The image, burned into the memory of a 9-year-old boy, hasn’t faded. How do you erase the sight of a man walking along the shoreline, a cane pole in one hand and across his shoulder a stringer of flounder, each as wide as his back?
During the summer, Murrells Inlet’s blue waters and spectacular marsh walk draw a lot of people visiting the Grand Strand. From banana boat rides and water skiing to inshore anglers looking to score enough scaly fare for dinner, the beautiful estuary becomes a little congested, to say the least. Nevertheless, just a few miles from the jetties that line the entrance to the inlet lies some great flounder fishing, with doormat-sized fish comprising a lot of the take.
As summer brings on its heat, anglers looking for a tasty, combative target need look no further than the jetties that line the entrance to Winyah Bay. When hot weather arrives, sheepshead will take over the archaic jetty rocks, and tides and time of day are the least of a fisherman’s worries.
New Bern is home to some of North Carolina’s richest history, and hungriest stripers. Although commonly cast as a passive player on the summer fishing scene, the striped bass of the Neuse River are jumping at the chance to change their reputation by crushing topwater plugs and other lures when the sun is high and the heat is on.
The dawning sun winked pink against a pastel sky, promising another hot, humid, windless day. Andrew Tubbs had already launched his boat and was waiting at the dock at Clarks Hill Recreation Park, one of several U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recreational facilities along the more than 1,000 miles of shoreline encircling J. Strom Thurmond Lake.
Picturesque streams in North Carolina’s mountains pour down from higher elevations, and often, they have a trout lurking behind every rock and gravel bar and under every undercut bank, waiting for something tasty to flow across their dinner plate.
More than 30 years ago, Davy Hite and I crossed paths for the first time. It wasn’t on Lake Murray or any other lake for that matter; it was on a basketball court in middle school. The success he has enjoyed as a professional bass fishermen over the past 20 years has been well documented, and I can attest that, from early on, he had the drive to be the best he could be — on the football field, basketball court or the water.
Ask Ridgeville’s Billy Garner about the best month to fish the Edisto River, and he’ll tell you any month with a weekend. But he likes fishing in July because the weather is hot, meaning fewer people are on the river.
The morning was so calm the fishermen could hear the clacking of the rattles in the topwater lures they were working across the shallow bay off the Intracoastal Waterway a few miles south of Sneads Ferry. Capt. Allen Jernigan was coaching the fishermen on correct speed and the “walking-the-dog” motion when he noticed a small wave appear behind one of the lures. Jernigan had difficulty containing his excitement at the red drum stalking the lure, but he managed to stay calm and continued coaching the fisherman.
Not all of Murrells Inlet's famed flounder fishing is inside the inlet. Head to nearshore wrecks for some great action.