Saltwater Fishing Trends
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North Grand Strand
Inshore: Captain Patrick "Smiley" Kelly (843-361-7445) reports that October is often the best month of the year on the north end. Trout, redfish, flounder and black drum should all be gorging on bait before it gets harder to locate later in the season. During October the trout will get bigger and live shrimp will work inshore and at the jetties until later in the month. When they get harder to locate anglers can switch over to DOA shrimp and Gulp! baits. Redfish will continue to eat mullet and shrimp around oyster beds or grass lines, and flounder will be caught on mullet in the same areas as the redfish and trout. Bigger flounder will almost certainly be caught this month. Black drum will eat shrimp and crabs at the jetties as well as at random spots. Through the middle of the month bull red drum should remain in the inlet and off the beaches.
Cherry Grove Pier: (843-249-1625) reports that they expect October fishing to continue to be excellent, and they are hopeful for good king mackerel catches. Fishing for red drum, trout, black drum, whiting, and croaker should also be strong.
Southern Grand Strand
Inshore: Captain J. Baisch of Baisch Boys Bait and Tackle (843-651-1915) reports that October offers peak fishing on the south end of the Grand Strand. Catches of flounder, redfish and trout were already beginning to pick up by the end of September, and as it cools off and fish realize that shrimp and mullet will only be available a little longer they should gorge. Live shrimp under a popping cork will work well for most species including black drum in areas with current, and finger mullet on a Carolina rig will catch flounder, redfish, and trout.
Surf and pier: Captain J reports that in addition to the normal species like whiting, croaker, bluefish and sharks, in October the bull reds should show up off the area beaches and provide some of the most exciting action of the year. Spanish and king mackerel should be around this month, and there should also be some black drum in the surf.
Inshore: Captain Fred Rourk (843-241-4767) reports that this month the usual suspects of redfish, trout and flounder will all be caught around Georgetown. Things have been so unsettled in May that June should bring an improvement in the fishing, but if it gets too hot action will slow down again. Mullet and menhaden are already prolific and will catch all three species, although the trout specialists will likely focus on fishing artificial lures early and late this month. There should also be good action for tailing redfish on flood tides.
Surf and nearshore: Sharks will become prolific this month, and Spanish and king mackerel will also arrive off the beaches. Cobia should also be caught, and when temperatures get very warm tarpon should arrive.
Inshore: Captain Rob Bennett (843-367-3777) and Redfin Charters (843-277-5255) report that October fishing should be the best of the whole year. The population of slot and over-slot redfish is very strong right now, and around the tide cycle from low tide to the flood fish should be eating mullet, shrimp and more. Trout will be caught on shrimp and mullet around moving water all month, and black drum can be caught around structure on shrimp. As temperatures drop sheepshead catches should get more consistent on fiddler crabs around a variety of inshore structure.
Inshore: Captain Ron Davis Jr. (843-513-0143) reports that October is an excellent month for inshore fishing in the Edisto area for a range of species. When you locate redfish on the creeks or flats they will eat shrimp or mullet, and this month should offer the best tailing action of the year. Trout catches should continue to be excellent numbers-wise, and more and more fish should be above 14 inches. As the month progresses fish will move from the main rivers to creeks and live shrimp will remain effective. Flounder catches should continue to be above-average for the area, and as water temperatures enter the mid-70s the inshore sheepshead bite will be the best of the year on fiddler crabs. Black drum will be mixed in with reds on the flats and also take up residence around structure.
Surf: Whiting, croaker and bluefish should all be feeding in the surf. Tarpon will leave once water temperatures drop a few degrees.
Nearshort/offshore: Bull red drum should be found in about 15-22 feet of water, and summer trout will be wide open at the mouths of creeks and the nearshore reefs and rocks once water temperatures drop into the low 70s. Spanish mackerel will continue to bust on the surface until water temperatures fall into the mid-60s. The best bottom fishing will be in 70-90 feet of water, and offshore wahoo, tuna and dolphin will all feed high in the water column when water temperatures hit around 75 degrees.
Inshore: Captain Tuck Scott with Bay Street Outfitters (843-524-5250) reports that in October fish will eat more and more aggressively, in large part to store up reserves since they are about to lose their bait supply. Shrimp and baitfish will eventually leave and crabs will go into hibernation. Redfish should bite better and better on low tide, and on very high tides they will continue to tail throughout October. Mud minnows, finger mullet, cut mullet and shrimp are all good bait choices. Trout will be caught around the mouths of creeks in moving water, and shrimp under a popping cork should be hard to beat. Flounder fishing should stay strong around structure on mud minnows and finger mullet, and there should also be some tripletail around well into the month. Black drum will also feed up more and more this month on shrimp and crabs.
Inshore: Captain Dan "Fishin' Coach" Utley (843-368-2126) and Captain Kai Williams (843-816-7475) report that October is typically a "golden" month in the Hilton Head area. In addition to young-of-the-year redfish the bigger slot-sized reds will be moving around the edges of the marsh where they can be caught on shrimp and mullet. As it gets cooler and the water clears the trout bite should really turn on around moving water along the grass lines. Live shrimp are the bait of choice for trout. This is also the best month for bull reds inshore at the same sandbars where cobia are caught in the spring or around structure in 25-32 feet. For the first part of the month tarpon will also still be around, but once water temperatures drop they will migrate south.