By Chris Carbone, Seacoast Anglers Association
August 9, 2012 Little River, SC - The “dog days” of summer are here for sure and the heat apparently has pushed some of the fish out to deeper water and cooler temperatures. Reports of fish have been few and far between from SAA members.
Some nice sized Flounder have been caught all along the ICW from Little River to Tubbs Inlet. The tackle used lately seems to be 15-20 lb. braid with a 20 lb. fluorocarbon leader attached to a ¾ .oz jig head. Use a ¾ .oz slide sinker above the leader, Carolina Rig style. Add a Berkeley Gulp! bait or similar lure to get them excited. The real big “door mat” flounder are out at the near shore reefs such as the Caudle Reef. According to the divers that target them, there are plenty out there to fill the cooler with your limit. If you are an angler, you need to be just off the reef in the sand to get them. Chances are in the reef you will get tangled up.
As I have said before, to have a good day on the water fishing, get out to the Caudle Reef. The Jim Caudle Reef out of Little River Inlet has consistently produced an active day of fishing. This reef provides a perfect place to take the kids because they will catch something. Close to shore (3-miles), it is a safe place to go to for most any kind of boat large or small. Anglers have been catching everything from Flounder to small King Mackerel. Seabass, Sheepshead, Croaker are there in large numbers along with Spanish Mackerel and Atlantic Bonito.
The piers are good one day and lean the next from my reports. Lots of Blacktip Sharks at the Cherry Grove Pier and they are big! Stay away from the cleaning stations on the pier if you want to catch fish. The sharks scare them away.
Whiting and Croakers are along the bottom on light tackle. Some of the surf fishing guys tell me they are catching them along with a few nice Bluefish. Drifting in a boat off the beach will get you the same results. Along with the above, surf fishermen are catching Red Drum, Pompano, some Spanish Mackerel as well as some nice sized Sharks.
Spanish Mackerel are still here along the beach. They are usually there in the early morning and the late evening on changing tides. A good place to start is the Little River Inlet c buoy about a half mile out. If you see bait in the area, try for the Spanish that are chasing them! Clark Spoons, and Gottcha! plugs are the lures of choice. Some anglers are using planers to get their lines down and/or skipping birds to attract the fish.
For both Bonito and Spanish Mackerel, slow troll two or three lines out at 4-6 m.p.h. over structure, or where ever bait is showing, or birds are actively feeding.
Red Drum and Spotted Seatrout are at the jetties and are big sized. Leadheads on plastic lures work well and also use live bait. Live shrimp works best and fast water increases your chances. Many anglers are using circle hooks for Reds though not necessary... your choice. Also try the Sunset Beach area to Tubbs Inlet and the crossroads of Little River, ICW and Calabash River.
Sheepshead are tackled in big numbers out at the close reefs (Caudle Reef) and the piers. You will catch them using shrimp, crabs, clams or barnacles. Sheepshead are great bait stealers so stay alert and keep your line tight!. Braid line seems to work best here.
Black Drum have been landed in most of the creeks and waterways. They like the muddy bottom but will move along the oyster beds as well. If you anchor in Bonapartes Creek, you will be pretty certain to catch Black Drum. Most anglers are using cut mullet, cut bluefish or squid for bait. Light line, lightest sinker possible will do it most times.
King Mackerel have been hard to find in the usual places this year and I suspect the water is too warm right now. As it gets closer to Fall the King Mackerel fishing should improve. There are a number of King Mackerel rigs available and most are for dead bait like cigar minnows or Ballyhoo which is what most anglers use. Call around to find where they are hitting when you want to go. You don’t want to waste gas looking for them!
Spadefish will still be around until October this year because of the warm water temperatures. Then they head to Florida.
Since the opening of the season, bottom fishing offshore for Vermillion Snapper (Beeliners) Seabass and Grouper has been super! Along with them you can catch Triggerfish, White Grunt, Porgy (of various species), and Amberjack among others. Most guys have been filling the cooler.
An increase to the recreational minimum size limit for Black Seabass from 12 inches TL to 13 inches TL is now in effect.
However, I hear SAFMC is going to close the Black Seabass season... maybe next month!!!
Stop Wishin’... Go Fishin.’
If you have info on the local fishing,, email THE ANCHOR at SeacoastAnglers@aol.com and let us know.