North Myrtle Beach/Little River – May 9, 2019
Patrick, of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters, reports that as inshore water temperatures rise, fishing has been pretty consistent, even with difficult fishing conditions due to wind.
The flounder fishing is steadily getting better. Live mud minnows on a Carolina rig are putting the majority of the flatfish in the boat.
Redfish and black drum bites are starting to heat up around docks. The key is fishing lower stages of the tide when there is still a little current. Fresh cut shrimp, live shrimp, and cut crab are the best ways to snag a red or black drum, although reds will fall for a mud minnow as well.
The trout bite has slowed down substantially with temperatures rising and falling, but it is expected to pick back up once temperatures stabilize.
Sharks are thick at the jetties. Atlantic sharpnose (and a small bull shark) have been caught so far. Just off the beach, the spanish mackerel are finally showing up.
On the nearshore reefs, anglers can expect weakfish, bluefish, trout, and sea bass to be around.
Bob, of Strange Magic Fishing Charters, reports that the flounder bite is on, especially in the Cherry Grove area. The flatties are falling for live minnows on Carolina rigs, as well as Gulp pinned to jig heads, with the brighter Gulp colors working best. Anglers should target creek mouths on a falling tide, as well as deeper holes at the bottom of the tide. Of course, docks are a great place to target as well, especially when bait is visibly around.
Red drum are being caught in decent numbers around docks. The reds have been falling for live minnows on a Carolina rig or jig head, and they will take soft plastics under popping corks, too (when fishing shallow waters). Drifting a creek or cruising with a trolling motor while casting to the banks are effective redfish tactics.
Black drum are also becoming more prominently seen around docks. The black drum prefer fresh or live shrimp on a Carolina rig or a jig head.
Trout are competing in the usual areas with a rather large amount of bluefish. Look for banks along the ICW that transition from shell to grass, with a deep escape route nearby. Jigging with Gulp and Z-Man swimbaits in brighter colors has been working well. If you don’t get a bite in the first 5-10 minutes, make a move down the bank, working water the whole way. If you have caught trout in a place before, typically they will still be there, but you might just have to worka little harder.
Larry, of Voyager Fishing Charters, reports that fishing at the Gulf Stream has been phenomenal lately. Anglers have connected with red snapper, scamp and gag grouper, cobia, grunts, porgies, African pompano, and triggerfish. Dropping down squid and cigar minnows has produced the majority of the bites.
Drift lines have generated good numbers of king mackerel, including a few larger kings (weighing up to 30 lbs.).
Trolling rigged ballyhoo in 200-300’ of water has brought in several mahi, a few wahoo, and some blackfin tuna.
Bottom fishing in the 8-10 mile range has produced plenty of black sea bass and porgies.
Nearshore trips have also been successful, with spanish mackerel starting to show. Trolling Clarkspoons and planers is the best way to bring the spanish in.
Cameron, of Little River Fishing Fleet, reports that the nearshore spanish mackerel bite has taken off in the last week. Larger spanish have been caught trolling Clarkspoons on fluorocarbon affixed to a planer, and areas in the 5-10 mile range showing schools of bait have been the most productive.
Bonitos and bluefish are also being caught mixed in with the spanish.
Bottom fishing around the 10 mile range has been phenomenal. Larger flounder are starting to show, along with bige numbers of keeper black sea bass and bluefish.
Offshore bottom fishing has produced 3-4 lb. vermilion snapper, along with grouper and jumbo black sea bass. Fresh cut squid has been bringing in the bigger sea bass, while grouper (up to 25 lbs.) have been caught using spanish sardines and cigar minnows.
King fishing between 20-35 miles out has been producing 20-30 lb. kings. Skirted ballyhoo has been bringing in limits within an hour or two of putting lines in the water.
Shark fishing is not as good as expected yet. Atlantic sharpnose and blacktips have not been seen, but with water temperatures rising, they should be here any time now.
Wick, of Cherry Grove Pier, reports that pier anglers are starting to see high numbers of fish, along with more variation in species. The spanish mackerel bite is great, and there are lots of bluefish to be caught. Gold hook rigs and Gotcha plugs are strong options to bring in both.
The whiting action remains steady, and they are biting best on fresh shrimp.
Flounder have been showing up consistently. Most are still undersized, but mixed in are a few keepers.
King mackerel have already made an appearance, and they will keep producing as the pogies and menhaden continue to move in.
There have been a few red and black drum coming over the rails. Most have been smaller fish, but there have been a few keepers. Fresh shrimp continues to produce best for the drum.