North Myrtle Beach/Little River – March 19, 2020
Patrick, of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters, reports that inshore surface water temperatures on the north end of the Grand Strand are around 50/60 degrees, and the water is not particularly clear.
The redfish bite has improved on the north end of the Grand Strand, and anglers are catching good numbers of fish. There have been a lot of fish in the middle of the slot, as well as some that are pushing 30 inches. The population seems very strong.
On low tide the best pattern has been making long casts to very skinny water in areas where anglers can see reds pushing water. The best bait has been cut shrimp on a 3/8 oz. jig head (heavy enough for long casting). Cast ahead of the school, and then let the bait sit as the fish approach.
On higher stages of the tide, anglers need to fish docks, bulkheads in the Intracoastal Waterway, or other structure. There are also fish that head up in the grass on high tide, but they are more difficult to locate and get to bite.
Black drum are mixed in with the reds around structure.
Trout fishing has become more challenging, but a few fish have been caught on the ledges in the ICW with soft plastics (such as Vudu shrimp). Last March the trout bite got good at the jetties, and so look for the action to pick up there soon.
Bob, of Strange Magic Fishing Charters, reports that early spring fishing in the area is fairly strong, especially for redfish. Thanks to the water temperatures not dipping into the 40s over the winter, the bite remained and is consistent. Mud minnows and Gulp baits work the best, and they will likely continue to work the best into March.
Fresh shrimp will also fool the reds, as well as any black drum that are in the area. Look for older docks with structure and drains nearby and try to get your baits under the docks for the most action. In addition, on the higher side of the tide, toss your baits up close to the creek banks near oyster bars and grass transition areas.
Trout were hitting very well up to about mid-January. Live shrimp under popping corks worked the best, followed by Gulp and jig head combinations. The trout bite has slowed appreciably since then, though, probably due to a lot of fishing pressure as well as lower temperatures. Once the water gets above 60 degrees and air temperatures reach above 70 and stabilize, all the inshore species (redfish, black drum, speckled trout, flounder, and bluefish) should heat up.
Larry, of Voyager Fishing Charters, reports that anglers are finding lots of black sea bass (with many keepers in the mix) targeting areas 10-12 miles out of Little River Inlet on half day fishing trips.
Further out at the Gulf Stream, bottom fishing is producing beeliners, snappers, grunts, triggers, and porgies.
Around 50 miles out (in 110’ of water), putting baits on the bottom is bringing up big porgies and large sea bass, along with snappers, grunts, and triggers.
Offshore trolling action is seeing a few wahoo, but the wahoo bite is expected to get much better as water temperatures increase.
Sue, of Fish On Outfitters, reports that anglers are catching trout in the Cherry Grove Inlet. The fish are anywhere from 15-27” being caught in the marshes and around the jetty rocks. Trout Tricks on 1-8 oz. jig heads will produce good bites, though the occasional Vudu shrimp has gotten attention on higher water, especially back in Dunn Sound and near Cherry Grove.
The occasional redfish is also coming in, with upper-slot reds happily chewing at the jetty rocks. Floating shrimp has been the best tactic for these fish.
Black drum have been holding on area docks and biting cut shrimp, and sheepshead averaging 1-3 lbs. (though as big as 6 lbs.) are eating barnacles and fiddler crabs on the jetty rocks.
Flounder are starting to show up in the creeks, where Carolina-rigged mud minnows fished in lighter current areas (such as the edges of the marsh grass) have been getting bites from small fish.
Wick, of Cherry Grove Pier, reports that the pier fishing season has opened with some whiting, croaker, blowfish, and skates.
Lynn, of Apache Pier, reports that anglers are catching whiting and blowfish, but the fishing is expected to improve dramatically once water temperatures get into the 60s.