Saltwater Fishing Trends - May 10, 2018

Fishing Off shore

Popular Marine Species

South Carolina marine recreational fishing regulations

Get specific tide information for various SC stations from NOAA

Information on fishing trends provided courtesy of, 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.


SCDNR urging catch and release to help spotted seatrout recover

Learn more about catch and release (PDF).

Update to Flounder Regulations
(effective July 1, 2017)

On July 1, 2017, legislation recently passed by the South Carolina General Assembly will increase the size limit and lower the bag and boat limits for southern, summer, and Gulf flounder in state waters.

Minimum Legal Size

  • 15 inches (total length)

Bag Limit

  • 10 per person, per day, and no more than 20 per boat per day.

Charleston (Updated May 10)

Inshore water temperatures in the Charleston area in the lower 70s

Even though it’s been a cool spring, David Fladd with Eye Strike Fishing reports that we are pretty much starting to get into a summer pattern with redfish. For the next few months fish will be caught around docks with deeper water and some shade, and if you spend some time prospecting with a jighead and a mud minnow, pitching it under docks and waiting two or three minutes, you can develop a line-up of spots for each stage of the tide. It’s a good bet that if redfish are at one place at a certain stage of the tide in the summer they will be there at the same stage the next day.

Right now water temperatures are in the ideal 70- to 75-degree range for reds where a fish at the lower end of the slot will fight like a 26-incher.

The topwater bite for trout is improving, but trout fishing remains spotty. Captain Rob Bennett of Lowcountry Inshore Charters (843-367-3777) reports that he has caught very few trout in 2018.

David says that in places like the Wando, Cooper and Ashley that have shipping channels and good deep-water refuge trout continue to be caught; in shallower areas like Isle of Palms or Edisto catches are minimal. This may lead to a lot of fishing pressure in the areas that do have them.

May is the primary spawning month for trout, and so it’s important not only to release fish but to handle them as little as possible with a rubberized net.

Fishermen are reminded that, as a precautionary measure, the SCDNR is strongly encouraging anglers to practice catch and release of all spotted seatrout through the end of September. (Read the full news release).

While they have not arrived yet, everyone is highly anticipating the arrival of jack crevalle that run up to 40 pounds in the Charleston Harbor again this summer. It is the fight of your life if you hook one.

Folly Beach Pier (843-762-9516) reports that temperatures have finally hit 70 and they are seeing a bunch of whiting, bluefish and sheepshead caught.

Nearshore, Captain Rob reports that the bite has been outstanding at the nearshore artificial reefs. Menhaden have showed up and they are catching the fire of out of bluefish, Spanish mackerel and weakfish. Trolling Clarks Spoons on a #1 planer as well as pulling deep running plugs has been working well. The bite at the reefs is as good as Rob has ever seen it.

From 180 feet out to 40 miles plus the dolphin bite has been very strong.

North Grand Strand (Updated May 10)

Inshore water temperatures on the north end of the Grand Strand range from about 69-72 degrees, and there is still excellent visibility on the incoming tide.

May is here on the upper end of the Grand Strand, and as is customary Captain Patrick “Smiley” Kelly (843-361-7445) reports that fishing is taking off. Flounder have arrived, and although there are a lot of smaller fish plenty of big females are around, too. Captain Smiley reports that a key to catching the better fish has been using really big baits, and he is fishing the biggest mud minnows he can catch or 6-inch Gulp swimming minnows, both on ¼ ounce jigheads. Flounder can be found in deeper holes on lower stages of the tide, particularly in 4-10 feet of water. A sandy bottom helps and Tubbs Inlet and Hogg Inlet have been productive.

Black drum fishing has been really good, and they are killing both soft shell or hard shell crabs. Fishing around oyster bars or docks in 4-10 feet of water on the low to rising tide has been the best pattern.

Action for redfish has also been very strong, and nice 15- to 18-inch fish have been everywhere. They are catching them around oyster beds on the edges of grass, very shallow, and around drop-offs. Reds are taking live mud minnows or Gulp! baits fished on a ¼ ounce jighead, and overall the rising tide has been most productive.

Mixed in with the redfish have been nice 15- to 23-inch bluefish in the 2- to 4-pound range, and these are eating the same baits as the reds. Sometimes a bait will get snapped in half by a blue and then a redfish will end up eating it. When there are a lot of blues in an area you can try throwing casting jigs in there, and they are also biting topwater plugs very well.

Cherry Grove Pier (843-249-1625) reports that the last three days they have had a run of king mackerel, with seven fish landed and several more getting off. Recently they have also had some very large 10-pound bluefish, and some nice Spanish mackerel up to 16-18 inches.

Remember that SCDNR is asking anglers to practice catch and release of all spotted seatrout through the end of September. (Read the full news release).

Southern Grand Strand (Updated May 10)

Inshore water temperatures are around 71 or 72 degrees on the lower Grand Strand, although temperatures as warm as the upper 70s have been spotted on low tide in the afternoon.

It’s an excellent inshore bite right now in the Murrells Inlet area, and Captain J of Fishful Thinking Guide Service (843-902-0356) reports that they are catching a ton of flounder. With a 15-inch minimum size most of them are undersized, but there are also plenty of keepers mixed in. The best pattern has been fishing mud minnows or artificial grubs around areas with a dark bottom that heats up quickly on low tide, as the warmest areas have been producing better.

The action for redfish and black drum has also been strong in the shallows in 3-5 feet of water. The low, outgoing tide has been the best, but there have also been some reds caught on the incoming. Cut shrimp have been working best for black drum and mud minnows for reds.

They have not caught any trout. Fishermen are reminded that, as a precautionary measure, the SCDNR is strongly encouraging anglers to practice catch and release of all spotted seatrout through the end of September. (Read the full news release).

On the nearshore reefs Captain J reports that they have been killing the flounder and Spanish mackerel, and they have been catching Spanish on planer boards and “tree rigs” with Clarks Spoons and multiple hooks often three or four at a time. They have also seen a few cobia, and king mackerel are being caught out in 40-60 feet trolling cigar minnows.

Offshore, Georgetown Landing Marina (843-546-1776) reports that plenty of dolphin, blackfin tuna, wahoo and even some blue marlin are around.

Beaufort (Updated April 27)

Inshore water temperatures in the Beaufort area are cooler than expected in late April, between 65 and 67 degrees, but expected to climb quickly. Clarity is moderate, and worse when it’s windy.

The fishing continues to progress nicely in the Beaufort area, and Captain Tuck Scott of Bay Street Outfitters (843-524-5250) reports that overall the big schools of redfish have split up into smaller groups. Today on the water they saw a good number of tailing fish in the grass. When you can fish for tailing fish the best bet on spinning tackle is a Gulp! peeler crab, and on the fly a crab pattern in size 2 or 4 is a good option.

On mid-tides then fishing around shell bars and the outside of small creek mouths is a good pattern. On the dropping tide fish shell points until the water is out of the grass. Bait will work, as will shallow suspended twitch baits. On low tide the best option is to get into skinny water on the mud flats and fish the twitch bait.

Tuck continues to hear of a few big trout being caught in deeper creeks, and slow trolling with grubs on a ¼ ounce jighead is probably the best way to target them. Fishermen are reminded that, as a precautionary measure, the SCDNR is asking anglers to practice catch and release of all spotted seatrout through the end of September. (Read the full news release).

Any day now some early cobia are expected to show up.

Edisto Island (Updated May 10)

Inshore water temperatures in the main rivers around Edisto Island are around 72 degrees.

There’s not a lot of change with the Edisto Island redfish, and Captain Ron Davis Jr. (843-513-0143) reports that the bite is poor on the flats, which is typical for May, but pretty good in the creeks. Fish cut shrimp or mullet on the bottom at low tide around deep bends in the creeks with structure or docks.

Sheepshead fishing has been pretty good, with plenty of numbers caught but only about one out of five fish keeper-sized. Fish docks with 8-12 feet of water at low tide. Now that lots of bait stealers such as croaker and silver perch have arrived you need to fish hard baits like fiddler crabs or barnacles.

Some good numbers of flounder are starting to show up, although most of them are smaller 12- to 14-inch fish. The bigger females always arrive a bit later. The best place to target the flounder right now is in inlets close to the ocean with a good hard bottom that is a mix of mud and sand. Jeremy Inlet, Townsend Inlet, Frampton Inlet and Fish Creek are all good places to look. The best hook-up ratio comes on a jighead with a mud minnow.

The trout spawn is just getting underway, and a few fish have been caught around Edisto as they move to their main water spawning places. Fishermen are reminded that, as a precautionary measure, the SCDNR is strongly encouraging anglers to practice catch and release of all spotted seatrout through the end of September. (Read the full news release).

Offshore the dolphin are here from the ledge in 180 feet out as far as you want to go. Tuna and wahoo are also around.