Look For: Flounder, spotted seatrout, red drum, black drum, sheepshead, bluefish.
Comments: All three species that constitute an inshore Carolina Slam — flounder, red drum and spotted seatrout — are available in local estuaries but flounder are the best bet in most areas. Look for flounder in areas such as Pawleys Inlet, Murrells Inlet, Cherry Grove Inlet and Tubbs Inlet. The top bait is mud minnows which can be used to catch flounder by trolling, casting or drifting. Carolina rigs are the standard rig but try tipping jig heads with mud minnows. Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service in Georgetown had success with red drum on a Tuesday trip in Winyah Bay, with the fish caught on plastic grubs. McDonald said two fish were within South Carolina’s slot limit of 15 to 23 inches but were released. McDonald noted a water temperature in the bay of 75 degrees on Tuesday but it had dropped to 73 on Wednesday.
Look For: Spanish mackerel, king mackerel, bluefish, whiting, croaker, pompano, flounder, weakfish.
Comments: Spencer Reavis of Salisbury, N.C., opened May with a bang, catching the first king mackerel landed off a Grand Strand pier this spring on Sunday, May 1. Fishing on the Cherry Grove Pier, Reavis used a bluefish to land the 25-pound, 4-ounce kingfish. That bodes well for the Spring Pier King Mackerel Tournament, which will be held next weekend, May 14-15, on various piers along the Grand Strand. Otherwise, fishing is very good on the piers. “We’ve had some activity,” said Steve Gann of the Cherry Grove Pier. “We’ve started to see our pompano show up and we’ve had some good runs of Spanish and blues.” Gann also noted good catches of whiting and black drum. The crew of Pain Killer out of Murrells Inlet, including Dr. Jason Rosenberg and Capt. Jay Sconyers, came back with welcome news on their regular Wednesday trip. The crew landed five king mackerel in the 10- to 15-pound range and a 21.9-pound cobia, proving those two species are here for the summer. On the near-shore artificial reefs look for Spanish, kings, cobia, bluefish, weakfish and spadefish. The ocean water temperature was 69.6 degrees Thursday at 8:30 a.m. at Springmaid Pier.
Look For: Dolphin, blackfin tuna, wahoo, grouper, black sea bass, vermilion snapper, triggerfish, red porgy, grunts, cobia, amberjack.
Comments: Dave Christian, dockmaster at Marlin Quay Marina in Murrells Inlet, reports trolling action is excellent in the vicinity of the break and the Gulf Stream. Christian notes earlier this week, Carolina Fly brought in a meatfish slam of 14 dolphin, one blackfin and one wahoo, which has been a typical good catch of late. “The dolphin are in the 500- to 1000-foot depth range, the tuna are on the ledge in 200 feet and the wahoo are at the (Winyah) Scarp,” said Christian. The annual shallow-water grouper closure ended on May 1 meaning for the rest of 2016 anglers can harvest grouper species including gag, black grouper, red grouper, scamp, red hind, rock hind, coney, graysby, yellowfin grouper and yellowmouth grouper. Other reef species available include black sea bass, vermilion snapper, triggerfish, red porgy and grunts, along with amberjack. Red snapper cannot be harvested and must be released in the South Atlantic Region.
Look For: Bream, crappie, bass, catfish.
Comments: Bream catches continue to be very good on area rivers, with fish getting settled into their summertime mode. Anglers are having success floating crickets or worms in 2-4 feet of water along the banks. With hatches of caterpillars and mayflies in the mix, popping bugs will work on topwater for bream, also. Catches of catfish have been very good as Rick’s Bait and Tackle reports flatheads in the 35- to 50-pound range have been caught from the Little Pee Dee. The Waccamaw at Conway has risen a bit over the past week to 8.27 feet Thursday at 8 a.m.