Capt. Mark Dickson of Shallow Minded Fishing Charters said he's been catching them in the same places, along the ICW between the North Carolina state line and Nelson's Crossroads in North Myrtle Beach.
"Both black drum and red drum are congregated in the ICW and hanging around any structure that is available," Dickson said. "But the docks from Ocean Isle Beach down south to the swing bridge are the best places to find them," Dickson said.
The ICW in the Little River area is narrow with and is loaded with seawalls, rocks, and docks of varying age. Few places have an irregular bottom, other than the main channel and its adjacent shallow shoals. However, the majority of the docks along this section serve feature dredged-out slips – ideal places for harboring any baitfish over the winter months. The reds and black drum concentrate in these deeper spots gorging themselves on anything they can find.
Dickson (843-458-3055) prefers to fish around the low tide this time of year along the ICW.
"Fish around the low tide for the best luck," he said. "Check the tide charts for the negative, super low tides. The low water concentrates the fish."
Live bait is always preferred but is hard to come by this time of year. While reds will eat both shrimp and fish, black drum are not huge fans of minnows or cut fish. Therefore, Dickson relies on frozen shrimp with the heads still intact to catch both species in the same places.
Since the docks along the waterway are not in short supply, Dickson will hit a lot of them until he finds a group of fish ready to play."Don't fish around the same dock too long," he said. "Fish around a dock for 20 minutes or so, and then move to the next one."