North Myrtle Beach/Little River – September 12, 2019
Patrick, of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters, reports that inshore surface water temperatures in the morning on the north end of the Grand Strand are around 84-85 degrees. There are massive schools of finger mullet in the Intracoastal Waterway and its tributaries, and bait-sized shrimp are also abundant.
Even though the harvest of flounder is closed in North Carolina, the flounder fishing has actually been really good along the north end of the Grand Strand. A couple of miles offshore at the Caudle Reef, anglers have been catching them well, but inshore along the ICW has also been producing plenty of fish over 15”. The key to catching fish seems to be fishing in places where there is an abundance of mullet and current, be that on the flats, around grass, etc. Tide does not seem to make a huge difference, as long as mullet and current are present. Both finger mullet and Gulp baits are working well.
Fishing for red drum has also been really good. Out at the jetties, as well as in the backwaters, they are catching plenty of redfish on the right tides. On lower stages of the tide, the fish can be seen chasing mullet and gorging on them. Big reds in the 30+” range are also starting to show up at the jetties, and they will take cut bait or live mullet.
There has been some good trout fishing at the jetties, and the best time to catch the specks has been on the falling tide. Live shrimp fished on a split shot rig or under a floating cork are the best tactics.
Some good spanish mackerel are also being caught out at the jetties by free-lining live mullet or throwing topwater plugs like MirrOlures or Zara Spooks.
In the Fort Randall area, black drum fishing has been good with shrimp on the bottom on a Carolina rig in 15-25’ of water. Moving tides have been best.
Bob, of Strange Magic Fishing Charters, reports that the bite is starting to pick up with the days getting progressively shorter. The good days are becoming more consistent, with the not so good days dwindling. All the inshore species are firing up, including black drum hitting on live and fresh shrimp. Look for shelly areas and deeper creek holes, especially ones with marsh drains nearby.
Docks and other such areas will hold both black and red drum. Remember that a “machine gun” type of bite is probably a trash fish, with a longer, more methodical bite a drum. Try to avoid the pinfish/croaker crew by moving your bait a few reel turns when you feel the wrong type of bite.
Trout are hitting topwaters (early in the morning), as well as live minnows and Gulp baits pinned to jig heads. The key to finding the trout is to keep on the move, and when you do find a productive place, move on when the bite cools. The fish haven’t stopped biting—they’ve just moved.
Flounder are being caught with live minnows and Gulp soft plastics, with white, chartreuse, and pink all working. Try jigging around the same areas where you trout fish.
Larry, of Voyager Fishing Charters, reports that in the calm before the storm, half-day trips have been providing anglers with a great opportunity to get in on the hot spanish mackerel bite right outside the inlet. There are also plenty of sharks in the same nearshore waters, which is good news for some and bad news for others.
Boats going 25 miles out are finding a plethora of big king mackerel and plenty of bonita. Pulling spoons and big ballyhoo is putting fish in the box.
The Gulf Stream is holding plenty of fish, and an overnight trip to the 50 mile range provided fantastic bottom fishing action. Beeliners, triggerfish, big porgies, amberjacks, and sizeable grouper were all coming over the rails, with squid and cigar minnows getting the most attention from the bottom dwellers.
Dylan, of Cherry Grove Pier, reports that spanish, bluefish, whiting, and croaker (all good sizes) are being caught. Spot are starting to show up, and at least one 30” red drum has been landed as well. The spanish are being caught on seven-hook jigs, while the bottom fish have been falling for standard bottom rigs with shrimp.