting, croaker, pompano, black drum.
Comments: Conditions were splendid on the inshore waters for early July before Hurricane Chris formed a week ago and messed everything up. The storm harmlessly pulled away from the East Coast in the last few days but still switched the wind to an unfavorable north-northeast direction and canceled numerous fishing trips. Conditions are returning to normal, and king mackerel remain available on bottom spots in 40-60 feet of water in areas such as Belky Bear and The Jungle. Near-shore artificial reefs are producing spadefish, flounder, black sea bass and possibly weakfish, with Spanish mackerel, king mackerel and cobia also roaming the reefs. Plenty of sharks of all sizes are also available on the reefs. Ronnie Goodwin of the Cherry Grove Pier reports a water temperature reading of 85 degrees. Goodwin says the pier has produced scattered catches of black drum, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, whiting, croaker and spadefish, plus an angler hooked a tarpon which was released. Richard O’Leary of 14th Ave. Pier reports flounder, spadefish, whiting, croaker and pompano have been caught on the pier this week.
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Look For: Dolphin, blackfin tuna, wahoo, blue marlin, sailfish, vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish, grunts, porgy, amberjack, grouper.
Comments: Inshore of the break, trolling has produced scattered catches of king mackerel, barracuda, dolphin, wahoo, blackfin tuna and even the occasional sailfish. Near the break (the Continental Shelf) and further offshore, dolphin, wahoo, blackfin tuna, sailfish and blue marlin are in the trolling mix. Yellowfin tuna have been extremely rare offshore of the South Carolina coast for the last decade and longer. But the species has been showing up more frequently for boats from North Carolina’s Outer Banks in 2018 and alas one was caught out of Murrells Inlet on a recent trip. Capt. Buddy Love and the crew aboard Underdog landed a 45-pound yellowfin tuna on a July 7 trip. Bottom fishing is producing vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish, porgy, grunts, grouper and amberjack, with best action in depths over 100 feet. Red snapper are plentiful on many spots in 80 feet of water and deeper. However, red snapper still cannot be harvested and must be released in the South Atlantic region.
Look For: Bream, bass, catfish, crappie.
Comments: Bream action is very good on the rivers, with fish hitting crickets, worms and wax worms fished in depths of 1 to 4 feet. Catfish catches continue to be very good with fish hitting bream, fresh cut eel or fresh cut shad or mullet. For bass, find shady areas on these scorching days and try plastic worms, trick worms, brush hogs, Senkos and top-water frogs.