In the middle of the summer, the Grand Strand’s public waterways fill up with just about every type of vessel imaginable, from kayaks and jet skis to the 200-foot gambling ships loaded with vacationers looking to hit the jackpot. Folks looking to take home the top fishing prize should troll their way to Little River’s flounder grounds, where a bona fide reward is lurking below the water’s surface.
Not everyone awakens on a balmy, summer morning excited about crappie fishing, but if you do, chances are you are privy to a selection of deep brush piles that are sure to be laced with prime panfish when they evacuate shallow water in search of cover.
The sun hadn’t showed when Jamie Rushing launched his boat at Wrightsville Beach. While it is important to launch early from any boat ramp from Topsail Beach to Carolina Beach — just to be able to find a parking space for their tow vehicle and trailer— the main reason he was leaving early was for the summer speckled trout bite.
Wyn Mullins prepared a perfect summer setup for catching big fish. His boat was anchored on a Cooper River channel ledge at sunrise, just upstream from the junction of a small creek. An abundance of weedy growth flourished on the shallow flat between the two runs of deeper water, creating a perfect shallow point harboring miniscule aquatic munchies, attracting a variety of fish species.
Last July, the New River appeared similar but also different than 42 years earlier, the last time I floated the stream in a canoe. It was 1974, and local residents and conservation organizations were fighting a plan to dam the pristine river that crosses the northwestern corner of North Carolina. Back then, no guides carried fishing parties on the river, and no businesses catering to anglers and paddlers had sprouted along its banks.
One of the surest signs of summer along the South Carolina coast is when droves of Spanish mackerel show up in the nearshore and coastal waters. In reality, these fish start showing up as early as late April when migrating up from the south.
Fishermen know Lake Monticello is a world-class trophy catfish destination, but this deep, clear lake offers much more than just huge fish. Catching big numbers during the summer makes this 6,800-acre lake a top destination for quality and quantity catfish.
With summer in full swing across the Upstate, many anglers have thrown in the towel when it comes to fishing. Hot temperatures, hot water and recreational boat traffic just don’t make it worth the effort to get on the water, at least during the day.
The fall trout bite seems a world away in the sweltering heat of July, and the hot spring bite is a fond memory. But for anglers in the know, some spectacular trout fishing is just as available now as it is during those other seasons. The trick is to get on the water early.
Spanish mackerel around Charleston lead the coastal fishing options this month. But there's also some fantastic freshwater options, including big Montecello catfish.