Look For: Flounder, spotted seatrout, red drum, black drum, sheepshead, bluefish, Spanish mackerel.
Comments: Flounder are the best bet in local estuaries such as Pawleys Inlet, Murrells Inlet, Cherry Grove Inlet and Tubbs Inlet. Mud minnows are the bait of choice, trolling, casting or drifting. Carolina rigs will work, but try tipping jig heads with mud minnows also. Spotted seatrout, red drum and black drum are also available. Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service in Georgetown noted a water temperature of 66 degrees and muddy conditions in Winyah Bay and the Intracoastal Waterway near South Island Ferry on a Thursday trip. McDonald’s crew caught 11 trout with 10 above the 14-inch minimum size limit on the trip. One of the trout was a five-pounder and all were caught on artificials, either jerk baits or plastic grubs. Look for a variety of species at area jetties including trout, red drum, black drum, flounder, sheepshead, bluefish and Spanish mackerel.
Look For: Spanish mackerel, bluefish, whiting, croaker, pompano, flounder, weakfish.
Comments: The theme for the week is the return of the mackerel. The ocean has finally been calm enough for boats to get out and find that Spanish mackerel have returned for the spring, summer and fall in waters off the Grand Strand. Spanish can be found around artificial reefs such as Paradise Reef out of Murrells Inlet and the Jim Caudle Reef and Ron McManus Reef off Little River. Capt. Jeff Maples of Reel Salty Fishing Charters had a productive trip on Thursday, catching six Spanish, numerous bluefish and also weakfish at Paradise Reef, located three miles east of the Murrells Inlet jetties. Maples trolled straw rigs on a No. 1 planer over structure at the reef to catch the Spanish, which were in the 13-15 inch range. After the Spanish bite stopped at precisely 10 a.m., Maples anchored on structure to catch the blues on jigfish lures, and caught the weakfish on a mud minnow. “It's definitely turning on,” Maples said of the fishing action. Whiting and bluefish are the top catch on Grand Strand piers, with Spanish showing up hit and miss. Cherry Grove Pier reports good catches of blues and whiting in the last few days. Bluefish are hitting Gotchas and gold-hook rigs while cut shrimp fished on the bottom is producing the whiting and possibly pompano. The surface ocean water temperature Thursday at 6 p.m. at Cherry Grove Pier was 67 degrees.
Look For: Dolphin, blackfin tuna, wahoo, black sea bass, vermilion snapper, triggerfish, red porgy, grunts, cobia, amberjack.
Comments: Capt. Brant McMullan of Ocean Isle Fishing Center reports offshore trolling action is heating up with dolphin, wahoo and blackfin tuna all available and many boats catching all three species on trips to the edge and Gulf Stream vicinity. A typical catch was brought in by Nauti By Nature, which landed four dolphin, three wahoo and two blackfin on a Tuesday trip to the McMarle’n Ledge located on the north end of the Winyah Scarp. The fish are there, but windy conditions have not afforded many opportunities for boats to make the roughly 50-mile run. Same for bottom fishing, as plenty of black sea bass, vermilion snapper, triggerfish, red porgy and grunts are available along with amberjack. McMullan says to look for cobia to show up on bottom spots in 80-plus feet of water, before easing closer to the beach as the water temperature continues to warm. Shallow-water grouper will again be available for harvest in a little over a week, on May 1. Red snapper cannot be harvested and must be released in the South Atlantic Region.
Look For: Bream, crappie, bass, catfish.
Comments: “It’s bream, bream, bream, everybody’s just killing the bream,” said Rick Woodward of Rick’s Bait and Tackle in Conway. “The river’s getting right and the water’s getting low enough to fish the edge.” Aside from floating crickets, Woodward also recommends going the top-water route to catch bream. “The caterpillars are now hitting the water and it’s a good time to take the popping bug out and go for the bigger bream,” said Woodward. Crappie and bass are hitting shiners and catfish will take a variety of cut or live bait.