Look For: Spotted seatrout, black drum, red drum, sheepshead, tautog.
Comments: It hasn’t been the greatest of weather weeks, but there has been some solid action in local estuaries. “We’re catching some really nice trout,” said Capt. Mark Dickson of Shallow-Minded Inshore Charters in Little River. “I’m really excited about the fishing this week. It’s been good in less than desirable conditions. We just need a little weather and it will really pick up.” Dickson says trout are hitting Vudu shrimp, particular clear with chartreuse tails and rattles. Dickson touted Pro Cure Super Sauce, a bait scent, that has helped enticed bites from trout and black drum. “We’re not seeing flounder consistently, but we’re waiting for the water to warm up,” said Dickson. Despite water temperatures in the mid 50s, Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service in Georgetown produced seven trout and three bluefish on a Monday trip to North Inlet. All of McDonald’s fish were caught on plastic grubs. Area jetties such as Murrells Inlet and Little River are producing some large trout with black drum, red drum, sheepshead and tautog also available.
Look For: Sheepshead, black sea bass, black drum, weakfish, tautog, flounder, whiting, croaker.
Comments: Ronnie Goodwin of the Cherry Grove Pier reported an ocean water temperature of 57 degrees at the surface and bottom along with a northeast wind of 20 mph at 4 p.m. Thursday, and water that looked like chocolate milk. With the return of more seasonal, cooler weather over the past week, the fishing has slowed down off the piers. “Since the cold snap, I have seen a whole lot of nothing,” said Goodwin. A few small whiting and croakers have been landed this week. With the cool and blustery conditions, only a few anglers have made it to the near-shore reefs to catch sheepshead and weakfish, with a few black drum and flounder. Black sea bass are prevalent on the reefs but most are under the 13-inch minimum size limit.
Look For: Wahoo, blackfin tuna, vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish, porgy, grunts, amberjack.
Comments: The wind has been howling generally out of the north this week, and that’s not conducive to offshore fishing, whether trolling or bottom-fishing. “It’s just been blowing and blowing,” said Capt. Danny Carey of Careyon Charters. “Everything (Gulf Stream, temperature breaks) is way out.” Plenty of quality species are there when conditions improve. Anglers can troll for wahoo along with blackfin tuna and look forward to the return of dolphin (mahi mahi) in 3-4 weeks. Bottom fishing is productive for vermilion snapper, black sea bass, triggerfish, grunts, red porgy and amberjack. The annual Shallow-water Grouper Spawning Season Closure is in effect through April 30. Red snapper cannot be harvested and must be released in the South Atlantic region.
Look For: Catfish, crappie, bream, bass.
Comments: The up-and-down, hot-and-cold weather just may have the fish confused, says River Squires of Stalvey’s Bait and Tackle in Conway. “If I was a bass, I’d be thinking ‘What in the world’s going on?’” said Squires. Bass are being landed though, and Squires has been catching them in the lakes (off the rivers) in shallow water on a green pumpkin six-inch Senko. Action is also good for crappie and catfish. “They’ve been wearing the crappie out and catching some nice catfish,” said Squires. Crappie are hitting minnows or jigs while shad and eels are the best bait for catfish. Look for bream near the bottom hitting worms, but the panfish are ready to move up to the banks and eat crickets when the water warms up.