Grand Strand Fishing Report: King and Spanish mackerel still active offshore

Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service in Georgetown shows off a red drum caught in the Winyah Bay area this week.
Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service in Georgetown shows off a red drum caught in the Winyah Bay area this week. Photo courtesy Gul-R-Boy Guide Service


Look For: Flounder, red drum, black drum, spotted seatrout, sheepshead, bluefish.

Comments: Hot weather means hot water, and the water temperature has already zoomed into the lower 80s in local estuaries before the arrival of June. It’s been a successful week for Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service in the Winyah Bay vicinity, who noted a water temperature of 82 degrees in the bay and North Inlet on Thursday. McDonald produced six red drum, 10 black drum and flounder on a Tuesday trip, then six reds and four trout on Wednesday. McDonald used cut menhaden for the reds, soft plastics for the trout and cut shrimp for the black drum. On the north end, Capt. Patrick Kelly of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters also reports a water temperature in the lower 80s in the Little River vicinity. “We’ve been catching reds, trout and a few flounder, but Little River just isn’t getting the push of flounder like Cherry Grove or the Shallotte River,” said Kelly. “It’s hot but it’s pretty good fishing. We’ve consistently been catching fish.” At the Little River jetties, Kelly has been catching trout and reds on live shrimp. In the creeks, Kelly’s clients have been catching reds on the edge of Spartina grass banks on cut mullet and trout on popping corks with live shrimp.


Look For: King mackerel, Spanish mackerel, cobia, bluefish, whiting, pompano, black sea bass, spadefish, weakfish, black drum, flounder.

Comments: King mackerel action continues to be very good in depths of about 50-70 feet of water, and slow-trolling cigar minnows or casting lures such as jig fish is producing fish. Of course, kings can also be found on schools of bait near the beach or in the vicinity of near-shore artificial reefs. Artificial reefs and live bottom areas within 15 miles of the beach continue to be hangouts for cobia and spadefish. Chumming will bring cobia to the boat, and spadefish can be enticed with a string of jelly balls (cannonball jellyfish). Use a live bait to catch the cobia and cut strips of jelly balls to catch the spadefish. Look for Spanish mackerel anywhere from the beach to bottom spots within 10-15 miles from the beach. Action has been decent for a variety of species from Grand Strand piers including whiting, croaker, pompano, bluefish and Spanish mackerel. Even more species are a distinct possibility from the piers including king mackerel, cobia, black drum, red drum, spadefish, flounder, and if you’re real lucky, tarpon. Michael Wallace of Cherry Grove Pier reported a water temperature, surface and bottom, of 81 degrees Thursday afternoon, and said the temperature reached as high as 84 early in the week.


Look For: Dolphin, wahoo, blackfin tuna, vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish, grunts, porgy, amberjack.

Comments: Boats fishing in the Georgetown Blue Marlin Tournament last weekend had marginal success with blue marlin, white marlin and sailfish, but had quality catches of dolphin during the prestigious event. Trolling will produce dolphin in areas on the break such as the Georgetown Hole, Winyah Scarp and Black Jack Hole, with blackfin tuna and wahoo mixed in. A little closer in, add king mackerel, barracuda and bonito to the mix. Bottom fishing is excellent for vermilion snapper (beeliner), red porgy, grey triggerfish and black sea bass along with grouper and amberjack. Red snapper are also commonly being caught but must be released in the South Atlantic Region.


Look For: Bream, catfish, bass.

Comments: The river levels are finally right, Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway is happy to say. “Every river is perfect, all the rivers are catching good, good fish,” said Stalvey. “The Little Pee Dee is perfect, the big Pee Dee, the Ricefields, and the North Santee is amazing, the Black River. Right now everything is finally on fire.” Look for bream hitting crickets on throw lines in 2-4 feet of water, along with worms and beetle spins. Catfish action is excellent with a variety of baits, especially eels and live bream. Look for catfish in deep holes or on dropoffs along the bank. “Bass fishing has been amazing, and top-water has been the top thing,” said Stalvey, who recommends throwing buzz baits, Bang-O-Lures, Devil’s Horse and poppers.

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