Saltwater Fishing Trends

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North Grand Strand

Inshore: Captain Smiley Fishing Charters (843-361-7445) reports that April is sometimes an unpredictable month, but usually there is some pretty good fishing for trout and redfish as temperatures warm and fish metabolism speeds up. 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 to be caught. There were already some early keepers by the end of March.

Nearshore: Captain Smiley Fishing Charters reports that at least for the early part of April weakfish should still be found at the nearshore reefs, and bluefish and Spanish mackerel should also arrive this month.

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South Grand Strand

Inshore: Captain Tom Cushman (843-997-5850) and Captain Robert Orr (843-347-4464) report that March was a good month on the Grand Strand, and this month the fishing should continue to pick up. Small flounder and even some keepers up to 3 pounds have already started to arrive, but in April more and bigger fish should make their way inshore. The redfish and trout should feed better, and some more large migratory trout should start show up. Both will eat shrimp as well as a range of artificial lures. It can also be a good month at the Murrells Inlet jetties for a variety of species.

Nearshore: Captain Robert Orr (843-347-4464) reports that this April there should be weakfish and possibly Atlantic Bonito around to start the month, and some giant black drum should arrive during April. Spanish mackerel will also show up to stay.

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Inshore: Captain Greg Holmes (843-241-0594) reports that by the end of March redfish were already breaking out of their big winter schools and spreading out, and during April the bite should get much better. To locate the fish you need to follow the still-scarce bait, especially early in the month, and reds will be wherever there are mullet, shrimp or fiddler crabs. Then when crabs begin molting later this month that will become their main food source. Trout will also feed better this month, and even though live shrimp are hard to beat they will also take artificial baits like Vudu shrimp. Flounder will also get more prolific, and by the end of March a few had already arrived. This month keep in mind salinity levels since there has been so much freshwater inflow already this year. The jetties are always good in the spring, but they may be even better as fish search for higher salt concentrations.


Inshore: Captain Rob Bennett (843-367-3777) and Captain Addison Rupert (843-557-3476) report that in April warmer temperatures should fully move the redfish off of their winter flats pattern as they break up into smaller groups. 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 or the jetties if you dangle fiddler crabs, and bigger trout should continue to arrive inshore in preparation for the spawn. They will eat live shrimp fished along grass lines but also take artificials.

Surf and pier:Folly Beach Pier (843-762-9516) reports that April fishing is also temperature-dependent, but at some point this month the fishing should really turn on. Large bluefish and trout will arrive, and a smorgasbord of species including black drum, sheepshead, whiting, croaker and more will all be feeding. By the end of the month it’s time to start looking out for Spanish and king mackerel.

Nearshore: Captain Rob Bennett (843-367-3777) reports that when water temperatures hit the low 60s action at the reefs usually takes off, and by the end of March weakfish and bluefish were already arriving. Weakfish should stay through April and more blues, Spanish mackerel and other species such as bonito should come this month.

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. By about the middle of the month dolphin should arrive, and if we get the right currents tuna and even marlin should show up.

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Edisto Island

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 even as they begin to transition out. When 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 and offshore: Captain Ron Davis Jr. reports that at the nearshore reefs a variety of species including sheepshead, black drum, weakfish, bluefish and Spanish mackerel will be caught this month, while 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.

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Inshore: Captain Tuck Scott (843-524-5250) and Captain Patrick Kelly (843-962-3503) report that in April redfish will be almost completely broken out of their tight winter schools on the flats, although there could continue to be some docks that hold good numbers of fish. Although they can be a little finicky, cut mullet will be a good bait for reds this month as will live shrimp. As temperatures continue to rise they will feed more and more on fiddler crabs, and tailing activity should get better and better on high water. Trout fishing will also improve in April in moving water, with small live shrimp, mud minnows and grubs all working. Topwater activity for trout and reds should also start this month during low light periods. This month many of the larger sheepshead that have moved offshore will return inshore, where they can be caught around docks and other structure on fiddler crabs. By the latter part of the month some cobia should arrive and perhaps other migratory species such as bluefish, ladyfish and more.

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Hilton Head

Inshore: Captain Kai Williams (843-816-7475) and Captain Trent Malphrus (843-301-4634) report that April can be unpredictable for inshore fishing around Hilton Head, but typically the trout bite will significantly improve this month as fish move shallower and feed more. Sometimes the redfish will get finicky on the river flats, but at least in the creeks redfish usually feed better as temperatures warm. At times both trout and reds will be mixed together, but generally look for redfish to be relating to structure while trout will be along grass lines, current rips, and points. 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.

Most detailed Hilton Head Updates