Inshore surface water temperatures in the morning on the north end of the Grand Strand are still in the mid-70s. There are finger mullet around but off the beaches menhaden are the most prolific baitfish.
Fall fishing is good on the north end of the Grand Strand, but Captain Patrick “Smiley” Kelly (843-361-7445) predicts that in the next week or two it will approach its peak and we will be into some of the best fishing of the year.
Bull red drum are still being caught in the inlet on live, fresh cut or even frozen menhaden, and they will also eat mullet or most any other live or fresh cut bait. The incoming tide has been the best time to target them, and high slack tide has also been good.
There are lots of fish at the jetties, and while they can be caught right by the rocks the better way to catch (and land) them is to fish in cleaner holes out from the rocks with 25-30 feet of water. The other way to catch them is to run the beaches and fish around menhaden balls.
With water temperatures still warm blacktip and bull sharks are still thick, and so Captain Smiley suggests a big 6/0 circle hook and beefy tackle so that you can get the fish in quickly. No one wants to see a bull red drum struggling on the end of a line become shark bait.
Smaller reds can also be caught casting live mullet or live shrimp on a split shot rig or under a float into the jetty rocks, and there have also been plenty of 12-17 inch redfish caught inshore around grass and oyster beds. Cut shrimp, live shrimp, finger mullet and Gulp! baits are all working for inshore reds. There are still some big redfish inshore but the 12-17 inch range has been most prolific.
The trout bite is improving but it’s still not as good as it should get. Right now trout are being caught on live shrimp fished along inshore drops and oyster beds in areas with moving current. They are also being caught with shrimp fished on a split shot rig at the jetties.
There has been good flounder fishing around the jetties with mullet fished around the rocks. Nearshore reefs like the Jim Caudle Reef have also had some nice ones.
Black drum fishing is getting better with fresh cut shrimp. The Tillman Docks are still holding fish and a Carolina rig fished on the bottom in 15-20 feet of water on moving tides continues to work. There are also plenty of good fish being caught around ledges and docks in the IntraCoastal.
Cherry Grove Pier (843-249-1625) reports that Spanish mackerel, bluefish, pompano, whiting, and a few spots have been caught off the pier. There have also been some large red drum out of the slot caught.