Look For: Flounder, spotted seatrout, red drum, black drum, sheepshead, bluefish.
Comments: Four species are the best to target in local estuaries, including flounder, black drum, spotted seatrout and red drum. Capt. Patrick Kelly of Captain Smiley Charters in North Myrtle Beach had a successful trip on Thursday in Tubbs Inlet, catching six flounder, four black drum and four flounder along with a few whiting. Kelly was able to catch smallish but effective live shrimp in his cast net and caught the black drum, trout and whiting on them. Mud minnows produced the flounder. “All-in-all the fishing has been so-so this week, but the water cleared up and fishing improved (Thursday),” said Kelly. Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service produced three trout and three flounder on a Tuesday trip, fishing in 72-degree water in Winyah Bay and North Inlet. McDonald caught all the fish on a rising tide during a short trip. Still, McDonald isn’t particularly pleased with the fishing of late. “Nobody I’ve talked to has caught fish like they should be catching them,” said McDonald.
Look For: Spanish mackerel, king mackerel, cobia, bluefish, whiting, croaker, pompano, flounder, weakfish, spadefish.
Comments: Capt. Jeff Maples of Reel Salty Charters and crew were fishing for black sea bass on a live bottom area 20 miles off Murrells Inlet on Wednesday when exactly what he was looking for swam right up to the boat. A trio of cobia made a showing and Maples got one of the fish to eat an artificial shrimp. “I knew if we got something going with the black sea bass, they’d show up,” said Maples. “Three showed up, I got one on and I had a good one on so I just worried about the one we had hooked up. As soon as I got that one gaffed, the other two ran.” The cobia weighed in at 47.3 pounds at Marlin Quay Marina. Maples also has been catching king mackerel this week in the Belky Bear area along with black sea bass and flounder on the bottom. Spadefish are hanging out on artificial reefs, but jelly balls have been hard to find. The best bet near the beach and on Grand Strand piers is Spanish mackerel, which are ready to hit trolled Clark or Drone spoons, or mackerel trees. Slow trolling live menhaden or mullet on near-shore reefs will produce bigger Spanish or king mackerel. Spanish, whiting and blues are the best bet on Grand Strand piers with king mackerel, flounder, black drum, croaker and pompano also available. The ocean water temperature was 75.2 degrees Thursday at 5 p.m. at Springmaid Pier.
Look For: Dolphin, blackfin tuna, wahoo, grouper, black sea bass, vermilion snapper, triggerfish, red porgy, grunts, cobia, amberjack.
Comments: Dolphin catches continue to be excellent in areas such as Winyah Scarp, Georgetown Hole and Black Jack Hole for trolling boats. Many trips are also producing a few blackfin tuna and wahoo to account for a Meatfish Slam. Blue marlin, white marlin and sailfish are available and are being targeted by boats fishing in the 49th annual Georgetown Blue Marlin Tournament out of Georgetown Landing Marina, which continues through Saturday. Bottom fishing is very good for gag grouper, red grouper, scamp, black sea bass, vermilion snapper, triggerfish, red porgy and grunts, along with amberjack and cobia. Red snapper cannot be harvested and must be released in the South Atlantic Region.
Look For: Bream, catfish, crappie, bass.
Comments: “Everybody’s waiting on the Little Pee Dee to get right,” said Rick Woodward of Rick’s Bait and Tackle. “It hasn’t done it so far.” Many local anglers prefer to target bream and catfish on the Little Pee Dee, but the river can be slow to drop down to prime fishing levels. The Little Pee Dee was at 6.9 feet at Galivants Ferry at 5 p.m. Thursday, still a little high. “Most of your old-timers say it needs to be 5.5 to 6.5 feet,” said Woodward. Look for bream in 2-4 feet of water along the banks, hitting crickets or worms on all area rivers. Catches of crappie continue to come in despite summer approaching. “Surprisingly, they keep catching the crappie,” said Woodward. “I haven’t seen a lot of catfish this week.”