Inshore water temperatures on the north end of the Grand Strand have risen all the way to 59 degrees; although the water is clear breezy conditions this week have reduced visibility.
Even as temperatures warm redfish continue to be in the same type of places they have been much of the winter, and Captain Patrick “Smiley” Kelly (843-361-7445) reports that on the falling tide today they have been able to pick up some creek fish by positioning the boat in shallow water and casting into little holes with 3-4 feet of water. Sometimes low tide redfish will be in such shallow areas that they can not even be accessed with a boat, and at times Captain Smiley will get out and walk in hard, sandy creeks. Fish are primarily in these spots hiding from dolphins looking to feed. When fishing the dropping tide you have to be conscious of water levels so you don’t get stuck.
Fish can also be caught on the flats, and at this time of year the best conditions on the flats are low to rising tide in the middle of the day when the shallow mud flats can warm. You can spot them just laying around, pushing water, or you can see puffs of mud where they have been.
Artificial baits like Vudu Shrimp, Gulp! baits in New Penny, and mud minnows fished under a popping cork have all been working, but Captain Smiley points out that you will miss a lot of fish right now. Every year at about this time they bite funny, grabbing half of the bait and sometimes spitting it out.
Trout can still be caught in the Intracoastal Waterway around drop offs in 5-10 feet of water, and they will also be around moving water near oyster banks. Today they have mainly been catching smaller fish in the 13-inch range, but there are better fish around too. Gulp! baits on a ¼ ounce jighead are working.
Fish can be also caught at the jetties, where the best pattern remains fishing live mullet, mud minnows or ideally shrimp under a slip bobber. Drifting the bait with the current in 4-10 feet of water is the best pattern, which usually means keeping the bobber about 5-10 feet off the rocks. Any closer than that and the bait will usually get hung up.
There is still a good bite for smaller black drum, with some of the fish keeper-sized. On the ledges fish can be caught in about 10 feet of water on small pieces of cut shrimp.
Cherry Grove Pier (843-249-1625) reports that surf temperatures have risen to about 50 degrees but only a few small whiting have been caught.