By Chris Carbone, Seacoast Anglers Association
September 10, 2012 NorthMyrtleBeachOnline.Com - For some reason, anglers are catching Flounder in record numbers all along the ICW from Little River to Tubbs Inlet. The piers along the coast including Cherry Grove Pier are also reporting anglers catching 10-15 on each trip. 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 the divers that target them, there are plenty out there to fill the cooler with your limit. You need to be just off the reef in the sand to get them. Chances are in the reef you will get tangled up. Only problem there is over the sand you will pick up a lot of Sharpnose Sharks as well.
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 and an occasional Cobia.
Sheepsheads are reported to be tackled in big numbers out at the close reefs (Caudle Reef) and the piers. You will catch them using shrimp, crabs, clams or barnacles. Fiddlers crabs are by far the best bait for you to be successful. Hook them through the sides and have the hook come up through the shell. Rig should be a 1oz. slide sinker, then a 80 lb. swivel on your reel line, and attach a #3/0 hook on a 12- inch 50 lb. fluorocarbon leader. On the spool you should have 30 lb. braid. Drop the line as close to the structure as possible as that is where the Sheepshead are. Sheepshead are great bait stealers so stay alert and keep your line tight!
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 but Black Drum also love the same bait as Sheepshead. Light line, lightest sinker possible will do it most times.
Whiting and Croakers are along the bottom on light tackle. Drifting in a boat half-mile off the beach will get you results. They are also in the open inland waters. Use fresh shrimp or squid strips. Use a sinker just heavy enough to hold the bottom.
Spanish Mackerel are still from 1 to 5 miles out 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 schools of 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 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 for Seatrout. The Reds like live minnows or small mullet. 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.
As it gets closer to fall, the King Mackerel fishing should improve. The 390/390 has been producing small Kings however a 35 pounder was caught there during the last week of August as well. 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 out.
Since the opening of the season last spring, 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.
However...... the SAFMC closed the Black Seabass season on September 4th this year!
Stop Wishin’... Go Fishin.’
If you have info on the local fishing,, email THE ANCHOR at SeacoastAnglers@aol.com and let us know