Morning surface water temperatures have dropped to 79 degrees around Little River and the water is dirty. Bait is less abundant in the creeks after the storms but still available, while the mullet run is underway in the ocean.
The storm has blown out the creeks with a ton of freshwater, and Captain Buddy Love with Captain Smiley Fishing Charters (843-361-7445) reports that it’s made catching bait harder. Instead of throwing the net twice and getting all the shrimp you need for a day of fishing you now have to throw it a lot more to get a few dozen decent-sized baits. Tiny shrimp are still everywhere.
But despite that the fishing has actually improved in the creeks, and they are now catching a ton of redfish. Most of them are just under the slot at 13 ½ to 14 inches, but there are also plenty of better fish around as well. The best time to fish for them is on the last of the fall and the first of the rise, and at higher stages of the tide they go up in the grass and become difficult to locate. They are catching the most fish on cut shrimp fished around creek mouths, and they are also picking up plenty of black drum that way. You also have to contend with a lot of smaller bait stealers.
Trout can be caught on live shrimp under a popping cork, but the most consistent trout fishing has actually come on topwater lures fished early. For some reason redfish have not been eating the plugs on top.
They have also picked up a few flounder even without targeting them too frequently, but the best flounder action is in North Carolina. In South Carolina you generally have to pick through smaller ones, but they did have one big 23-inch fish on a live finger mullet in South Carolina this week.
A few tarpon have also been around.
Perhaps the biggest change with the fishing this week is with the Spanish mackerel, which had been so abundant off the beaches. With the mullet run kicking off they have been slow trolling Hopkins spoons, but they are now catching them free-lining live mullet and throwing topwater plugs at the mouths of the inlets. The falling tide has been the best time to target them.