Surface water temperatures on the north end of the Grand Strand are about 86 degrees and water clarity is typical for summer. On some rainy days the water stays dirty, but generally it’s clean on the incoming and dirty on the outgoing. The creeks are filled with shrimp and mullet.
It’s been a phenomenal summer of fishing on the north end of the Grand Strand, and Captain Patrick “Smiley” Kelly(843-361-7445) reports that even as the tourist season begins to (slightly) drop off the fishing will only get better and better.
The headline species right now is the flounder, and after a year where flatfish on the North Carolina side of the border were closed to harvest we are currently in a month-long window where fish in both Carolinas can be kept. The fishing has been excellent over sandy bottoms on finger mullet, and the key is working the deeper holes as long as the tides will allow.
The redfish action has also been nothing short of spectacular, with fish being caught around docks and holes on live finger mullet or cur mullet.
You will pick up some trout fishing with finger mullet, but the best way to target specks is with live shrimp under a popping cork. On higher tides fish along grass lines and over oyster beds, while on the outgoing tide you should target ledges in 6-8 feet of water.
The black drum remain prolific all over the shallows, but docks have held by far the most fish in the last few weeks. There are still lots of small fish around, boding well for the future, but more 14-20 inch fish have been caught recently too. Fishing cut shrimp on low tide has been the ticket.
In the surf, Cherry Grove Pier (843-249-1625) reports that they have seen a lot of croaker, whiting, stingrays, ribbonfish and sea robins recently. While there have not been any king mackerel lately, some nice-sized Spanish have been landed. There were also some good flounder last week.
While you can catch flounder in the creeks or in the surf, the best flounder fishing is at nearshore reefs like the Caudle Reef two and a half miles out. If you work live finger mullet around the edges you can pick up some doormats, and there is also a mixed bag of bluefish, small black sea bass, small cobia, sharks and Spanish mackerel.
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