Nobody rolled out the red carpet, but the first wave of silver kings slid recently into familiar waters off South Carolina's beachfront between Huntington Beach and the Santee Delta.

Over the past 10 days, several locals spotted a few rollers and free jumpers just beyond the breakers. Several charter captains fishing out of the southern end of the Grand Strand, including  Newman Weaver, Steve Roff and Jordan Pate, collectively have connected with nearly a half-dozen of the majestic fish in the past week. In fact, Pate, of Carolina Guide Service, went two for three in just under one hour last weekend not too far out of sight of Georgetown's historic lighthouse.

 

 "They are just getting here," said Pate (843-608-8307). "And after their long journey from Florida, they have rolled in with a tremendous appetite."

 

Live menhaden and jumbo mullet will entice a quick bite when a school of these massive fish are found patrolling an area.

 

Pate usually searches for tarpon around the inlets, jetties, beachfront, and even those livebottom areas just outside of the breakers.

 

 "Look for the bait. If you find some bait or an area where bait has been thick, the tarpon will be there," he said.

 

Beginning at daylight, Pate drifts live bait down the beach without any weight or floats, and he fishes in places with clear water or a place with a current rip that sets up on the outside or just inside an inlets. Tarpon are here to feed, and the places with the most food will be the best places to find a hungry tarpon during the first part of the season. 

 

Anglers can expect tarpon to be patrolling the waters around Georgetown for the next four months. But over the next few weeks, anxious anglers should limit their search efforts to the beachfront, local inlets and rock jetties.

 

"They don't push too far inside yet. It will not be until later in July before the fish head up river," Pate said.

 

Strong 8/0 octopus-circle hooks, 100-pound fluorocarbon leader, and heavy action rods matched with a high capacity reel all combine to make the required tackle list to successfully-get these fish to the boat.