Charleston: Inshore water temperatures in the Charleston area are in the 75-77 degree range, with surf temperatures at Folly Beach right at 76. The weather has been rainy and windy making for tough visibility.
The weather has made for some difficult fishing conditions, and David Fladd with Eye Strike Fishing reports that the consensus is that the fishing has been challenging. In the redfish tournament this weekend, where the winner took $30,000.00, catching fish on the upper end of the slot was a challenge. It seems that the bait has not really moved in yet, and the mullet and menhaden seem to be a couple of weeks behind in showing up this year. However, there have also been some reports that in the last day or two things may have started to turn on.
Captain Rob Bennett of Lowcountry Inshore Charters (843-367-3777) concurs that conditions have not been great, and the reds he has been catching have been on a low tide pattern fishing around docks with mud minnows, cut mullet, live shrimp and Gulp!
David has heard of some fat trout being caught, and with May the peak of the spawn that makes sense. Of course numbers are down. When the bait moves in well then the topwater bite should take off.
Rob is concerned that to the south of Charleston the fish really got hammered this winter.
Fishermen are reminded that the SCDNR is strongly encouraging anglers to practice catch and release of all spotted seatrout through the end of September.
Flounder have not really showed up yet, but with a delayed start to the shrimp season it may turn out to be a good year for the flounder. The two often seem to correlate.
The best bite right now may be for whiting, and Rob reports that at the mouths of inlets some really big ones are being caught over sand in 12-18 feet of water. All you need is a bottom rig with a couple of little pieces of shrimp.
Bonnethead sharks have also arrived inshore, but the tarpon have not yet arrived.
Folly Beach Pier (843-762-9516) reports that a lot of sheepshead, whiting and the occasional 1- to 3-pound black drum are being caught off the pier. They also had a 1 ½ pound pompano caught Saturday. No Spanish or king mackerel have been caught yet, but the regulars havent really showed up to target them.
At the reefs there are Spanish, bluefish, flounder and big summer trout but it has been hard to get out. Cobia are offshore in 40-50 feet of water.