Estuaries are inland areas characterized by Spartina grass, oyster bars and pluff mud, with some sandy areas. They can be found all along the coastline in the form of inlets, bays, sounds and rivers as they approach the ocean from the Santee Delta at the southern end of Georgetown County, S.C. to southern Brunswick County. N.C. Flounder, Red Drum and Spotted Seatrout are common here.
What to expect:The top two species in local estuaries to target are spotted seatrout and black drum, with red drum and sheepshead also available. Capt. Patrick Kelly of Captain Smiley Fishing Charters fished Tuesday in the rain and caught trout, black drum and reds, on live shrimp, while working Bonaparte Creek and the Intracoastal Waterway at Little River.
Kelly also caught a few fish on the artificial Vudu Shrimp. Tom Craddock of Inlet Convenience and Fishing Supplies noted good catches of trout in Murrells Inlet along with flounder and red drum in the creeks.
Craddock also noted a pair of anglers had good catches of whiting and spots in the inlet early this week. Look for trout, reds, black drum and sheepshead at area jetties.
What to look for:
The near-shore waters in the Atlantic Ocean along the Grand Strand are found from the surf out to approximately 20 miles. This Myrtle Beach fishing area is characterized by a predominantly flat sandy bottom save for a few rocky outcroppings and various artificial reefs. Numerous species can be found here depending on season, but some of the more popular are Spanish Mackerel, King Mackerel and Black Sea Bass.
What to expect:With persistent wind and rain, it’s been a week to forget for fishermen along the beach. Last weekend, a fishing trip with Charlie Nash of Garden City Beach to hard-bottom areas along the beach from Surfside Beach to the south end of Myrtle Beach found that weakfish (summer trout) were scarce at spots where they are normally found.
On the way back to Murrells Inlet, a quick stop by Paradise Reef (Three-Mile Reef) revealed that black sea bass were on hand including one 15-inch keeper. Rough seas prevented us from anchoring on the fish to get a better feel for the number of keepers (13-inch minimum size limit) available.
It’s been a slow week on Grand Strand piers with the wind, rain and murky water, with only a few whiting, croaker, black drum and perch being caught. The ocean water temperature at Apache Pier was 57.42 degrees at mid-afternoon on Wednesday
What to look for:
Beyond 20 miles out in the Atlantic Ocean, the bottom begins to drop quicker with more hard-bottoms areas and ledges. About 45 miles out, the sharp drop-off of the Continental Shelf begins, the Gulf Stream enters the equation and trolling boats pursue Dolphin (Mahi Mahi), Wahoo, Blackfin Tuna and King Mackerel in famed areas such as the Winyah Scarp and Georgetown Hole. Numerous species are also found on the offshore reefs including Grouper, Black Sea Bass, Vermilion Snapper, Amberjack and Triggerfish.
What to expect:Ocean Isle Fishing Center reports a local boat, Reel McCoy, ventured offshore on Saturday and caught a limit of wahoo while fishing in the vicinity of the Steeples. The largest fish was a nice 69.8-pounder. After a Gale Warning was in effect on Wednesday, seas were forecast to begin laying down on Friday, making offshore fishing over the holiday weekend a real possibility.
Trolling boats can also hope to find blackfin tuna. Bottom fishing should be excellent for grouper, vermilion snapper, black sea bass and amberjack. The recreational fishery for gray triggerfish in the South Atlantic region closed on Wednesday for the rest of the year and will reopen on Jan. 1, 2015.
Red snapper are off-limits indefinitely in the South Atlantic Region and must be released.
What to look for: