Look For: Flounder, red drum, black drum, spotted seatrout, sheepshead, bluefish.
Comments: High tides have been the theme this week, and have put a damper on estuary fishing. “Fishing has been challenging - Monday and Tuesday were pretty tough,” said Capt. Patrick Kelly of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters in Little River. “The high tides made it challenging. It seems like everything was kind of scattered.” Kelly found some solid action Wednesday, though, in Tubbs Inlet. “There was some real pretty water on a incoming tide,” said Kelly. His crew caught a dozen or more flounder working Berkeley Gulp white swimming minnows on jig heads, plus red drum on mud minnows and spotted seatrout on live shrimp. “We got a Carolina Slam and some pretty good action on flounder,” said Kelly. On Tuesday, Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service fished an area south of Georgetown and produced four flounder, four trout, two reds plus blues and ladyfish, all on mud minnows. On Wednesday, McDonald went fun fishing in the Winyah Bay area and caught three flounder and five trout on soft plastic grubs. McDonald then went meat fishing for whiting and wound up keeping 20 plus three large spots, all caught on cut shrimp. McDonald noted a water temperature in the 82-83 degree range.
Look For: King mackerel, Spanish mackerel, cobia, bluefish, whiting, pompano, black sea bass, spadefish, weakfish, black drum, flounder.
Comments: Catches of king mackerel continue to be excellent, particularly on bottom spots in depths of 40-70 feet. Slow-trolling cigar minnows or live bait such as menhaden or bluefish are an excellent method to catch the kings. A decent number of cobia continue to hang around the live-bottom areas and artificial reefs. Be ready with a live bait or bucktail jig if one shows up around the boat. On the artificial reefs in the 3-12 mile range off the beach, look for black sea bass, flounder, spadefish and weakfish, with kings, cobia and Spanish all in the vicinity. Good catches of a variety of fish continue at Apache Pier. After last week’s run of king mackerel (27 in four days), the king action has slowed this week but plenty of Spanish, whiting and flounder have been caught. A few very nice fish have been landed, including a 6.5-pound flounder and a 6-pound tripletail. Other species caught this week include black drum, spadefish, sheepshead and spots. Flounder catches have been good off Cherry Grove Pier, too, with fish hitting mud minnows or finger mullet. Other species landed this week at Cherry Grove Pier include whiting, pompano, spadefish and bluefish. The water temperature was balmy at midday Wednesday, reading 87 degrees at Apache Pier and 85 at Cherry Grove.
Look For: Dolphin, wahoo, blackfin tuna, vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish, grunts, porgy, amberjack.
Comments: Head to the break on out to depths of 200-feet plus, then find the blue water, and dolphin are likely to be in the neighborhood, especially around weedlines. Blackfin tuna, wahoo, blue marlin, sailfish, and possibly yellowfin tuna are also patrolling the blue water. Closer in, trolling is producing scattered catches of dolphin, king mackerel, wahoo, blackfin tuna, barracuda, bonito and possibly sailfish. Bottom, or reef fishing, continues to be very productive for grouper, especially scamp, amberjack, vermilion snapper, black sea bass, grey triggerfish, red porgy, white grunts and red snapper. For now, red snapper must be released in the South Atlantic Region. However, the 2019 red snapper season is fast-approaching, with fishing set for the weekend of July 12-14 and again on July 19-20. The recreational bag limit will be one red snapper per person per day with no minimum size limit.
Look For: Bream, catfish, bass.
Comments: After months and months with flood stages being the norm, local rivers are getting low as the dry, hot summer continues. “The levels are very good, if not low,” said Ronald “Catfish” Stalvey of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway. “This heat is taking a toll, drying them up fast.” Bream action continues to be excellent with fish hitting shallow and deep. The standard summertime method is to float crickets in 2-4 feet of water along the banks and dropoffs, but don’t forget fishing on the bottom. “If you drop a red worm on the bottom lead-lining, you can catch some nice bream that way too,” said Stalvey. “They’re catching them both ways.” With the water temperature well into the 80s, bass are being found mainly in deep water. “They want to hunker down in that cooler water, in ditch mouths, deep curves and tree tops,” said Stalvey, who recommends using a Texas-rigged worm for bass. Early and late in the day, working buzz baits and Bang-O-Lures can also be productive for bass.