By Chris Carbone, Seacoast Anglers Association
October 4, 2012 Little River, SC - We are in the best time of year for fishing off the Grand Strand area. The creeks and ocean have come alive with fish of all kinds chasing your hook! (According to reports!) All kidding aside, the people I talk to have been having great luck no matter where they are wetting their lines and that luck should continue for the next couple or three months now that the water and ambient temperatures have gone down. Plus there is more schools of bait out there than there has been in several years so they so the schools are attracting the fish. It’s the dinner bell you hear!
The Jim Caudle Reef about 3-miles from the Little River Jetties is a sure bet this time of year as it holds a great variety of fish to catch, both on the bottom and trolling over it. Reports tell me they are hooking Black Seabass (can’t keep!), Flounder, Grunts, Whiting, Weakfish, Sheepshead, Croaker, King Mackerel, Spanish Mackerel as well as many other species of reef fish. There is sooo much structure there and if you have the waypoints to put you on you will catch fish.
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.
Sheepshead seem to be everywhere these days but mostly next to piers or pilings as their favorite food is barnacles and small crabs. 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!.
They are catching huge Red Drum at the Little River Jetties out near the tip in 20-30 ft. of water. Leadheads on plastic lures work well and also use live bait. The Reds like live minnows or small mullet. Many anglers are using circle hooks for Reds though not necessary... your choice. Also try Sunset Beach area to Tubbs Inlet and the crossroads of Little River, ICW and Calabash River all which have been producing nice healthy Reds.
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. They are not fussy eaters and will go for most anything. Most anglers are using cut mullet, cut bluefish or squid for bait but Black Drum also love the same bait as Sheepshead. Frozen clams seem to work well when you can’t get fresh bait. Use
a light line, lightest sinker possible will do it most times. Braid works here because of the abrasive factor of the bottom.
Big Speckled Seatrout tend to hang out near depressions, points, sandbars, oyster beds, etc. in the creeks. They seem to like fast moving water with two hours either side of the tide being best. Some reports say they are catching them on “Gulp” grubs with leadhead hooks. Also I have seen some anglers catching them on small red & white lures with treble hooks. Very light tackle and NO noise is what it takes.
As it gets closer into fall the King Mackerel fishing should improve. And the past several King tournaments have proven that! Where they couldn’t seem to find them earlier in the year, they are finding them where they always were in the past. The 390/390 has been producing Kings as well as the 410/510, Myrtle Beach Rocks, Christina Ledge and several other locations. I have not heard of anglers having luck out at the Jungle but they should be there as well. Seems from the reports that the average size is about 20 lbs from all those areas. 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!
Saltwater Catfish (Blue Catfish) have been spotty but they have been catching them in the ICW.
Striped Bass season has opened so I expect to hear reports on them soon.
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 has closed the Black Seabass season September 4th until June 1, 2013 and the Grouper/Snapper season will also be shut down shortly!
We’ll keep you posted.
Stop Wishin’... Go Fishin.’
If you have info on the local fishing,, email THE ANCHOR at SeacoastAnglers@aol.com and let us know.