Saltwater Fishing Trends
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North Grand Strand
Inshore: Captain Patrick "Smiley" Kelly (843-361-7445) reports that some Aprils inshore fishing can experience a slowdown, but early signs are that the trout and redfish action should stay strong into this month. Fishing live shrimp under a cork will work for both species, and redfish (as well as black drum) will eat fresh cut shrimp around docks. This month the flounder will also return and by the end of the month there should be decent numbers of legal fish around.
Cherry Grove Pier (843-249-1625) reports that by the end of March they were already catching some keeper-sized flounder, but this month more and more flounder will arrive as well as bluefish and Spanish mackerel. Redfish and trout were scarce in March but should show up this month, and towards the end of the month sheepshead and black drum should arrive depending on weather. Whiting never leave but the bite should improve as temperatures warm and more fish move into the surf zone.
Nearshore/offshore: Captain Patrick "Smiley" Kelly (843-361-7445) reports that at least for the early part of April weakfish should still be found at the nearshore reefs, and bonito and little tunny will continue to provide action under the birds. Bluefish and Spanish mackerel should also arrive this month.
South Grand Strand
Inshore: Captain J. Baisch of Baisch Boys Bait and Tackle (843-651-1915) reports that it was such a cold winter this year that spring is coming along more slowly than in the past few years, but as we move into April fishing is starting to pick up. Small flounder were getting prolific by the end of March, but this month more and bigger fish should arrive. The redfish and trout should feed better, and some larger migratory trout should start to arrive. Both will eat shrimp as well as a range of artificial lures.
Nearshore: Captain J. reports that in April sheepshead and black drum will be returning inshore but they can still be found at the reefs, and weakfish should hang around for much of the month. Bluefish and Spanish mackerel should arrive in greater and greater numbers and they can be caught both casting and trolling.
Inshore: Redfin Charters (843-277-5255) and Captain Rob Bennett (843-367-3777) report that in April warmer temperatures should move the redfish off of their winter flats pattern, and this was already starting by the end of March. With temperatures rising and fiddler crabs coming out of hibernation tailing activity should accelerate at high tide, and fish will also start to set up around docks. Some of the best sheepshead action of the year will also take place around deeper docks if you dangle fiddler crabs, and bigger trout should continue to arrive inshore in preparation for the spawn. They will eat shrimp but also take artificials.
Nearshore: Captain Rob Bennett reports that when water temperatures hit the low 60s action at the reefs usually takes off, and by the end of March weakfish, flounder and early blues were already arriving. They should stay through April and more bluefish, Spanish mackerel and false albacore should arrive.
Offshore: Captain Rob Bennett reports that April usually marks the start of the best offshore season, and very soon the wahoo action should really pick up. Late in the month dolphin should arrive, and if we get the right currents tuna and even marlin should show up.
Inshore: Captain Ron Davis Jr. (843-513-0143) reports that in April it will be probably the worst time of the year to catch redfish on the flats, in part because they will be feeding on very small bait. The creek reds will be more reliable, and trout should also continue to be caught in the creeks. Water temperatures hit about 65 degrees then trout will start to set up for their spawn in the main rivers. This is among the best months of the year for catching big sheepshead inshore around docks, while mainly smaller black drum will be around. This month flounder will continue to trickle back inshore.
Nearshore/ offshore: Captain Ron Davis Jr. reports that at the nearshore reefs a variety of species including sheepshead, black drum, weakfish, blues and Spanish mackerel will be caught this month, while far offshore the bottom fishing will be very strong. In the first part of April wahoo will make up the main part of the offshore catch but the last few years the best dolphin bite has coincided with late April.
Inshore: Captain Tuck Scott with Bay Street Outfitters (843-524-5250) reports that in April redfish will break more and more out of their tight winter schools. Cut mullet will be a good bait for redfish at most times. Despite the cold snap to start this month tailing activity should pick up again after a good late March bite, and on high tides redfish will be looking for fiddler crabs. Trout fishing will continue to get better in April in moving water, with small live shrimp, mud minnows and grubs all working. Topwater activity for both species should also pick up this month. By the latter part of the month some cobia should be around.
Inshore: Captain Kai Williams (843-816-7475) reports that April can be a funny time for inshore fishing around Hilton Head, and typically the trout bite will improve this month while at least the shallow flats redfish that are breaking up out of the bigger winter schools often get more finicky. The creek redfish can be easier to catch. At times both species will be mixed together, but generally look for redfish to be relating to structure while trout will be along grass lines or near undercut banks. Mud minnows and shrimp will work for both species.
Nearshore: Captain Kai Williams reports that at the nearshore reefs and hard bottom areas the sheepshead and black drum fishing should stay good well into April, while migratory species like bluefish, Spanish mackerel and cobia should also arrive. Weakfish should also be around throughout the month.