▪ Look For | Flounder, red drum, spotted seatrout, black drum, sheepshead.
▪ Comments | By all accounts it’s been a sweltering week along the Grand Strand, which Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service confirmed Wednesday. McDonald took a crew fishing in North Inlet, where he found a water temperature of 85 degrees, four days before summer officially arrives. “It was 85 degrees at high tide at the mouth of North Inlet, and it was the same in the bay (Winyah Bay),” said McDonald. “I think we’re in for some hot water. We’re going to be seeing 90-degree water in July, not August.” Still, McDonald put his party on some quality fish including a Carolina slam of a five-pound spotted seatrout, 22-inch red drum and a 17-inch flounder. The fish were caught on live menhaden, plus a few more trout were landed on plastic grubs (Cal Bait). McDonald notes menhaden are plentiful in the estuaries and along the beach. “They are thick on the beach, thick in the inlet,” said McDonald. “Anywhere you go you don’t have to throw the net but a couple times and you’ve got all the menhaden you could possibly use in a week.” McDonald added, “there are a lot of sharks out there.”
▪ Look For | Spanish mackerel, king mackerel, cobia, tarpon, ladyfish, bluefish, whiting, pompano, flounder, spadefish, black sea bass, weakfish, sheepshead.
▪ Comments | As McDonald mentioned, schools of menhaden are plentiful along the beach, and the predators are right there with them. A tarpon was brought to the pilings of Springmaid Pier on Monday and released. Scott Witten of Ambush Sport Fishing produced a big 63.2-pound cobia on Tuesday. Other species tailing the menhaden include Spanish mackerel and king mackerel. Yes, sharks and even red drum, can be found under the schools of menhaden. Catches of Spanish and kings top the action in the inshore waters with top areas around inlet passes and near-shore artificial reefs. Spadefish remain plentiful around the reefs. Grand Strand piers are producing plenty of Spanish and the occasional king, although tarpon releases are rare. The piers are also producing scattered catches of whiting, croaker, pompano, spadefish and flounder. Carson Morgan of Camden had a good outing while surf fishing at Garden City Beach on Wednesday, catching a sizable ladyfish plus whiting, croaker and spots on sand fleas and shrimp. The surface ocean water temperature was balmy, for mid-June, at 82.75 degrees Thursday at 5:45 p.m. at Apache Pier in Myrtle Beach.
▪ Look For | Dolphin, blackfin tuna, wahoo, grouper, black sea bass, vermilion snapper, triggerfish, amberjack.
▪ Comments | The Jolly Mon King Classic, a Southern Kingfish Association sanctioned event, is set for this weekend out of Ocean Isle Fishing Center. Crews can fish either Saturday or Sunday in the event. Call 910-575-3474 for more information. The preliminary Jolly Mon VIP was held Wednesday and proved there are some quality kings around. Hot Rod, with Brett and Alan Barnes aboard, won the event, landing kings weighing 22 and 29 pounds for a 51-pound aggregate. The Barnes took home the $10,000 first-place prize. The fishing in the VIP took place at the 390/390 and the 65-foot hole. Near the break, action has slowed for trolling boats, with scattered catches of dolphin, wahoo, blue marlin and sailfish, plus barracuda. Bottom fishing continues to be very good for grouper (especially scamp), black sea bass, vermilion snapper, triggerfish, porgy and amberjack. Red snapper are off-limits indefinitely in the South Atlantic Region and must be released.
▪ Look For | Bream, bass, catfish, crappie.
▪ Comments | “It’s been hot, so the heat has put everybody at bay for a while,” said Rick Woodward of Rick’s Bait and Tackle in Conway. “This is almost like August weather in June.” Woodward does note that anglers who are braving the heat are catching limits of bream on crickets in 2-5 feet of water. Catfish are around, hitting eels and assorted cut bait. Live bait, including goldfish, is producing flathead catfish. Woodward has weighed a few blue cats this week. Bass have gone into early-late mode, hitting top-water and buzz baits.