Saltwater Fishing Trends - June 9, 2017
Get specific tide information for various SC stations from NOAA
Information on fishing trends provided courtesy of www.anglersheadquarters.com/, South Carolina's premier fishing report source. Customers of the Angler's Headquarters online tackle store have access to daily updates and full-length reports on its site.
Charleston (Updated June 9)
Inshore water temperatures in the Charleston area are around 80 degrees, and Captain Rob Bennett of Lowcountry Inshore Charters (843-367-3777) reports that overall fishing is pretty outstanding right now.
Probably thanks to a series of warm winters, trout fishing in the Charleston area is excellent. Rob reports that he is catching fish in about 2 to 2 ½ feet of water, and live shrimp or DOA shrimp fished under a popping cork are both working well. Early morning is the best time, but fish will bite all day. However, finding some clean water is critical. To go with a hot trout bite the inshore redfish bite is also good, particularly on mud minnows and finger mullet. They are also picking up some nice flounder as a by-catch on most trips, with the flounder taking mud minnows and live finger mullet.
Spanish mackerel fishing is also really good, and fish are thick around all of the inlet buoys and in Charleston Harbor around Castle Pinckney. You can either troll or cast for fish, and size 00 or 0 Clarks spoons and small Sidewinder spoons will both catch fish.
Just off the beaches you can catch tons of blacktip shark, generally running from about 50-150 pounds. 17-25 feet of water is the key depth, and fishing a live bait about 6 feet under a balloon is the best way to target them. Fishing in areas where shrimp boats have trawled is a good idea because it’s a “buffet” back there. At the nearshore reefs spadefish are stacked up and will eat jelly balls.
Little River/North Myrtle Beach (Updated June 6)
Inshore water temperatures in the Little River area in the mid- to upper-70s. Water conditions in areas like Tubbs Inlet are pretty clean with a typical summer, tannic color.
This has been a great early summer for inshore fishing, and Captain Patrick "Smiley" Kelly (843-361-7445) reports that the "big four" inshore species are all feeding well.
Flounder fishing is improving as temperatures warm, and the lower to rising tide has been the best. The areas around Tubbs Inlet and Sunset Beach have been most productive. Fish will certainly eat live bait, but the biggest fish (including a 3.7 pounder in a tournament last weekend) have come on white Berkley Gulp! jerk shad.
Fishing for slot-sized redfish has been pretty good, and there have been a bunch of 19-21 inch fish caught. On lower stages of the tide fish have been around docks and structure, while on higher stages fishing in and around the grass has been best. Fish will eat cut mullet, live mullet, Gulp! jerk shad, and Gulp! shrimp – new penny color has been best. It works well to present baits on a 1/4 ounce jig.
Lots of nice trout have been caught on live shrimp or Vudu Shrimp fished under a popping cork, particularly on the low to rising tide. Fishing around spartina grass or oyster banks that have drop offs in 3-6 feet of water has been the best bet. Around Tubbs Inlet, the Calabash River and Dunn Sound the fishing has been good. Although Patrick's boat hasn't done much of it, fish will chomp topwater plugs first thing.
The black drum bite is hot, with fish eating fresh cut shrimp as well as live shrimp presented on a 1/4 ounce jig and fished on the bottom. The low to rising tide has again been best, and the best fishing has been in deep holes such as those that have around 10 feet of water.
Beaufort (Updated May 19)
Inshore water temperatures in the Beaufort area are in the upper 70s, and particularly at low tide the water has generally been pretty dirty.
Redfish in the Beaufort area are starting to get into a summer pattern, and Captain Tuck Scott of Bay Street Outfitters (843-524-5250) reports that at high tide tailing activity is right where it should be for this time of year. When you have several successive days of good tailing conditions during a higher-than-normal tide cycle the best fishing will be towards the beginning of the period, as later in the cycle fish have already gorged themselves (even if the tides keep getting better). On the fly brown crab patterns have been working well, and on spinning tackle casting Gulp! crabs on weedless hooks at tailing fish is a good bet.
On the dropping and rising tide redfish can be found around shell bars where the tide is coming out (or going in), and on spinning tackle live shrimp, mud minnows or Gulp! baits on 1/4 ounce jigheads will all work. If you want to sight-fish in the same period you can look along the edges of the grass for floating fish, or search over white shell banks where it's easier to see them. For sight-casting at fish throw a DOA shrimp or shallow suspended twitch bait; since these lures are lighter they don't make as much of a splash when cast.
On low tide clarity has often been poor, but when you can find fish they are very willing to eat. The same sight-fishing baits work well.
Reports indicate that trout fishing has been very good, with the best action in 2-3 feet of water around creeks mouths and moving water. Gulp baits on a 1/4 ounce paddletail grub are hard to beat. In clear conditions electric chicken is a good color, and in dirty water brown or purples have been working well.
Edisto Island (Updated May 9)
Captain Ron Davis Jr. (843-513-0143) reports that Edisto Island-area inshore water temperatures are around 75 degrees, and clarity is fair in the North Edisto. To the south it is poor due to recent rains.
Inshore trout fishing around Edisto Island has been very good, with fish caught around main river white shell banks and points. When the clarity is good Trout Tricks have been working well, but when clarity is only marginal DOA Shrimp under a popping cork have been a better bet. Early there has been good topwater action.
The redfish bite is mixed but on the slow side, and overall fishing on the flats has been poor. However, there have been more fish caught in the creeks this spring than in the last two years. Fishing about two hours either side of low tide in the deep bends in the creeks that have some sort of structure, particularly docks and trees, has been most successful. Cut mullet or crab sections fished on a Carolina rig has been the best bait.
Sheepshead fishing has been good around docks with 6-10 feet of water at low tide. Fiddler crabs, clam parts and oysters have all been working well.
Ron also reports that flounder have been showing up, with the best catches in creeks closest to the ocean with sandy bottoms. Fishing mud minnows on a jighead or Carolina rig for about three hours either side of low tide has been the best pattern.
Cobia are around but closed to harvest this year, while tarpon have not showed up yet.
Off the beaches out to about 10 miles offshore spanish mackerel are prolific, with plenty of fish very close to shore. Look for the birds and troll or cast small spoons. At the nearshore reefs you can also jig small spoons near the bottom.
However, the hottest bite is offshore for dolphin. Last week plenty of boats had 30-40 fish days, and while numbers have been a bit more restrained this week there have been plenty of 8-15 fish days. This bite should last through about Memorial Day then start to decline.
Greater Murrells Inlet (Updated May 19)
Water temperatures in the Murrells Inlet area are in the lower to mid-70s.
Perry's Bait and Tackle in Murrells Inlet (843-651-2895) reports that the flounder fishing is really heating up along the South Grand Strand, and they are getting more fish and better keeper ratios each day. Captain J of Fishful Thinking Guide Service (843-902-0356) reports that in Murrells Inlet itself the fishing has been a little tough at times, and he suspects that recent dredging may be part of the problem. However, the surrounding areas have been hot – in particular around Pawley's Island.
Perry's also reports that the bite for slot-sized redfish has been pretty good in the creeks. Again, the Pawley's Island area has been good with the Inlet a little weaker.
Bigger black drum are starting to return to holes in the creeks, and small sheepshead are showing up at the jetties. The sheeps aren't thick at the jetties yet, however.
Overall trout fishing has been spotty, but there have been some very good reports from the Georgetown area.
In the surf whiting have slowed down after a pretty good spring run, while pompano are just starting to show up. Bluefish have been caught on the beaches and Spanish have been caught just off the beaches trolling or casting spoons.
Captain J. has probably been spending the most time trolling for king mackerel, and the bite has been really good in 40-50 feet of water. If you can find live menhaden or mullet they are a great option, but trolling dead cigar minnows on a jighead rig will also work.
Perry's adds that at Belkie Bear they've had a lot of good king reports.
Hilton Head (Updated May 9)
Hilton Head inshore water temperatures are around 78 degrees, and with windy conditions the water is pretty stirred up and dirty.
It had been a tough few weeks for inshore fishing around Hilton Head, but Captain Dan "Fishin' Coach" Utley (843-368-2126) reports that all began to change last week. The redfish bite really began to pick up, and they started catching 5-10 good fish on most trips – to go with some trout and lots of small flounder.
For reds the best time to fish has been for an hour or two when the tide is about halfway in and out, and fish have been in 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 feet of water around large expanses of oyster beds. Coach has been using the tide to float cut mullet or mud minnows under a rattling cork to the fish. Fish have also been picked up at the bottom of the tide cycle at the mouths of small creeks which drain a large area of marsh. In these shallow areas Coach is downsizing his leader to 12 inches on the same bobber rig.
While there have not been a lot of trout caught, the ones his boat has been catching have come on the deeper edges of flats with faster moving water. The same baits/rigs have been working. The flounder have come while floating mud minnows on the very shallow rigs.